Rust: it’s ugly, annoying, and dangerous. If your kids love to ride in all weather, you’ll need to give their bike some extra TLC to prevent rust from damaging its components.
Read on to learn how to remove rust from a bike and how the right care and maintenance can reduce the need to treat rust as often.
What Causes Bike Rust?
Rusty bicycles don’t just look bad; they can slow your kid’s bike down, prevent the bell from working, eat away at the spokes, and more.
If your kid’s bicycle is their lifeline, preventing rust is a must – to understand how to prevent and remove it, we need to understand why it forms.
Rust builds up on your bicycle when it’s affected by both moisture and oxygen. This could be moisture on the surface of your bike or water in the air.
Unfortunately, the conditions that cause oxidation are so common that without the right care and maintenance, rusting is inevitable.
A build-up of dirt and sweat can also cause rust and corrosion if you don’t clean them away regularly.
Sweat has a nasty habit of eating through the coating on a bike frame, and dirt LOVES to sit in the suspension and drivetrain.
Both rust and corrosion can shorten the lifespan of most bikes. It affects all metals, especially iron and its alloys, but it can even eat away at aluminum.
How To Remove Rust From A Bike Chain
When your kids are out cycling, especially in wet, muddy conditions, the bike chain will take a lot of impact.
Moisture, mud, and other debris can enter the bike chain, and if left unchecked, it’ll build up and start to form rust.
Even bikes kept in long-term storage can develop rusty chains, so you’ll need to pay extra care and attention to chain maintenance.
If you’re already at the point where rust is starting to form, it’s not too late to remove it, and prevent further damage. Here’s the best way to remove rust from a bike chain:
For this method, you’ll need three things:
- A cleaning brush (wired is best)
- An all-purpose cleaner or lubricant such as WD-40 or a designated bike chain cleaner
- A clean cloth
- Spray your cleaning product directly onto the bike chain. Ensure all spots of rust have been sprayed with the cleaner, and allow it to sink in for at least 10 minutes.
- Get your cleaning brush, and start to gently scrub the affected areas. The rust on your chain should start to fall away.
- Use your clean cloth to wipe away any remaining fluid.
- If there’s still rust on your chain, repeat the process until it’s clean.
Once you’ve cleaned your chain and left it dry, we recommend lubing the bike chain.
Keeping a bike chain lubricated can increase the lifespan of the drivetrain and keep the components working smoothly.
To apply lubricant to a chain, slowly backpedal on the bike while applying a small amount of lubrication to the chain.
Make sure you’re lubricating the top and bottom of the chain, and apply lubricant between every link.
How To Remove Rust From A Bike Frame
Bike frame maintenance is just as crucial as chain maintenance. A rusty bike frame is unappealing and dangerous, but thankfully removing a build-up of rust is simple.
Although you can use specific cleaning products for your frame, baking soda is the most popular choice, especially for painted frames.
So, to remove a build-up of rust from your bike frame, you’ll need:
- Baking soda and water (50/50 mix)
- Lemon juice (optional)
- Scrubbing pad or steel wool
- Mix an equal amount of baking soda and water together in a bowl. Add a squeeze of lemon juice (optional) to enhance the cleaning properties.
- Now, evenly apply your mix to the rusty areas, and leave it to sit for around 10-15 minutes.
- After 10-15 minutes, use a scrubbing pad or some steel wool to scrub the solution. You should see the rust beneath the solution start to break down. If this isn’t happening, add more of the paste to the frame, and use more force to scrub.
- Once your bike is clean, ensure it’s completely dry before storing it again.
Care And Maintenance To Prevent Bike Rust
Knowing how to remove rust is essential no matter what bike your kids have or how frequently they use it. Even with the right care and maintenance, rust can occur.
However, you can reduce the severity of rust build-up by caring for and maintaining the bike correctly. Below is a list of care and maintenance tips to help prevent a build-up of bike rust.
Wipe When Wet
When the bike gets wet, wipe it clean with a dry cloth. This will prevent a build-up of moisture and oxygen that can cause rusting.
Store The Bike Correctly
Leaving your bike in the yard exposed to all weather won’t do it any favors. If you want to prevent rust, you need to store your bike in a sheltered space such as a garage or a shed.
Dry and warm conditions can prevent rusting, so ensure your garage or shed doesn’t have any leaks!
Rust Proof Your Bike
One of the most important things you can do is to rust-proof your bike.
If you want to prevent rust, invest in a quality anti-rust primer and apply it to the bike; just make sure you’ve cleaned off any dirt or rust beforehand.
Anti-rust primer works best when a bike is stripped of rust and paint.
If you don’t want to remove all the paint and repaint it later, you can try using another rust protection product, such as a shield aerosol.
Simply spray this onto the bike to create a protective layer and weatherproof it.
Remember: the gears and chains can also be affected by rust. So, it’s important to use a bike chain lubricant spray and a bike chain degreaser or cleaner to clean the chain and keep the bike in top form.
Rust may be inevitable, but it’s treatable. Even with the correct care, rust can still accumulate on a bike.
However, by caring for and maintaining the bike regularly, you’ll eliminate the need to treat your kid’s bike as often, so they can make the most of riding in all weather!
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