Bicycles are made of metal, and they are always exposed to the elements (air, debris, moisture)- even when they are indefinitely stored inside the garage. As such, one of the issues a bike owner like you will encounter at some point is rusting.
While you may improve the way you maintain your bicycle and delay or minimize rusting, it’s quite difficult to protect all your bike parts. The best thing you can do is to perform routine checks to identify deterioration from rust as soon as it happens and resolve the issue by knowing how to get the rust off a bike.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to remove rust from bike frames and bike chains, as well as how to rust-proof your bicycle.
How To Remove Rust From Your Bike Frame
What you’ll need:
- Baking soda (main ingredient)
- Vinegar or lemon juice for added potency
- Water, mix with equal parts baking soda
- Dry cloth, sponge
- Bowl or bucket
Steps to get rid of rust on a bike frame:
- Mix the water and baking soda to create a paste. Add extra ingredients if you wish.
- Apply the paste all over the areas of the bike frame showing signs of rust, making sure to adequately cover the frame sections.
- Let the paste sit for 15 minutes to give it ample time to break the rust down.
- Scrape the paste off the bike using a brush. This should remove the rust as well.
- If there’s any rust left, repeat steps 2 to 4 until you are satisfied with the results.
- Finally, take a clean cloth and wipe the frame down until it is dry and clean.
How To Remove Rust From Your Bike Chain
First, examine the bike chain to determine whether it is salvageable or needs replacing.
- Position the bicycle upside down, securing it to a stable surface.
- Look for signs of extensive imperfections and damage, like warping and deterioration. If there is considerable damage, replace the rusty bike chain. *Schwinn offers some amazing bike chain replacements.*
- Otherwise, if the buildup of material and rust is only at the surface level, proceed to clean the chain instead.
- To proceed, remove the bike chain from the drivetrain or the master link.
What you’ll need:
- Lime juice
- Steel wool or brush
- Clean cloth
Steps to remove rust from bike chain:
- Degrease the chain to remove accumulated particles and grease. Make sure to wear gloves for safety, then apply ample amounts of degreaser on a clean cloth, and run the soaked cloth over the bike chain.
- Alternatively, you can soak the bike chain in the degreaser for 24 hours to remove extensive buildup.
- Take your brush and lime juice. Apply the juice on the brush or steel wool, then scrub off the rust from the bike chain.
- While you are scrubbing, periodically wipe the chain off with a cloth to assess your progress. Continue scrubbing until all the rust is removed.
- Get some soapy water and wash the lime juice away from the chain. Do this by rinsing or soaking the chain in the water. Afterward, take a cloth and dry the bike chain.
- Finally, lubricate the bike chain to prevent the formation of rust and make for a smooth ride. Once that’s done, re-attach the bike chain.
An alternative method is to use Morton Salt or a rust remover.
How To Rust-proof Your Bike
Now that you know how to clean rust off a bike, it’s also important that you take it one step further and rust-proof your bicycle so that your efforts won’t go to waste and your bike will stay rust-free for longer.
The best way to rust-proof your bike is to apply rust-proofing products like grease, primer, wax, or varnish, depending on the bike parts you are protecting against rust, such as the bike frame, chains, bike handlebars, spokes, and so on. You can also paint your bike to add a nice layer of protection to the exposed metal parts.
At the end of the day, however, one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to preserve your bicycle’s condition is to regularly clean it after cycling, especially if it has been exposed to dirt, debris, and water.
Here’s why it’s important to clean your bike, and a video of how to do it.
While rust may be inevitable, there are things you can do to minimize its damage, as well as target and address the problem as soon as it happens. When it comes to how to get rust off a bike, the process is fairly easy. With a little patience, effort, and elbow grease, you can get your recumbent road bike looking great in no time.