Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Is Rain Bad For Your Bike?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Is Rain Bad For Your Bike?

Old 10-26-20, 08:22 PM
  #1  
DudeManBro
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 10
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Is Rain Bad For Your Bike?

What do you think, is it ok to ride your bike in the rain? How to go about drying it off?

I was thinking of using an air compressor to dry it off but not sure if that would be a bad idea?
DudeManBro is offline  
Old 10-26-20, 08:52 PM
  #2  
flangehead
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 619

Bikes: 2017 Co-op ADV 1.1; ~1991 Novara Arriba; 1990 Fuji Palisade; mid-90's Moots Tandem; 1985 Performance Superbe

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 264 Post(s)
Liked 361 Times in 214 Posts
As a commuter I have no choice but ride in rain from time to time.
  • I have fenders.
  • I donít ride in heavy downpours.
  • I donít leave the bike sitting out in the rain any more than absolutely necessary.
  • When I get home I hang the bike upside down; sometimes I get some water out. Iíll sometimes remove the seatpost to help ventilate the moisture out of the frame.
  • If I feel like it might be damp I later bake the bike, with seatpost out, in the sun.
    ​​​​​
Iím sure it would be better if they didnít get wet, but I havenít had any corrosion related failures on my steel bikes in 15 years in inland south Texas.

YMMV.
flangehead is offline  
Likes For flangehead:
Old 10-26-20, 08:56 PM
  #3  
Toadmeister
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Iowa
Posts: 599

Bikes: 2021 Salsa Fargo 1x12, 2019 Jamis Renegade Exploit 1x11. Motobacne NX Fat Tire

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Liked 303 Times in 150 Posts
Rain is not nearly as bad for your bike as it Is sitting in the lonely corner of your garage.
Toadmeister is offline  
Old 10-26-20, 09:01 PM
  #4  
CargoDane
Not a newbie to cycling
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 911

Bikes: Omnium Cargo Ti with Rohloff, Bullitt Milk Plus, Dahon Smooth Hound

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 356 Post(s)
Liked 319 Times in 197 Posts
I ride year-round. I also did so when I had external gears and chains. Of course, I usually bought aluminium bikes for that reason, but my latest (and probably last) is a titanium jobby - unfortunately with a steel fork. I may swap it out at a later date for some custom titanium thing.

Maintain the chain and gears (oil the chain and wash off road salt), and you should be good to go for years and years. Truth be told, I rarely washed any of my bikes, and rarely oiled the chain unless I felt it needed it (too much noise) and things still kept on rocking. You can get stainless chains these days. They're worth it.
CargoDane is offline  
Likes For CargoDane:
Old 10-26-20, 09:03 PM
  #5  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,751
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1012 Post(s)
Liked 577 Times in 374 Posts
I just let it drip dry in the garage. I'm a commuter in the upper Midwest, so I get my share of rain. I don't go out of my way to avoid rain unless there might be serious action such as hail, and I've been caught in storms where I literally pour water out of my shoes when I get home.

My summer and winter commuter bikes have internal gear hubs, which supposedly are more weather proof, but derailleur systems are pretty robust. In fact I think that bikes are a lot less delicate than folks tend to assume. I've gotten a bit of minor surface rust on chains and cogs, which doesn't really affect performance of the bike. Now if I wanted to keep it showroom clean, it would be a different matter, but none of my bikes are worth that kind of attention.
Gresp15C is online now  
Likes For Gresp15C:
Old 10-26-20, 09:04 PM
  #6  
thesongs
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I ride my bike rain or shine. One of the bad things about riding in the rain is that (at least with my bike) water seeps into the cables. Thus, the cables rust inside their casing. You can usually tell your cables have rusted when the brakes don't work so well because they are not sliding in and out very well. In such instances, all you need to do is change the cables. Other than that, I have rust in various indentations around my bike. So, in short, I suppose it does make a difference though all I've done is to replace the cable once it gets stiff.
thesongs is offline  
Likes For thesongs:
Old 10-26-20, 09:11 PM
  #7  
Thomas15
I think I know nothing.
 
Thomas15's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NE PA
Posts: 678
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 223 Post(s)
Liked 276 Times in 195 Posts
If you are a serious or even semi-serious rider you will get caught in the rain. No matter how careful it will happen. Happened to my just this week.

