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I took up cycling about 3 months ago (even though I'm 49 yo) and this morning was my first ride where the temperature was below 32 degrees.

I had a couple situations come up that haven't happened before on my 2000 GF Mamba (with road tires).

One was a "scratching" sound that seemed to go the same speed as the front tire...maybe the front brake was stiff and stayed on the front tire instead of releasing?

The other was a failure of my gears to shift properly...going to a harder gear seemed to work about half as well as it should and going to an easier gear barely worked at all.

Are both of these problems due to the 28 degree weather? If so, is there a way to correct these issues and still ride in colder temps?

If these are related to the cold, would a true road bike (looking at a Giant Contend for a Spring purchase) have any less problems with the cold weather?

Thank you very much for your help and advice!

TripleB
 

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Well, any bike that's 18 years old is going to get balky if it hasn't been properly maintained. For example, shift cables that are gunked up or have old lubricant gelling up in them could definitely start causing problems in cold temps.

I think you'll find that a new bike will perform better for you, although some serious maintenance on the one you've got would also serve you well!
 

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It was mid 20s this morning the first part of my ride, no problems at all shifting - I've ridden below zero and not had any issues. I'd say it's time to get the bike looked at by a shop maybe.
 

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It certainly is possible that your cables are in need of replacing. Next time it's cold, check your cables. Make sure they move freely within the cable housings. Replacing cables is pretty straightforward. Good luck, and welcome to the wonderful world of cycling! :)
 

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I have found that rear derailleur performance degrades at around 0F. One chain vendor I checked (Tsubaki) did not recommend using any of their roller chain below 8F at that time. They may have newer products that work at lower temperatures.

It may also be that the salt sludge starts freezing around 0F and it gums up the chain. It does build up on the frame.

I do switch to a very low viscosity lube on chain and cables once winter really gets here. Also, the compounds that are applied to roads to deal with ice can be murder on chains and cables. Again, regular use of a low viscosity lubricant is important.

Beyond that, you don't work as well at very cold temperatures as you do at warmer ones. Very cold weather can change your perception of how your bike is performing.

And, as has been pointed out, at the temperatures you are looking at (28F), I would look at lubrication and adjustment of the chain and the derailleurs. I was riding in 20F recently and my bike was working just fine.
 
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