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We're deep into the toughest part of the year right now, those first few weeks after the clocks change when it seems to be dark and raining almost every day when the call of the duvet gets louder and louder. We spoke a few weeks ago about getting yourself kitted out for the coming months and there's a lot you can do for your bike to prepare it for the winter. After a year full of great riding, now is the time to give your pride and joy a once over – sort out any niggles before anything goes wrong 20 miles from home on a cold, wet Sunday in December.
Get to know your bike
Carrying out a basic winter service on your bike is something almost anyone can do, and it’s a great way to learn your way around your bike. Some really complicated jobs should be left to the experts but for any home mechanic, a good work stand is an essential piece of kit.
Park Tool’s superb mechanic stand holds your bike at an easy-to-reach height and enables you to use both hands for the task (rather than trying to hold the bike still with one). When it comes to cleaning your bike they’re a godsend too. There are a lot of good reasons why our workshops are kitted out with them.
With your bike held secure in the stand you can get up close and personal and inspect the tyres, brake pads, the chain and any cables for wear and tear. Before you start a winter of riding we’d recommended you replace any worn parts.
Winter conditions are particularly tough on both disc and rim brake pads, so grab a new set to ensure a winter of reliable stopping. If you're unsure how to replace them, make sure you ask our staff when you buy your replacements. With a huge range from the biggest brands, from A2Z to Zipp and everything in between, we'll see you right.
Time for new tyres?
While you're getting friendly with your bike, run your fingers around the tyres. Are they looking a bit tired or feeling a little worn? After a summer of riding it's likely there are a few nicks and cuts in the tyre, just waiting for that inopportune time to let all the air out. You don't want to find out the tyre is on its last legs the hard way, believe us, and winter roads take no prisoners.
Slip-on some new rubber and you can confidently head out all season long. We'd recommend some tough ones with in-built puncture protection – tough as old boots and ready for anything, they still ride like a dream.
For many years mountain bikers have known about the benefits of riding tubeless, and finally roadies are coming around to the idea. Offering a reduced risk of punctures and the ability to run lower pressures (which means more grip – kind of important once the snow arrives), a tubeless tyre setup is a great option for commuters in particular. You need to make sure your wheels are compatible, so if you're unsure grab the phone and give us a call. We have a great range of tubeless tyres and once you've switched you'll not look back.
Tubeless tyres offer greater puncture resistance thanks to the sealant inside the tyre. Should you get a slice in your tyre, the sealant rushes to the hole and plugs it in no time - in fact, we often don't realise we've had a puncture until much later when we inspect our tyres.
Sealant does dry out a little over time though, so every six months or so you should top it up. With winter approaching now is the time to do just that if you're already on the tubeless train.
Let us do it all for you!
For some folks, the time (and space) to do it all yourself just isn't there. Fear not – leave your bike in our hands and we'll take care of it for you. Our mechanics are among the best around and will get everything running tickety-boo.