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do you ride in the rain(24 posts)

do you ride in the rainishmael
Apr 25, 2002 5:49 AM
ive always avoided riding my nice steel bike in the rain for fear of it rusting but now that ive traded if for an aluminum frame is there anything stopping there anything i should do with it when i get back, it doesnt have drain holes in the bb, i imagine water will seep into the seat tube or head tube or little holes on the sides..i was thinking of sealing the little holes and plugging the seattube as best i can...any advice, is this overkill..
Don't plug those holes!floatch
Apr 25, 2002 5:57 AM
Yes, those holes are vent holes for welding purposes, but if you do plug them, you might end up holding any water that otherwise would have escaped!
a whole quart of water in a frameDougSloan
Apr 25, 2002 6:03 AM
A racing buddy just had his bb replaced in his Dream. The shop said at least a quart of water poured out when removed. That's 2 pounds!

Don't plug the holes. In fact, you may even want more holes.

I'd at least pull the left side of the bottom bracket and check things out or allow it to drain after a hard rain. Can't hurt.
should i use a dremil tool to make more holes or is that badishmael
Apr 25, 2002 6:13 AM
uh, just kidding...wouldnt it work just to remove the seatpost and pour there...i dont have the tools (although i should by now) for removing the bb....i hear the occasional pings or creaks, ive never heard a slosh, that guy most have been happy to find the news that it wasnt his fat ass going up those hills after all..
good solution, actuallyDougSloan
Apr 25, 2002 6:24 AM
The best solution I've seen is a hollow little screw that holds the cable guide under the bottom bracket. See if you can find one of those.
Another solutionStraightblock
Apr 25, 2002 3:57 PM
I can't vouch for its effectiveness, but over at MTBR someone said they had good luck by making a check valve for the bottom bracket from an old spoke.

Use needlenose pliers to straighten the head on a spoke, then cut the spoke about 1/2" below the head (leave it long, you can always shorten it later). Drill a small hole in the bottom bracket shell just a little larger than the diameter of the spoke. Put the short piece of spoke through the hole from the inside of the frame so it dangles by the head. The movement of the spoke while riding is supposed to allow trapped water to escape, but keeps water from splashing up through the hole into the bottom bracket.
re: do you ride in the rainMJ
Apr 25, 2002 6:34 AM
of course I ride in the rain - so does everyone else in the UK and places where it rains - not everyone lives in bone dry desert like California

if I had a dime for every time somebody on this board groundlessly concluded that steel frames rust away in the rain I'd be a rich man

again - bicycles are not china - frames are durable - has anyone ever actually known a steel frame that has rusted after being 'ridden in the rain'? (stored in the rain is a different matter) I thought not

your fear about rusting and actual reality are not the same thing - nothing should have been stopping you before from riding in the rain - so join the rain club and get a dirty streak up your back

some people say they totally strip their bike, lube it and clean it if it's wet - I've got better things to do than spend all my time cleaning and lubing my bike every day (it can rain for months at a time here) - regular maintenance? yes - more than in dry conditions? yes - after every ride maintenance? you can't be serious...

the holes let water/moisture out - don't plug them up - or your frame will 'fill up' with H2O - ...the seat tube is as plugged up as it's gonna get - with your seat post
Drain holesNessism
Apr 25, 2002 6:50 AM
Many frame builders have a drain hole in the bottom bracket shell to allow water to drain out of the frame. In my opinion, this is very important thing on a steel frame. The most common place for water to enter is through the gap between the seat tube and the post itself. Although common understanding would lead one to thing the seat tube is pluged by the post, this is not really the case. Typically the seat post is 0.2 mm smaller in diameter than the inside diameter of the tube. Grease is important to help seal the gap but often their is nothing that can be done.

Regarding the holes in the stays, they are mostly there to aid during the building process. Many builders plug these holes after assembly so I don't think it matters much either way. On my personel frames, I plug the holes. I can't support strongly either way however.

Drain holesgtx
Apr 25, 2002 8:20 AM
Some builders like IF seal up some of the tubes. My Ibis Mojo has this--a few tubes are sealed off from the bb. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I use my old steel Merckx and my old Bontry cross bike as my rain bikes--lots of rain up here in the Northwest--and neither has sealed tubes, but they do have drain holes in the bb and small holes in the stays from the build process. I just spray Boeshield down the tubes once per season (before Boeshield I just used oil--works great but you need access to an air compressor to make sure it spreads around). The frames are old (Bonty is around 17, the Merckx 12) and no problems with rust.
do you drive your steel car in the rain?SteveO
Apr 25, 2002 6:48 AM
rust is the result of neglect; not rain.
do you have a galvanized bike?DougSloan
Apr 25, 2002 6:54 AM
I pretty much agree, but then that's sort of apples and oranges. Cars have galvanized steel, undercoating, rust proofing, and much better paint.

Lots of cars DO rust, as well (not so much any more, though, and certainly not here in central California).

Serious question: Anybody ever actually SEEN rust?cory
Apr 25, 2002 7:14 AM
I know--bikes are steel, and steel will rust. But I have one steel bike that's nearly 20 years old, another that's almost 10, and recently gave away one I bought in 1970, when I lived on the California coast. None of the three has ever had ANY treatment against rust, and none has more than a few superficial spots (well, the old Peugeot may have been ready to fall apart, but when I converted the '85 Trek to singlespeed I tore it clear down and didn't see any). I live in the desert now, but I grew up in salt air, and I don't remember anybody ever having a rust problem. Could this be something we worry about more than it's worth?
My second-hand experienceGregory Taylor
Apr 25, 2002 7:24 AM
A guy that I ride with recently tore down his Serrotta Atlanta (steel frame) and found a potential rust problem in the seat tube/bottom bracket area. He shipped it off to Serrotta, who checked the frame and acknowledged the problem. It wasn't a bad problem...yet. Basically surface rust that was starting to take off because they hadn't sprayed enough Framsaver (or whatever) into the voids.

