Salty times

Hey guys. If we stick to just gravel what is the risk of salt to my components/bike etc. any tips on mitigating this at all? I’d really like to get out and ride but hesitant to ride my LS in the salt.

If you are on gravel only you are fine for salt. In reality you will have to ride some asphalt and salt will get everywhere.

Fenders will help a little. Biggest wear items are chains, pretty much a winter means you will need a new one come the spring. Best thing to do is to wash down the bike regularly to remove the salt. This becomes old fast. Last year I finally purchased a portable power washer, it allows me to quickly spray down the bike from a bucket in the winter. Just avoid the bearings.

Best practice is to completely strip the bike down in the spring, make sure every bolt comes loose, I have had hangers that required drilling out after one season from galvanic corrosion. I’d use beater wheels as spoke nipples will corrode as well, not an issue unless you need to retrue.

Effectively make sure there is lots of grease or what ever compound is required on all parts that interface with another. Clean regularly, especially if you are bringing bikes into the warm. Some of us have crazy miles on winter bikes, that still work, a little maintenance will go a long way.

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I used to commute all year pre-covid and found one thing to do (although not the most environmentally friendly) was to spray everything liberally with WD40 after each ride. Avoid any braking surfaces obviously.

The WD in WD40 means water displacement and it will push any water out and help prevent rust. I have run a chain all winter and not had any significant corrosion in the spring. I just sprayed it over the chain, cassette and derailleurs then give it a quick wipe. WD40 isn’t a lube but I found it is lube enough for the 15km rides I was doing and reapplying each day. Your milage may vary.

Still do the take part thing in the spring to repack for grease, break any galvanic corrosion etc but the WD40 certainly helps.


Wow guys thanks!!!


Yup, I’ll second what Mr. Daniells said, just a quick spray down after a ride will get ride of the worst of the salty bits. I bought one of these bad boys a few years ago and it’s perfect for those post ride winter cleanings:
The other thing you’ll want to watch is wheel bearings and headset bearings, make sure you do some maintenance on those as soon as the salty crap is done for the year, a good cleaning and relube should be all you need. Wheel bearings are sometimes a bit of a pfaff to carefully pry out the seals, but they’re also relatively cheap to pop out and replace should that be necessary. And I’ll also second Mr. Smith’s WD-40 recommendation, keeps the derailleur joints from seizing up.

The pump sprayer works but I got fed up with it in the winter. I ended up buying a battery operated one;

There are others. It is so much faster and when running off a bucket it isn’t powerful enough to destroy bearings. For those that want to be meticulous with chains then my best purchase last year was an ultrasonic cleaner, a little bit of degreaser and water and it is amazing how much crap is left behind.

I’ve been meaning to buy an ultrasonic cleaner for years. What size did you go with? I guess it’s mostly small parts and chains that are going in it.

6 liters seams the most reasonable , it can do a road cassette in one go, for larger MTB or 1x cassettes I have to do one half and then the other. A larger one feels like it would just waste more fluid. The amount of small metallic parts and grit that comes out of a chain is eye opening.

Buy a singlespeed bike and put fenders on. Pressure wash off at end of ride, throw on some chain lube, done. Time savings galore, no parts wearing out/ rusting and it makes you a strong rider :slight_smile:


I like this idea. Any excuse to buy another bike.

Your parts won’t wear as fast as your kneees :wink: