The Detroit Post
Saturday, 16 October, 2021

Do Bikes Rust

Christina Perez
• Tuesday, 01 December, 2020
• 9 min read

It was a beautiful fall day in my garage when I decided to pull out the old mountain bike I had in storage for a while, to gear it up for a ride. As the acid in this compound is evaporated and the metal dissolves, it starts to corrode turning into what we see as rust.

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It may come as a surprise to you that there are chemicals in liquids like acid rain, seawater and the salt you see sprayed all over snow-plowed roads. No, It wasn’t in a garage neatly rested on a wall mount or tucked in a nice blanketed water-proof bike cover.

Probably the number one reason why bikes rust is because someone (including myself, guilty as charged) failed to care for and protect the bikes sensitive components. Going back to the scientific reason why things rust has to do with the breakdown of iron in metal.

Like fire, iron and other metals will react to oxygen and water if left in contact with those elements for some time. Remember the rusting process happens almost immediately, if left unheard, but unlike a fire, this will not cause the metals to go up in flames.

The reasoning behind this is, just because one type of metal does not contain iron doesn’t mean it can’t corrode by some other oxidizing reactions. Aluminum, for example, is one of the metals most widely used for bike parts due to being lightweight and cheap to produce.

If waxing the frame is not your cup-of-tea and you want more of a spray and wipe deal, then you can try using Bike Lust which is a silicone-based polish that will create a nice silicone layer over the paint and will prevent rust from forming. Now, suppose you can’t get either one of these products via online shipped to you because your country prohibits aerosols or something.

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What you could use as an alternative is Boiled Linseed Oil (Available at most hardware stores) which is an old school product that was used to protect tubular aircraft structures way back in the day. So you’ll want to remove the wheels, cranks, seat post, stem, and it will require you to warm the frame up and the oil, which you can do by letting it sit in the sun.

If you try the boiled linseed oil way to pretreat your bike, it would be best to have someone help you and watch some YouTube, “How To” videos so you get a better understanding of how this works. For most cyclists that have tape wrapped or rubber covered handlebars, you may not see that there is rust forming under there.

Take the Coke Cola and pour it into the container With the foil, rip off a nice size sheet that you will fold into a pocket-size square Take the folded piece of foil and dip it into the Coke Cola-filled container Then, simply start rubbing this on the part of the handlebar where the rust is Rinse/wipe down the handlebar with water and a clean cloth Repeat these steps if necessary to remove all the surface rust It really doesn’t get any simpler than this when removing rust from a bike handlebar, but look at another case scenario.

What causes them to corrode underneath is bodily sweat and or water that may get trapped if not taken care of over some time. The many ways vary from using WD-40 and aluminum foil, lime juice and scouring pads, baking soda and vinegar, salt and you name it.

1, “ain’t nobody got time for that” and No.2, these solutions when combined are toxic and acidic which may do more harm than good. Check out this video which shows a demonstration of how their product removes rust from a bicycle wheel.

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You can soak your entire bike frame, freewheel cassette, pedals, handlebars and nuts and bolts with no need to scrub or agitate the solution. As stated in the video, this solution works best at room temperature or warmer.

When water, oxygen, and moisture meet each other outside, you best believe that your bike sitting out there will rust given enough time. Silver tarps are good at reflecting infrared rays and keeping things insulated, allowing air to flow in and out but not water.

Give the bike a good wash, but avoid using acidic detergents Make sure to dry the bike completely and allow it to dry in a room overnight Lube your chain and cassette with a good water-resistant chain lube If the bike has a steel frame, make sure to seal any scratches or nicks Get some car wax, like the one sold in a can and rub all over the frame and forks Check on the bike weekly for possible washing and prevention of rust Exposure to air leads to the formation of aluminum oxide, a very thin film that protects the metal underneath from further corrosion.

Bike makers use different materials for the construction of bicycle frames and each possesses unique benefits and disadvantages. Aluminum is one such material that has over the past few years been applied for bike frames, gaining traction among consumers.

Due to their lower strength when compared to steel and carbon fiber, aluminum bike frames tend to have thicker walls. Corrosion usually occurs as a consequence of chemical and electrochemical reactions that break down protective oxides- this is common to most metallic surfaces.

bike rust

This is as a result of the metal’s tendency to form a very thin protective film of hydrated aluminum oxide on the surface once exposed to air. If you dip aluminum metal in pure water, you will notice a white hydroxide film that maintains its thickness once equilibrium is reached.

It takes very aggressive chemicals that are not ordinarily found to attack and destroy a piece of aluminum to the core. Besides, the aluminum oxide forms within minutes of exposure to air so there is no time for the slightest damage to occur.

Rusting is a chemical process that takes place when metals containing iron react with moisture and oxygen to form an oxide. The expansion and color change produces the red flakes that we commonly refer to as rust.

