So, I tried early on in the winter to wash/rinse my Wolvhammers. I'm sure it helped, but when dry they would always have salt patterns on them. I even tried washing them 3 times in one night. That failed, and something inside me just died. I gave up. So now they are throughly encrusted in salt. Basically ridged to the touch. Aside from soaking them in a 5 gallon bucket of water for a week (changing water 2X a day), any suggestions? I am worrier the salt could damage the Gor-Tex membrane.
Oh oh, "he's lost it" you're thinking. Two adjacent topics with opposite viewpoints. Not Quite.
Here I would like to recommend waxing the bike, with regular car wax. This makes the frame much easier to clean after a winter ride covers the entire bike with gunk, grit, and salt. The wax makes it difficult for stuff to cling and easier to wash or brush it off.
Speaking of cleaning, hosing down a bike in winter is not the best idea. First you have to have a hose somewhere where it will not freeze. Most households take hoses inside for the winter. You could ride the car wash and use a hose there, but they will charge you and the pressures some of these systems operate at may well drive water into your "sealed" bearings.
Since I do wax the bike, I have taken to letting the crud dry over night. That coat of wax protects the paint from the corrosive elements in the accumulated mess on the frame. Then in the morning, before I set out, I brush the dry sand and grit from the bike with a long bristled brush. Any small whisk broom will do, you will probably find a dozen different models at the supermarket.
This is actually easier on the paint than is trying to wipe off the grit when it is wet, because when wet, some amount of it is bound to imbed in the rag and act like sandpaper on your paint. You will also find that the brush will get into places you can't reach with a rag.
Remember, Car Wax is the key to making this work well. Wax everything except your rims.
I keep another brush around for cleaning chains between major chain maintenance. It takes off grit clinging to the chain without removing most of the chain lube. Holding the brush right on the derailer pulley as you back pedal the cranks will clean the chain and the pulley. Then just move to the back side and crank some more. (Holding the brush at the pulley also keeps you from derailing the chain. I use a short stiff bristled brush for this, and have not had any problems with the bristles getting caught in the pulley.)
Can't speak for Gor-Tex but it is happening to my Timberlands. Wash them, treat them, then the next time they got wet the salt pattern appears again. I haven't worn them in the rain since, well, it hasn't rained. Probably should have treated them with Nikwax more often. (This is the fourth winter I've worn them but the first time this has occurred.)
I added a mudflap to my front fender, so I have less splash to deal with. The salt is on the Cordura, so I wouldn't be too worried about damaging the interior membrane. I have gore-tex snowpants from 22+ years ago, beat to hell, and they still work great. I'm not sure what could damage them. I must say the Wolves are my fav piece of gear, well worth the investment.
Thanks Mike, but I am talking about 45' North boots here. My bike is fine. Er well it could use a bath, and a new chain. And brake pads. And some cables. And a new front wheel. Nothing wax could have avoided.