How To Keep A Bike From Rusting Outside ?

Rust is a threat to the performance and strength of your bike. It can occur when you expose your bicycle to moisture and air. So, if your bike stays outdoors, it’s time you learn how to keep a bike from rusting outside.

Given that moisture causes rusting, you must keep your bike dry outside. You can do that by covering it, keeping it in a bike shed, or using a frame protector and water-resistant grease.  

Though no one wishes for their bicycle to rust, it can happen. That’s why you have to take the necessary steps to prevent it. But if rust happens, then you should know how to get rid of it.

Luckily for you, I’ll not only share the tips for rust prevention but also for rust removal. But before that, let’s understand what rust is and how it forms.

how to keep a bike from rusting outside

But, What is Rust Exactly?

Rust is a general term for iron oxide. It happens when iron reacts with oxygen (air) in the presence of moisture (water). The process of rust forming on a surface is what we call rusting.

So, the best way to protect your bicycle frame from rusting is to keep it dry, and you can do it with the seven steps that I’ll share.

Note that rusting is faster in salty conditions. So, your bike is more likely to rust quicker if washed by saltwater.

7 Steps On How To Keep A Bike From Rusting Outside

Step 1 – Cover Your Bike

Given that moisture causes rust, what better way to prevent rusting than covering the bike?

There are so many bike covers on the market that you can use to protect your bicycle against moisture.

It’s essential, however, that the bike cover is durable just as much as it’s weatherproof. So, go for an indestructible weather-resistant fabric like polyester or oxford fabric.

The cover should also be sizeable to cover your bike correctly. One such bike cover is the Pro Bike Tool Bicycle Cover (View on Amazon)

This bike cover comes with a capacity to hold up to three bikes, making it best for family travels. The bicycle cover features 300D oxford fabric, which has anti-UV, waterproof, and rip-resistance properties.

How To Remove Rust From A Bike

Step 2 – Keep the Bike Clean and Dry

Just because moisture causes rust doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t clean your bike. After all, snow, wet soil, and dirt can cause rusting.

What you should do instead is clean off the dirt as often as you can.

You can do it once a month if you are a regular cyclist. However, consider doing it after every ride during the rainy or snowing season.

Since we are talking about cleaning your bike, ensure it dries properly outdoors.

Remember, the frame and other metallic components can only rust in the presence of moisture. So, keeping the bike dry prevents the possibility of rust formation.

Step 3 – Apply Waterproof Grease

Your bike’s sprockets, stem bolts, and chainring need some rust protection, and there is no better way to do it than applying waterproof grease. The lubricant will keep moisture and air out,  clean the parts, and reduce friction.

Remember that you have to lubricate regularly to keep your bike parts rust-protected.

You can check out the Finish Line Premium Grease if you want the best waterproof grease for your bike.

This grease promises advanced rust protection and wear prevention. Overall, this grease is the perfect choice for preventing rust by saltwater.

Step 4 – Use A Bike Frame Protector

Your bike frame needs as much protection as the small metallic components. By applying a frame protector spray, you offer your bike a more reliable protective coat against moisture and air.

The advantage of using a frame protector is that it gets into the smallest openings on the frame and forms a rust-proof coat.

Other parts like the bottom brackets, seat tube, handlebar, and head tube can also benefit from a frame protector spray.

One frame protector spray that you can count on is the Progold Steel Frame Protector. The spray can protect virtually any bike frame, and it offers protection inside out.

Overall, it takes seconds to spray a frame protector, but its effects are long-lasting.  So, you won’t have to worry about how to prevent a bike from rusting.

Step 5 – Hang it On a Rack

You can also prevent rust by hanging your bike outside on a rack. Doing so allows your bicycle to drain water and lose moisture much faster when rained on, and that reduces the chances of rust forming.

Overall, you cannot go wrong with the BIKEHAND Bicycle Floor-Type Parking Rack Stand (View on Amazon) It comes with options to hold one, two, or three bikes.

With its push-in system, this floor stand is hassle-free to use.

outdoor bike storage

Step 6 – Tune Up Your Bike Often To Prevent Rusting

Once in a while, consider disassembling your bicycle to clean and lubricate the individual metal components.

In particular, ensure you clean up the drivetrain, bearings, rims, and chain. If you cannot do the tune-up yourself, take your bike to a local shop to have it tuned up.

Depending on the local shop, cycle tuning up may cost you as much as $100. So, doing it yourself could save you money.

While doing the tune-up, look for any signs of rust and remove it using the tips shared below.

Step 7 – Keep it in a Bike Shed

Lastly, you can offer your bike maximum rust-protection by storing it in a bike shed. This option is ideal when you have some extra space in your outdoors.

A good bike shed will hold more than one bike while sparing some room for a few toys and gardening tools.  One such bike shed is the YardStash IV Outdoor Storage Shed Tent.

This outdoor bike storage comes in a UV-protected, tear-resistant, and weatherproof fabric to offer your bike optimal protection and lasting performance.

Not only is the shed tent space-saving, but also easy to set up and takedown. It can hold two bicycles and still give you room for a few other stuff.

How To Remove Rust From A Bike

Suppose your bike is showing signs of rust, then what? Well, all hope is not lost. You can salvage your cycle if the rust is not intense.

Here are the two techniques you can use:

  • Scratch off the rust coat using a hard-bristle brush or steel wool
  • Apply baking soda paste to the rust and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before brushing the coat off. You’ll need to mix baking soda (bread soda) and water in equal parts to make the paste.

Remember to paint the treated area to prevent the rust from re-accumulating. You can apply nail polish or regular touchup paint.

FAQs On How To Keep A Bike From Rusting Outside

1. Do Bikes Rust If Left Outside?

If bikes are left outside uncovered for long, rust will form from the reaction of iron with moisture and oxygen.

That’s unless you have rust-protected the bike frame and greased the small metallic components.

If you cannot apply a frame protector or water-resistant grease, cover the bike or store it in a shed tent.

2. Is Rust Bad On A Bike?

Rust can eat your bike frame and other metallic components. In the long run, it destroys your bike and shortens its life. So, yes, rust is bad on a bike and should be removed.

3. How Do I Rust-Proof My Bike?

The most effective way to rust-proof a bike is to apply a frame protector and water-resistant grease. The frame protector protects the frame from rust, while the oil covers the other metallic components.

You can also cover the bike or keep it in an outdoor shed. That’s also the answer to how to keep bike from rusting at beach.

4. Will A Bike Cover Prevent Rust?

A bike cover protects your bike from moisture. But given that rust occurs in the presence of water, then yes, a bike cover can prevent rust.

But you’ll also need to spray a frame protector to the bike frame to adequately prevent rust.

5. How Do I Store My Bike Outside?

You can store your bike outside by keeping it in a bike shed tent. You can also lock it out or mount it on a rack stand and then cover it with a weatherproof bike cover.

6. How Do I Secure My Bike Outside?

You can secure your bike outside using these tips:

  • Lock it with a secure bike lock
  • Keep it indoors when you are not at home
  • Install a bike alarm on it to fend off thieves and vandals
  • Take out detachable accessories like a speedometer and lights when keeping the bike outside


Closing Thoughts On How To Prevent Bike Rusting Outside:

Now you know how to keep a bike from rusting outside. The key is to keep your bike dry, and that’s what the discussed steps are all about.

Once you do that, you’ll improve not only the life of your bike but also its performance.