How to Get Rid of Rust on a Bike

Bikes are meant for the great outdoors. And just like cars, they are prone to getting dirty as well. It does not matter if you ride your bike as a commuter or as a weekend trail warrior.

Regardless of the wear and tear it experiences, one of the most common factors that would affect bikes greatly is rust.

Read on to know how to prevent this pesky problem as we’ll show you the best ways to prevent rust build-up.

Causes of Rust Build Up

Rust is quite normal especially if you are dealing with metallic objects. That’s why bikes are not safe regardless if they are made out of stainless steel or not. That is because there are still many bike components that are made out of steel, and not aluminum alloy. 

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Steel is way harder and more durable when compared to aluminum. Modern bikes are made out of aluminum alloy thus making them lighter and depending on the grade, as durable as steel. 

But there are certain components that aluminum could not match, as some components of your bike chain, drivetrain, and sometimes, even somewhere on the bike’s cockpit.

And even if you keep it clean 100% of the time, your bike is exposed to the natural conditions of your environment which makes them prone to rust formation. 

Rust build-up is caused by your metal, especially steel components, coming into contact with acidic substances. And guess what, this includes water. 

Now when these metals remain untreated or uncared of, rust will begin to form over time which will result in corrosion and that would compromise the durability of your bike greatly.

Do you know why car owners cover their cars when it is not in use? Yes, the exact reason would be to avoid their cars getting exposed to different weather conditions which would impact the build-up of rust. 

Effects of Rust on a Bike

Rust formation, when not taken cared of will eventually lead to your bike breaking down. So if you have a bike with a frame that is made out of steel, then you should be extra careful. Always be mindful of the maintenance schedule of your bike. 

Rust formation especially on the chain can lead the bike chain to break or will end up with hard joints which will lead to chain drops or jumps. This will make your ideal ride turn worst. 

One of the most annoying biking experiences is when your drive train can’t seem to keep the chain on one speed. The bike chain would hop from one sprocket to another. Then you would start thinking that maybe something is wrong with your derailleur. 

Or maybe your drive drain is out of tune. And even if you already replaced everything, the problem would persist. All this hassle can be caused by a rusty chain.  

How to Remove Rust from a Bike

There are many ways to remove rust from metal parts. You can easily purchase a chemical rust remover from your local hardware store and apply them to the rust formation once you get home. But the challenge is, not all these chemicals can be applied to your bike. 

Sometimes, a chemical rust remover may do more harm than good if you don’t use them properly. Now you are probably asking yourself why it will harm your bike. The simplest answer would be is that bikes are composed of many different parts, and not just metal once. There is plastic, rubber, or even carbon fiber. 

Sometimes these anti-rust chemicals can harm these kinds of components on your bike and that happens, you will end up spending more than what you opted for. 

The easiest and safest way to removing rust is through the use of baking soda and vinegar. Yes, you can easily remove rust at home, specifically surface rust, when you have all the ingredients that are needed. 

What you would need to do is to mix baking soda and vinegar until it reaches a past-like consistency. Once done, you can add a bit of lime juice to the baking soda to finish the mixture. 

You can now use a brush or steel wool to apply the DIY anti-rust mixture to the metallic parts of your bike that are affected by rust as these can remove all the rust easily. Make sure that you cover all areas and make it rest on your bike for at least 10 minutes. 

After the allotted time, you can scrub the paste using a steel wool pad, or any brush that is capable enough to remove rust formation. Once done, you can apply a light layer of lubricant or wax on any metal components on the bike that is prone to rust formation. 

The layer will protect that metal part from future build-up. You will need to redo this step every time you wash your bike after it completely dries off. 

Anti-rust Agents to Prevent Bike Rusting

Aside from baking soda and vinegar, there are also other agents that you can use to remove rust from your bike. You can also use any of the following:

  • Coke
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Hydrogen peroxide with cream of tartar
  • Phosphoric or hydrochloric acid
  • WD40

The agents mentioned above are quite effective as well just like baking soda. But keep in mind that you do not leave the area as is once the agent dries out or when you pour lemon juice. You can also place the liquid ingredients on a spray bottle for your rust removal mission.

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When you are using WD40 or baking soda paste, make sure that you wipe the excess off from the bike as it may act as a contaminant to other bike parts. When you use it as a spray, make sure that it does not hit or drop onto the rotors.  Spray them directly on the parts except for the rotors. These will then lead to rust breaking, especially on your rust bike chain.

Once your brake rotors are contaminated, this will present a whole new set of problems for your bike. 

Conclusion

Taking care of our bikes is a must. Especially if it is being used on daily basis. Regardless of what kind of bike that you have at home, always ensure that you take time to inspect all of its components for any signs of rust formation.

With regular maintenance, you will surely prolong the lifespan of your bike. Keep in mind as well that every time you do the rust removal process, always apply wax or any light lubricant. Do not overdo it since it may attract dust formation as well.

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AUTHOR
Jomar Teves
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.