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  1. #1
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    How do you keep your steel rust free?

    Just wondering how you all deal with it when you get rained on. How do you treat the bike afterwards to minimize it getting rusty.

    Do you give it a full detail job, or just give it a couple bounces to knock the water off and oil the pivot points?

  2. #2
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Never store the bike wet, always dry with towel and air compressor (be careful not to drive water into places you don't want it). Then lube. Wax the frame and fork every month or two during the summer or whenever the bike has needed major decontamination from road grime. The wipe on/wipe off poly waxes make this very quick and easy. I use a microfiber cloth to apply and remove the wax and the whole job takes maybe 10 minutes. Once in a while I get fussy and detail all the nooks and crannies, then it can take and hour and a couple of beers.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  3. #3
    Senior Member snowman40's Avatar
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    The opposite of Myosmith. I just let it air dry, everything that will rust already has a layer of rust, i lube the chain and don't wipe off the excess. It 9 years old and spent most of that outside under a tarp, so it could use a major overhaul of the drivetrain.
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  4. #4
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    Stop obsessing over it. It's not goingt o rust into oblivion from getting rained on. Wash the bike like you do a car when you think it needs it. Towel dry if you so desire.
    Clean and lube the drivetrain when needed.

    I've cut apart frames that look like they had serious rust and the depth is very minimal. People generally have a lot to learn about the strength and longevity of steel after all the propaganda from bike companies pushing alloy and plastic
    My blog about rides, bikes and builds: ridesgoneby.blogspot.com

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lungimsam View Post
    How do you treat the bike afterwards to minimize it getting rusty.
    If there is ever any sign of rust anywhere - very rare now - I apply my magic mixture of out of LPS 3, Boeshield T9 and ACF50. The typical period between applications ends up being 2-3 months. I poured that stuff inside the frame as well, obviously.

  6. #6
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Paint on the outside, framesaver on the inside, grease on the threads, chainstay protector on the chainstay, oil on the chain.

  7. #7
    Sprinter linus's Avatar
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    Boeshield or Framesaver. Lube drivetrain. That's all.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cjewett65's Avatar
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    My only steel bikes are single speeds and fixies so I just dont take them out if rain is expected. Thats the best opption if available but to agree with several others, your bike will not rust to oblivion, just wipe it down with with a towel nicely if you get it wet.

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    Im new at this and got some used bikes already pre-rusted. What i do is inspect for rust, sand it off using sandpaper i got at home depot the purpose, then apply first a primer coat then a top paint coat. (both Rustoleum auto paint that comes in spray cans but i spray it into a cup and use a brush.) I destroy the original finish but it had some rust anyway. I figure eventually i can get the frames powdercoated so all i am doing is preserving the frames in the meantime. I havent had any frames off the bikes yet so i havent used Framesaver. Since i am using a bike rack on car and also locking the bikes on streets, they are prone to new scratches so i just continue with my approach,the bikes original finish is already ruined anyway.

  10. #10
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    I ride carbon fiber so with the exception of the chain there is very little steel to rust

  11. #11
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    If the paint has chipped on the frame, I put some transparent nail polish on it.
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  12. #12
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    I used an old chromoly steel racer as my everyday commuter bike in a damp, coastal town. The bike lived outdoors 24/7 and was regularly ridden along the seafront, even in storms, so splashed with sea spray.
    I sprayed the inside of the tubes with WD40 as a rust preventor. Be careful if your bottom bracket bearings are exposed inside the tubes; Shimano cartridge BB units are safe.
    I waxed the outside of the frame with turtle wax.
    I greased all metal-metal contacts (inc crank/BB), packed the bearings full of grease, greased all threads and coated all exposed cables and bolt heads with wax.
    Bike was rust-free after 2 years.

  13. #13
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    I live in Ottawa, Canada where there is sometimes an inch of salt on the roads in the winter. For me steel is not an option, also using a carbon drive with IGH. Rather have rust free design then maintain, but that's me ... I'm lazy.

    My personal opinion, not for everyone.

    Greg

  14. #14
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    I have a steel mountain bike that is almost 20 years old that I used to ride regularly in the rain. I've never done anything special to it, I never even clean it, and there are no signs of rust. The road frames I used to see rust out were actually from sweat from racers who were heavy sweaters. If you don't clean that off it will start eating away your top tube if there is any missing paint.

