Protecting Your Bike Chain from Rust

Posted by Kitty on Dec 11th 2015


Are you doing enough abut protecting your bike chain from rust? Going back to the basics of high-school chemistry 101, rust is the result of oxidation on iron or steel. Because bike chain's are typically made of steel -- or alloys containing steel -- they are naturally susceptible to this phenomenon. The good news, however, is that you can protect your chain from rust by following some simple steps.

What Causes Rust?

To better protect your bike's chain from rust, you must first understand what causes it. When the chain is exposed to moisture, it causes new chemical reactions to occur via a process known as oxidation. This literally transforms part of the metal into a new type of metal: iron oxide (aka rust).

Note: Other things can speed up the formation of rust, such as exposure to road salt and mud.

Maintain a Clean and Dry Chain

The golden rule of protecting your bike's chain from rust is to keep it clean and dry. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to keep your bike locked in storage 365 days a year, but rather take a few minutes to clean it after you get finished riding. Wiping off any mud and dirt and then drying the chain with a clean washcloth or towel will make a world of difference in protecting against rust.

Lubricate the Chain

Lubricant acts as a barrier between the bike's chain and the exterior elements (including moisture). Therefore, you should get into the habit of applying a high-grade lubricant to your chain regularly. As long as there's a layer of lubricant over the chain, it shouldn't rust.

White Lighting makes several excellent lubricants. It's inexpensive, easy to use, and offers a high level of protection against rust while keeping the chain turning smoothly.

When you're ready to lube the chain, prop your bike up on an elevated surface so you can turn the wheels while keeping it stationary. Next, pour a small amount of lubricant directly onto the chain, and as you turn the pedal with your hand, continue pouring a small amount. After covering the entire chain, clean up any excess lubricant with a washcloth. Remember, you only want a thin layer of lubricant on the chain, as too much lube will attract dirt and grime.

Of course, investing in a good chain will also help to protect against rust. Some of the cheaper bike chains on the market are made of thin, low-grade steel, which are more susceptible to the effects of corrosion when compared to a high-quality chain.