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I want to purchase a nice road bike for commuting maybe around $2500, unfortunately my work doesn't have a indoor storage area. The bike rack is shaded (except maybe the handlebar area getting sun during certain part of day and possible rain). Would this degrade the bike and the components of doing this 5 days a week 8-9 hours a day?

Commute distance is about 12 miles both ways. Bike is stored in my living room otherwise.

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    Better to worry about security. Things such as a quality lock and how to properly secure the bike when you're not around. Strong sunlight for several hours a day may cause some fading of paint after some time. There are wax/shine type products that have UV protectent in them that may prevent most potential effects.
    – Jeff
    Sep 9, 2021 at 23:13
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    You might want to consider a less expensive target for commuting. This is a case where shopping for a used bike might be a good idea. I also commute into the outskirts of a large city and the area is pretty much commercial. But the area where the bike rack is located is exposed and in a corner of the building.
    – jwh20
    Sep 9, 2021 at 23:45
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    Im just waiting for someone to tell me go ahead buy the $2500 bike tbh but it's probably a bad idea lolol
    – bakalolo
    Sep 9, 2021 at 23:58
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    Well really you need two bikes here. You need a "utility" bike for commuting and you need that $2500 bike for weekend rides with your cycling friends.
    – jwh20
    Sep 10, 2021 at 0:15
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    Don’t assume that the commute is short. On longer commutes a good bike can definitely make it faster and more enjoyable (and you can turn them into training rides).
    – Michael
    Sep 10, 2021 at 7:50

9 Answers 9

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Even if the rack wasn't shaded, the sun is really the least of your concerns when parking at a bike rack.

You don't mention what's providing the shade. If it's shaded by trees, fallen branches, dripping sap, and bird droppings will all be a concern. If it's shaded by a man-made structure, you might still have bird droppings. If you do, it'll be a lot.

As far as weather concerns go, precipitation is a bigger concern. Even if's covered, the wind will blow bad weather in. Water is, of course, hard on bikes.

Locking your bike up and taking it off of a rack is harder on it than you might expect. You'll end up scratching and dinging up the paint when you rest it against the rack, as well as locking and unlocking it. Since you'll likely attach the lock the same way in the same spot, it'll also rub off the paint where it contacts the bike over time. You can alleviate some of this by being super careful, perhaps carrying a towel or something to use as padding. But accidents will eventually happen.

Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, some of your fellow commuters inevitably won't be. If the rack ever fills up, people will be trying to squeeze their bikes in, bumping and scraping every bike around them, yours included.

Finally, thieves will be a large concern as well. If they're looking at a rack and your bike costs 5-10 times as much as any other bike at the rack, which one do you think they'll steal?

If you're absolutely insistent on spending a chunk of change on your commuter, get one with a boring paint job, a belt drive, and an internally geared hub (or a single speed, if doable in your area). The belt drive and internally geared hub will alleviate some of the precipitation concerns, but not all. The boring paint job will make your fancy bike less obvious to thieves. You'll still get plenty of scratches and dings from the rack and other commuters. You'll still have precipitation concerns with other moving parts. And bike thieves might still steal it.

Alternatively, get a beater bike and don't worry about any of that stuff too much.

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    The easy solution to bike theft is paying a little extra on a home insurance that includes bikes and leave the lock they require at the bike rack. If it really gets stolen N-1 is soon followed by N+1.
    – gschenk
    Sep 10, 2021 at 16:24
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It’s not really a problem with quality components.

Some plastics can get brittle or yellow (e.g. those plastic covers and transparent „window” on cheap Shimano shifters) under UV exposure. Rubber will degrade faster.

I’ve had my Shimano 105 equipped bike outside for years in Austria and it didn’t suffer any damage. But there is not much exposed plastic to begin with. I think the frame’s white paint used to be whiter when it was new, but maybe it’s just dirty now. The rubber cover over the brifters got soft and stains my hands black, but I think it tends to do that anyway. The decal stickers on the front fork got brittle and ugly.