This is usually encrusted with calcium, lime, brake dust, grease, oil, tarnish, and hard water stains. Outside carbon-fiber, aluminum is arguably the most preferred material for making bike frames for leading manufacturers.

While we have established its corrosion resistance property is one of the reasons that make aluminum the preferred metal, the following are other positive qualities it possesses: When compared to the most common and oldest material, steel, aluminum actually weighs three times lighter.

rust bike

Due to this, it has remained a popular frame material option for race and mountain bikers. Even when it is used in wet and salty conditions, it doesn’t corrode like your average bike frame material.

The stiffness of the bike frame material affects the feel of the ride by providing stability when ascending a hill or sprinting. Aluminum bike frames are generally stiffer when compared to other materials, making for a non-turbulent ride if you are a mountain or race biker.

Given the little sway in aluminum bikes, the bicycle remains relatively calm and stable when negotiating bumpy or rocky terrain. Well-rounded, light-weight, and affordable; aluminum bikes make ideal choices for bikers at all levels of expertise.

Dirt and moisture can cause the premature death of your mountain bike unless you protect it. Photo: Bryon Dalton. For most riders, a new mountain bike is a serious financial investment.

While rust is confined to iron or its alloys (like steel), corrosion affects all metals, even aluminum. If left unchecked, these enemies cause metals to degrade over time, and ultimately fail.

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Here are 5 simple things that will help keep your bike free from rust or corrosion for life. Tires hurl dirt and rocks against the frame and splatter mud and grime onto the suspension and drivetrain.

Debris can penetrate suspension internals as stanchions compress while soaking up bumps in the trail, and fenders serve to deflect dirt and mud away from sensitive parts. Moisture is the catalyst for rust or corrosion, so leaving your bike outdoors, where dew, rain, or snow can collect on it is never a good idea.

I haven’t been able to convince my wife my bike can double as wall art in our living room. Just remember that moisture will still be present, so look over your bike regularly to check for any signs of rust or corrosion.

Dirt and sweat can cause rust or corrosion if they are allowed to stay on your bike for an extended period of time. Sweat can eat through the clear coat on your frame, and dirt can damage your drivetrain and suspension.

Washing your bike will not only protect it from rust and corrosion, but it will also give you an opportunity to inspect for any signs of trouble. It’s essential to keep all your bike’s bushings and bearings greased, and your chain lubricated if you want them to last.

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Check these parts on a regular basis for any signs of rust or corrosion, which indicates a lack of lubricant. When doing a tune-up, make sure you (or a trusted mechanic) check the inside of the frame for any signs of rust or corrosion, and the rims.

Both alloy and brass nipples can corrode over time if moisture gets behind the rim tape and accumulates on them. When corrosive materials and oxygen interact with metal it can cause a chemical breakdown that we call rust.

Water, salt, and other materials can cause any exposed metal on your bike to rust. Rust can quickly spread and eat away at metal, and do permanent damage unless you take measures against it.

One of the best ways to prevent your bicycle from rusting is to keep it nice and dry. If you just went on a rainy day ride or you pedaled through puddles than you should spend time drying off the entire bike before you store it.

As long as there’s a layer of lubricant on exposed metal, your bike chain, etc., than it should not rust. You want to keep your bicycle parts oiled and lubricated as this will prevent rust from occurring.


Make sure to apply lubricant to the derailleur, chain, nuts, bolts, basically anything that is exposed metal. Personally I use Finish Line Bike Lubricant as it seems to go a long way, doesn’t attract grime, and is cheap.

Leaving your bicycle outside all the time will increase the chances of your bike rusting. Depending on the climate of where you live will determine how quickly your bike will corrode.

If you live in an area that rains or snows a lot or has humidity there’s a good chance that your bike will begin to rust given enough time outside. Rust can cause parts to seize up and the gears and chain won’t be as smooth.

If the frame begins to rust it will lose its structural strength. You need a cover that is big enough to keep moisture, fog, snow or rain from getting on your bike.

If your biked is getting dirty from riding than take the time to give it a quick wipe down to remove any dirt from it. If you’re an avid cyclist and you’re worried about rust you should lubricate your chain once a month.

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Use a steel wool pad, sand paper, or a bristle brush to rub off any areas on your bike that have rust. A cover of paint will prevent oxidation from occurring which leads to rust.

Another method to removing rust from your bicycle is with baking soda and water. Mix baking soda and water into a bowl keeping them equal 50/50 parts.

Leaving your bike outside in the elements will increase the chances of it getting rust and corroding. If you’re worried about rust than you should make sure that you are using an actual bike lubricant.

You should be cautious to not use a high pressured, because it can force water into areas of your bike (such as sealed bearings) that you won’t be able to dry. Water is fine to use as long as you make sure you’re able to dry it all off before storing your bike.

Riding in the rain will not cause your bike to immediately burst into rust and start corroding. What would be bad is if you rode your bicycle in the rain, but didn’t take the time to wipe off the water when you were done.

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