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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have discovered rust on my BB as well as some surface rust underneath the TT at a braze-on. Now I'm wondering what the insides of all the frame tubes look like. All this started since this summer. The bike was bought new a year ago and has over 4k miles on it, all w/o any problems. Is this something I need to be concerned about? I can do a quick fix by a little surface sanding and some paint. I'm just afraid of what I might run into down the road if the entire frame is starting to rust away. Any thoughts or recommendations?
Thanks in advance.
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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The only way to know for certain is to pop off the BB/HS and look inside the frame. With that much rust on the BB and surrounding exterior hardware, I would be very concerned about the integrity of the metal.
 

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i jp weigle my steel frames every two years or so, to prevent interior rusting... worth doing so if you havent...
 

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Buy a carbon frame? Titanium? Aluminum? :rolleyes:

Well, actually aluminum can corrode, too... "white rust". Carbon doesn't like impacts... and some say it explodes in strong sunlight. So that just leaves titanium.

Seriously, if it's rusting that badly on the outside after just one year, I'd be worried about the inside of the tubing, too. It probably looks worse than it is at this point... But it will continue to get worse and eventually weaken the steel.

I'd be tempted to strip the bike down, touch up the exterior (sand, prime, paint), then spray some rust preventative inside all the tubing. There are automotive products that would work... the names escape me at the moment.. restoration suppliers like Eastwood Company sell kits, but you wouldn't need all that much for a bike frame. It's not thick, rubberized "undercoating" like you see in a lot of local auto parts stores.

One rust preventative is a mist that's sprayed inside car frames, settles into a thin, waxy surface coating covering all the internal surfaces. Heck, even a thorough spray of motor oil in there would help t some degree. Unfortunately, it means stripping the bike all the way down to the frame, and even then there will likely be some inaccessible areas. However, most of the tubing on a bike should have some sort of access to the inside, even if it's only a "weep hole" to allow condensation to drain out.

The ultimate "fix" for the outside surfaces would be to strip the bike down to bare metal (soda or sand blasting is the fastest way, but costs to have done) and then have it powder coated. Depending upon how much of the work you do yourself, that might cost $100 to $200. Just be sure that any powder coating is "UV Safe". Some of it isn't, and will degrade rapidly on anything used regularly outdoors. Powder coating is generally more durable and seals against moisture better than paint. But today there are some highly durable paints available, too, which would be another possibility.

But, any repainting or powder coating still wouldn't help with the inside surfaces of the tubing. So some sort of rust preventative would still be needed.
 

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Wow! Not only does this look like it was ridden in snow and salt but it looks way worse than anything that could be caused in 1 year. The bottom bracket is a tapered spindle type and one that hasn't been used in years by the industry; accept on some lower end bikes and looks to have been wacked by a tool more than a few times.

Have you overhauled the BB since you have owned it. If not, this bike was put together by some hamfisted mechanic.

What type of bike are you riding? It appears to be a low end model considering the older tech. being used. Not that it is bad but rather something you don't see on "new" bikes.

What type of conditions have you been riding in and how have you maintained/cleaned your bike? Not that it really matters, though. I think I could ride a bike year round here in upsate NY and not get that type of rust happening.

The good news is that the BB is the thickest tube on your bike. If the rest of the frame is clean from rust it is most likely fine. Most rust starts from the inside of the tubes and works it way outward. You don't usually notice it until you see a bubble under the paint, which by then means there is much more on the inside of the tube.

The other good part is that your rust is external and can be handle by sanding priming and painting.

After you do this, if I were you, I would seriously look at how you are cleaning your bike. Either the paint was so poorly applied that it came off quickly and coupled with your riding conditions caused the rust. Or you have not properly, cleaned, inspected and maintained your ride.

After you take care of the rust make sure you are cleaning your bike, specifically after riding in wet/corrosive conditions.
 

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raymonda said:
The other good part is that your rust is external and can be handle by sanding priming and painting.
Agree with that—judging from the photo, it's external rust caused by a paint film that was compromised by a combination of inept wrenching and serious neglect. The insides of the tubes are probably not pristine, but I wouldn't be surprised if they showed only a little bit of rust.