The culprit, interestingly, appeared to be condensation building up inside the frame from temperature changes, rather than riding in the rain. Now, does THAT make everyone feel good?

The frame was structurally ok, so Serrotta cut him a deal on a new paint job and a thorough rust proofing.
Which is why if you're scared of rust,scottfree
Apr 25, 2002 8:34 AM
steel bikes should be stored outside if you ride in winter. Otherwise, the sudden changes in temperature make for tremendous condensation.

FWIW, I ride nothing but old steel bikes, don't worry about rust and have never had a problem with rust.
plenty of itSteveO
Apr 25, 2002 7:38 AM
being at the beach, we see plenty of rusty-old cruisers. But again, i theorize this comes mostly from neglect. Cruisers are typically knock-around bikes with nicks and scratches that ultimately rust; often stored outside, never touched up.

Road bikes, on the other hand, are typically cared for, stored inside (usually after being dried off).

I once lived 4 houses from the beach, and used my old steelie every day; never grew ounce of rust on it. My knockaround, on the other hand...
paint nicksDougSloan
Apr 25, 2002 7:49 AM
I got some on an old bike where the chain nicked the chain stay; it sort of bubbled up the paint. Seemed to be mostly cosmetic, though. My 20 year old Bianchi, which spent a lot of its life in Missouri and Texas, has a few spots like that, too. I have no idea whether it has rust inside the stays or main tubes. I never looked, as I imagine most people don't.
do you have a galvanized bike?SteveO
Apr 25, 2002 7:40 AM
true enough, though most rusty cars ARE the result of neglect (shoulda touched up that little ding/washed off that salt, buddy).
possible to have a "no steel" bike?DougSloan
Apr 25, 2002 8:59 AM
This thread made me wonder whether it sould be possible to have a completely iron free bike. Frame, no problem. Most components are aluminum, carbon, or plastic. All bolts could be aluminum or titanium. Axles in titanium are common. Titanium spokes are possible, even if not ideal. Bearings and springs might be a problem, though. Are ceramic bearings iron free? Would Ti springs work? Any essential part that simply could not be replaced with non-steel? Any ideas?
springs could be hard (nm)ColnagoFE
Apr 25, 2002 9:33 AM
Some Manitou MTB forks have Ti springsmhinman
Apr 25, 2002 10:14 AM
I have Ti springs in my Manitou MTB fork.
Really Cheap Kids Bikes...Gregory Taylor
Apr 25, 2002 9:35 AM
...have nylon bushings in areas like the bottom bracket and headset. Sub-optimal, but it would work.

Wheelbearings could be harder. I don't know if ceramic bearings could withstand the pounding.

Old auto engines used lead-based babbit plain bearings. Plenty tough Again, not optimal, but it could work.
re: don't worry about rider
Apr 25, 2002 9:39 AM
worry about lubing your other parts. I did a tour of New york wine country two years ago on my Bianchi and got major rained on for two days. After I got home in a week everything squeeked.

My skewers, stem, seatpost, and pedals all need lubed. My wheel dropout had rust on them. I had a hard time pulling out my rear wheel.

Like everybody said on this thread proper PMS will keep the bike last long time. I never kept a bike long enough to worry about it rusting out.

Just my 2 cents.
Even with neglect, rust takes a LONG time to be a problemRay Sachs
Apr 25, 2002 10:32 AM
My fixed gear is a more than 20 year old steel frame. It's had surface rust in many places for as long as I can remember. This is my favorite rain bike and winter bike (lots of salt on the road). I take it to the beach in the summer and store it outside there. The bottom line is that its exposed to lots of water AND salt.

I keep fenders on it but otherwise never do ANYTHING to this bike other than lube the chain and maintain the hubs and headset. There's still a fair amount of surface rust on it but after years of pretty serious neglect, it rides the same as it ever did. It'll fall apart someday, but you couldn't pay less attention to a frame than I have to this and it's going strong after 20 years.

If you take even REMOTELY decent care of a steel bike, it'll probably last longer than you will.

re: do you ride in the rain1mountainbiker
Apr 25, 2002 11:02 AM
Well I can tell you from experience that taping the holes should not be done. When I was into BMX 20 years ago we used to ramp off of peoples roofs into their pools with our chromoly bikes (I had an SE Racing Quadangle). Well it filled up with pool water and needed to be drained. Well I drilled a 1/32" hole in the center of the bottom bracket shell and 1 more in each of the insides of the chainstays (L&R side). After draining, a little squirt of WD40 and I was good to go.

Now later on in life now that the price of aluminum has dropped and everyone owns an aluminum bike, there really isn't too much to worry about rust wise BUT the extra water weight can add up. Now you can apply the same principal that I did with the bottom bracket shell BUT NOT the chainstays as they should have holes in them from the heat treating process anyway. Don't tape any holes on you new bike either. You do NOT need to use WD40 on your new bike. Heck I don't think that I needed it either way back when but I did it because it was steel.

Hope this gives you some insight on what you may or may not want to try.