Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

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.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 07-02-11, 11:41 PM   #1
hurley81388
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Rhode Island
Bikes:
Posts: 68
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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!
hurley81388 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 12:17 AM   #2
fuji86
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Miami, FL
Bikes: 1986 Fuji Allegro 12 Spd; 1997 Fuji MX-200 21 Spd; 2010 Vilano SS/FG 46/16
Posts: 1,934
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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.
fuji86 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 12:37 AM   #3
dabac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 5,690
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(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.
dabac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 04:58 AM   #4
MichaelW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Bikes:
Posts: 12,936
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(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.
MichaelW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 09:12 AM   #5
Burton
Certified Bike Brat
 
Burton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Bikes:
Posts: 4,251
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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.
Burton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 09:32 AM   #6
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.
Posts: 16,797
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 224 Post(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.
JohnDThompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 10:16 AM   #7
BCRider
Senior Member
 
BCRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: The 'Wack, BC, Canada
Bikes: Norco (2), Miyata, Canondale, Soma, Redline
Posts: 5,456
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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.
BCRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 10:57 AM   #8
HillRider 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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: 29,123
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 180 Post(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.
HillRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 12:26 PM   #9
rm -rf
don't try this at home.
 
rm -rf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: N. KY
Bikes:
Posts: 3,863
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 118 Post(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.
rm -rf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 12:49 PM   #10
storckm
Cyclist
 
storckm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Columbus, OH
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: 559
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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?
storckm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 03:40 PM   #11
HillRider 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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: 29,123
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 180 Post(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.
HillRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 07:00 PM   #12
Kimmo
bike whisperer
 
Kimmo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Melbourne, Oz
Bikes: velospace.org/viewcluster?c=873
Posts: 7,115
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(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?

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Portage.jpg (48.5 KB, 33 views)
Kimmo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 07:59 PM   #13
JanMM
rebmeM roineS
 
JanMM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: In Central IN
Bikes: RANS V3, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer
Posts: 13,529
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(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 - Ti, RANS V-Rex - cromo, RANS Screamer - cromo
JanMM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 08:07 PM   #14
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Bikes: See my sig...
Posts: 27,264
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(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.
Sixty Fiver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-11, 09:47 PM   #15
hurley81388
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Rhode Island
Bikes:
Posts: 68
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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?

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!
hurley81388 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-15, 03:32 AM   #16
boazmoss
Member
 
boazmoss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Tel Aviv
Bikes: Gios compact pro+Trek 2300 composite+Kona Hannanah
Posts: 44
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by hurley81388 View Post
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!
If you have a quick-release on the front wheel, drop the wheel out .
boazmoss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-15, 03:50 AM   #17
CliffordK 
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Bikes:
Posts: 11,085
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1517 Post(s)
Just install one of these gable hoists like is common in Amsterdam



Oddly, I didn't find any photos of bicycles hanging by them.
CliffordK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-15, 06:31 AM   #18
Kopsis
Senior Member
 
Kopsis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: St. Pete, Florida
Bikes:
Posts: 1,115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)
The problem with nail polish or rattle-can clear lacquer is that without an etching primer to passivate the metal surface and provide a good bonding surface for paint, the clear will start flaking off in no time and look really bad. In places where it does stay on, sealing in moisture and other oxidizing agents will let the spokes continue to rust under the clear.

The wax suggestions are the optimal solution. Relatively cheap, easy to apply, easy to maintain, and won't degrade the appearance. As surface rust continues to pop up (and it will, but more gradually) you can just scrub it off with some steel wool and re-apply the wax.
Kopsis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-15, 07:40 AM   #19
AnkleWork
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: High Plains
Bikes: old clunker
Posts: 2,174
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 87 Post(s)
Four years.
AnkleWork is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-15, 06:07 PM   #20
El Aurens
Junior Member
 
El Aurens's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Gainesville, FL
Bikes: Specialized Hard Rock
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Boiled Linseed Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by hurley81388 View Post
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
I use boiled linseed oil (a drying oil available from hardware store) on all rusty iron implements and old unfinished wood (like tool handles). Hand brush with a steel brush first to remove major flakes of rust (NOT a motor driven rotary steel brush; that will take you down to bare metal).

Apply the oil with an old rag. It penetrates the rust crystals and forms a (relatively) hard composite structure. Don't worry about getting it down into the spoke nipples, it is pliable enough it will not interfere with adjusting spoke tension.

It forms a black oxide finish. It doesn't look great on a bike, but it resists further oxidation. Here is what an old hand pruner looks like when coated with linseed oil:

Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMAG1472-1-1.jpg (101.9 KB, 20 views)
El Aurens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-15, 05:37 AM   #21
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.
Posts: 16,797
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 224 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Aurens View Post
Apply the oil with an old rag. It penetrates the rust crystals and forms a (relatively) hard composite structure.
Just be careful with that rag when you're done:

JohnDThompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-15, 07:24 PM   #22
El Aurens
Junior Member
 
El Aurens's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Gainesville, FL
Bikes: Specialized Hard Rock
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Just be careful with that rag when you're done:
Yes, good point! But I have never had a single rag spontaneously ignite. Generally, that applies to a pile of rags.

However, I have since posting that switched to using RAW COLD PRESSED HEMPSEED OIL, because not only does it produce a much nicer finish on rusty metal (it is also a drying oil), you can use whatever you have left over in salad dressing.

http://www.tcforensic.com.au/docs/uts/essay6.pdf:
"The potential for linseed oil to self-heat is quantified by the iodine number, which increases with an increasing concentration of linolenic acid. The iodine number is a measure of the amount of iodine that is taken up in the reaction with the C=C unsaturated bonds to form C-I-C and iodide. The average iodine values of some drying oils are listed below:
Perilla oil 194
Linseed 188
Tung 162
Hempseed 153"

Due to the fact that boiling of linseed oil concentrates drying agents, I would expect raw hempseed oil to be quite a bit safer.

Last edited by El Aurens; 07-28-15 at 07:48 PM.
El Aurens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-15, 11:54 PM   #23
vintage cellar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: San Francisco - it used to be nice
Bikes: 1970 Alex Singer, 63 Hetchins, 75 Motobecane Townie, more . . .
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Wow. Really complicated answers at times. Just use the bike and as long as the spokes don't start breaking - don't even worry bout it.

When you graduate - get a new bike or a new front wheel and celebrate !
vintage cellar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-15, 09:18 AM   #24
DTSCDS
"Fred"--is that bad?
 
DTSCDS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: 214 Represent!
Bikes: Felt f85 (11); Trek 7.3 FX (07); Schwinn Super Sport (86); Specialized Rockhopper (87)
Posts: 513
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, since the original post was done over 4 years ago, I figure either he found a solution, gave up on the bike, or just moved on with his life.
Might have even graduated by now. But, if by "poor student" he meant that he does not do well in school, he may have had to drop out and find a career that doesn't require higher education.
DTSCDS is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:34 PM.