The terrible weather we have suffered for the last month also takes a toll on the bike, the constant water, mud and grit seem to get in every crevice and this equals more wear on all the components.
While cleaning the muck off the bike last week I checked the chain and as there was a bit of wear evident I decided a replacement was required. Mr Wiggle took my credit card number and the following day an Ultegra 6701 chain arrived plus complimentary Haribo and energy bar.
I was planning to carry out the work in a couple of weeks but this was brought forward. Last Sundays Alton CC ride came back through the flooded lanes of Tichborne and with the bottom bracket submerged in the water I decided a full strip down and service was needed sooner than later
Having taken the back wheel out I removed the cassette and degreased it with solvent to remove all the dirt and grit. The free hub and axle were opened up and water contamination was evident so a complete strip down was needed, the ball bearings were removed and cleaned before being regreased and replaced, the free hub was dried, lightly oiled and reassembled. The old chain was now removed and the jockey wheels on the rear derailleur which have ceramic bearings were also removed and cleaned of all the grit and accumulated muck. When complete the amount of sediment in the bottom of the solvent tray had to be seen to be believed and all this was grinding away gears and drivetrain.
The front axle was also inspected but with no water contamination no further action was necessary.
Next area to be checked was the bottom bracket and after removing the cranks and unscrewing, a stream of water emerged which sort of justified my decision to inspect it. The bearings are sealed but the bottom drain hole, designed to drain any accumulated water, was blocked with muck so after clearing, a thorough clean and a light oil of the threads the bottom bracket was reassembled.
The new chain was adjusted for length, fitted, and the chain and cassette lubed. The brakes were inspected and cleaned and new rear blocks fitted.
Before replacing the wheels a thorough inspection of the tyres, Continental Gatorskins was carried out and all the small embedded flints were removed before they had chance to penetrate.
The winter months are very hard on bikes and if you do find yourself cycling through deep water a thorough service should be undertaken, do not take a chance and leave it. Getting back from a ride on a wet winters day needs a certain discipline to clean and inspect the bike but regular inspection can spot problems early and extend component life. Most of these tasks are simple and if you are not 100% confident in your own abilities You Tube is your friend for instructional videos.
Your bike will thank you “A clean bike is a happy bike”