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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 04-26-08, 08:21 AM   #1
bakunin
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Removing rust from rim/spokes

Looking to help a friend out, just fixing some issues on her bike she just got from a friend. Wheels, while solid, are kind of rusted, on the spokes and on the rim. Aesthetics aside, Im just concerned itll affect braking as its an accumulation on the rim where the brake pads meet it. I don't want to just take a dremel to it but I can't imagine an easier process either. Ive done that once before and it worked out fine and I never had any issues with it, but Im just concerned doing it to someone else. If I die, big whoop, but if she did, Id be a bit mad at myself. Just wondering the best method (outside just getting new wheels which Ill probably look into finding a good deal on). Not looking for a top of the line, its just an old Ross ten speed to get around town.
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Old 04-26-08, 08:34 AM   #2
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Buy a front wheel that is not steel -> about $40 for a joytech on some semi-aero rim with stainless spokes. Safety first. The rear wheel is less important.
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Old 04-26-08, 08:49 AM   #3
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Steel wheels don't brake well when wet.
You can buy 27" wheels with a freewheel dirt cheap.

With stainless spokes:
Front: http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30...lert=OK&#alert
Rear: http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30...ils&sku=WE8691

Or even cheaper with galvanized spokes that will probably rust in the future. Select only allow rims:
http://www.bikepartsusa.com/cgi-bin/...=wheel-27_inch
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Old 04-26-08, 12:10 PM   #4
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If it's just small pitting and light rust then you can just clean it up with an abrasive Scotchbrite pad or even do nothing and it'll be as good as it ever was. The first couple of brake applications will sweep away the rust.

If it's more hideous and there's obvious flaking or blistering of the chrome then I'd suggest new wheels or just a new bike.

Mind you in both cases the worst that'll happen is just a rather pulseing like brake response and faster pad wear.

I'd also be looking VERY closely at the soundness of the brake pad rubbers and the tires. If the bike is quite old there's a good chance that these two rather important items have hardened and rotted from age and exposure and should be replaced. Tires consistent with a steel rimmed bike can be had for dirt cheap as can new brake pads and this would be very cheap insurance.
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Old 04-26-08, 12:14 PM   #5
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Agree with all the above but if you must, brass wool (or copper wool, NOT STEEL WOOL) with WD40 works great.
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Old 04-26-08, 01:49 PM   #6
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If anything, the rust will improve braking on a steel rim. Steel rims provide lousy braking when dry and about non-existent braking when wet.

If you are as concerned about her safety as you say, get her a new aluminum rim front wheel immediately.
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Old 04-26-08, 04:36 PM   #7
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rusted spokes

I have aluminum rims, so I do not have a problem with that part. But my spokes were rusted (43 year old bike), and I tried 0000 steel wool - but it was not effective. (0000 steel wool is effective on chrome otherwise - no scratching. Some say to wet it with chrome polish as well). I switched to a medium grit emery cloth and got good results, although it was a chore doing each spoke. I used a bronze wire brush to get around the nipples and at the hubs. 0000 steel wool to buff up the aluminum rims - now looks good. Does anyone know what I should coat the spokes with to stop or delay future rusting?
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Old 04-26-08, 04:49 PM   #8
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.... Does anyone know what I should coat the spokes with to stop or delay future rusting?
Any good grade of automotive wax will help but I think you're fighting an uphill battle. Best to keep this as a sunny day rider and use something with stainless spokes when you suspect you may be getting wet.
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Old 04-26-08, 06:41 PM   #9
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When the spokes are cleaned up, spray them with car ignition sealant - it's like an extremely light clear varnish that comes in a spray can. It doesn't last very long, but it's simple to give them a squirt every now and then andlet it dry - it only takes a minute or so.
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Old 04-26-08, 06:44 PM   #10
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Yeah coat it with a new wheel.
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Old 04-26-08, 10:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by FrejusFred View Post
I have aluminum rims, so I do not have a problem with that part. But my spokes were rusted
A bag of 20 Straight Stainless Spokes is only $6.50 here:
http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...Straight-Gauge
$13 per wheel is an easy way to eliminate the problem.
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Old 04-26-08, 10:44 PM   #12
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If you search you will find the rust removal method I recommend and use. The question seems to come up quite often.

For light rust and discoloration (rust stains) rub the object with aluminum foil dipped in household vinegar. The chemical reaction will remove the rust even from deep scratches and pits. Clean with soap and water then rinse well after cleaning. Protect surfaces with a good automotive wax except rims where brake friction is required. Using abrasives like steel wool or sandpaper etc will just destroy chrome plated surfaces and accelerate future rusting.
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Old 04-26-08, 10:57 PM   #13
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Yeah coat it with a new wheel.
I second this.
Not worth the time and trouble to restore steel wheels unless they're nice vintage ones, or an odd size.
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Old 04-27-08, 06:12 AM   #14
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Thanks all. In my case, this is a Frejus I bought new in 1965 and raced it. It is all original except for seat and crank. Campy derailleurs and forks, Balilla brakes, etc. Wheels are the ones it came with - NISI rims, Campy hubs. So I was interested in keeping as many original parts as possible, including the spokes, and making it a genuine collector bike/ceremonial rider. Even though the decals are beat up, I am keeping them as is also. It still rides great!
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Old 04-27-08, 05:32 PM   #15
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the theory is that ur spokes have been oxidized and in order to get rid of the rust, the ions thats on the spokes need a place to go...make a nice mixture of salt and white vinegar and scrub the spokes, if its not tooo bad it should get the rust off easy
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Old 04-29-08, 12:46 PM   #16
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Got any photos of your Frejus????
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Old 04-29-08, 02:43 PM   #17
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Got any photos of your Frejus????
Before cleanup


After cleanup



The gum hoods on the Balilla brakes could not be saved. I am trying to decide if I should look for NOS or forget it and just wrap the bar tape around them.
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Old 04-29-08, 04:45 PM   #18
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Would old style Dia Compe, Sun Tour or Shimano gum hoods work adequately
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Old 04-29-08, 06:14 PM   #19
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Steel wheels don't brake well when wet.
You can buy 27" wheels with a freewheel dirt cheap.
Neither do aluminum,but it depends on the brake pads,really.
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