How To Remove Rust From Bike Gears

You can’t have a smooth ride if your chain is rusted. This is because the chain and gears of a bike are a crucial part of its operation and reliability.

Unfortunately, rust can form on them easily, even when the bike is kept in a dry environment. Rust interferes with the gears shifting properly and could lead to irreparable damage if it’s not removed quickly.

In this article, we will discuss the causes of rust, how to remove it from your bike gears, and what steps you can take to prevent rust in the future.

Causes of Rust on Bike Gears

Rust is a chemical that forms when iron oxide is created from metal and water. Commonly, oxygen and water combine to create corrosion of the metal. However, rust can also be caused by environmental factors such as wet, salty air or extreme temperatures, making bike riders living near the coast or in more humid climates particularly susceptible to rusting components.

Gearwheels, which are the main source of rust, can get into hard-to-reach and unseen areas where dirt and oils accumulate, even when regularly cleaned, adding to the speed with which rust can form.

Removing Rust from Bike Gears

Step 1: Preparation

Before attempting to remove rust, thoroughly clean the bike chains and gears with an old toothbrush and degreaser cleaner. This will soften and loosen any excess dirt and debris, and make sure that the rusty area is completely exposed.

Step 2: Remove the bike chain and gears

Locate the master link on your chain and with the help of pliers or a chain tool, detach the link to separate the chain into two halves. If there is no master link, use a chain breaker tool to push out a pin and carefully remove the chain from the bike, noting its routing through the front and rear derailleurs.

Different bike chains may have slight variations in their disassembly methods, depending on the chain type (single-speed, 5/6/7/8-speed, 9-speed, 10-speed, etc.), so refer to your bike’s user manual or consult a bike mechanic for the appropriate disassembly method.

Step 3: Use sandpaper

Start with coarse sandpaper and rub the affected surface in a circular motion. The rust should begin to chip away, but if it’s still too stubborn, move on to a finer grade of sandpaper. Be sure to use medium pressure to avoid damaging the metal any further.

Step 4: Polish the parts

Once all of the rust has been removed, you can begin to polish the metal parts. Depending on the severity of the rust, you may have a few options here. You can use a metal polish to restore the frame and then a finishing wax to protect it. You can also use a good quality metal cleaner safe for bike parts to shine the frame.

Step 5: Apply coating

Once you’re finished polishing, you’ll want to apply some sort of protective coating to your bike frame. This can be something like WD-40 or a heavier lubricant like chain lube, which provides extra protection against corrosion.

You could also use traditional bike wax but you can also check out our guide on how to remove rust from the chain to know what cleaning agents you can use.

Preventing Rust on Bike Gears

It can take a bit of time and energy to remove rust from your bike components, so it’s important to take preventative measures to ensure it won’t happen again.

Related: How to clean your bike cassette?

Clean your bike regularly. Keeping your bike clean is one of the most effective ways to stop rust from occurring and ensure that the components last longer. This should include all areas of your bike including the chain wheel, chain, and gears. You should also check after each ride for any dirt or debris that has accumulated.

Also, make sure to protect your bike from moisture as moisture can cause rust even if you don’t cycle in wet conditions. To prevent this, always park your bike away from areas where it can be exposed to moisture. You can also spray the chains and gears with a lubricant each time you ride to help reduce the amount of moisture that builds up.

Thirdly, do not forget to lubricate your bike as it will help to reduce the amount of friction your bike experiences as you pedal, which will in turn prevent rust from building up. This is especially important during wetter conditions or more intense rides.

Lastly, inspect your bike components for rust regularly. While small amounts of rust may not affect your bike’s performance, it’s important to check for any signs of rust on a regular basis. This will help to ensure that any rust is spotted early and can be addressed before it causes any performance issues or damages any parts.

Final Words

Rust is one of the most common problems you’ll encounter with your bike, but it’s thankfully also one of the most easily preventable and manageable. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your bike’s components are rust-free and maintain their peak performance level.

Furthermore, taking preventative measures to protect your bike from the elements will greatly reduce the risk of rust forming in the future.

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