Snow Damage

Because of the great Northeast weather, everything is covered in snow. Can any of the water damage my uni? I want to ride, but I don’t want to do anything to my KH Trials… is there any preventative maintenance I can do to avoid permanent damage?


In one of catboys videos he gives his uni a shower after he rides it in the snow to prevent rusting …


I’m not very familiar with the innards of the unicycle, but bearings in general (speedskates from my experiences) can be screwed up pretty bad if you ride in the rain. Unicycles have bearings too so riding in water/snow wouldn’t be a very good idea. Then again, if you don’t reach very highspeeds or do lots of coasting, the higher rolling resistance of messed up bearings probably wouldn’t matter too much. But alot of people seem to ride in the snow so maybe its not a big deal.

Put some grease on the bearings and if you are concerned with your pedals make sure there’s plenty of grease inside them. The KH will hold up, don’t worry :slight_smile:

make sure it dries well. and if you’re really worried disassemble. let dry and grease then reassemble. it should be fine. i ride in the snow all the time.

I do, and I do after every ride in the snow, the snow-water has cruddy minerals and such which can cause uni rust, so I give it a thorough washing, and then use a spray bottle for the small crannies and nooks.

I think it’s the salt they put on the roads you should be worried about…

Re: Snow Damage

Go play in the snow. It’s fun. But a little preventative maintenance is also in order to keep the unicycle running good for summer and next season.

The two problems are rust combined with the snow and water washing away any grease in the bearings, pedals, and other places.

When you ride in the snow, water will get everywhere. It will get inside the frame. It will get inside the pedals. It will get inside the cranks (if they’re hollow). It will get inside the seat tube.

If you’ve got a steel frame you’re going to want to spray WD-40 or some other rust preventative inside the frame, inside the hollow cranks, and inside other hollow areas. WD-40 will work, but isn’t the best product for this. There are better products available for this (ask your bike shop) if you want to get serious about it. Take the frame off and look for vent holes where you can spray the WD-40 inside the frame tubes. Take the cranks off and the pedals off. Look for vent holes in the cranks where you can spray the WD-40. Spray WD-40 down the neck of the frame.

Don’t use WD-40 as a lubricant. It’s not a lubricant like grease or oil. Its purpose is to treat rust and protect against rust. If you need lubrication then use something else than WD-40.

When reassembling the unicycle make sure that all bare metal areas are covered with waterproof grease or anti-seize. Make sure all threads have grease, anti-seize, or Loctite on them. All areas with metal to metal contact should get grease or anti-seize where they contact.

Put anti-seize on the splines and everywhere on the axle that is exposed, including the area under the spacers. Put anti-seize on the retaining bolt threads and the pinch bolt threads. Put it all back together. Put a layer of waterproof bicycle grease all over the bearing, including on the seal.

Put grease or Loctite on the bolt threads that tighten the bearing caps.

Put grease on the pedal threads when you put the pedals back on the cranks.

Put grease or anti-seize on the bolt threads for the seatpost clamp. Put some grease under the seatpost clamp where it contacts the frame.

Put some grease on the seatpost where it slides into the frame.

Check the bolts under the seat. They should probably get Loctited. Put grease on washers that are under the seat.

Then after the Winter riding is done you do it all over again to get it ready for Summer riding. :slight_smile:

After riding in the snow you’re going to have to overhaul the pedals. Snow and water will get inside the pedal and wash away all of the grease. If you have sealed pedals this just means taking the pedal body off the spindle, putting a little grease on the spindle and on the bushing, checking to see if the sealed bearing needs replacing, then putting it back together. If you have unsealed pedals you’ll take it all apart and regrease the ball bearings, regrease the spindle, and put it all back together. If you have an unsealed pedal it is a good idea to take it apart inside a shoe box so you don’t loose any of the little ball bearings.

You’re still going to get rust on bolt threads and other areas even though they’re greased. You can use a wire brush and WD-40 to remove the rust after the Winter riding is over.

When rinsing off the unicycle after a ride don’t use a high pressure spray. A high pressure spray will wash away more grease and will get water into areas where you don’t want it. Then use an old towel to dry it off.

