Riding a bike is fun and good for you. It lets us see more of the world. But over time, the arms of our favorite bikes may start to rust, making them look flawed and less valuable. To ensure the ride is smooth and safe, rust problems must be immediately fixed.
This article will show you how to get rid of rust on your bike handlebars and give tips on bringing back their shine and making them last longer.
Why Do Bike Handlebars Get Rust On Them?
Bike handlebars can develop rust due to moisture exposure and oxygen in the air. Some reasons why rust might occur on bike handlebars are:
Moisture: If it rains on the bike, there is a lot of humidity in the air, or the person sweats on the handlebars, condensation can build up. When water or moisture gets into contact with metal, it can start to rust.
Lack of protective coating: Handlebars made of steel or other metals without protective coatings are prone to rusting when exposed to moisture.
Scratches or damage: If the handlebars on your vehicle have scratches or chips in their paint or protective coating, they may become vulnerable to rust formation. This is because the bare metal beneath the damaged layer becomes exposed and can easily come into contact with moisture.
Neglected maintenance: If the bike handlebars are not properly cleaned, dried, or maintained, any existing moisture or contaminants can accelerate the rusting process.
Materials That Can Remove Rust
Several products and materials are available to remove rust from bike handlebars effectively. For example-
Steel Wool: Fine-grade steel wool is rough enough to remove rust without hurting the arms. It works because the friction between the parts rubs off the rust. Make sure to use fine steel wool so you don’t scratch the surface of the metal.
White Vinegar: Vinegar contains acetic acid, a mild acid that can dissolve rust. Wrapping a cloth or paper towel that has been soaked in white vinegar around rusty spots lets the acid get in and break up the rust. After letting it sit for a few hours, you can use a brush or a cloth to scrub off the loose rust.
Lemon Juice: It has citric acid, which can also help remove rust. One way to get rid of rust is to squeeze fresh lemon juice on the spots and let it sit before scrubbing. Lemon juice helps get rid of rust because it is acidic.
Baking Soda Paste: Baking soda is a light abrasive that can be made into a paste and used to get rid of rust. By adding water to baking soda, you can make a paste that can be used to clean rust. Let the baking soda work on the rust for a while, then use a brush or cloth to clean it off.
Naval Jelly: Naval Jelly is a rust cleaner that can be bought in stores. It usually has phosphoric acid in it. Its primary purpose is to get rid of rust.
Applying naval jelly as directed to the rusty spots, letting it sit for a while, and then cleaning off the rust can work. It’s essential to follow the instructions from the maker and wear gloves when you use them.
WD-40: WD-40 is mainly used as a lubricant but can also open rusted parts. You can get rid of rust by spraying it with WD-40, letting it sit for a few minutes, and then scrubbing it off. Wipe the handlebars clean to get rid of any leftover glue.
Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola has phosphoric acid, which helps get rid of rust. The acid works on the rust when you pour Coca-Cola on a cloth or paper towel and rub it on the rusty spots. After letting it sit, you can remove the rust by cleaning and rinsing it well.
Gather These Tools
Gather the necessary equipment and supplies to remove rust from the handlebars of your bicycle correctly:
Protective gear: Wear gloves to keep chemicals and sharp edges from hurting your hands. Safety goggles protect your eyes from splashes or small particles, and a face mask keeps you from breathing in dangerous dust or fumes.
Rust remover: Choose a tool to remove rust based on how bad the rust is. People often use rust converters, rust dissolvers, or rust removers made with phosphoric acid. Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure the product works and is safe.
Wire brush or steel wool: With a wire brush or steel wool, you can scrub the handlebars to get rid of small bits of rust. Wire brush bristles or the rough surface of steel wool can help remove rust and prepare the surface for cleaning.
Sandpaper or abrasive pads: Once the rust is gone, the surface is smoothed with sandpaper or abrasive pads. If you don’t want to scratch the wheels, choose fine-grade sandpaper with grit between 200 and 400. Sand the surface slowly until it is smooth.
Degreaser: Use a degreaser to clean the handlebars well before adding the rust remover. This helps get rid of any grease, dirt, or oils that could make it hard to get rid of the rust. Follow the directions on the cleaner for how to use it correctly.
Lubricant: After removing the rust, you must add a lubricant to keep it from happening again. Put some light machine oil or a lube made for bikes on the handlebars. This protects the metal and makes it move more smoothly.
A soft cloth or microfiber towel: During the rust removal process, you can use a soft cloth or microfiber towel to wipe away any leftover rust solution, lubricant, or other substances. They help the handlebars stay dry and clean.
Painter’s tape or plastic wrap: If you want to protect other bike parts or areas near the handlebars from rust removal products, you can cover them with painter’s tape or plastic wrap. This keeps the rust eraser from getting into the wrong hands and causing damage.
How To Get Rust Off Bike Handlebars
Here is a step-by-step process to remove rust from bike handlebars using the tools and materials mentioned:
Step 1: Put on Protective Gear
To ensure your safety when working with chemicals or debris, it’s important to wear gloves, safety goggles, etc to protect your hands, eyes, and lungs.
Step 2: Choose a Rust Remover
When trying to remove rust, it’s important to choose the right product for the job. Depending on the severity, options like rust converters, rust dissolvers, or phosphoric acid-based rust removers may be suitable.
Step 3: Scrub with Wire Brush or Steel Wool
Scrub the handlebars with a wire brush or fine-grade steel wool to get rid of any loose bits of rust. This helps get the area ready to be treated. Scrub back and forth until all of the loose rust comes off.
Step 4: Apply Rust Remover or Alternative Methods
Follow the instructions and apply the chosen rust remover product to the rusty areas. Alternatively, you can remove rust by using white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda paste, naval jelly, WD-40, or Coca-Cola. Leave the rust remover or alternative method in contact with the rusted areas as directed.
Step 5: Scrub and Remove Rust
Once you have allowed the rust remover or alternative method to work, use a brush, cloth, or sponge to scrub the rusted areas. Consider repeating the process or utilizing more abrasive tools such as a wire brush or steel wool for persistent rust. Make sure to remove as much rust as possible.
Step 6: Smoothen the Surface
After removing the rust, it’s recommended to use sandpaper or abrasive pads with a fine grit (around 200-400) to smooth out the handlebar surface. Send in a circular motion until the surface feels completely smooth, and all roughness is eliminated.
Step 7: Clean with Degreaser
It’s important to thoroughly clean the handlebars using a degreaser to remove rust effectively. This will eliminate any grease, dirt or oils that could interfere with the rust removal process. Always follow the instructions provided with the degreaser for proper usage.
Step 8: Apply Lubricant
Once the handlebars are clean and dry, put on a lubricant like light machine oil or bike-specific lubricant. This stops rust from forming and protects the metal. Ensure to follow the instructions on applying the lubricant from the manufacturer.
Step 9: Wipe Clean
Clean the handlebars with a soft cloth or microfiber towel to remove any rust remover, lubricant, or residue. Make sure the handlebars are completely clean and free from debris.
Step 10: Protect Neighboring Areas
When removing rust from your bike, protecting other components and areas near the handlebars is important to prevent damage. To do this, cover them with painter’s tape or plastic wrap. This will keep them safe from any accidental contact with rust removal products.
Can I Remove Rust From Bike Handlebars With Baking Soda And Water?
Yes, Mixing baking soda and water can be used to get rid of rust on bike handles. Baking soda can help get rid of surface rust because it is a light abrasive. Here’s how it works:
Prepare the mixture: You get a thick paste when baking soda and water. You can start with 1 part baking soda to 1 part water and change it as needed to get the desired consistency.
Apply the paste: Put the baking soda paste on the rusty parts of the bike handlebars with a cloth or sponge. Make sure that the paste covers all of the rust.
Let it sit: Let the baking soda paste sit on the rust for at least one to two hours. This will give the baking soda time to react with the rust and help loosen it.
Scrub the rust: After the paste has had time to work, gently scrub the rusty areas with a brush or sponge. Because baking soda paste is rough, it will help get rid of the rust.
Rinse and wipe clean: Once the rust is gone, rinse the arms with clean water to remove any baking soda residue that might still be on them. Then, dry the handlebars well with a soft cloth or towel.
Apply lubricant: After getting rid of the rust, it’s a good idea to put lubricant on the handlebars to keep them from rusting again. Use a light machine oil or a lubricant made for bikes and put it on the handlebars as directed by the maker.
Using baking soda and water can help get rid of rust on the handles of a bike. But if the rust is terrible or comes back after you try this method, you might need to use stronger rust removers or try something else.
How To Stop Your Bike Handlebars From Rusting?
If you want to avoid rusting on your bike handlebars, here are some steps you can take:
Keep them clean and dry: After using the bike, use a clean cloth to wipe down the handlebars and remove any moisture, dirt, or sweat that may have collected. This will help keep the handlebars dry and prevent rust from forming.
Store your bike in a dry environment: Moisture makes rust form faster. When you’re not using your bike, keep it in a dry place away from rain and heat. You could protect your bike even more by using a cover or keeping it inside.
Apply a protective coating: To prevent rust from forming on your handlebars, it’s recommended to apply a rust-resistant coating or protective spray. Doing this will form a protective layer that prevents moisture from coming into contact with the metal surface. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product for proper application.
Use handlebar tape or grips: It’s important to use handlebar tape or grips to protect your bike’s handlebars from moisture and prevent rust from forming. If you notice any wear or damage, replace the tape or grips.
Regularly inspect for damage: It’s important to regularly check your handlebars for any scratches, chips, or worn-out protective coatings that could lead to rust. Taking care of these issues immediately can prevent moisture from damaging the bare metal.
Avoid exposure to salt and corrosive substances: Avoid salt and other acidic substances. Rinse your bike handlebars with water after each ride if you ride near the coast or where salt is used on the roads. Salt and other acidic substances can speed up the formation of rust, so it is important to get rid of them as soon as possible.
Lubricate moving parts: Lubricate moving parts. Use suitable grease on your handlebars’ moving parts, like the stem or levers. Lubrication helps reduce friction and keeps moisture from causing rust in those places.
Regular maintenance: Clean and check the handlebars for normal bike maintenance. By taking care of your bike as a whole, you can spot rust problems early and take steps to stop them from getting worse.
Biking is fun and lets us explore. But bikes can get rusty over time, especially on the handlebars. This can make them look worse and less valuable. It’s important to fix rust problems quickly to ride smoothly and safely.
Keeping your bike handlebars free of rust makes them look better and helps you ride more safely and enjoyably. This article gives you the information and guidance to remove rust from your handlebars and prevent it from returning.
So get your tools, be safe, and take good care of your handlebars.