What happens if you have to leave your bike outside for a long time? Do bikes go rusty outside? Let’s take a look at how rust can destroy your bike and what you can do to avoid it.
Bikes have been used by humans for the last 200 years. They are the most pleasurable and trustworthy mode of transport for short distances.
Riding bikes is an exercise that keeps the heart strong and the body muscles fit. Besides this, riding bikes keeps us away from various diseases like diabetes, arthritis, stroke, obesity, and even depression.
Although bikes are inexpensive compared to other modes of transport, they still need to be maintained to keep them going for a long time.
In this article, I will focus on what causes bikes to rust, such as keeping them outside for a long time and not maintaining them properly. If you are looking for solutions to your problems with a rusty bike, then this is where you will end up finding the best way to prevent rusting.
Causes of rust on bikes
Bikes have to go on various tracks, be it cemented or uncemented. The roads may be full of ups and downs, and there might be a lot of potholes.
One thing that affects its lifespan is the formation of rust. Let us go through the various causes that shorten your bike’s longevity.
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Dirt And Grime
While you ride, the tires throw dirt and rocks onto the frame. It also splashes mud and dust into the suspension and drivetrain.
Waste materials seep through the internals of the suspension when they compress while riding through up and down bumps, potholes, cracked roads.
If you overlook this, it can establish chips in the paint, which exposes the bare metal and leads to rust formation.
Exposure To Heavy Rain And Moisture
Many times the bikes are kept outside exposed to nature. It naturally plays its role in rust development. The moisture acts as a catalyst for rust. It happens if you leave your bike outdoors unprotected where rain, dew, or snow can gather on it.
If you allow sweat to stay on your bike for long, it can also cause rust to form on your bike. Sweat, along with dirt, is a deadly combination for rust development. When you ride on a sunny day, the sweat covers your entire frame.
The dirt, debris, and moisture combine with this sweat to get into the cracks of your suspension and drivetrain, weakening them from the inside. If moisture gets on the back of rim tape and collects there, it can accelerate rust formation on even alloy and brass nipples.
If your bike is getting exposed to rain every day, even your chain might start to rust. Not only will bikes rust in the rain, but even the bolts will start to seize up. Ultimately the rust causes them to get stuck, which makes the bike useless.
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How To Stop Rust From Forming On Your Bike
Rust is not only limited to iron or alloys. It causes corrosion in all metals and alloys. If you want your bike to last long, you need to prevent the various factors of rust formation.
Frame Protectors & Fenders
You can use frame protectors and fenders to reduce the harm done by sweat, dirt, grime, and mud, as you can’t protect your bike entirely from the elements when you ride on the road.
The purpose of the fender is to divert the dirt and mud at a distance from the sensitive areas of the bike. At the same time, a frame protector helps in keeping rocks and other waste materials from hitting your bike frame. Fenders and Frame protectors are usually available in pairs, and most are priced reasonably.
Park In Shaded Area
You must protect your bike from moisture to minimize its effect on your bike by rusting. For this, you need to park your bike in a shaded area, where your bike is not exposed to moisture.
Most people don’t have this choice, so the other option is to store it in a garage or shaded storage area. You can also keep your bike in your living room. People put up bikes as part of room art while also keeping the bike safe from rust and the elements.
Covering your bike with a tarp is not the best option. If some moisture gets under the tarp, it will not allow it to evaporate. Thus, it will collect on your bike and slowly cause damage.
Another option to prevent your bike from rusting is good old plain washing. You need to wash your bike after every ride. You can remove the dust, mud, and grime that eats into your bike’s metallic parts.
You also get a chance to inspect the bike for signs of a problem. If you see a bit of paint chipped off or rust starting to form somewhere, you can take immediate action.
After a thorough wash, you need to dry your bike as much as possible. If there are spots where you cannot reach them by hand, you can dry them by using an air blower.
Keep in mind to blow air so that only the dust, mud, or waste materials are removed. Don’t overblow air to blast the bearings or bushings, which in turn will allow direct entry of dirt inside.
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You can make your bike durable and smooth with the use of lubricants on metallic surfaces of your bike, as rusting can’t occur on lubricated areas.
You need to lubricate your bike chain and grease all your bike bearings and bushings to make them last longer. Continually lubricate your bike after washing.
Every six months, you need to keep a check on every part of your bike by disassembling them and cleaning them to see for any sign of rust.
After that, apply lubricants to every part. Then do the tuning of your bike accordingly to prevent your bike from unnecessary irreversible damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I keep my bike from rusting outside?
Most people think bikes will not rust outside! The answer is our environment has different layers and goes through climate changes daily. It causes moisture to accumulate on your bikes if kept outside.
If you don’t have any garage or storage room, the best thing you can do is keep your bike in a shaded area. Don’t cover your bike as it will not allow moisture to evaporate. Regularly check for any signs of rusting.
Should bikes be left outside?
Keeping your bikes outside is not a good option as rain and dust can seep into them, causing rust and corrosion.
You can hang your bike in the living room or on the walls as a particular decoration. If you keep your bike outside, always make sure that you park it in a shaded area.
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Is it normal for a bike to rust?
Riding a bicycle outside causes its exposure to moisture and air. This, in turn, leads to a chemical reaction that makes the formation of rust.
It happens in all bikes. Rust will slowly eat away at critical components of your bike, so you should not allow it to happen as much as possible.
What happens if I leave my bike outside?
You must maintain and look after your bike regularly to make it run smoothly as usual. For this, first of all, you need to make sure that you don’t keep your bike exposed outside. It is the primary factor for the formation of rust.
Moisture keeps collecting on your bike, which causes the color coating to crack and get exposed to rusting. If not protected, this leads to corrosion of your bike’s parts starting from your bike chain, bearings, bushings and affecting your bike’s performance and longevity.
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Bikes Do Rust Outside, But You Can Prevent It By Taking Some Precautions
A good bike can be a large financial investment. You would not want your money to go to waste for something as simple and easily avoided as rusting.
After going through the causes of rust development, you should regularly check your bike and its parts to prevent the enemies of the metals that lead to rust formation with time.