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Maintenance tips for a balcony bike

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Maintenance tips for a balcony bike

Old 09-22-08, 05:01 PM
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Charlene
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Maintenance tips for a balcony bike

My apologies if this is in the wrong area or if already covered elsewhere.

I live in a building with no bike room, and we already have three bikes in the apartment. My Kronan cruiser, as the lesser used of my two bikes, has to stay outside on the balcony (covered, but open on all sides, open metal railing). Not ideal, but necessary.

The Vancouver winters are very wet, but not all that cold, so we rarely get ice and snow. I have a plastic cover for the cruiser, but wanted to ask about what I should occasionally be doing to it during the winter to keep it from going bad and falling apart. It's galvanized steel, but definitely has some rustage. Someone I know said to douse the chain in WD-40 once a month, to keep it from rusting. That shocked my husband who said I should get another opinion.

So, any tips? Or is it ok to sit, and then get a little lube and wipe down in the spring?

Thank you, bike gurus!
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Old 09-22-08, 05:54 PM
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Don't use wd40 on the chain. That basically degreases the chain, then a little rain washes off the wd40 and you end up with a rusty chain in no time. Ideally you need to keep the chain coated with oil, but if it is sitting for long periods, perhaps a coating of grease would be benificial.
Actually, it wouldn't hurt if you went out there and wiped down all the metal surfaces with a light grade of oil, and if you plan to ride it after a long period of sitting idle, you should have the cables and bearings lubed.
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Old 09-22-08, 05:56 PM
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Can you cover it with a tarp so it does not get wet in the first place?
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Old 09-22-08, 06:48 PM
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I agree with "get_a_cover", but do yourself a favor and get a decent one. By that, I mean a cover that will breath a little and dry out. Something that's totally waterproof is going to trap any moisture, and that's almost guaranteed to keep your bike rusting away even on the dry days. Google "car covers" and you will find a lot written about this.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:02 PM
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I have a plastic cover for it, as I mentioned. It fits a little awkward, so it doesn't cover it straight to the floor. I would guess that would help with air circulation?? But it is just so WET in Vancouver for most of the winter, I'm talking weeks of rain at a time.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:03 PM
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Thanks, that sounds like good advice. I thought the WD-40 advice seemed a little off.
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Old 09-22-08, 09:38 PM
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Charlene, I know your pain. I RIDE in our rain all winter....

While hosing it down with a bucket of WD40 may stop the corrosion it's a superbly messy way to do the job. Instead use some car wax on the frame and any silver anodized parts to protect them other than the brake tracks on the rims. Oil the chain with a thicker than normal lube. A small can of motorcycle lube like PJ1 would work excellently or the grease style Silkolene, also a motorcycle chain lube. These both dry to a reasonably thick grease that will greatly resist washing away due to condensation effects.

Other than that a tune up in the spring that involves a wheel hub and steering head clean and re-grease and your bike won't mind being on the porch all that much after all. While it's not an ideal place to keep it with a bit of prep before "putting it to bed" it should do fine.
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Old 09-23-08, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
Charlene, I know your pain. I RIDE in our rain all winter....

While hosing it down with a bucket of WD40 may stop the corrosion it's a superbly messy way to do the job. Instead use some car wax on the frame and any silver anodized parts to protect them other than the brake tracks on the rims. Oil the chain with a thicker than normal lube. A small can of motorcycle lube like PJ1 would work excellently or the grease style Silkolene, also a motorcycle chain lube. These both dry to a reasonably thick grease that will greatly resist washing away due to condensation effects.

Other than that a tune up in the spring that involves a wheel hub and steering head clean and re-grease and your bike won't mind being on the porch all that much after all. While it's not an ideal place to keep it with a bit of prep before "putting it to bed" it should do fine.
Thanks BC Rider! I will pick up those items and do a little winterizing soon. I never thought of car wax, but it makes loads of sense. I guess in the spring I just wipe off and clean off the grease on the chain and lube it with our usual bike lube, right?

Last winter was my first winter bike commuting in Vancouver (with my hybrid, not the balcony cruiser). I decided to go for it after much whining and complaining to the husband. It wasn't as bad as I thought, but still a little depressing at times. But then I would pass a long line of cars and buses jamming up Burrard Bridge and remember the magic.
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Old 09-23-08, 05:04 PM
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This may sound a bit odd but........can you disassemble the bike so that only the frame has to sit outside? Small parts can be stashed pretty easily, and you did imply it is seldom ridden.

Good luck.
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Old 09-23-08, 08:25 PM
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I would make sure that all bearings are well greased, hubs, bottom bracket, headset, and pedals. But many bottom brackets are sealed and maintenance free.

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Old 09-23-08, 11:21 PM
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RE:Maintenance tips for a balcony bike

Don't use the 2 stroke engine oil.Keep the brake and acceleration cable always good.
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Old 09-24-08, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Charlene View Post
Thanks BC Rider! I will pick up those items and do a little winterizing soon. I never thought of car wax, but it makes loads of sense. I guess in the spring I just wipe off and clean off the grease on the chain and lube it with our usual bike lube, right?....
I actually used to run my chains with the greasy motorcycle lube and it works well as a lube. But it's so sticky that it made mid winter cleaning so messy that I switched to a thicker oil that is way less sticky and resistant to the solvent I use for chain cleaning.

I'd say in the spring put a little oil on, backpedal a dozen times to mix it and wipe off the excess with a paper towel and then ride it until it needs a cleaning. Sitting on the balcony won't get any dirt and grit sticking to it so there's no real need to clean it assuming you cleaned it before putting the motorcycle lube on it.

The post above by LastPlace to take it apart isn't a bad idea at all if you have some room to put the parts away. If haven't already done that with the other bikes can you store the frame and wheels in a closet or behind a couch? Inside wins over outside any time. Regardless of how well you encase it in oils and unguents it'll suffer to SOME extent from being outside compared to inside.
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Old 09-24-08, 04:59 AM
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I have used a product that is somewhat strange it is called dry molly and is in a spray can looks like black paint will spray like black paint but test results on it is that it will coat and protect in extreme
heat as well as extreme cold has great water protection
if you have one of the colored chains it will turn it black but it will protect your chain
you might want to read up on this product
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Old 09-24-08, 05:02 AM
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http://www.schaefferoil.com/specialty/308_dri_plate.htm
here is a web site on the product
good luck
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