As the mercury takes a plunge, riding a mountain bike might be low down on your list of things to do, but riding a mountain bike through the winter can, with a few changes, be one of the most enjoyable experiences. For some, it’s even right up there with dusty singletrack.
The trouble with riding through the winter, with all that mud, rain and potentially ice and snow, is the damage such conditions can do to your pride and joy. However, with a few precautions there’s nothing to stop you smiling right through the winter and enjoying every muddy mile of it.
Keep it clean!
An obvious one this, but it needs stating. Mechanical parts on a mountain bike don’t take too kindly to being caked in mud and still asked to work flawlessly. Metal and water don’t mix, but regular and thorough cleaning will prevent rapid deterioration.
Use the time cleaning your bike to carefully inspect it. There’s a lot more wear and tear on the many components of your bike in winter. In particular, pay attention chain, cassette and chainring teeth, cables, brake pads, bottom bracket and headset and pivot bearings. Spot any potential problems before they become a bigger issue during a ride.
Lightly treaded tyres might be great in the summer but show them a bit of mud and they’ll hoist up a white flag and surrender. Now is the time to invest in some tyres better suited to the muddy conditions of the winter. We’re not going to start making tyre recommendations here, we just don’t have the space to get into this debate.
If you’re still unsure, a good place to start is to see what local riders are using, or ask a club or bike shop in your area. There’s nothing like local knowledge to find the best tyres suited to the particular demands of your nearest trails.