I’ve never had any issue with premature cracks in cable housing, saddle or tyres.

My mum’s Shimano Deore equipped trekking bike is also doing fine.

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  • Does your bike get rained on too?
    – bakalolo
    Sep 12, 2021 at 20:41
  • @bakalolo: Yes. But only leads to some superficial surface rust on some screws (stem, bottle cages, saddle rails) and the chain if it’s not properly lubed.
    – Michael
    Sep 13, 2021 at 6:23
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First off, I’m going to assume that your willingness to leave a $2500 bike outside stems from proper safety/security, ie you work in a gated complex or you live in a country where bike theft isn’t a big problem. Therefore, the only possible problem is that the rubber components will degrade as already detailed, and that the paint will fade. Paint chips and scratches can be minimized through the use of frame protection tape. $30-40 worth will cover your entire frame and leave you with extra to double-wrap high-contact areas or replace scratched sections as needed.

Riding the bike will be awesome, enjoy!

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Harsh sunlight of course degrades plastic and rubber, and yes, rain will not be good for your components and bearings.

That said, it's a minor problem. These parts wear out anyway. You can replace them. If riding your nice bike to work puts a spring in your step it's worth replacing the bar-tape, brake hoods and servicing the bike a little more frequently. You probably won't even notice the extra maintenance.

If your saddle has a chance of getting exposed to water, it's a good idea to cover it with something.

Since you didn't mention security, I think it's fair to assume that security is not an issue.

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Please consider if a $2500 bike for 12 miles is worth it. And especially a used one. Used bikes are good and they need to be taken off the market as well.

Buying a much cheaper one made for example for bikepacking and trekking, might improve comfort while decreasing the chance of damage due to storing in semi-proper conditions, as bikepacking and trekking bikes are made for all-weather conditions. Moreover, a belt drive bike like those made by Priority Cycles, a Cube Editor, a Cannondale Bad Boy or a BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 or AC02 (both the belt versions) will definitely help you lower maintain while decreasing the chances of the weather to affect your drivetrain, as belts and be cleaned with just a hose.

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Which part of the world are you located? The sun in Copenaghen is slightly different than the sun in Miami.

If you buy such an expensive bike, it makes sense to maintain it properly ---> a good maintenance schedule will prevent or at least mitigate any damage to the bike sitting partially exposed to the elements for ~200 days a year.

For example: water infiltrating the steerer may be an issue (with steel), but with an expensive bike it makes sense to check the greasing of the fork every 3/6 months, so you have an idea about how it goes. Ditto for wheels'bearings.

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I'd say stock up on compatible replacement brake lever hoods and store those replacement hoods away from sunlight. My experience is that storing a bike 24/7 outdoors in sunlight in latitudes where sun shines 16 hours a day in summer degrades the brake lever hoods in about a year or two. The failure mode is that they become uncomfortably sticky. If you do it only 5 days a week for 8-9 hours a day, then that's only little over third of the sun damage that 16 hours of sunlight every day causes. Besides, if the area is semi-shaded, it helps a lot.

It's not the end of life if your hoods degrade. Replacement hoods generally cost from 5 to 10 euros. It's not a big loss even if you have to replace your hoods in every second year.

The tires and brake pads though can take the sunlight.

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The sun damages Everything but the bike will probably get stolen before the sun damage becomes noticeable.

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Riding your bike indoors on a trainer is worse for your bike than leaving it outdoors.

Just make sure you do these three things, in order of importance...

  1. Lock the frame and front wheel to a solid object or bike rack using a u-lock. Loop a cable around the rear wheel.
  2. Drape a plastic tarp over it on days when it is forecast to rain. Secure tarp with bungee cord.
  3. Clean your drivetrain at the start of every month. Remove chain, degrease, de-dirt, and de-grime it. Wipe out cassette. Wipe down derailleur pulley wheels. Check chain for chain stretch. Relube chain with DRY LUBE, not wet lube.

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