When it’s time to get the unicycle cleaned up for Summer you may have to replace the bearings on the hub. Snow and water will work their way into the bearing and wash away all the grease. The seals on sealed bearings aren’t designed to seal out water and snow completely.

It’s a bit of work, but easier than maintaining a bike.

Have fun in the snow.

Thanks John, and erveryone else. I would have never thought to do all of that.


what kind of grease do you put on the bearings


but you can go to almost any hardware/skateboard shop and ask for bearing grease.

Re: Snow Damage

“john_childs” <> writes:

> The two problems are rust combined with the snow and water washing away
> any grease in the bearings, pedals, and other places.

Is stress corrosion cracking another issue here? Chlorine ion from
slat-treated slush can work their way into metals and seriously weaken
them. I don’t know if this applies to unicycles in ractice, though.

> Don’t use WD-40 as a lubricant. It’s not a lubricant like grease or
> oil. Its purpose is to treat rust and protect against rust. If you
> need lubrication then use something else than WD-40.

I have to disagree. WD-40 now claims to be a “light lubricant”
[], and is specifically
marketed for some cycling applications including chain and derailleur.
Frequent use of WD-40 on a chain used in a dirty environment is, in my
experience, preferable to occasional use of better lubricants. I am
specifically thinking back to the years I commuted through heavily
salted, grimy slush during the week, then rode muddy trails on

I use other lubricants now that I tend to ride in cleaner conditions.
Choosing the right product for the application is important, as you


Bicycle grease … the stuff I have is colored red.

I was wondering about this myself …
Cuz’, I just took my brand new DX out in the snow.

I must admit thou … I’m not so worried about rust on the frame.

I have a Schwinn ‘SuperSport’ that I think is over 40 years old now… the frame has no rust… the only part frame related that broke was the neck of the handle bars. Seems the years of jumping curbs had it’s toll one day when I ripped the handle bars off the bike when hopping a curb.
(my gurl thought I was superhuman)

On closer inspection … the handle bar post (neck) fused itself to the inside of the frame nut due to oxidation from 40 years in the elements.

So, use the WD40 on the joints also.
(wipe with rag sprayed with it (it’s less messy that way)

As far as not using WD40 on bearings and chains… I dissagree…
I still have the original bearings in that bike, and only replaced the chain once in 30 years.

I believe my DX is a frame made of casted parts. So, I’m not so worried about rust immediately. There’s stuff posted in this forum and on the web for treating frames and metals.

Re: Snow Damage

“ICP8456” <> writes:

> what kind of grease do you put on the bearings

Phil Wood [] is alway a good choice for bearing used
in cycling.


Ride in the snow, water, mud, whatever you like.
You will probably cause noticable damage (as in performance) to the bearings and the pedals.
Use the “damaged” bearings (and pedals) for such rides, and use good bearings for everything else.

My thought is that you will destroy, replace or upgrade your uni BEFORE it “rusts to death.”

I mostly use the Phil Wood grease (the green stuff). It’s good for use when overhauling and regreasing a pedal. I also use it for smearing on bolt threads and other surfaces just because it’s what I have on hand.

I recommended putting some grease on the outside of the hub bearings to cut down on rust on the bearing and to also give a little more protection to keep water out of the bearing seals.

In the summer you’ll want to put less grease on the outside of the bearing because the excess grease will just attract more dirt. In the summer I just put a little bit of grease on the outside of the bearing race (the outer metal ring) where it contacts the frame and the bearing cap. That is just to prevent rust.

In the Winter you can smear some grease on the outside of the rubber or metal seal to help keep some water and dirt from entering the inside of the bearing. In the Winter it is the water getting inside the bearing and washing away the grease that kills the bearing. Snow packed around the bearing is very good at working its way around the seal and into the bearing.

I’ve been using White lithium grease to overhaul pedals, grease the pedal thread and the squar taper hubs, it that stuff alright?

The rainy season has started here in Seattle. Time to resurrect a good thread from last year. Read up on the posts from JC, then take the time to “winterize” your uni(s). I’ve found my weekend project.