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I have a Giant VT3 with dual suspension and I'm thinking of using it as a winter bike is there any special care I should take before heading out into the cold?

  • possible duplicate of How do I gear up a bike for winter riding? – Jared Harley Sep 8 '10 at 21:38
  • 5
    Not a dup. Clearly this question is related to suspension and winter. – sixtyfootersdude Sep 9 '10 at 4:10
  • @Jared @siztyfootersdude: I agree with 60, not a duplicate. – Neil Fein Sep 9 '10 at 4:14
  • Have you heard that cold can be a problem for suspension bikes, or is this a general question? – Neil Fein Sep 9 '10 at 4:15
  • @neilfein This was just a general question since I'd never done any winter biking. – foldinglettuce Jan 8 '11 at 0:57
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If you're riding in temperatures that are only a few degrees below zero, I wouldn't worry too much. As suggested elsewhere, make sure you keep a closer eye on maintenance (brushing off snow/ice, lubrication, etc).

The colder it gets though, the greater the risk that drivetrain components will fail. I've had at least free hubs, where the pawls would stop engaging (i.e. no forward propulsion). I'd say that all your parts will be more brittle in such conditions, so take it easier on your bike than you would normally.

Also, I've heard anecdotally that it's better to store your bike at sub-freezing temperatures if you ride regularly in the cold. The reasoning is that the snow and ice on your bike won't melt and find it's way into moving parts. This will be more important with the pivots on a dual suspension.

  • Thanks for the info, I'd never thought about storing it outside as a benefit in the winter. – foldinglettuce Jan 8 '11 at 1:00
7

If you have air shocks, front or rear, be mindful of temperature impact on pressure. If you store your bike at about +20 C (room temperature) and ride it out into -10 to -20 C (seriously freezing weather), after a moment you will experience about 10% pressure drop in your shocks (and tires, too).

While 10% is not much, it can cause a noticeable change in shock's characteristics i.e. cause it to become softer. Of course, in winter that may not be such a bad thing...

  • I've noticed my front suspension fork acting like it has low air pressure after being out in cold for a long period of time. Two different forks, same result. Usually, I notice this after an hour or more (sometimes I'm out for 3-5 hours in winter). It doesn't seem to rebound to the original position and winds up at about 50% sag instead of my usual 30%. – Benzo Dec 27 '17 at 19:59
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If you're running oil in the forks then you might want to look at switching out for something that's meant for the colder temps but other than that I think it should be fine. The biggest thing I'd worry about is the salt/sand on the bike. Rinse it off after every ride with some water and store it where it can dry.

1

I used to ride every day straight through winter when I was in college. The problem with suspension bikes is that the suspension freezes up at cold temps. It doesn't even have to get below 0 for this to happen. You need to replace the lube with all synthetic lube if it doesn't have it already.

0

Years of winter riding in Vermont - never a problem with both oil and air suspension. Used Hayes's disc brakes which use the automotive brake fluid (DOT whatever). No problems, though I suspect the disc brakes which use mineral oil may have a problem.

  • Welcome to StackExchange! You might want to take the tour as this is different from a usual forum. In particular, your response about your disc brakes doesn't answer the question which is about dual suspension. It might get removed for not being an answer. – RoboKaren Mar 14 '17 at 3:54

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