I’ve got a rule for my ‘13 Specialized Venge: no rust. Now, this isn’t as difficult a scenario as it might seem. Most of the hardware on the bike is either carbon fiber or aluminum – there isn’t much steel (only in the brake calipers and some on the derailleurs. The rest of the hardware is titanium.
My wife once asked if I’d start storing it out in the garage to free up space in the spare bedroom. My response was simple, “That’s fine, but one bolt rusts, I get a new bike”.
was only half kidding wasn’t kidding.
Now, we’re fortunate. The kids have their own rooms and we’ve got a spare room for bike storage that we empty out when the in-laws are in town so they can stay with us. In the bike room we currently have my wife’s good bike, her gravel bike, and my good bike and gravel bike, along with a friend’s old Raleigh Professional we’re going to be selling this spring.
That’s the easy part of this post; if you want your bikes to last forever, ride them in only the best weather and store them in the house. They will.
Now for the hard part. Out in the detached garage we’ve got our mountain bikes, the kids’ bikes and our tandem. Those bikes don’t have the luxury of a climate-controlled house (in a carpeted room), so I have to dress them up for the long winter.
Without help, everything would rust on the outdoor bikes, and I hate rust. Can’t have it. Every fall, around October, for the bikes that are going to stay out in the garage, I’ll dress them up with a spray lubricant (I use Sun Lite All-Purpose Lube) on all of the steel parts. Just a light coating (including inside the hex key holes) on the parts that can rust does the trick. I hit the chain (just the outer plates because I use a wax lube for the rollers – this is a delicate operation as you’re not supposed to mix lubes like that).
With that out of the way, my bikes fare well out in the garage (not well enough I’d leave the Venge out there, but good enough for government work).
Also during the winter, if any of the bikes are running rough, I’ll bring them in for a good cleaning and some maintenance – especially high on that list is cleaning out the headset. Nothing is neglected worse on a bike than the headset (the bottom bracket bearings are a close second). I like to clean the headsets on my bikes (and my wife’s, obviously) at least once a year. Twice for the gravel bikes.
The winter is also a phenomenal time to get your bike into the shop with any pressing issues you can’t handle yourself. Unless you live in the deep south, your shop is going to be exceedingly slow – they’re going to have time to fit you in. If you take your prized steed in during the winter, it’ll get the attention you want it to get, and you’ll beat the spring rush. You definitely want to beat the spring rush… shops are backed up for weeks once the first nice day of the year hits.