Prevent Rust

author : Team BT
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Your bike costs a lot to replace. Don't let it get rusty.

Most of our mental images of rusty bikes are of the Huffy 10-speed we trash-picked from the neighbor's house, with the chain all seized up. However, even high-end carbon-fiber bikes that are stored in basements and bedrooms can be destroyed by rust.

With minimal maintenance, you can avoid the scourge of rust. That's important because, while steel wool can remove surface rust, once the oxidizing process starts, rust is likely to spread even if you remove what you can see.


Checklist: Your Five Rust-Prevention Habits:



  1. Keep your bike dry. If you ride in the rain, make sure the bike has a chance to dry off in a well-ventilated (not humid) area, or hand-dry it quickly with a towel. 

  2. Grease the metal. Look at your bike closely to see where metal parts, especially moving metal parts, are exposed to the elements. Often the shifter cables and brake cables are threaded through the frame, but they emerge at some point. Buy a tube of bike grease, get a little on your fingers, and lube up the exposed metal.

  3. Lube your chain. Use a specific lubricant meant for chains (NOT WD-40) at least once a week, if not before every ride. A rusty chain not only locks up and stops functioning, it will also spell doom for your expensive cog set (in the back) and chainrings (in the front). The chain lube will build up over time and catch dirt and grime, so use a chain cleaning kit regularly. After the chain is clean, don't even THINK about riding without putting on a fresh coat of chain lube.

  4. Sweat and Gatorade both count as water! If it's a hot day, you are likely sloshing your aero bottle onto the screws in the top of the headset. If it's a winter day and you are sweating on the trainer, the bike is not moving you forward, so your sweat is dripping straight down onto screws and other exposed metal. Drape a towel over the top tube and headset while you ride indoors.

  5. Lube your spoke nipples. This one sounds obscene, but it's not. At the point where your spokes meet the outside rim of the wheel, there are little metal cylinders. These are called spoke nipples, and bike mechanics use them to adjust the tension on each spoke to make the wheel "true" or perfectly round. That means they MOVE. Any moving metal part, no matter how infrequently it moves, needs grease.


And don't forget:


Store your bike somewhere kind. You are a triathlete. You can't just lean your bike against the shed like you did when you were a kid. Hooks that screw into your garage rafters are a cheap purchase, and will keep your bike clean and dry. Better yet, set up a bike trainer indoors and keep your mileage up when the weather is bad. 

Just don't forget the towel!


 

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date: October 30, 2016

Team BT