I'd sand, prime and paint the area, then start saving some money for a complete repaint down the road. When putting the bottom bracket back in after the repaint, slather some grease on the unprotected facings of the BB shell before inserting and tightening the BB.
 

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raymonda said:
Wow! Not only does this look like it was ridden in snow and salt but it looks way worse than anything that could be caused in 1 year.
Double wow! From the rust on the cable guide screw and the front derailleur cable it looks like the bike was either parked for 8 months in a tide pool or it's much more than a year old. What brand/model bike is that? Can we see a photo of the rest of the bike?
 

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What's with the rear wheel? It looks to be misaligned in the drop outs or severely bent. Could probably use some new cables too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here's another pic of the rust around the cable guide. There is no rust except at the two places that I've pointed out. The bike has been very well kept, stays out of the weather when not being ridden and any contact with moisture is when I'm caught in the rain and the bike is wiped down after the ride. I bought the bike from a well known online store, one that gets bashed a lot on this forum. I'll refrain from saying anything derogatory because I don't know if that company had anything to do with the rust issue and besides I've enjoyed the bike very much and it's served me well and still is. One thing I have noticed is the paint appears to be very thin, it takes nothing to scratch it. Maybe the frame prep process is not up to other manufactures standards. I don't know. I'm not an authority on the subject. I do know that rust never sleeps and I'd like to nip this in the bud before it gets out of hand. Plans are to have a repaint over the winter. By then I'll have a new bike and this one will have the time for paint and conversion to a ss/fixie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
velodog said:
What's with the rear wheel? It looks to be misaligned in the drop outs or severely bent. Could probably use some new cables too.

optical illusion. Blame it on the angle the pic was taken. It's sitting square in the rear triangle. Believe it or not the cables are only about three mos old.
 

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shudson16 said:
Here's another pic of the rust around the cable guide. There is no rust except at the two places that I've pointed out. The bike has been very well kept, stays out of the weather when not being ridden and any contact with moisture is when I'm caught in the rain and the bike is wiped down after the ride. I bought the bike from a well known online store, one that gets bashed a lot on this forum.
That is a shocking amount of rust for 1 year of use in those conditions. That well-known online store sold you a lemon...
 

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Leave it as it is a call it a beater bike.

I've never seen anything rust like that in one year that was well cared for. If I'm to believe this, not only is the frame defective but you also got a defective cable, cable guide bolt and chain. (In another post you stated that you replaced a chain, not because it wore out but because it was rusted.)

You're doing something seriously wrong. You need to take a class on how to maintain your bikes.
 

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Militant commuter
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I've got a 39-year-old beater bike (cheap French Astra) that gets stored outside in the elements in humid, rainy SW Florida, and it has less rust than your bike. Something is seriously wrong with your scenario...
 

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That's an appalling amount of rust for a bike that rarely gets wet and is kept inside. The paint on it is not doing anything to protect the steel... Do you live on the seacoast? I've only seen that sort of rapid rust action in areas where there's a lot of salt in the air.

I suspect from the looks of the bottom bracket installation that the paint got scratched when things were installed, rust got started and worked its way under the paint further.

At the rate it's rusting, I don't think I'd wait until next Winter to take some action. Sand the areas where rust is getting started a bit to remove any loose particles, use some Rust Mort and/or Rustoleum or similar primer, then cover it up with paint to keep it from getting worse until you can strip the bike down and properly repaint it over the Winter. I wouldn't worry about the aesthetics too much at this point, even some paint brushed on would be better than letting the rust keep doing it's thing.

There are "steels" that are made with cheaper alloys, that are more prone to rust. But most won't show issues like those for at least a few years of hard use so long as they have a minimal paint job. If you hope to keep the bike for a while, next Winter you might need to seriously consider having it powder coated or professionally sprayed with an epoxy primer, then top coated. Otherwise, it may need yet another repaint in too short a time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
raymonda said:
Leave it as it is a call it a beater bike.

I've never seen anything rust like that in one year that was well cared for. If I'm to believe this, not only is the frame defective but you also got a defective cable, cable guide bolt and chain. (In another post you stated that you replaced a chain, not because it wore out but because it was rusted.)

You're doing something seriously wrong. You need to take a class on how to maintain your bikes.

