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Bikes on the balcony for winter
#1
Hi. I am planning to leave our (mine & wife's) bikes on the balcony during the winter months. We don't have much space indoors but the balcony is quite spacious. Is this an okay idea and is there something that I should know? I would use a regular bike cover.

Considering that the temperature in our area can go down to freezing -20°C/-4°F some nights but on average it wil be like -5°C/23°F to 0°C/32°F during nights. Our balcony is an open one without glass windows.
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#2
(10-29-2020, 06:25 PM)walter Wrote:  Hi. I am planning to leave our (mine & wife's) bikes on the balcony during the winter months. We don't have much space indoors but the balcony is quite spacious. Is this an okay idea and is there something that I should know? I would use a regular bike cover.

Considering that the temperature in our area can go down to freezing -20°C/-4°F some nights but on average it wil be like -5°C/23°F to 0°C/32°F during nights. Our balcony is an open one without glass windows.

Hello Walter, and welcome;

Without knowing a more specific location (country and region), but still general (e.g. coastal New England, US); I would still try to find a way to keep them in a more controlled and temperate climate. The biggest problem would be deterioration (albeit slow, depending on age/condition) of the leather, rubber, vinyl, "plastic", etc. (natural & synthetic) parts that are not really designed nor capable of undergoing temperature extremes without some shortening of their effective functional lifetime. If steel frame/fork, and/or other steel components are installed you stand a chance of rust due to condensation; even in a garage or shed without any climate control. "Salt air" is another thing that will wreak havoc on a bike even aluminum (not sure about titanium); carbon fiber should be okay except possibly components. I'm assuming that these are nice bikes that you want ready to go when Spring comes around, so consider a wall mounted storage rack or a ceiling mount "hideaway" bike lift (they usually fit well between a wall and garage door track (if applicable). If outdoors is still the only option I would do, aside from covers, these things: mark seat posts at seat tube, for reinstallation reference, and remove saddles and seat posts; remove wheelsets, or if so inclined remove tires/tubes and reinstall "naked" wheels; remove any other leather/vinyl "stuff" (bags, panniers, etc.) that is easily removed. Most standard bar wraps/grips won't be greatly affected, but older vinyl, leather, etc. (even "new old stock" material; still 30-50 yrs old) will deteriorate, shrink, crack, etc. I come from the bike restoration/preservation side of the aisle so I may be a little more extreme, but even in the short term (2-4 yrs) you may have to replace much of the aforementioned parts due only to the climate, and related to use or abuse. It seems bikes are getting more and more expensive, but nothing to truly justify the costs considering modern design and fabrication/construction techniques; so why not try to save yourself from having to "reinvest" in another nice bike in the near future. I regularly ride a 50 year old "cheap" English 3 speed that would start to rust if I stored it outside in the same conditions even while completely covered. You could also remove the bars or just loosen the stem so as turn turn the bars in alignment to the frame saving some space; always fits into a smaller box when shipping like that (you should not have to remove cables/housings/hoses). Remove pedals (with bar removed), and it slides easily under a bed on a blanket or cardboard.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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#3
Hi Jesper. You gave me something to think about. I am located in Northern Europe. We are close to the Baltic Sea. Is "salt air" a reference to sea air?

Inside is too "crampy" (according to US standard, very cramped) and my wife is against installing bike racks. We do nto use balcony much. In Winter it stays empty. So I will look at your "If outdoors is still the only option I would do" list first.
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#4
(11-05-2020, 07:39 PM)walter Wrote:  Hi Jesper. You gave me something to think about. I am located in Northern Europe. We are close to the Baltic Sea. Is "salt air" a reference to sea air?

Inside is too "crampy" (according to US standard, very cramped) and my wife is against installing bike racks. We do nto use balcony much. In Winter it stays empty. So I will look at your "If outdoors is still the only option I would do" list first.

Hi Walter,
Something you can do to help preserve the metal parts whether steel, aluminum, and whether anodized or not: use some thin motor oil on a sponge or cloth and wipe down all the exposed metal areas; even braking surfaces (don't get on pads, or remove them first; remember you need to remove oil on braking surfaces with alcohol before riding). I do that for bikes kept in any non-air conditioned space or outside due to condensation from the high humidity in my area. I have done this with steel rims and it has kept them in perfect condition between seasons; prevents the condensation from occurring directly on the metal surfaces, and stops that fine rust/oxidation/corrosion from slowly pitting and damaging the metal surfaces. Cleans off easily; you don't need to have the bike "dripping" in oil, just enough to provide protection. If you are removing anything from the bike for seasonal storage, mark part placement (e.g. seat post height, etc.) before removing so as to make re-assembly easier by being able to just reinstall and tighten up.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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