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Protecting bike from salt and rust in commutes

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Protecting bike from salt and rust in commutes

Old 02-20-19, 10:56 AM
  #1  
wc1472
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Protecting bike from salt and rust in commutes

So I just bought a vintage bianchi road bike with a steel frame and nice components. It's currently winter where I live, and this means that there is often the typical mix of slush/salt/snow/dirt on the roads. I've had issues with bikes getting damaged and parts not working in the past, and I would like this bike especially to be protected from that. The paint on the frame is still pretty good, not much damage is visible. How much should I be worried about the bike? I usually commute a short distance (>10 minutes) and then the bike is locked outside to a bike rack. When I am at home I keep all my bikes inside as a general rule.

What is a good set of rules/strategies to protect the components/frame? I don't want the nipples to seize, things to rust, etc. I also could potentially wash the bike but it would be quite a big hassle (no garden hose etc in my apartment).

Is my best strategy to just ride my beater mountain bike around or are there ways to realistically protect my bike well?
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Old 02-20-19, 11:45 AM
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Just wash it often with fresh water, keep it clean oiled chain , etc .. bucket brushes and sponge .. how about the bathtub?
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Old 02-20-19, 02:49 PM
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Ride the beater bike for daily commutes, and save the nice road bike for nicer weather, or weekends when you can devote 30 minutes to post-ride cleaning and maintenance after every ride.
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Old 02-20-19, 04:58 PM
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Some strategies you could consider:
  • Use a hand-pump garden sprayer to hose down your bike with warm water (store inside afterwards). $20 at your hardware store
  • Replace all bolts with stainless steel bolts. Grease threads. Only use stainless steel cables.
  • Consider a more rust resistant chain
  • Protect inside of steel frame against rust (Frame saver, Boeshield T-9, boiled linseed oil)
  • Regularly keep your drive train free of gunk and sand
  • Touch up on all scratches and paint chips on your steel frame BEFORE rust starts
  • Aim to replace as many plain steel parts with stainless steel or aluminum versions as reasonable.
  • You can use something like thick grease or Vaseline to cover up moving plain steel parts, such as derailleur joints, etc (not chain!). Needs cleaning and replenishing once a season
  • Use nosed housing ends and other covers to reduce water ingress into cable housing (esp. those that are pointing upwards and where water can collect in a housing)
  • Full-coverage fenders with long mudflaps
Edit: in agreement with Jim (below): the best bikes go in winter storage inside. With good care (and using some of the tips above) you can ride a nice bike through winter and not wreck it completely. But wear and tear is higher in winter, so you are going to replace components a little earlier. I wouldn't want to see this with my $400 tandem bike hubs. With my standard disc hubs of my decent-quality hardtail MTB (winter commuter), no problem!
If you don't want the additional maintenance and care, beaters are your best bet.

Last edited by alias5000; 02-20-19 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 02-20-19, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Ride the beater bike for daily commutes, and save the nice road bike for nicer weather, or weekends when you can devote 30 minutes to post-ride cleaning and maintenance after every ride.
My strategy too. My pristine carbon fiber bike is completely in storage from December to March.

Even on dry roads, I wonder about salt dust from so much laid down. I wait until a good drenching rainfall occurs after the presumed last road salting, to wash most away.
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Old 02-20-19, 07:24 PM
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Maybe something like Boeshield, which was developed to protect aircraft from corrosion would help. But don't get it on the brake track on the rims.
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Old 02-20-19, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by wc1472 View Post
So I just bought a vintage bianchi road bike with a steel frame and nice components. It's currently winter where I live, and this means that there is often the typical mix of slush/salt/snow/dirt on the roads. I've had issues with bikes getting damaged and parts not working in the past, and I would like this bike especially to be protected from that. The paint on the frame is still pretty good, not much damage is visible. How much should I be worried about the bike? I usually commute a short distance (>10 minutes) and then the bike is locked outside to a bike rack. When I am at home I keep all my bikes inside as a general rule.

What is a good set of rules/strategies to protect the components/frame? I don't want the nipples to seize, things to rust, etc. I also could potentially wash the bike but it would be quite a big hassle (no garden hose etc in my apartment).

Is my best strategy to just ride my beater mountain bike around or are there ways to realistically protect my bike well?
You know that ">10 minutes" means more than 10 minutes, right?
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Old 02-21-19, 05:15 AM
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I don't bother cleaning my bikes during winter. I rinse the salt off with water once a year at the end of winter season and keep everything well lubed. Don't worry about a little bit of rust on the chain, bolts and other hardware, the rust is just cosmetic. The most important thing is protecting the frame. Spray some automotive rustproofing oil inside the frame.
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Old 02-21-19, 06:02 AM
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Protecting bike from salt and rust in commutes
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Ride the beater bike for daily commutes, and save the nice road bike for nicer weather, or weekends when you can devote 30 minutes to post-ride cleaning and maintenance after every ride.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
My strategy too. My pristine carbon fiber bike is completely in storage from December to March.
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I don't bother cleaning my bikes during winter.I rinse the salt off with water once a year at the end of winter season and keep everything well lubed.

