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I got myself a road bike that I intend to ride occasionally during winter (mostly for commuting). I live in an apartment, so storing the bicycle in a dry and cold place such as garage is not an option. I know that frequent temperature changes may lead to rust on steel components. My bike has double-butted alloy frame and carbon fork, so no rust hazard there, but other parts may be compromised. On the other hand, keeping the bicycle near a heating device may cause damage to tires and/or other rubber components.

Just to discern from a similar question: my general concern is related to frequent extreme environment changes (wet and cold outdoors vs. hot and dry indoors) and their impact on bicycle maintenance/performance.

So, what are the usual tips for storing a commuter bicycle indoors, during winter?

  • Possible duplicate of Winter maintenance before putting bike in winter storage? – Móż Oct 12 '15 at 20:22
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    @Mσᶎ, not exactly. I'm planning to ride a bike during winter, not pack it up 'till spring. – aL3xa Oct 12 '15 at 20:23
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    If the area where the bike is stored is a normal habitable space, and not, eg, a damp basement, there will be no problem. Any moisture in the bike will evaporate in an hour or two in "normal" residential conditions. Just be sure it's in an area where air can easily circulate around it. – Daniel R Hicks Oct 12 '15 at 20:44
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    What kind of riding climate do you live in? (temperature, type of precipitation, road salt, etc.) – Batman Oct 14 '15 at 0:24
  • How about the repeated expansion and contraction of the metal due to temperature change (indoor/outdoor), does this phenomenon weaken the frame or any parts? – Robert Lee Nov 15 '18 at 15:07
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Your bike would like the same conditions as you yourself would like - room temperature air and humidity.

Also bikes dislike being left salted - if your location salts the roads then rinsing this off after your ride is an excellent idea to preserve

If space is an issue, there are several solutions for small spaces. If you have space up high then there are rope/pulley combos that raise your bike up. Or you can hang them vertically from the front wheel from a wall hook. Search sites like http://instructables.com for ideas on this point.

Apartments tend to be upstairs - do be careful of your bike carrying it up stairs or manoevering it in a lift/elevator. Carbon doesn't like being knocked or chipped, so impacts are bad.

Does your apartment have any sort of storage locker? If there are sufficient cyclists then there may be sufficient call for a shared space which is easier to access. Plus the rest of the building occupants won't need to put up with bikes in the hallways.

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Most modern bicycle components will withstand an amazing amount of variation. I do, however, recommend that you allow time for the bike to dry in between taking it out and keep the bike as free as possible from salt and grime (which will accelerate wear of your components).

As background, I have had several commuter bikes that regularly go between a 70F heated building and temperatures of -40F outside. Issues WILL arise if you take a wet bike out into the cold. However, given time to dry inside and keeping everything relatively clean, I haven't ever had any major problems.

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It's not the temperature changes that cause rust, but humidity, especially in combination with salt. Let the bike dry completely whenever possible. I store my steel bike indoors both at work and at home (in unheated but above zero garages), and try to avoid salted roads (which is not always possible). It easily survives the winter.

It also depends on the kind of steel we talk about: Stainless steel parts need quite a lot of salt and water to corrode. Chromed steel parts (often some small parts on the components) rust more easily but a thin layer of grease/wax/oil helps a lot. Steel frames (and any other steel parts) should be protected from the outside (paint plus oil/wax) and the inside (most easily with oil).

Also some aluminium alloys corrode quite easily. Protect them with grease/wax/oil.

  • Ob-comment on keeping the braking surfaces wax/oil/grease free. Specifically rim surfaces, and to be aware that oils can migrade down spokes and onto the rims if you apply too much. – Criggie Oct 15 '15 at 21:16
  • Oh yes, of course - forgot about that. Thanks for pointing it out! – bhell Oct 16 '15 at 14:50

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