A few years ago I bought a new Japanese built pickup truck. Drove it for about three years before I started dealing with rust eating away at the radiator/cooling system. After doing some research I found that the engine blocks that these new trucks came with were actually bought from another Japanese truck manufacturer, sat on the "yard" for some time and then installed into the new trucks w/o the prep work to remove any rust that had formed inside the blocks while sitting out in the open, unprotected. After a few years the rust started eating away at the metal thus causing all sorts of problems. I think what I have here is another example of the same thing only this time it's a bicycle frame. Who knows how long an unprotected frame sits around in what kind of enviornment before it's painted/built. This frame was made and assembled in China where I'm sure some of the "factories" leave something less to be desired. I'd like to know if anyone else has had an issue with rust on bikes bought from this supplier.

I own two other bikes, one of them was purchased from the same supplier and I have no issues with it. Both of my other bikes are rust free, stay in the same location that the one w/rust does, is maintained the same way, generally treated exactly the same. These are not the only bikes I've ever owned. I've been riding for close to fifty years, have owned some very nice and expensive bikes in the past and have worked in two different bike shops, although that was back in the late '70s. I pretty much understand how a bike works, how to ride and how to care for and maintain a bike. I resent your remark on how I need to take a class on bike maintenance. In my opinion and certainly in my case, bike maintenance has absolutely nothing to do with the rust issue I'm dealing with. Respectfully yours.
 

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shudson16 said:
A few years ago I bought a new Japanese built pickup truck. Drove it for about three years before I started dealing with rust eating away at the radiator/cooling system. After doing some research I found that the engine blocks that these new trucks came with were actually bought from another Japanese truck manufacturer, sat on the "yard" for some time and then installed into the new trucks w/o the prep work to remove any rust that had formed inside the blocks while sitting out in the open, unprotected. After a few years the rust started eating away at the metal thus causing all sorts of problems. I think what I have here is another example of the same thing only this time it's a bicycle frame. Who knows how long an unprotected frame sits around in what kind of enviornment before it's painted/built. This frame was made and assembled in China where I'm sure some of the "factories" leave something less to be desired. I'd like to know if anyone else has had an issue with rust on bikes bought from this supplier.

I own two other bikes, one of them was purchased from the same supplier and I have no issues with it. Both of my other bikes are rust free, stay in the same location that the one w/rust does, is maintained the same way, generally treated exactly the same. These are not the only bikes I've ever owned. I've been riding for close to fifty years, have owned some very nice and expensive bikes in the past and have worked in two different bike shops, although that was back in the late '70s. I pretty much understand how a bike works, how to ride and how to care for and maintain a bike. I resent your remark on how I need to take a class on bike maintenance. In my opinion and certainly in my case, bike maintenance has absolutely nothing to do with the rust issue I'm dealing with. Respectfully yours.

It seems that with your 50 years of experience you have a good handle on what is going on. Best of luck.
 

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Yes, it does sound like you know what you are doing and the problem is with the bike itself, the materials used and the assembly.

Don't take offense. I'm sure you can understand that no one here had any way of knowing your level of experience and if you were looking at your photos with a completely fresh eye the first thing that would come to your mind, too, would be neglect and poor maintenance.

It's even worse that the bike is so badly rusted after only one year, considering you're knowledgeable and have likely given it proper care and attention. Is the bike still in warranty, or even close? If so, I'd get in touch with the retailer and see if anything can be done. It's ridiculous that the frame should get that badly rusted so quickly!

If nothing can be achieved with the retailer, then all that's left is to give it some attention now to try to keep it from getting worse, until you can strip the bike and do a more thorough respray, if that's what you want to do and you feel the bike is worth the effort. You may be better off just picking up a replacement frame and swapping out parts as needed.
 

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Neglect.

shudson16 said:
I pretty much understand how a bike works, how to ride and how to care for and maintain a bike.
I think what led some (including myself) to point a finger at serious neglect is you saying that you "discovered rust on your BB...." in your original post. The implication is that you discovered what is shown on the photo you attached. Anyone discovering ("seeing for the first time") that much rust on a bike either missed many chances to see the start and subsequent progression of the rust problem, or did see the start and progression of the rust problem, but chose not to do anything about it.

/w
 
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