Don't worry about a little bit of rust on the chain, bolts and other hardware, the rust is just cosmetic. The most important thing is protecting the frame. Spray some automotive rustproofing oil inside the frame.
So too I don’t bother cleaning my beater either. We live in a small downtown condo, and I don’t have easily accessible facilities, like a garage.

If the bike, mainly the drive train is particularly filthy, my bike shop one block away does a good cleaning.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Besides time, I have never had good facilities to work easily. Even now we live in a relatively small, but elegant condo, and my wife would frown on a room with a bike stand. Having the LBS do it all, in my case is a really good deal.

The shop is one block away, and they will fix many things at a convenient time for me [especially when not busy during bad weather].

They are so expert that they can do these things quickly, better than me, and often spot problems that I did not see. Whenever I leave the shop, the bikes ride as if new again.

Because the bikes are a major transportation mode for me, keeping them in good repair is critical. We save a lot of money on transportation, so further using the LBS is even more cost-effective
Hats off to Back Bay Bikes.
My beater is a good quality aluminum Specialized Diverge, and I bought it as a good-riding beater that I would nonetheless subject to the elements, without the distress of messing up my high end Specialized S-Works.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 02-21-19 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 02-21-19, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I don't bother cleaning my bikes during winter. I rinse the salt off with water once a year at the end of winter season and keep everything well lubed. Don't worry about a little bit of rust on the chain, bolts and other hardware, the rust is just cosmetic. The most important thing is protecting the frame. Spray some automotive rustproofing oil inside the frame.
I prepare my winter bike in the fall by removing any rust spots I find, touching up the paint, and then greasing and oiling.

In the winter it's too cold and messy to bother with much. I wipe off the chain from time to time, and apply fresh oil. Any cleaning I try seems futileóthe next slushy day negates my efforts.
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Old 02-21-19, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
My beater is a good quality aluminum Specialized Diverge, and I bought it as a good-riding beater that I would nonetheless subject to the elements, without the distress of messing up my high end Specialized S-Works.
I bought a used carbon s-works tri-cross for my winter bike. It wasnít very expensive and I donít worry about rust. I usually rinse off the muck that accumulates on the the weekend if Iím riding with a group.
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Old 02-21-19, 04:13 PM
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I leave near the ocean and I always use lubes like carbon pro heavy lube or green oil lube. My bike and other "toys" stored in the garage, but corrosion is not sleep. I forgot about my child's bike for 3 month and when found him in the corner of the garage it was all in corrosion.
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Old 02-21-19, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
Maybe something like Boeshield, which was developed to protect aircraft from corrosion would help. But don't get it on the brake track on the rims.
I use a mixture of Boeshield T9, LPS 3 and ACF-50, in about equal proportions. The mixture works better than any of the components individually and I get all 3 from aircraft suppliers. I may need to reapply the mixture only once or twice per winter and this only on the chain - on other places it holds on with far more resilience.
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Old 02-21-19, 11:42 PM
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ride carbon , throw those penny smelling paper weights in the trash bro !!!

carbon is rarbon !!!!!!
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Old 02-26-19, 05:13 PM
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In theory, baby wipes were a good idea. I managed to keep my bike nice and sparkly through the early part of winter by taking a couple of wipes and removing dirt and gunk from the frame after each commute.

In practice, the plan failed; once it actually got cold, the wipes just froze to the frame. If I had a microwave it might be worth heating them up (in the style of airplane hot towels!) and giving that a go.
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Old 02-26-19, 08:14 PM
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I do have "beater" that I ride on wet, snowy, salt coated roads. My "other" bathroom has a good sized, tiled shower stall with flexible water tubing and a movable shower head. I put my bike in there and give it at least a good hosing off, let it drip dry a bit, and then wipe it off and lubricate as necessary.
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Old 02-27-19, 12:44 PM
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Congest top of your seat tube with hot glue. Rain and washing water goes to bottom bracket through the hole on seat tube. Water causes bottom bracket to rust, then rust spreads to frame and make it trashed. I had this kind of experience, my previous bb has trashed only at 9000 km because of moisture but I was lucky because I use 6061 alloy frame.
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Old 03-05-19, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by wc1472 View Post
I usually commute a short distance (>10 minutes)
Fenders to avoid throwing road salt and such up onto the drivetrain is about all you can do.

and then the bike is locked outside to a bike rack.
What's worst for the bike here is getting rained or snowed directly on. Ideally you could find a rack underneath some sort of roofing (like in a parking garage or something) so it's not directly exposed to rain and snow.
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