Do you own a rusty bike that spends most of its time sitting at the back of your garage? Or have you recently inherited one that requires some serious restoration? If so, read on to find out how to derust a bike and quickly restore its former glory!
How does rust build up on a bike?
Bike frames, wheel rims, and gears are often made from steel which is vulnerable to rusting. The elements in rainwater, salt on the streets, and other materials can cause rust to build on your bike and eat away at the metal, especially if it’s exposed. Most bikes are painted to protect the metal from exposure to the elements, but paint can flake and peel off and some areas cannot be painted, such as the chain and the wheels. Over time, these areas will begin to rust. First, you need to clean your bike to ensure it is free from oil, grease, and dirt.
Step 1: Identify rusted parts - how to clean a rusty bike
Before you decide on a plan of attack, carefully check your bike to see which areas require de-rusting and consider how to tackle different parts. Removing rust from moving parts such as gears and wheel rims is more intricate (and more of a safety issue) than removing rust from the frame. Any rust on the frame is likely to be purely cosmetic, but check for any cracks that could seriously affect its stability! You may need to discard your bike if such issues are found, or at least seek an expert opinion.
When looking at how to clean rust off a bike, using a bike degreaser will allow you to better see the areas affected by rust and clean away grease in preparation for using the rust remover. Spray evenly across the whole bike especially where the main rust areas are affected as this is where you’ll be applying the rust remover. You can use Jenolite’s Bike Chain Degreaser for the chain. This comes in an aerosol format making it easy to get even coverage. You can use a brush such as a wire brush to really work into the chain. However, for any other particularly dirty or greasy part use a soft brush as to not chip the paint.
Step 2: Removing the rust
Start by removing or adjusting any parts of your bike that obstruct the area that you need to de-rust. Also consider removing or covering parts that could be harmed by the cleaning process, such as brake cables. Remove any loose pieces of paint and rust, using a strong wire brush, steel wool, or a sponge scourer — then you’re ready to apply Jenolite Rust Remover or Rust Converter, depending on your preference.
Step 3: Applying Jenolite Rust Remover or Rust Converter
You can use either Jenolite Rust Remover or Jenolite Rust Converter to restore your bike, depending on how rusty it is. One application of our rust converter will react with rust to convert it to a stable compound, ready to paint over without wiping or rinsing away. Jenolite Rust Converter is a suitable remedy for lightly rusted areas, but for thicker rust, Jenolite Rust Remover is the perfect rust remover for bikes.
After applying, make sure you use a wire brush to continually work the product into the rust. This ensures it stays active and never dries out. Once you can see the rust has separated from the metal, simply wipe away to reveal a bare metal surface that’s ready to be painted over! If you need to remove rust from any small working parts — such as your gear cogs, nuts, and bolts — you can immerse them in Jenolite Rust Remover liquid. Just pour the required amount into a suitable plastic container, place your rusty items in the liquid and let Jenolite Rust Remover do the hard work!
Take a look at our Rust Remover vs Rust Converter article if you are still unsure of what product is best for your bike.
How to remove rust from bike parts
Jenolite is great for removing rust from bikes and that includes bike parts. Detachable parts, such as the bell, chain, or pedals can be removed and submerged in Jenolite Rust Remover. Simply use a wire brush to remove loose rust and then leave it to soak. Parts that are detachable such as the bell, chain, or pedals can be submerged in Jenolite Rust Remover. Simply leave to soak and use a wire brush to work the product in. Make sure you wear gloves to avoid irritation.
Protecting your bike from future rust
Once you’ve de-rusted your bike, painted over it, and restored it to its former self, it would be wise to protect it from future rust attacks.
Jenolite’s Rust Shield Aerosol is a high-quality lacquer spray that protects your bike from moisture. Spray directly onto the metal to provide it with a weatherproof skin that doesn’t wash off in the rain! An alternative is Jenolite Waxoil, which offers a thick, waxy rustproof layer - although the appearance of wax oil is less popular for bikes. Finally, you should keep your chain clean and dry with our bike chain lubricant spray. The chain is very susceptible to rust, so make sure to keep it clean, and give it a quick wipe down if your bike gets wet in the rain.
If your bike is in need of a paint job after removing the rust, consider using paint remover spray to remove the old paint.
We hope you found this guide helpful to how to get rid of rust on a bike. To find out more about our products and begin busting that rust, check out our complete Rust Remover range.