I rather have some mud, road grime, a few use scratches and dings and really use my bikes than have a pristine machines that rarely gets used. In the end no one except fellow bikers are impressed with a showroom condition bike anyway.
Thomas15 is offline  
Likes For Thomas15:
Old 10-26-20, 09:50 PM
  #8  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,798

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 104 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3067 Post(s)
Liked 1,698 Times in 1,120 Posts
Originally Posted by DudeManBro View Post
What do you think, is it ok to ride your bike in the rain? How to go about drying it off?

I was thinking of using an air compressor to dry it off but not sure if that would be a bad idea?
Steel (non-stainless) rusts. Leather gets soaked and dries harder. Light oils can get washed out of parts needing lubrication. Compressed air can force grit and debris into chains, bearings and other places it doesn,t belong.

That said, I've put 50,000 miles on a steel bike that has seen plenty of rain, including some rides where "downpour" would be an understatement. Now that bike 1) has had the insides of the frame treated with rust prevention, 2) had bearing greased with plenty of quality grease, 3) leather was treated with quality leather treatments (toestraps, leather covered racing seats and for around 15 years, leather wrapped handlebars). Moving parts need lubrication. Bearings need to stay lubricated and free from water. On a bike ridden regularly, heavier oils and greases are your friend. I use light Tri-Flo for the chains of my summer bikes but Finish Line MTB wet lubricant for the winter bikes because a hard rain (or ride through a very deep puddle) won't wash it out..

Now, as others have said, frames of carbon fiber, aluminum and titanium don't care about water. Aluminum doesn't either.

If you plan on doing more rain day rides, tell us what you're riding. Not everything wants the same treatment.

Edit: Fenders are your (and your bike's) best friend. Get full fenders with a deep front flap or plan on making a good front flap. (Quote me and I'll tell you what I do.) And if you ride in the rain enough, get a rain bike and save your good one for the better days.

Last edited by 79pmooney; 10-26-20 at 09:53 PM.
79pmooney is online now  
Likes For 79pmooney:
Old 10-26-20, 11:40 PM
  #9  
SurferRosa
SeŮor Member
 
SurferRosa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Pac NW
Posts: 4,833

Bikes: Old school lightweights

Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1987 Post(s)
Liked 2,334 Times in 1,270 Posts
My old bikes are too good for rain. The grocery getter may see some wet pavement, but that's it.
SurferRosa is offline  
Likes For SurferRosa:
Old 10-26-20, 11:46 PM
  #10  
scott967
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Oahu, HI
Posts: 1,322

Bikes: 89 Paramount OS 84 Fuji Touring Series III New! 2013 Focus Izalco Ergoride

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 261 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 51 Times in 40 Posts
The problem isn't the rain, at least for me; it's the road grit that gets thrown up. Also can increase chance of flatting. Plus I wax my chain, and it doesn't really like water.

scott s.
.
scott967 is offline  
Likes For scott967:
Old 10-27-20, 01:39 AM
  #11  
cubewheels
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Manila, Philippines
Posts: 2,112

Bikes: A really old BMX bike, Jackal Mio Gravel Bike

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 949 Post(s)
Liked 435 Times in 352 Posts
Rain is only bad for the drivetrain if you don't take care of it. Riding in strong rain for a length of time in as little as 30 minutes will wash away drivetrain lube so be sure to dry and re-lube after the ride.

On long, whole day / multi day rides where rains are expected, be sure to bring a small bottle of lube with you and a rug to wipe and re-lube if you get caught in the rain.

Full fenders make a huge difference in wet season riding. Full fenders are also great even in dry gravel rides as riding over gravel can throw dirt and even tiny rocks all over your bike and into your face even if bone dry.
cubewheels is offline  
Likes For cubewheels:
Old 10-27-20, 06:38 AM
  #12  
noimagination
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 401
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 217 Post(s)
Liked 223 Times in 124 Posts
If it's a light rain, just bounce it a couple of times before you put it away, wipe it dry with a rag and run a fan pointed at it. Lube the chain after the bike is dry. Maybe check derailleur pivots and lube if needed.

If it's gotten a good soaking, you may need to rinse off road grit with a hose. Then, in addition to the above, pull the seat post, maybe turn it upside down for a while (the drain holes in the BB are pretty small). Also it may be a good idea to pull your tires off to give the rims a chance to dry. This is for standard aluminum wheels with standard spokes and rim strip. I don't have experience with carbon wheels or tubeless, so it may not be necessary for those types of wheels (???). If the bike gets regular soakings, the maintenance schedule for re-packing and greasing bearings should be shorter, maybe as much as quarterly if you live in a wet area. You'll probably also go through cables and housing more frequently, as they may get gunked up from periodic rain rides.

