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I bought 2 of these cages in Aug 07. Elite Ciussi Stainless Steel.

I rarely ride in the rain, yet they both seem to be rusting. I thought the "stainless" part would be of some advantage to me and this wouldn't happen.

three scenarios -
1) my understanding of Stainless Steel is wrong
2) this product is defective
3) product was mispackaged and I didn't really get Stainless

can this discoloration / rust be removed by applying something?
 

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There are absolutely different grades of stainless. Some resist corrosion better than others. It's not uncommon to have pitting but those cages look worse than I would expect for their age so I'm guessing they are a low grade or possibly a bad batch.

Try some steel wool or metal polish on them. I'm guessing you can't return them but if they have a US distributor they might cut you some slack. They aren't cheap and they are marketed as non-rusting. Given the way they look I'd complain.
 

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I'd use an old toothbrush and any light polish - rubbing compound, chrome or aluminum cleaner/polish, etc. Or just rub it down with a synthetic scrub pad (the 3 M type thing you use in the kitchen - I have sheets of it I use on my skis, white and gray.)

It is not uncommon for certain grades of stainless to get rusty. The stainless spokes on my old mountain bike get thin rust on them like yours. I use the above mentioned gray pad to clean them up. Very little effort.
 
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