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  1. #1
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    How to (or should I) store bike outdoors?

    I live in a small condo and the past week, I ended up storing my new mountain bike and an older road bike on my back patio. I put plastic bags over the saddles but figured everything else should be fine.
    After about a week I noticed some rust on the chain... should I not stash these outdoors? I have limited room inside. If I do decide to keep them outdoors, what's the best way to do so to minimize problems.
    Help.
    Ken

  2. #2
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    If you care about them take them inside.

  3. #3
    cab horn
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    I put plastic bags over the saddles but figured everything else should be fine.
    They're not. Cover all of it. If it was me, i'd bring my bikes inside.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  4. #4
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    Outdoor storage is tough on bikes. Even if you cover them, the humidity and temperature swings are not good for the bearings and unpainted surfaces. Cover them as you would with a car cover if you have to keep them outside.

    There are wall storage systems for indoors that will let you store two bikes vertically. Performance example

  5. #5
    sport fanatic
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    Keep the chain oiled. Use it regularly (every day or so). Keep it completely covered (with a tarp) if possible. Depending on your pedals model and material grease, cover or remove them.

    Swap bolts if you see rust appearing on them. Make sure everything that can be is lubricated (crank bolts, seat post, stem bolts, steerer tube, pedal threads).

    But yeah, keep inside if possible
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  6. #6
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpuken
    I live in a small condo and the past week, I ended up storing my new mountain bike and an older road bike on my back patio. I put plastic bags over the saddles but figured everything else should be fine.
    After about a week I noticed some rust on the chain... should I not stash these outdoors? I have limited room inside. If I do decide to keep them outdoors, what's the best way to do so to minimize problems.
    Help.
    Ken
    If the patio is concrete the moisture comes up through it just like the ground. You can get a lot of water raining down on the bike inside a bike cover. In addition to all the other problems, like just the temperature changes. Try and do everything you can do to keep them inside.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  7. #7
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    Stashing inside on a bike tower is definitely your best bet.

    If possible and you have to leave stuff outside, cover the whole bike with something, be it a tarp or a bike cover which lets air circulate. If you have a leather seat, avoid long term storage with plastic on it.

    Of course, if you do store a bike in a courtyard... lock it even if its some el cheapo grocery store vinyl coated chain (but preferably something solid). I had a neighbor with bikes in his locked courtyard stolen recently.

  8. #8
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    There is pro and cons to both. Storing outside could make the bike rust if it's a steel job, but it could rust inside because as soon as you take it outside the warmer air in the frame tubes condenses when the cold air hits it and drops to the bottom bracket area and will start rust there. Generally though storing the bike inside the house, basement or garage is the best way to care for a bike.

    If you have no choice but outside then buy a barbeque cover at any home improvement place and cover with that but make sure you tie the bottom closed so it won't blow off and attach itself to a car's windshield while it's going down the street!! And of course lock it to something sturdy and use a sturdy chain like the Krypto Forgetaboutit(sp?). This thing is heavy but if you don't need to take in on rides with you then you can leave it home.

  9. #9
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    I've got too many bikes, but I keep my good one hanging from hooks in the ceiling of my bedroom. These pictures give you an idea - they've been flipped so the bike looks normal, but you can see the upside-down doorframe...
    http://www.unc.edu/~cupery/pics/bike...de-ceiling.jpg
    http://www.unc.edu/~cupery/pics/bike..._pink_bike.jpg
    Last edited by TallRider; 11-21-08 at 10:44 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by timcupery
    I've got too many bikes, but I keep my good one hanging from hooks in the ceiling of my bedroom. These pictures give you an idea - they've been flipped so the bike looks normal, but you can see the upside-down doorframe...
    http://www.unc.edu/~cupery/pics/bike...de-ceiling.jpg
    http://www.unc.edu/~cupery/pics/bike..._pink_bike.jpg
    You need to stop riding your bike on the ceiling, didn't your mom teach you anything?

    Haven't seen a Nishiki Centurion in long time and yours looks to be in excellent condition. The other bike has the same Nitto stem that mine has...neato!

  11. #11
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    If your chain is showing rust the headset bearings, bottom bracket bearings, and axle bearings will be next. You need to keep all of those lubricated and keep the entire bike(s) as dry as possible.

    Al

  12. #12
    Camo Shorts
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    Due to humidity in the air, condensation will form on the bicycle when the temperature of the metal components is cool. Even in an environment entirely protected from rain or groundwater, this will cause untreated metal surfaces to rust.

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    My commuter road bike lived outdoors in a coastal town for 2 years with no ill effects. To prep the bike for outdoor living:
    Wax the frame, exposed cables and bolt heads.
    Grease all threads and metal-metal contacts.
    Ensure that all bearings are packed to prevent ingress of crud.
    Coat the inside of the frame with stuff: Framesaver or WD40.
    Use a wax style chain lube.
    Drill a drainage hole under the bottom bracket shell (If the shell is open to the main tubes).

  14. #14
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    My commuter road bike lived outdoors in a coastal town for 2 years with no ill effects. To prep the bike for outdoor living:
    Wax the frame, exposed cables and bolt heads.
    Grease all threads and metal-metal contacts.
    Ensure that all bearings are packed to prevent ingress of crud.
    Coat the inside of the frame with stuff: Framesaver or WD40.
    Use a wax style chain lube.
    Drill a drainage hole under the bottom bracket shell (If the shell is open to the main tubes).
    In the long run this will still be more in danger of corrosion than a frame kept indoors. However, MichaelW's advice is still good. Except that WD40 is not effective as an internal rust preventor; Frame Saver or Amsoil's HeavyDutyMetalProtector (the same stuff, just diff brandings) is effective here.

