bike rust

My son got a new bike last week.
He rode it that day. When we came out of the store, it was raining.
Today we rode to the library.
Its raining now.
What are the chances of rust?

I don’t think there would be hardly any chance of rust. The bike has paint, which would act as a barrier between the water and the steel, so it can’t rust.

The big risk is from the inside - moisture condensing, finding a low spot, and starting to munch on the steel.

As long as the coatings (paint, plating) are intact, external rust won’t occur (except in those tiny little places where there is no paint.

Best option - keep it inside, warm and dry (train the kid to wipe it down, just like a horse)

never a bad idea - spray the areas where two parts meet with WD-40 about once a year - there are better anti-corrosives (usually used on aircraft - ACF-50 and Boeshield), but they are not readily available, and WD-40 will work as well as needed for a bike.

Keep the drivetrain and any control cables lubricated as these will be damaged by corrosion before you’ll see rust on the frame.

Riding in the rain can wash the lube off the chain which will then make it susceptible to rust. After riding it in the rain, wipe the bike down, especially any unpainted surfaces and most especially the drive train. Then give the chain a lube.

You did buy some chain oil with the bike, didn’t you? If not get some and teach your kid how to lube the chain. If you don’t know how, ask a bike shop mechanic. It’s not hard and it doesn’t take long. If he rides his bike frequently, he should give it a lube every couple weeks. Or more often. I lube mine every 4 rides, but then I ride about 30 miles at a time.

I work as a bike messenger. I ride my bike every weekday in all types of weather, including rain and snow (and also have to deal with road salt in the winter). In the four and a half months I’ve had my current bike, which included all winter, the only rust the frame has developed is a little bit around where the rear fender has worn the paint off. I really should get around to taping that spot up.

In any event, I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

As far as chain lubes go, there are several options. Rather than try to expound on the issue myself, I’ll direct you to Sheldon Brown’s excellent essay on the subject. If you browse around the rest of the site, you’ll find just about any bicycling topic covered, as well.

Also a protective automotive type wax coat on the painted frame portions will keep the paint protected from dings and scratches that can promote rust later on. Ounce of prevention = pound of cure etc etc.


A bike that does not get much use will rust more quickly than one which is ridden regularly.

I put this down to the fact that you have to maintain it with oil on the drivechain which would be soon noticed in regular use.

If this is an expensive machine which you inted to keep for some time and you work it hard (likewaterj2) then I suggest that you remove all the components and use some product like Waxoil rust preventer.

To do this you warm your Waxoil so that it turns to a runny liquid, next you warm the frame up no more than hand hot, just enough to keep the Waxoil liquid when you pour some in, next you plug up one end of the seat tube, pour it in and roll the Waxoil around.
Do this for all the frame tubes, let the excess drain out for a good while, allow to cool and you have a protective coating insdie the frame.

This means nothing at all if you do not maintain the outside of the frame properly.

Occasionally grease the inside of the handlebar and seat shafts. Of you don’t, you may have difficulty raising them when your son grows.

      • If you got the bike at Wal-Mart, it’s going to rust anyway. These bikes frames don’t get prepped and cleaned well before they are painted, and you can bet they don’t blow a load of cash on quality paint. ~ The main reason to avoid these bikes is their shoddy (open!!!) bearings that wear out quickly and usually can’t be replaced with “real” quality bearings. The president of Huffy once said in an interview that their research showed that the typical department-store bike buyer buys a bike, rides it less than 75 miles total within the next month and then never rides it again, and that he built his products accordingly.
  • Kids tend not to take great care of stuff anyway, but all it should need is the chain cleaned and oiled every couple weeks. I’d say to get an aluminum-framed bike, so it won’t rust out even when it does get scratched/chipped, because it will. - DougC