I'm renovating my Canyon CF winter bike which is running Duarace 7800 and used for the first time as winter bike this winter, which it didn't manage well. It is like the spring in the rear derailleur is no linger strong enough to overcome the friction in the cables and 'internal friction' probably from corrosion. I also had issues with the brakes, they grow all stiff from corrosion.
So question is what should I replace it with? What is the most robust group for winter use? Winter here is freezing and lots of salt on the roads that I don't always have a chance to wash of (mainly due to the freezing temperatures).
I've been using my old MTB in similar conditions. This has a composite SRAM 7.0 derailleur and has never had any of the Shimano DA issues. I'm thinking composite = no corrosion. Are you aware of similar solutions for road use?
Likewise old alu bike with Dura ace 7700 survived winter conditions so much better, but it is not easy to find a good 7700 group anymore.
Over here people are blowing out 6700 groups for peanuts (like the same cost of a higher end pair of shifters)... Another thing about winter gear is maintenance. You have to maintain it, otherwise it will expire quickly whether it's cheap or expensive.
All it needs then is the driveline cleaning and a quick hose/bucket every now and again.
The groupset on my training bike is pretty much untouched in 4 years, other than a once a year clean/service, and occasional pads, chains and cassettes, it's still original. (Well, second hand. It came off my cross bike after 2 seasons).
Kit lasts longer too (and you don't get so cold when training)
If the gear cables are stiff... change them?
'18 Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 - R8000 - QuarQ DZero - SLR1
'16 Genesis Equilibrium - U6800 - FSA SRM - WH6800
'13 Giant Trinity Composite - U6800 - QuarQ DZero
I use older Ultegra and 105 stuff for commuting. Apart from consumable items (cassette, chain, cables, brake pads, etc) I've only had to replace a bottom bracket (FSA) and wheels which were 17 years old. Interestingly, it was the rims that gave out on the wheels (corroded through at numerous spoke holes)... the hubs (Shimano 600) are still silky smooth. My chainrings are on their last few hundred miles though...
1. single speed
3. disc brakes
4. all seams sealed with rubber sealant
5. all bolts are either titanium or stainless bolts
6. anything that might rust should be greased with waterproof grease.
Add belt drive to the list and fat(ish) tires... 32-35mm.
Some maintenance occasionally = fine with proper gears and rim brakes.
And FWIW, fixed/singlespeed would be all but impossible to train on in many places in the world. Unless you picked your route carefully! For riding around, commuting, most club runs etc, you'd probably be ok.
Lots of salt will corrode anything it touches though. So you either have to keep the salt from getting into the cables, or clean them regularly.
To me, it sounds like you just got corrosion in your cables on your old bike, which may have been old and marginal anyways. I'd just recable the bike with something with full length liners, pay a little attention to keeping the salt off, and see how that works next season before going with a different groupset.
The things that break down on a bike due to salt and water are:
1. anything steel
2. aluminum rim brake surface due to grime getting scratched on the surface by the pads
3. bottom brackets not sealing (none are waterproof)
4. wheel bearings (cartridge and non-cartridge)
So grease up anything non moving steel part and leave the grease on there. Sure it will attract dirt in the beginning but it will not rust.
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