    @froze, glad you like the bikes. The Centurion (not Nishiki, which is a diff brand although I suppose they may have been under the same ownership at some point) is a good solid frame that handles well and the Nitto Technomic stem is the only way I can get my Raleigh to fit me well.

  15. #15
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    I've often had no choice but to keep my bikes outside. If you're not using them frequently, take the chain off, that's the part most prone to rust, especially if it's not in use. Stuff it in a plastic bag and add your lubricant of choice. Cables too, though more hassle, easier to have some spares and replace when they start to go. But for long-term storage, you could surely break them down and stash them inside, under the bed or somewhere.

    Now I'm living in a humid tropical seaside village, and the climate is fiercely destructive of mechanical and electrical devices, and fungus and mould grows on everything organic. But my bikes have survived three or four years outside so far, though in far from showroom condition. My wife parks her bike on a pier most days, and every exposed steel part is rusting away, but the moving parts are all lubed up and okay.
    Last edited by AlanHK; 10-03-06 at 01:11 PM.

  16. #16
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    I agree it is all or at least mostly how you treat the bike. Before leaving California almost 3 years ago I had 2 bikes; one of them was a Schwinn Traveller that I abused like crazy. I bought that Traveller new in 79 when I lived in Santa Barbara and left it outside all the time and even rode it on the hard pack area of the beach where the ocean spray and spray from the tires would get the bike wet with salt water. I treated this bike like that for 5 years. I tried to rinse it down every time I rode it but some days that didn't happen. I never treated the inside of the frame with anything, but did wax the frame quite a bit and of course kept the driveline cleaned and lubed. When I moved I took the crank and b/b out to check rust damage and there was some but unknown how severe, but there was some rust on the lug joint where the main tube went into; so that bothered me and since the bike needed to be restored I just threw it in the trash. But your talking about a bike that was 25 years old and subject to salt water as well as coastal weather and rain and being left outside for the first 10 of those years.

    My other bike, the 84 Trek, I also bought new and when I lived along the coast, but I never rode this one on the beach and exposed it to salt water, and this one was kept indoors but has seen rain. This frame is now 22 years old and no rust anywhere. Again inside of frame untreated but kept the outside waxed; I also put grease on the seat post and stem where they enter the frame to help seal out water along with the taillight and front flasher have rubber grommets and I placed those so that they are butted up against where the seatpost enters the seat tube and where the stem goes into the headset. Not sure if any of those precautions work or not, but at least there's no rust inside the frame.

  17. #17
    ride, paint, ride simplify's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timcupery
    Except that WD40 is not effective as an internal rust preventor
    I just have to say, WD-40 *can* be a great internal rust preventor, if applied properly and reapplied as needed. First, you have to be SURE to shake the can very well before applying, because otherwise you are spraying with just the vehicle, not the oil. But if you shake it very well right before applying, you'll get the water-displacement benefit of the vehicle plus a very nice, even coating of fine oil left behind that does *not* dry up and go away. It stays there and offers some protection. Then every time you have the inside of the frame accessible, which should be every few months if you're doing your maintenance as you should, you just freshen up that application of WD-40. It has worked very well for lots of bikes.
    No car. No TV. Three bikes.

  18. #18
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    froze: I agree that it's motly how you treat it. I keep my commuting bike outside (although on the front porch and completely out of the rain) and care for it well. There's been some slight surface rusting over the years, but not bad. Inside of the frame is treated with Frame Saver. But I live in central North Carolina where temp and humidity swings usually aren't that great.

    lawkd: WD-40 *can* be effective. But not as much as frame saver, and you need to reapply it more often, and be more careful when applying it. So I'd say it's not worth using if you're able to get ahold of Frame Saver or HDMP.

  19. #19
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    One thing... if you have a bike outdoors, make sure all screws are either greased, have anti-sieze compound on them, or locked in with a threadlocker compound. I grease pedals, water bottle bracket screws, and most importantly the seatpost. If I had Ti components, I'd use a distinct anti-sieze compound. For the brake canti bolts, I use a threadlocker.

    One can argue about the merits of threadlocker, anti-sieze, or grease, but all three prevent bolts from becoming a permanent part of the frame after a while outdoors.

  20. #20
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    Wow, thanks for the many replies... I'm still new at this but the common response appears to be to bring the bikes inside if at all possible. The good news is that although I'm married, my wife and I (for now) live in different towns so the possibility of stashing a bike in the spare bedroom is actually possible without a fight!!
    After reading the first few replies, I had moved my mountain bike back inside... now that I've read all the other replies, I think I'll bring the 10-12 year old road bike in and haul it to the upstairs spare bedroom. I may end up loaning that to a friend of mine who years ago was really into cycling. I know he'll not only take care of it but put it to good use. He's been thinking about cycling again but has limited funds... if I loan him a road bike, that should be enough to kickstart this re-entry into the sport. Unfortunately, I just had shoulder surgery and I'm really missing my daily ride. Funny, I had only been doing this for about a month and I already miss it and can see my waist expanding even as I type this. My 4 weeks of beginner fitness rides will probably be totally undone by the time I can ride again. I'm really bummed out about that.
    Can't afford one of those indoor trainers... maybe I'll do some research and look for a used one on ebay.

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