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Your bike's drive train froze while riding?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thinking outside of the box on winter riding. The greatest downside for any drivetrain is that the moving parts stop moving very well once any water gets between the moving parts, stopping them from functioning properly. The common solution is to lubricate these parts so that water doesn't enter the affected parts, and freeze, which is only temporary.

Using standard lubrication instead of a high viscosity (grease) isn't the best solution in my mind.

Utilizing existing window defroster technology, a 12 volt system. Applying the same concept to the drivetrain components would conceivably prevent the parts from freezing during any ride.

Combining the use of small 12-volt rechargeable battery pack or universal 12-volt bicycle generator to power the system...Wrap some of the components with thin wire, and paint the other components with conductive silver paint.

The same principles that defrost the rear window of your car would then keep the drivetrain from freezing.

Using off the shelf parts, the system would not cost more than $100 to piece together.

What do you think????
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A window defroster does use a lot of energy. Heating a large piece of freezing-cold glass isn't an easy task.

However, the amount of wire and energy needed to heat that wire is significantly smaller by comparison. If the system works for an hour then that is a good starting point.
 

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Interesting concept, but like Pitbull said, that style of heat generation is power hungry.There are more efficient methods of generating sufficient heat. Look at the heat a hallogen light produces. The issue you will run into, IMO, is figuring out how to deliver the heat where it needs to be to make a difference. I suppose if you can keep the cassette warm, it should radiate out enough to keep everything but the cables from freezing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Earlier this month I used that technique, leaving the bike outside. It was kept in the shed overnight. However, the bike still accumulated ice on my 10-mile route.

The only other option to riding that route is, offroad, which would add at least 30-minutes to my daily ride (one way). That's where all the moisture is kicked up; on the roads. Even with front and rear mud flaps. They work great at keeping the snow/slush off me, and most of the bike's componenets. The only thing that's being affected is the derailleurs.

I'll just have to make a heating system, as I described above, and see what the outcome is.
 

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SpartyBiker said:
Thinking outside of the box on winter riding. The greatest downside for any drivetrain is that the moving parts stop moving very well once any water gets between the moving parts, stopping them from functioning properly. The common solution is to lubricate these parts so that water doesn't enter the affected parts, and freeze, which is only temporary.

Using standard lubrication instead of a high viscosity (grease) isn't the best solution in my mind.

Utilizing existing window defroster technology, a 12 volt system. Applying the same concept to the drivetrain components would conceivably prevent the parts from freezing during any ride.

Combining the use of small 12-volt rechargeable battery pack or universal 12-volt bicycle generator to power the system...Wrap some of the components with thin wire, and paint the other components with conductive silver paint.

The same principles that defrost the rear window of your car would then keep the drivetrain from freezing.

Using off the shelf parts, the system would not cost more than $100 to piece together.

What do you think????
Wouldn't an internally geared hub solve the problem?
 

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I think its a good idea, but the market is very small for such a device
I ride all winter in NH and maybe 2 or 3 times a year will I have any issues with freezing, I've found that a good coat of finish line wet lube is enough to keep the ice off, mostly its too cold for anything to melt, so no problems. maybe for people who ride on roads, but then the water is full of salt ...
 

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What do you think????
Since you asked--

We're back to this, a complex solution to a non-problem. About a week ago, someone proposed using electrical pipe warming tape to keep parts warm. Later on someone, maybe the OP used chemical heat packs (hand warmers).

I'm sure that with enough determination a way could be found to keep drive train parts warm.

The problem is that there isn't that much of a freezing problem to deal with. I've spent many many hours over the years riding in sub-freezing conditions and never encountered any type of freezing related failure. Many other mechanical systems likewise operate reliably under similar conditions, most notably ski bindings.

No doubt snow, slush and ice will accumulate on everything, but with decent water displacing lubricants it shouldn't interfere with the operation of the various systems. One possible exception -- many new derailleurs have very light action return springs and may not be able to overcome a bit of slush build up in the RD pantograph. Simple solution is a stronger spring, which you can change back when it's no longer needed.
 

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What do you think????
Since you asked--

We're back to this --- a complex solution to a non-problem. About a week ago, someone proposed using electrical pipe warming tape to keep parts warm. Later on someone else, maybe the OP, used chemical heat packs (hand warmers).

I'm sure that with enough determination a way could be found to keep drive train parts warm.

The problem is that there isn't that much of a freezing problem to deal with. I've spent many many hours over the years riding in sub-freezing conditions and never encountered any type of freezing related failure. Many other mechanical systems likewise operate reliably under similar conditions, most notably ski bindings.

No doubt snow, slush and ice will accumulate on everything, but with decent water displacing lubricants it shouldn't interfere with the operation of the various systems.

One possible exception -- many new derailleurs have very light action return springs and may not be able to overcome a bit of slush build up in the RD pantograph. Simple solution is a stronger spring, which you can change back when it's no longer needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Today was cold. -22 degree wind chill. Last night I sat down and cleaned the entire drivetrain, and lubed it with Finish Line's Dry Teflon Lube. I didn't have any issues since the parts were clean, and the "dry lube" kept things moving smoothly. However, I think that it was cold enough that the snow wasn't able to melt on the components since I put the bike on the back porch for a few minutes. I'm guessing that it only took a minute for all of the parts to be cold enough to prevent the snow flakes from melting.

My concerns are during the warmer temperatures. Between 20 and 32-degrees.

Another thing I tried was packing the cable's exposed portions with a synthetic marine-grade grease. I'm going to continue to experiment with my idea, but in the mean time I know that a clean and properly lubricated drivetrain is the easiest/convenient way to prevent the parts from freezing.
 

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"We're back to this --- a complex solution to a non-problem. About a week ago, someone proposed using electrical pipe warming tape to keep parts warm. Later on someone else, maybe the OP, used chemical heat packs (hand warmers)."

It was Sparty' who posted the idea first time around in this thread. It would appear that he was just trying a different line of attack...

By the way, Sparty', you can run single lengths of outer cable to save you having to grease up exposed inner cables. It works all year round to also keep dirt out of cables.
 

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It is sort of a non problem for me. For conditions to be bad enough to drastically effect my drivetrain, that usually means they are too bad to ride in. IOW, it has to be very deep snow or massive amounts of slush in each case riding isn't a better option than driving or walking for that matter.
 

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In freezing conditions, I've never really had drivetrain problems. Wet snow and slush can be a problem but then it is mainly snow packing between the cogs, preventing the chain from engaging the teeth. My singlespeed bike does not have that problem.
 

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perttime said:
In freezing conditions, I've never really had drivetrain problems. Wet snow and slush can be a problem but then it is mainly snow packing between the cogs, preventing the chain from engaging the teeth. My singlespeed bike does not have that problem.
What kind of winter riding do you do? I mean, do you commute, or ride XC trails? I could see commuting on SS, but only on plowed road. I just don't have the finesse and conditioning to ride SS in the snow.
 

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Barkleyfan said:
What kind of winter riding do you do? I mean, do you commute, or ride XC trails?
Both: 8 or 9 km commute most days (5 miles, or so) and trails if the conditions are nice.

I have ploughed paths and streets for the commute: sometimes a bit slippery, sometimes slushy or muddy, sometimes hard and grippy.

The snow on the trails get packed quite nicely by people walking with or without dogs. On a good day, all snow trails become the best hard pack there is ... you just have to pay attention: getting just a little off the packed part may well mean getting dumped into the white stuff :)
 
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