In general, the frame is one of the lowest-maintenance parts of your bike. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t ignore it when you care for your bike — there are a number of things you can do to make sure it lasts as long as the manufacturer intended. We cover these basic maintenance tasks in this section.
For steel frames, rust is the number-one enemy. Water from rain, sweat, or muddy conditions can work itself into the frame and start corroding it. To minimize the chances of this happening, spray an anti-rust product, such as WD-40, into the frame every opportunity you have.
If you’re really serious about protecting your frame, you can try one of a number of rust-inhibitor products (such as J. P. Weigle’s Frame Saver, available at bike shops). When you spray a rust inhibitor inside a frame, it forms a barrier that protects against rust.
Painting your frame
Keeping your frame painted can go a long way toward preventing rust. Small chips in the frame’s paint may allow rust to take root in your frame and spread. If you have time on your hands during the winter months, give your bike a fresh coat of paint as part of its annual overhaul. At the very least, touch up any small chips in the paint so that they don’t become sources of rust. If rust has already appeared, use a fine-grain sandpaper to remove the rust before painting.
Most bicycle manufacturers don’t make touch-up paint available, so use a similar color automotive touch-up paint from an auto dealer or auto parts store.
Try to keep paint chips to a minimum:
✓ Use chainstay protectors to protect your chainstay against impact from the chain.
✓ Use O-rings on cables to keep them from rubbing against the frame’s surface.
✓ Where cables come in contact with the frame, place a small piece of tape between the cable and the frame, to protect the frame’s surface.