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  1. #1
    VegetarianBikeRider coney's Avatar
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    Getting the Salt off Spokes/Gears/Chains With No Hose Available?

    So, I live in NYC, and so live in an apartment. I have no garage, no hose, and almost no place to park my bike, but I find room.

    My spokes are corroded like crazy and I can only imagine what that does to all the gears and the chain and such. I don't know if I should look for some kind of "Miracle Bike Polish" to get all that salt off with, or try to give my bike a sponge bath, or hell, just try to squeeze it into the shower.

    Anyone had this problem? What did you do?

    I have really no place to put a sopping wet bike, nor anyplace to really do a good job getting it clean in the winter. I want to buy a new bike soon, but would like to take real good care of it so it doesn't get corroded like a Michigan car.

    -coney

  2. #2
    ... goatmeal's Avatar
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    I just have a winter bike, a beater which only gets used in the snowy salty slush of a Minnesota winter. I leave it outside all too, so it don't have to clean up after the post ride melt down. Also I have heard that leaving a bike outside actually helps keep the bike in better condition longer, cannot remember why though. Just save your current bike for winter and get a "warm weather" bike, we all got em.


    Phil

  3. #3
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    I live in a tiny studio. I do the sponge bath thing and I also use a toothbrush and q tips to get to the areas that can't be reached with my rags. I have a Park Tool stand I put the bike on, then put a huge plastic garbage bag underneath it so my rug doesn't get ruined. For my chain, I use that Park Tool chain scrubber- degrease it with that, then relube it and let everything sit overnight.

    Sometimes, I also use wet wipes for babies. That works wonders and really brings out the shine.

    Koffee

  4. #4
    LeMond Lives! Dusk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    I live in a tiny studio. I do the sponge bath thing and I also use a toothbrush and q tips to get to the areas that can't be reached with my rags. I have a Park Tool stand I put the bike on, then put a huge plastic garbage bag underneath it so my rug doesn't get ruined. For my chain, I use that Park Tool chain scrubber- degrease it with that, then relube it and let everything sit overnight.

    Sometimes, I also use wet wipes for babies. That works wonders and really brings out the shine.

    Koffee
    WOW... You really do keep a tidy bike. Here in MN I will take a bucket of hot water out once in a while to wash the dirt off if it is bad. But I know that my Hoo Koo E Koo rims are already toast from the first winter of salt so.... why do much to them. I do wash the thing off in the basement near the drain if it needs it.

    Cheers

  5. #5
    Year-round cyclist
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    I have a relatively casual attitude: I don't really care about looks. It has to perform and it has to stay rust free, however

    Basically, when fall arrives, I dip a paper towel in grease and rub it against the spokes, under the bottom bracket and around other "tricky" places. Once in a while, I also clean the most accessible tubes (top tube, top of seat tube and downtube...) with WD-40, which is not a lubricant but a fairly good water repellent.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  6. #6
    Minneapolis colinm's Avatar
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    Frozen salt and sludge is not as reactive as it is when it thaws - it flows all over and dries, giving it a better chance to oxidize day after day. So keep it frozen. Maybe a do-it-yourself car wash is available, you can blast it, just not the bearings / BB.
    THREAD KILLER

  7. #7
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    How abput fenders with a fabricated mudflap to limit the salt spray on the chain and bottom bracket? I keep my bike in an unheated garage. At most , I hose it off once during the winter. It does fine. As pointed out, brine is most reactive when warm.

    Paul

  8. #8
    VegetarianBikeRider coney's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Great suggestions. I never thought about using WD40 as a water proofer.

    I do get out a few Qtips to clean my chain and gears every once in a while, but haven't done the toothbrush thing. Good idea.

    Salt, what a mess.

  9. #9
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    Car wax is a better waterproofer on the outside of a frame. Apply to a clean, dry frame on a warm day. You can also use it on spokes, cables, bolts, bits of exposed bottom bracket spindle, but NOT rims.
    I use WD 40 on the inside of my old steel frame, squirting through the little pin-holes and any other openings.
    For chain health, I have just started running 2 chains. Start with new ones, like a Sachs PC 48 with power links. After a month or 2, take the dirty one off and put in a jar of solvent and put the clean one on the bike. You can clean the dirty chain at your leisure, rather than having to get it back on your bike quickly.

  10. #10
    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    I keep mine outside pretty much the whole winter. Maybe once or twice I take it to a carwash down the street and spray it off with hot water, then carry it (not riding, since it's clean and close) up to my studio and wipe it down, lube the chain, etc.

    The reason you want to keep the snow frozen is more than just that it's more corrosive when thawed - it's here the salt can go when it's liquid. Ice won't slip through the threads into your BB or hubs, but water sure will...

  11. #11
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    What about your tub/shower? Those are 5' long. buy a personel hand held shower head and use it.(on your bike of course!) You can adjust the spray to a fine spray or "Niagara Falls". I would be daffy NOT to use it like that if I lived where you do. Not going to let my ride, that cost more than my first car, go to the vast rustbucket bone yard in the sky.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by coney
    Thanks guys. Great suggestions. I never thought about using WD40 as a water proofer.
    It's not really a water proofer, it's a water displacer. In fact, that's what the name means. Water Displacer, formula # 40 (developed for US DOD I think). WD40 is neat stuff, but is NOT a lubricant.

    What it's good at is chasing water out of cracks and crevises. Spraying spoke nipples with it would be a good way to get the water out of the threads and the rim interface. Also it'll chase the water out of your chain, though it will also strip away your lube, so you'll need to relube then.

    I've heard people say that they just give up on proper chain maintenance in the winter and just slather motor oil on it out of a ketchup serving squeeze bottle. Sounds kinda reasonable to me, actually. There isn't that much dust to worry about picking it up with the sticky oil.

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