Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Parker, CO
Bikes: SS Surly Crosscheck; '91 Cannondale 3.0
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you can remove the cogset if you want, and the crank and chainrings, then go at the rust with a Fiberlene cloth. That takes surface rust off pretty well, but nothing well get at rust that has eaten deep.
Replace your chain.
Removing the cogs and rings takes the right tools. If you don't have them then just replace the chain and while chainless get in there with a good degreaser, rag and toothbrush and fine clean EVERYTHING. Then, when dry pump some oil onto a rag and rub all the metal parts down for a good coating. The oil will keep the water off the surface of the metal. Put new chain on and go!
As for prevention I wipe the bike down after every ride if it's wet at all. If dry I don't. I have two rags, one for the frame and various parts and another for the drivetrain only. Wipe down and lube the chain properly before every 4th ride.
On the weekend I do a more detailed wipe and I'll drip a drop of lube on my canti bosses, my cables, derailleur pulleys and pivot points and I'll do any fine adjustments I need to like wheel truings or tire changes. Sometimes I get anal and I'll even use some rubbing alcohol on a rag to take all the brake goop off the rim surfaces.
About once a year I overhaul my headset: take it apart, soak everything in degreaser, let dry. Then repack with the correct grease (marine grease is great for wetter climates, just use the synthetic stuff). I've done hubs, but not as often. BBs get replaced when need be, maybe once every year and a half or two or when they feel like they need it.
A really good idea is at least once a year make sure you check out all screws and put a thin film of grease on the threads. Put a thin film on your seatpost and saddle rails, even your handlebar and stem connection.
Sounds like lots, but it's not...you just need to think of your bike like your best friend and lover! Treat her right and she'll always be there for you.