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This is the suggested follow up question from this earlier question that dealt with if I can bike on the beach.

While it turns out I can ride the beach on 32c tires, the comments made it clear that I should take other things into account.

So, should I ride on the beach? What are the pitfalls I should be aware of? And what advantages are there over staying on the road?

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Sand + Saltwater and unsealed bearings are not a good mix.

Some things to consider depending on the value of your bike and cost for replacement parts are:

  • Upgrading your bottom bracket to a sealed bearing. Sure there is some frictional loss there but even road cyclist use it on training bikes for bad weather riding

  • Upgrade wheel bearings to sealed bearings/rebuild them more frequently

  • I assume your bike is either aluminum or carbon not steel. If it is steel washing it to prevent corrosion from salt would be a must and touching up paint chips to protect the steel is a must too.

  • Clean braking surfaces after each ride whether rim or disc brakes to avoid sand wearing them out prematurely.

  • Use a proper lube on the chain and clean your chain frequently. I personally would use a wet lube, but if you consistently find yourself in powder sand, then perhaps a dry lube would work and avoid having sand stick to it. However, I have found that dry lubes tend to lose their functionality even after 1 splash from a puddle so chose carefully there. Some suggested lubes that I have used (WD40 Wet Bike Lube and Finish Line Ceramic). I find 100 - 200 mile chain cleans work well for me on road conditions. If I rode on the beach and had a lot of sand stuck to the chain, I might service the chain more often like after each long ride, etc. Here is a link to a typical chain clean service -

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  • Regarding the sealed bearings: Can I just go into a bike shop and ask for this? Or is there some specific (brand)term to use? And can I assume that stock bearings on a sub $1000 bike are unsealed? Or is there an easy way to check? Dec 18 '20 at 14:28
  • @SaaruLindestøkke Most bearings are sealed now even in this category. Shimano hubs are a common exception but are realitevely well protected too. You have to check your specifications (type of hubs, type of bottom bracket, type of headset). However, be aware that sand can get to many places and cause grinding and destroy your bike.
    – Vladimir F
    Dec 18 '20 at 16:15
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    @VladimirF - You would think on a $2200 Trek carbon road bike it comes with sealed bearings, but it does not. Most road bikes will have a less robust seal on bearings to avoid frictional losses plus it is cheaper. So I would be cautious to assume that most bikes come with sealed bearings. If you don't believe me I have the $$$ invoice for new wheels and BB after 1 ride on some flooded roads destroyed all of them. The replacement wheels fortunately use rebuildable DT Swiss Hubs and the BB is fully sealed so no issues after those mods were done plus Trek helped with some costs. Dec 18 '20 at 16:27
  • @TudeProductions I do belive you and I do know that Shimano uses cup and cone bearings even for the top professional level. And there will be more I am sure. However, the frictional losses do not really come to play in these decisions and if yes, then at the very very last level of the decision tree. It is true that some professionals would remove the seals from their bearings but the difference is really marginal. One of the important points is that industrial bearings are simply simpler for the hub manufacturer even if harder to exchange for the user without bikeshop tools.
    – Vladimir F
    Dec 18 '20 at 16:33
  • @SaaruLindestøkke You would need to pull the crank to see the BB. Some shops know off hand what comes on certain bikes so that would help. Wheel hubs they can see in person too without removing anything. Dec 18 '20 at 17:33

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