So you have decided that taking a ride on a brisk winter morning is a good idea. Just like you would not head out into the cold weather wearing your warm weather gear– shorts in temperatures below 30 degrees is not a good idea– you cannot maintain your bike the same way when you ride in the winter. The winter presents many more challenges, particularly in the areas of bike cleaning. Keeping your chain, derailleur and cassette free of rust and corrosion is essential in making sure your bike continues to perform, but winter weather offers special challenges.
Salt and Water: Metal’s Nemesis
Nothing will get your chain to seize up faster than a good bath of salt water. The problem with riding in the winter in cold climate areas is that salt water is everywhere. Salt is the primary chemical used to melt snow and ice during the winter, but the salt does not go away. It sits and waits to be tossed up onto your bike and can cause any number of problems.
Another issue is that ice can form on your bike during a ride in the brisk cold. Condensation that would normally just evaporate away can work its way down into the cracks and crevices of bike parts and sit there rusting them away. Of particular concern is the cassette. This metal component is what makes the drive wheel spin, but it is particularly susceptible to old man winter’s damage.
Simple Cleanings Might Not Be Enough
So after your winter ride, you bring your bike in, rinse it down, wipe it clean and you should be in the clear right? Alas, no. Odds are that during your ride, all manner of salt and corrosives have made their way up onto the chain and then down into the gears in the cassette. Simply spraying the parts off and hoping you got all of the problem moisture out is not enough.
Ultrasonic Cleaning to the Rescue
What can get that cassette clean and salt free is a session inside an ultrasonic cleaner. The ultrasonic cleaner works by fully submerging the cassette into a bath of cleaning solution and then using high frequency sound waves to give it a deep clean. Ultrasonic cleaners are able to work into those small gears, and even the spaces between the gears, where salt and water are likely to hide and start the process to corrode the metal. The cavitation created by an ultrasonic cleaner will remove all the unwanted dirt and debris from the small parts of your cassette, break them up and stop them from causing harm.
Using an ultrasonic cleaner is the best way to ensure that your bike will be in top shape come spring. Omegasonics has a variety of ultrasonic cleaners and solutions that are perfect for cleaning up after those winter rides. Browse our catalog today!