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My rear derailleur will freeze below 30 degrees. I thought it was the cables that were the problem until I tried to move the derailleur back and forth to get it in a better gfear. It would not budge. Anyone know how to fix this?

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anything with alcohol, like hand sanitizer, should work.

When it's warmed up does it move? If it's frozen from being wet, get it as warm & dry as possible and then give the pivots a healthy shot of WD-40. The WD stands for "water displacement." it's not much of a lube, but it will get the water out of there. After the WD evaporates, shoot some TriFlo or similar product into the pivots.

Vodka freezes at -16.51° F.  Everclear freezes at -173.2° F.  I don't know how this helps.  It might give you an excuse to stop at Binny's.  Alcohol that strong would likely rot out the seals on your rear hub though....

I bring the bike inside at work and the shifting works perfectly until it gets cold again.

I have tried de-icer, WD40, regular bike oil and it just does not move. I have not tried alcohol yet. I will give that a go. Do I put it on the derailleur or drink it?

Oh man....I was laughing too hard to type...As I said, I really don't know.  I guess we could look into some vintage derailleurs and rear hubs which were all metal.  BUT....what about automotive lubricants which are used in super cold conditions?  After all, antifreeze freezes at a minimum of -36° F.  There are food-grade lubricants which stay viscous down to -54° F.  Also, "Bike Gremlin", whoever that is but seems to really understand his lubricants, is recommending hydraulic oil for bicycle chains... Low temp hydraulic fluid is found on NAPA's website.  Personally I like the idea of having food-grade lubricants because then I don't have to concern myself with going to a HAZMAT disposal facility after cleaning my bike chain.  Synthetic Super Lube gear oil (non-food grade) works down to -40° F and you could get that from Grainger right now. 

Is this on your recumbent trike?  Is this a new problem?  Have you changed anything on the trike recently?  Can you remember these questions after stopping at Binny's?

Yess, this iss four thee cerumbent. Firstly happpppened lats year.Changed nothin. Binnnney's. Whtats a binneys?!

https://youtu.be/bgiNuJNynMc (10:12)

Gene, you might have a gunked up mounting pivot on your rear deraileur. There may be some moisture absorbed material that is sealed up in there and the gunk seizes it up in freezing temperatures. My MTB derailleur did the same thing during a past polar vortex.

You could LBS it, (recommended) or disassemble/clean it yourself. (Fun!)

Or you could just keep going with the temporary fix with the alcohol and enjoy yourself! :-)

Good luck! . . .

Thanks R J !

I think Tom's idea is a distinct possibility.

mike w. mentioned the pivots above initially and the spraying with WD-40 on the exterior, but sometimes you have to do a overhaul to clear it. Or wait and hope for warm weather and the end of the blizzards, it's coming, right? . . .

Before doing any disassembly, i'd stick the straw end of the WD 40 up against the pivots and blast away. The pressure should get the stuff into them pretty well. Spraying the exterior will do little good, you've gotta get the spray right into the pivots & bushings and the gaps between the moving parts...

If that doesn't do the trick, then disassembly may help. Is this derailleur all alloy, or is it composite or a mix of both? You may have a problem with different materials (alloy/composite/nylon) in contact with each other having much different characteristics of expansion/contraction in extreme cold causing things to bind up.

If the unit seems okay when it's warm, it's likely either contraction in the cold of the material causing binding or water ice.

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