Rust can be a problem but with the proper care and treatment you can ensure it isn’t a problem for you. Here’s what you need to know.
What Causes Rust?
If you want to properly protect your bike’s chain from rust, it’s important to understand what exactly causes it. When the chain is exposed to air and moisture, it causes a few chemical reactions to start that occur in a process known as oxidation. This changes part of the metal into a new material: iron oxide, also known as rust.
Note that there are things that can speed up the formation of rust, such as exposure to mud and road salt.
How to Prevent Rust on your Bike?
Keep the Bike Dry
Iron oxide is the technical term for rust, meaning it forms when the oxygen in the air reacts with the iron on the chain in the presence of moisture or water. on electric bike Ireland
With this in mind, one of the best ways to prevent your bike chain from rusting is simply to keep it nice and dry. If you just rode it on a rainy day, or you paddled through puddles, you should spend some time drying the bike off before you store it.
A wet bicycle will be more likely to rust. It’s understandable why it would be so convenient to store your bike immediately after a long ride, but don’t give in. Just take some time to wipe it dry before putting it away.
Keep the Bike Lubricated
As a bicycle owner, it’s your responsibility to always have a supply of bike lubricant. Lubrication acts as a barrier between the metal on your bike and the elements. So long as there’s a layer of lubricant between the exposed metal and the elements, then rust should not be a problem.
You want to keep most of the metallic bicycle parts lubricated and oiled as this is a great way to keep it rust-free. Ensure that you apply the lubricant to the chain, derailleur, bolts, nuts, and anything else that is exposed metal.
Ensure that you’re using a lubricant designed for bicycles, and not a degreaser as these are very different products. You can use products like the Finish Line Bike Lubricant that are relatively cheap, don’t attract grime, and will go a long way.
Avoid the Elements
Moisture is a catalyst for corrosion and rust, and leaving your bike outdoors where snow, rain, or dew can collect is not a good idea. Even if you cover the bike, moisture can still find its way under the cover, and it may stay there much longer as it won’t evaporate away.
A shaded, climate-controlled environment is your best storage solution, but not everyone will have the ability to store their bike that way. A storage shed or garage is a great option. But just remember that moisture can still be present, so keep an eye on your bike to check for any signs of rust.
Regularly Wash and Dry Your Bike
If you consistently keep your bike clean, the ingredients needed to generate rust or corrosion won’t be present. Sweat and dirt can cause corrosion or rust if they are allowed to stay on the bike for long periods. Sweat could eat through the clear coat on your frame, and dirt could easily damage your suspension and drivetrain. You should at least clean your bike thoroughly once a month, and a lot more often if you ride in wet conditions.
Washing your bike will effectively protect it from corrosion and rust and give you a chance to spot any signs of trouble. Once you wash your bike, try to dry it as thoroughly as possible. Use a chamois to soak up the water. You can also use compressed air in the nooks and crannies. Just don’t blast the bearings or bushings directly as you could blow remaining grime and dirt into them, which could damage them.
How to Treat Rust on a Bike
When it comes to rust-proofing your bike, the first step is removing any existing rust. Products like Jenolite’s rust remover are the best for this, and all you need is wire wool or a metal brush to remove the rust. If you’re removing rust from individual components, you could submerge them in a rust removal liquid. To learn more about how to remove rust on your bike, check out our detailed guide on how to remove rust from your bike.
Rust-proofing a Bike
Once you get rid of any rust present, you should work to protect the bare metal. Ideally, you should apply an anti-rust primer on the frame. In case you completely removed all of the existing paint and rust, and you’ve stripped everything back to just the frame, this is the perfect time to rust-proof your bike.
If you don’t have the inclination or time to strip all the paint off and repaint, your best bet is to use a rust shield aerosol. This is a lacquer spray designed to weatherproof metal and provides a powerful barrier against moisture. Waxoil is another weatherproofing option, though it gives a thicker finish that you might not want on your bike.
Besides the frame, keeping the chain and gears well lubricated can also help to keep the rust away. Check out this BIO bike chain degreaser designed to clean your chain, and this bike chain lubricant spray can help keep the chain running smoothly.
How to Clean a Rusty Chain
You perhaps haven’t been biking as much as you’d want to, and when you come to grab your bike again out of the garage, you find that the chain has become a bit rusty and dirty. You might be tempted to just replace the chain, but this could be an overreaction. Your bike could just need a good cleaning, and it won’t be much trouble to make this happen. The following are a few steps to get your chain looking fresh and riding smooth:
Get rid of all the rust by spraying it or soaking it in a rust remover
Wear gloves and apply a degreasing agent to the chain using a brush or a rag
Clamp two nail brushes with stiff bristles around the chain with one hand
Use the other hand to rotate the pedal, making sure to move the chain through the bristles
When the chain is satisfactorily clean, use a sponge/rag and hot soapy water to remove the degreasing agent
Use a separate rag to dry the chain thoroughly and prevent further rust or oxidation
This should get the bike super clean and free of gunk and rust. For more instructions on how to clean your bike or other methods you could use, click here.