Blog

Removing rust from bicycles

Posted by:

Removing rust from bicycles

Don’t ride a rust bucket around Carolina Beach.  Step it up and remove the rust and preserve the life of your bike.  Being located at the beach, the salt air can take a toll on metal on bicycles.  We have some experience removing rust from bicycles and I would like to share some tips and useful products to accomplish the task inexpensively.  This process works best on old steel bicycle parts but works on most metals.  We find prominent rust mostly on handlebars, rims, seat posts, metal fenders, and bolts.

What you will want to purchase is a wire wheel attachment for your power drill.  These can be purchased inexpensively at Home Depot and Harbor Freight.  Harbor Freight has a set for around $4 pictured.  They also carry a set of detail brushes; the set has both nylon bristles and wire bristles.  The set is only $1.50 at Harbor freight.  Get a bottle of naval jelly at your local hardware store.  I found mine at Home Depot in the paint section.  It runs about $7 and will go a long way.  For about $13 you will have all the tools you need to tackle multiple bicycles.  Make sure you have at a minimum a pair of rubber gloves when using the naval jelly and goggles or glasses for protection when using the drill and attachment.  Start by removing the seat post or handlebar.  The older model bikes with steel handlebars and posts will clean up nicely with just the wire wheel on the drill.  It is easiest if you have a bench mounted vice to hold it while you operate the drill.  You can accomplish it while holding the handlebar or post but be sure to wear some heavy gloves in case you get to close to your hands with the wire wheel.  The seat posts and handlebars are pretty quick.  It is easiest if you remove the grips before you start.  But depends on the style of grips and if they are easily removed.  Most will blow off with an   attachment on the compressor and can be slid back on using hairspray.  Just insert the air nozzle under the edge of the grip.  If you do not have the equipment to remove the grips be sure to stay in control of  the wire wheel as not to damage the grips.  Or taping them off helps.

If you are going to remove rust from the rims it will take some time but the result will be worth it.  Remove the tire and using rubber gloves to protect your skin, take the nylon brush out of the detail brush set and coat the metal surface with the naval jelly and depending on the extent of the rust, leave on for a minimum of 15 minutes or overnight.  Refer to the instructions on the naval jelly.  Be careful to not get the naval jelly on painted surfaces, it will remove paint as well.  Wipe the naval jelly off with an old rag and I wash the surface to rid it of the residue.  The naval jelly is pink when it goes on and changes color when it has dissolved the rust.  Depending on the make-up of the metal, at a minimum the rust will turn to a darker color or will completely remove the rust.  You can use the wire brushes on the nipples of the spokes.

If you just have light surface rust the wire brushes may be all you need to use.  You can just hit rusted bolts with a dab of the naval jelly, being careful to not get any on surrounding paint or remove the bolts.  You may choose to replace bolts with stainless if you can find them.  Shore Break Bikes will remove rust for you and if you bring the bike in we can give you an estimate.  Keep in mind if you don’t keep the rust on your bike under control, it will deteriorate your bike in time.

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-25 at 2.02.26 PM Screen Shot 2013-05-25 at 2.01.01 PM

Rust remover naval jelly

Rust remover naval jelly

Drill with wire wheel attachment.

Drill with wire wheel attachment.

Add a Comment