  15. #15
    Igo
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    I wouldn't own a steel bike if only for all these reasons. No offense anyone.
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  16. #16
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    Aluminum will corrode in some pretty nasty ways too given the right exposures. Rusting a frame up is a cosmetic concern only for the most part.
    My blog about rides, bikes and builds: ridesgoneby.blogspot.com

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igo View Post
    I wouldn't own a steel bike if only for all these reasons. No offense anyone.
    Agreed...I know it's fashionable to hate on aluminum but I've watched too many of my precious machines get eaten away right before my eyes. I won't go near a steel bike in the foreseeable future.

  18. #18
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    It depends on what your goal is. If you want a bike that looks showroom new for years and years, that's going to take some work.

    If it's just rain we're talking about and you're ok with a little surface rust on some unfinished parts, then I'd just ride it and not worry about it too much.

    You can take a middle road though. I personally don't want to have to worry about cleaning and drying a bike every time I ride in the rain. On the other hand, I do like the idea that it could look nice should I decide to wash it.

    So things like water bottle cage screws I replace with stainless steel versions that you can get at most hardware stores. I'll put a light coating of oil on any unfinished steel parts. The outside of the frame gets a coat of wax now and then. Any steel frame will get treated with "Frame Saver". Any dings or deep scratches you'll want to cover with nail polish (or something) which was already suggested.

    Fenders will HELP keep the wet grit off your bike and drive train.

    My "summer" bike is ridden rain or shine 8 months of the year. It's carbon/aluminum but even on the steel bits there is almost no rust at all. It's a different story for my winter bike which gets ridden in salty slop. I prefer to stay away from steel frames for winter but I've used them for many years without any of them falling apart.

    One thing I have noticed is that the drivetrains on bikes that are ridden frequently seem to have less rust than those that are also exposed to moisture but aren't ridden as often.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fizbiz View Post
    Agreed...I know it's fashionable to hate on aluminum but I've watched too many of my precious machines get eaten away right before my eyes. I won't go near a steel bike in the foreseeable future.
    Steel bikes only rust into oblivion with disuse. If they were precious to you, why wouldn't you use them?

  20. #20
    Fredly
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    +1 this. Any scratches get a layer of black nail polish and then some smoothly applied clear coat nail polish on top of that.

    I've noticed some stuff that looks like alloy or stainless recently that shows small signs of rust which means they're poor quality metals. Not enough to get near pitting or worth worrying about. I think the important thing is to just be aware of it, monitor for it, and take care of it when you see it. (Dry off the spots it's likely to form in)

    Quote Originally Posted by Prabuddhadg View Post
    If the paint has chipped on the frame, I put some transparent nail polish on it.

  21. #21
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    The most corroded frames I've seen recently have all been aluminum. A steel frame with a good powdercoat & plenty of frame saver inside the tubes is going to take a lot of abuse before there is even minor rust. My Cross-Check is parked outside in the rain & ridden in the rain constantly. After riding home in the rain I'll rinse it off in the driveway & then park it inside in front of a fan to dry.

  22. #22
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    This is a picture of a ship that has been on the Oregon coast for about 100 years.



    Seeing the kind of damage that rust can do, I've resolved never to leave my bike exposed to daily soakings of salt water for 100 years. At least not without applying some kind of frame saver.

    I leave my bikes out in the rain when I'm at work. I hang them up wet in the garage. I didn't use frame saver. Once every week or two I brush off the excess grime. When the chain starts to make noise I clean the drivetrain and lube the chain.

  23. #23
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Also, this is a box of parts I removed from a 30-year old bike that somebody found in their uncle's barn and sold to me for $40.



    I was able to break the chain with my bare hands.

    This is the inside of the bottom bracket from that same bike.



    Do you think they used frame saver?

  24. #24
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igo View Post
    I wouldn't own a steel bike if only for all these reasons. No offense anyone.
    If only for all what reasons? Steel bikes don't rust much. I have a 28year-old steel Raleigh that has led anything but a sheltered life. It's scratched and scuffed and generally knocked about. If gets rained on regularly, and it certainly hasn't been stripped down and cleaned every time it has got wet - maybe not even every fiftieth time. There is barely a sign of rust anywhere on the bike.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  25. #25
    Igo
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    Quote Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
    Aluminum will corrode in some pretty nasty ways too given the right exposures. Rusting a frame up is a cosmetic concern only for the most part.
    Please....
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