I don't think blasting the bike with a compressor is a good idea, it might drive moisture past seals and into areas that have remained mostly dry. I don't know, though, I've never tried it, so maybe someone who actually knows will chime in.
noimagination is offline  
Likes For noimagination:
Old 10-27-20, 09:03 AM
  #13  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,751
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1012 Post(s)
Liked 577 Times in 374 Posts
Here's something I've noticed. All but one of my bikes have steel frames. All have been exposed to varying levels of rain, mud, road salt, and so forth. None of them have ever been pampered. Over the decades, none of my frames have seen serious rusting with one exception. The paint that they put on frames is pretty darn good. As others have mentioned, the insides of the tubes can be coated with something resembling varnish. The things that have rusted have tended to be fasteners, drivetrain parts, cables, etc. So I wouldn't go out of my way to seek out special frame materials.

Now the exception was a bike that was half buried in my college housemate's family's barn for possibly decades, an ancient Hercules. And its frame was badly rusted. So I think long term storage in wet or corrosive conditions can definitely rust a frame. Salt air, sure. The pics we've seen of frame rusting on this forum must be due to more than just normal use in normal weather.
Gresp15C is online now  
Likes For Gresp15C:
Old 10-27-20, 09:06 AM
  #14  
Germany_chris
Senior Member
 
Germany_chris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Southern Germany
Posts: 1,506
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 311 Post(s)
Liked 461 Times in 247 Posts
Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
Here's something I've noticed. All but one of my bikes have steel frames. All have been exposed to varying levels of rain, mud, road salt, and so forth. None of them have ever been pampered. Over the decades, none of my frames have seen serious rusting with one exception. The paint that they put on frames is pretty darn good. As others have mentioned, the insides of the tubes can be coated with something resembling varnish. The things that have rusted have tended to be fasteners, drivetrain parts, cables, etc. So I wouldn't go out of my way to seek out special frame materials.

Now the exception was a bike that was half buried in my college housemate's family's barn for possibly decades, an ancient Hercules. And its frame was badly rusted. So I think long term storage in wet or corrosive conditions can definitely rust a frame. Salt air, sure. The pics we've seen of frame rusting on this forum have to be due to more than just normal use in normal weather.
That's kinda my opinion I'm just going to go through all the things that people talk about here because it rained It's a bike it's not going to dissolve if it gets wet.
Germany_chris is offline  
Likes For Germany_chris:
Old 10-27-20, 10:10 AM
  #15  
Troul 
:D
 
Troul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Mich
Posts: 4,534
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 1,213 Times in 859 Posts
The rain itself is not that big of a deal, it's the kickup that it brings for coating the bicycle with the nasties. I've at times put in a "round-up" pressure sprayer jug a diluted mixture of car wash soap & warm water. Spraying the mid/lower half of the bicycle. Following that up with a wipe down & relubrication. It isn't for everyone, but it works for my equipment.
__________________
-Oh Hey!
Troul is offline  
Likes For Troul:
Old 10-27-20, 10:18 AM
  #16  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 40,432

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Canyon Exceed, Specialized Transition, Ellsworth Roots, Ridley Excalibur

Mentioned: 67 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2773 Post(s)
Liked 2,564 Times in 1,183 Posts
Is rain bad for your bike?

Is it made of spun sugar?
caloso is offline  
Likes For caloso:
Old 10-27-20, 10:26 AM
  #17  
msu2001la
Senior Member
 
msu2001la's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,624
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 720 Post(s)
Liked 656 Times in 385 Posts
I've never noticed any issues with rain riding affecting my bikes. When I do ride in rain, I usually wipe down and/or clean my drivetrain after to remove the road grime. I suppose arguably there is some more wear on the drivetrain and brake pads due to road grime adhering to them, but these are consumable parts anyways, so I'm not sure I'd say this is "bad".

