Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    68
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Clear Nail Polish on Spokes to Prevent Rust?

    Hi everyone, I have a 1984 Trek 420 and a few of the spokes on the front wheel are starting to rust. The bike is left outside under a cover all of the time. I know, I know, nobody on these forums keeps bikes, especially a steel one, outside. But I'm a poor student and live in a small apartment building with no landings to keep the bike inside and insanely tall steps make it impossible to carry the bike upstairs. (old, crappy building)

    Anyways, I was thinking about taking the surface rust that's accumulating on a few of these spokes off with some steel wool and using clear nail polish to coat the spokes to prevent more rust from forming. Can anything bad happen by doing this? The wheels are the original 27 inch Weinmann alloy wheels made in Belgium (or so it says).

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Miami, FL
    My Bikes
    1986 Fuji Allegro 12 Spd; 1997 Fuji MX-200 21 Spd; 2010 Vilano SS/FG 46/16
    Posts
    1,913
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Worth a try to see how it works out ? My only concern would be overspray of clear coat, that and seizing up the spokes with the dry paint that might make spoke adjustments and wheel alignments difficult later on.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    4,285
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    A Trek with mild steel spokes? Who'd have thought that. The utterly dominating material for spokes is stainless steel.
    But sure, keep the lacquer/paint/clearcoat away from the nipples and rim and you should be OK.

    Or use some car wax, reapplied every now and then.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    England
    Posts
    12,344
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've used wax on spokes to prevent rust. Dont spray, wipe it one.
    car wax or bees wax is good. If you just have furniture polish, spray it onto a rag.
    Keep away from the rim.

  5. #5
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec
    Posts
    4,203
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sounds like a lotta work to me! After doing the steel wool thing I`d just spray it with a silver automotive anti-rust can myself.

  6. #6
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Appleton WI
    My Bikes
    Several, mostly not name brands.
    Posts
    12,848
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by dabac View Post
    A Trek with mild steel spokes? Who'd have thought that. The utterly dominating material for spokes is stainless steel.
    The wheels might not be original.

    Then again, until the late 70s, stainless steel was not well-regarded as a material for spokes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    The 'Wack, BC, Canada
    My Bikes
    Norco (2), Miyata, Canondale, Soma, Redline
    Posts
    5,432
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The problem with nail polish or any other sealing coat is that it can seal IN the problem as well as keeping water out.

    You're better off to clean the spokes off and use a good paste car wax on them. The wax will last quite a while actually.

    In the end it's a poor way to store the bike so a lot of other stuff is going to suffer in various ways as well as the spokes. I know you don't want to hear this about your pride and joy transportation bike but it may be a lot easier to just consider it as a consumable and allow it to erode back to the elements over time and get another bike when it's too far gone to revive any more. For example, if you're worried about a bit of rust on the spokes what about the inside of the frame? A steel framed bike living outdoors in the elements with just a tarp over it is going to rust badly in short order. Yet I don't see you asking about stripping the whole bike down to allow coating the inside with a frame saver concoction.

    Consider too that rims used for braking in sloppy weather are a consumable as well. By the time the rust on the spokes is an issue the rims will likely be ground down by the brake pads and the grit they pick up in bad weather. At that point you could "fix" the rusty spokes issue with a new set of wheels that'll have stainless spokes. Or rebuild your old wheels with stainless spokes and new rims.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My Bikes
    '''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
    Posts
    25,774
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
    The wheels might not be original.

    Then again, until the late 70s, stainless steel was not well-regarded as a material for spokes.
    My '85 Bridgestone 400 came with 27" 36H Araya rims laced 3X to Sansin hubs (6-speed freewheel rear) with plain 14 gauge Cd or Zn plated mild steel spokes. the spokes never rusted since the bike was stored indoors but I broke three rear spokes (drive side of course) by 9000 miles.

    I replace the wheels with a Nashbar house branded set using DT stainless steel spokes and never broke another.

  9. #9
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    N. KY
    Posts
    2,713
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For a little spot rust, the wax sounds good.

    For more rust, a much better solution is rust converter. It chemically reacts with rust, and protects against further rusting. The rust turns black, so it won't look great, but it'll be functional. It's way easier than sanding down to bright metal, priming and painting.

    For instance: Rustoleum Rust Reformer. Most big hardware stores should have something similar. Spray into a disposable cup and use a small brush.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 07-03-11 at 12:30 PM.

  10. #10
    Cyclist storckm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    My Bikes
    Yuba Mundo; Early 70's Free Spirit (Reynolds 531) fixie; 80's Shogun 500; Mid 90's Iron Horse tandem; trailer and tag-a-long; Schwinn Range for commuting, with lights and front and rear racks.
    Posts
    551
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    The problem with nail polish or any other sealing coat is that it can seal IN the problem as well as keeping water out.
    But unless you're sealing water in too, why would it be a problem even if you do seal in the rust? Also, am I right in thinking that the rust itself provides some protection from further corrosion?

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My Bikes
    '''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
    Posts
    25,774
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by storckm View Post
    But unless you're sealing water in too, why would it be a problem even if you do seal in the rust?
    The problem is that cracks or thin spots in the coating will allow water to enter and then trap it after it does.
    Quote Originally Posted by storckm View Post
    Also, am I right in thinking that the rust itself provides some protection from further corrosion?
    No, not on steel. Rust on steel is actually autocatalytic, that is its presence increases the tendency to rust even further.

    "Rust" (actually an oxide layer) on aluminum, titanium and stainless steels does indeed act as a protective, corrosion preventative but not on plain carbon steels or typical Cr-Mo alloys.

  12. #12
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Oz
    My Bikes
    copy/paste links: http://velospace.org/node/36949 http://velospace.org/node/47746 http://velospace.org/node/47747
    Posts
    6,824
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by hurley81388 View Post
    insanely tall steps make it impossible to carry the bike upstairs.
    O_o

    I find that hard to believe; I can take my bike pretty much anywhere I can walk.

    Are you using the right technique?

    Portage.jpg

  13. #13
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Indiana
    My Bikes
    RANS V3, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer
    Posts
    11,671
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My wife's 1997 Giant Farrago hybrid came with non-stainless spokes, which became funky over the years. Replaced the wheels.
    My brother's Specialized Crossroads (15 years old?) has non-SS spokes. A little bit funky.
    The 1994 C-Dale H300 I used to have (their cheapest hybrid that year) came with SS spokes.
    Go figure. SS spokes now pretty much standard but it's taken a while for that to happen.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  14. #14
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    YEG
    My Bikes
    See my sig...
    Posts
    26,210
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    I play with a lot of vintage bikes and although I build new wheels and always use stainless, these older bikes have nice original wheels and unless they need to be rebuilt just use car wax to protect them from moisture / rust.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    68
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    O_o

    I find that hard to believe; I can take my bike pretty much anywhere I can walk.

    Are you using the right technique?

    Portage.jpg
    Yep, I use that technique to carry my bike but when I do that the front wheel hits the next step and the back wheel hits the top of the wall. Each step is at least a foot tall, the stairway is less than 3 feet wide and the staircase has two very sharp 90 degree turns. So the bike can't make the 90 degree turn due to the narrow width plus the steepness each individual stair causes the front wheel to hit. Again, I live in the Northeast and the building is at my guess, around 75-100 years old.

    Thanks guys for all the solutions. I think I'm going to just clean it off with some very fine steel wool and then use some car wax on the spokes to prevent further rusting. I appreciate all the help!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •