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  1. #1
    I ride a REAL Schwinn!
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    Precautions with Steel frames

    Hey-
    I realize this a pretty basic question, and I've been serious about biking for years, but here it goes: I just picked up the first steel framed bike that I've ever owned. I've heard several different opinions about what care needs to be taken with steel frames after wet rides, many of which seem to conflict each other. With my aluminum MTB, it wasn't a big issue-I'd just wipe it down after I got home. I would assume that a thorough drying of the bike and relubing of moving parts after particularly wet rides would make sense. I've also heard of being carful about moving steel-framed bikes from a very cold environment(garage in winter) into a warm environment(house in winter) because it can cause condensation to form inside the tubes. Are ther any other considerations about taking care of a steel frame after wet rides? I just want to make sure as this bike has been a very big investment for me. THANKS!!
    Moabrider

  2. #2
    Senior Member pat5319's Avatar
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    If you live in a humid or salty air climate it may be a good idea to coat the inside of the frame tubes with some sort of anti-rust coating. There is some stuff by Weilgle? made for bikes. I've been thinking about doing it to my bikes for about 15 years now. It took me about 19 years to get around to finishing college

    Ride Someday
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  3. #3
    Senior Member (Retired) gmason's Avatar
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    Pat -

    You beat me! I started in the fall of 1958, and have not finished yet. Of course, I won't, either.

    Cheers...Gary

  4. #4
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    After A rainy /wet ride with the bike, try hanging your bike rear tire first to a ceiling hook, that way all the water that accumulated inside the tube will be drain out/ you may say how will the water go inside the tube, it enters thru the head tube and it goes down to the seat tube and all the tubes of the bike , so if you hang the bike, the water will get out the same way it entered, then enjoy your glass of beer then wait till the last water drop off your bike
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  5. #5
    Great guy poululla's Avatar
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    You can use Super Lube or for that matter any good lubricant, with a long applicator nossle, to lube the inside of steel frames. Some steel frames have special holes for this purpose. Just spray away!
    Remember to grease your seat tube and fork well as this is where
    moisture leaks in.

  6. #6
    b_rider
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    First of all congrats. on your first steel frame bike.

    Second never ever think that aluminum is totally corrosion proof. It may not rust like steel, but it will oxidize under the right conditions. For example if you ride in the winter time and your community uses sand and salt or brine solution on the roads. This is aluminum's worst enemy. Steel will corrode under the same conditions but it has to be bare metal for it to do so, not the case with aluminum.

    Third aluminum, while a stiffer feeling frame, or so I am told, is a softer material then steel. If you have ever damaged a aluminum frame you have first hand experiance at the fact that it is not easily repairable if repairable at all. Steel on the other hand is, unless you bend the frame. But if you dent it, and in a lot of cases crack a steel frame it is usually repairable to be safe enough to ride again. Not the case with aluminum.

    Now granted steel is a heavier material then aluminum, but there are a lot of steel frames on the market today that rival the weight of aluminum and are twice as strong. Oh almost forgot to mention, steel is a lot stronger then aluminum will ever be.

    As far as moisture forming inside the frame due to climatic changes, moving form a cold to a warm enviroment for example. Theres a few thing you need to consider. First it usually is not such a dramatic change that you really need to worry about it if it is a case of storage. whatever moisture does form will not last long enough to cause any corrosion. But if you ride in cold weather, then yes you need to be concerned about it because the temperature of the frame will be alot colder due to wind then if you were just storing it. In that case you can use the spray rust inhibitors for inside the frame. Or if possible you can bring the temperature of the bike up gradually. One way to do this is bring it into a attached grage before you bring it in the house. Let it warm up a little then bring it into the house.

    If you ride in rain or get caught in rain and you are concerned about moisture inside the frame take the seat tube out, turn the bike upside down and let it hang that way for a while. what ever little water is there should drain out. You can also spray a "water chaser" or dryer into the frame such as brake parts cleaner. And again if you are concerned about water getting inside the frame you can apply the rust inhibitor. Oh and regardless of the amterial your frame is made out of, you should always wipe down the bike after a wet ride.

    And just to let you in on a little secret. It is very diffcult for rain water to get inside your frame. It has to get past the headset grease, bottom bracket grease, and seat tube grease. All of which are designed to help keep moisutre out of the components the help operate. So unless the grease on all three is bad and needs replacing I would not worry about rain water getting inside the frame. But there could be a concern about moisture forming due to temp. changes.

  7. #7
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    I worked in a bike shop for 4 years and have never heard of failure or rusting through on any newer bike. The only time I have ever seen rust on a newer frame at all was if they took a nasty digger and put a huge gash in the frame or somthing. I've been riding on steel for 8 years now and haven't done a thing to my bike after wet rides and havn't had any problems at all. Your drivetrain is the only thing that I would worry about! Keep it well lubed and you won't have any problems.

  8. #8
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    A lot of new frames are treated with some type
    of rust inhibitor after they've been assembled.
    In any event I would get some
    Weigle Frame saver and apply that, about once
    a year unless you're in an extremely humid environment
    (like miami, or houston). That will take care of the majority
    of problems with internal corrosion.
    After a ride, wipe down the frame, or better yet rinse it
    and dry it. A coat of wax applied to it won't hurt either.
    If you're riding indoors, be sure to wipe sweat off
    (or use a sweat cover) since its more corrosive than water.
    I'm riding a 16 year old Trek steel frame and haven't had
    any problems with corrosion.

    Marty
    Sono piý lento di quel che sembra.
    Odio la gente, tutti.

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  9. #9
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    There's a product called "Frame Saver" that you spray into the frame tubes to prevent rust.
    ljbike

  10. #10
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    I think the name is J.P. Weigle's Frame Saver, or something close.

    I use WD-40, which seems good enough. WD stands for "Water Displacing". The product was designed as a water displacing, penetrating, anti-corrosion treatment. It isn't very good as a lubricant, but is great for its original purpose. It's a bit easier to find (like everywhere) than "Frame Saver".

    Jim.

  11. #11
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Would anyone recommend scraping or sanding the insides of the seat tube etc before spraying Weigle or whatever in there? My bike is over 10 years old and I've never done a thing to it in terms of rust prevention (I HAVE done plenty to cause rust, tho....).

  12. #12
    acciaio is real Wurm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b_rider
    ...But if you ride in cold weather, then yes you need to be concerned about it because the temperature of the frame will be alot colder due to wind then if you were just storing it...
    That is simply not true. "Wind chill" has no affect on inanimate objects, only on living tissue. For example: if the air temp. is 15F/no wind with a frame sitting in a garage, that frame will be the same temp. as if it were 15F during a howling blizzard sitting out in the driveway.

  13. #13
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    The outside of my steel frames are protected with paint and wax (liquid furniture wax - I'm lazy). Scratches in the paint are covered with clear fingernail polish (again...I'm lazy).

    There is NO water inside my frames. I seal the area around where the seat post enters the frame, and where the stem enters the frame with grease. Those little "pin holes" in the frame left over from the brazing process are sealed with bee's wax. My twenty year old steel frames have surface rust here and there where the paint was rubbed off. I cover those areas with clear fingernail polish, and the rust never goes deeper than the surface.

    I have seen some Schwinn bikes from the 1930's and 1940's that have been coated with surface rust for decades. They ride fine. I saw a 1942ish "army surplus" Schwinn last week where rust had left several tiny "pin holes" in the top tube. The owner said the bike still rode as "good as new".

    Over the past four decades, I have never personally seen a bike frame that failed due to rust. Several folks have posted to say that they have owned bikes that "failed" where the chainstay met the bottom bracket, or at the rear dropout "due to rust". Those are EXACTLY the same locations that old frames fail when they have zero rust, but a poor original brazing job. So, it is more likely those failures resulted from poor brazing or many thousands of miles of hard riding than from rust.

  14. #14
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    I treated my steel frame with framesaver just to be on the safe side. I would recommend you do the same. It may not be completely necessary but you would only spend a few bucks doing it and the coating seems to be quite durable.

  15. #15
    I Am Online Now! G-Unit's Avatar
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    STeel is pretty easy to take care of, just don't leave it out in the rain.
    I rock peas on my head but donít call me a pea head.
    Bees on my head but donít call me a bee head.
    Bruce Leeís on my head but donít call me a Lee head.
    Now please excuse me, I gots to get my tree fed.

  16. #16
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    I use Frame Saver on my steel frame bike and also that of my girlfriend. Great stuff, but make sure you have a place where you don't mind making a mess

  17. #17
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    What I've found is on higher quality steel frames, like my Paramount (its about 20 years old and seen ALL kinds of conditions), the tubing seems to have a high enough nickel content or be internally nickel plated so it won't rust very easily at all. When I rebuilt the Paramount the inside was PERFECTLY clean. The only rust was on the steerer tube of the fork, and it was very light surface oxidation. I do, however, recommend JP Weigle's Framesaver.
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

  18. #18
    Now with racer-boy font! Moonshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b_rider
    First of all congrats. on your first steel frame bike....And just to let you in on a little secret. It is very diffcult for rain water to get inside your frame. It has to get past the headset grease, bottom bracket grease, and seat tube grease. All of which are designed to help keep moisutre out of the components the help operate. So unless the grease on all three is bad and needs replacing I would not worry about rain water getting inside the frame. But there could be a concern about moisture forming due to temp. changes.
    I'd never thought of the grease this way, but it makes sense. I grease my seat post regularly, but seldom grease the BB and headset threads. I guess I should.

    Also, I thought storing bikes normally (tires on the ground) would be the best way for water that may be accumulated to drain because of the location of the weep holes in the fork and the cutouts in the BB.

  19. #19
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    I use Frame Saver on my steel frame bike and also that of my girlfriend. Great stuff, but make sure you have a place where you don't mind making a mess
    Your girlfriend has a steel frame too? She lets you put frame saver all over her?

  20. #20
    acciaio is real Wurm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    Your girlfriend has a steel frame too? She lets you put frame saver all over her?
    Oohh baby! Does it work better than KY?


  21. #21
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Keep any paint flaws touched up and you don't need to worry about rain. check you BB after a wet ride to see if your bike is one of the unfortunates that collect water internally. If so, spray frame saver in the tubes and drill a 1/8 in. drain hole in the bottom of the BB.

  22. #22
    I Am Online Now! G-Unit's Avatar
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    I heard you shouldn't use grease if you have a carbon fibre seat post, is this correct?
    I rock peas on my head but donít call me a pea head.
    Bees on my head but donít call me a bee head.
    Bruce Leeís on my head but donít call me a Lee head.
    Now please excuse me, I gots to get my tree fed.

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