A bigger concern I've seen is on wet roads that are salted in the winter. Road salt can mess up all kinds of stuff if not thoroughly rinsed off, and washing a bike can be a bit more tricky in the middle of the winter so it's tempting to just park your slushy bike in the corner for a few days after a really gross ride, and that's when things start to corrode.
msu2001la is offline  
Likes For msu2001la:
Old 10-27-20, 11:00 AM
  #18  
jack pot 
Fxxxxr
 
jack pot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: falfurrias texas
Posts: 829

Bikes: wabi classic (stolen & recovered)

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2230 Post(s)
Liked 889 Times in 669 Posts
90% of the time outside ... my 20 year old SS/fixed aint rusted thru ... it gets KrylonD every couple of years
__________________
Nothing is true---everything is permitted
jack pot is offline  
Likes For jack pot:
Old 10-27-20, 11:13 AM
  #19  
Lakerat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 509
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 213 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 17 Posts
Road salt mixed with sand changes everything. Once salt and sand is laid down I'm much more careful about riding only when its dry out. If I get the bike wet with salt down it gets a rinse and wiped down.
Lakerat is offline  
Likes For Lakerat:
Old 10-27-20, 11:33 AM
  #20  
ptempel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New Jersry the beautiful Garden State
Posts: 1,942

Bikes: 2007 Ridley Excalibur, 2003 Orbea Orca, 199? Cannondale Headshock MTB hardtail

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 520 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Rain is ok for the bike. You just will need a little more maintenance. Clean the bike with one or more brushes and a pail of warm soapy water. Then lightly spray it with the hose. This will help keep the road grit and grime off. Wipe the chain two or three times to just make sure its fairly clean and dry. In heavy rain, I'd usually use two plastic bags: one for my seat and one for my work clothes in the backpack. A rain jacket or shell can;t hurt, either. I don't bother with a hood for the rain jacket. But if yours has one, then by all means use it (if not too hot). You will also need to take apart, clean and lightly lube: stem & bar, cranks, BB, and seatpost more frequently. If not, then you *will* get creaky bike. Also plan on replacing your headset bearings every year. The bottom one was always the first to go since some muck kicking up from the front tire would get in there. Fenders would help with that besides keeping you a little drier.

Last edited by ptempel; 10-27-20 at 11:36 AM.
ptempel is offline  
Likes For ptempel:
Old 10-27-20, 11:34 AM
  #21  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 23,047

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 134 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2770 Post(s)
Liked 1,539 Times in 951 Posts
As others have noted, rain isn't terrible for your bike. It does facilitate depositing grit on places where grit oughtn't be (i.e. drivechain, rims, rider) but regular maintenance can limit those problems. I'd be cautious about using compressed air to dry your bike: it can displace grease or oil from where it is needed and force water into places where it's hard to get rid of.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Likes For JohnDThompson:
Old 10-27-20, 02:39 PM
  #22  
epnnf
Senior Member
 
epnnf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 301

Bikes: 2016 Masi strada vita due, 2019 Kona Dew Plus

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 202 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 34 Posts
I think fenders are overestimated. All they do is get your bike wetter than it otherwise would. And they don't stop it from raining.
epnnf is offline  
Likes For epnnf:
Old 10-27-20, 02:45 PM
  #23  
wolfchild
Senior Member
 
wolfchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 7,011

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2414 Post(s)
Liked 1,291 Times in 630 Posts
Originally Posted by DudeManBro View Post
What do you think, is it ok to ride your bike in the rain? How to go about drying it off?

I was thinking of using an air compressor to dry it off but not sure if that would be a bad idea?
It's perfectly OK to ride in the rain, nothing to worry about...You don't need to dry your bike right away, just leave it to dry by itself.
wolfchild is offline  
Likes For wolfchild:
Old 10-27-20, 02:51 PM
  #24  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 40,432

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Canyon Exceed, Specialized Transition, Ellsworth Roots, Ridley Excalibur

Mentioned: 67 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2773 Post(s)
Liked 2,564 Times in 1,183 Posts
Fenders aren't to protect you from the rain. They're to protect you and your bike from the disgusting road water.
caloso is offline  
Likes For caloso:
Old 10-27-20, 04:03 PM
  #25  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,751
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1012 Post(s)
Liked 577 Times in 374 Posts
One things fenders seem to do for my bikes is to keep the worst of the grit out of my brakes, which may reduce wear on the rims. This is more noticeable during the winter when the roads are covered by that stuff that's a mixture of sand and salt thrown down by the salt trucks. This is the stuff that comes up from below, not from above. Still, for everything there is a season, and I don't worry as much about fenders during the summer.

And as they say out in farm country: That mud ain't really mud.
Gresp15C is online now  
Likes For Gresp15C:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.