How do you deal with road salt?
For those of you who use bike racks and transport your bikes in the winter, how do you deal with the road salt that gets on your bike? How thoroughly do you have to clean the bike to get rid of the road salt?
I recently traveled for the holidays with my bike, and although I had one spectacular ride, we drove over some heavily salted roads on the way home, and there's salt residue just about everywhere. I'm concerned about my bearings, chain, brake calipers, and anything with threads on it. I've washed the bike down thoroughly once, but I can still see places where there's moisture accumulation that shouldn't be there, courtesy I'm certain of the salt. Any tips are appreciated.
Around here (Denmark) we are more or less swimming in road salt 5 months a year.
The way to go about it, is to prepare in advance.
A piece of an old tube around the seat post/frame/clamp, keeps most of the water out of the crank box. Without, you get enough water down there to keep a goldfish.
Automotive wax on the frame, so the salt can be hosed off.
Grease nipples when building your wheels, again to keep the saltwater out.
Apply marine grade grease to the hub seals, the same for the crank seals.
Repack pedals with marine grease.
Repack headset with marine grease.
Make sure the seat post is greased up as well.
All bolts mounted with marine grease.
Stainless bolts all around (or aluminum / titanium to fit your taste)
Stainless gear cables.
Bar oil for the chain.
Spray Tri-Flow (WD40 can be used in a pinch) inside the frame tubes (there are little holes to access all the tubes, some are inside the crank box, some are insider the head tube, some are external, so you gotta search), if it's steel or aluminum.
Remove your brake pads, and give your calipers a light spray of Tri-Flow (never WD40, as it may damage the seals).
If you do the above prior to dipping your bike in road salt, nothing really happens.
My advice for you would be to dismantle the entire bike, wash each part well in hot water, let it dry completely, and do the above.
EDIT: oh, and hose it down after each ride.
I put my bike inside the car whenever possible.
Roof racks are better than hitch or trunk racks for minimizing the salt on the bikes.
Wash bike thoroughly with soap and warm water if possible after trip.
Last year on a trip to Rays MTB I had my DJ bike on the roof facing the rear of the car. It looked fairly clean when I got home (not horribly salty but a little bit was on there) so I didn't clean it right away. When I finally did clean it, I found rust on the brake caliper bolts, brake rotor, and rear sprocket so I had to use a wire brush to clean it off.
Normally, my bike travels in the back of my truck and stays clean there, but this was a long distance trip with the family, so it was on the back of the vehicle on a rack because the inside of the van was full of people and stuff.
Thanks for the advice. I was afraid it was going to need tearing down and washing, but wanted to hear someone else say that was the only answer before I did it. Also, Magura, thanks for the tip on using tri-flow vs wd-40 on the brake calipers. That's good information to have any time.
Originally Posted by Cotharyus
TriFlow = lubricant
WD-40 = removes lubricant.
Yep. I've known that since 30 years ago when my grandfather gave me bar oil to lube my bike chain and wd-40 to clean the oil off my hands after I'd made a mess with it. Nothing like a good teacher.
Originally Posted by pimpbot
My wondering about it derived from thinking that typically the pistons should be lubricated ("lubricated"?) by the fluid in brake system, and wondering if, like a chain, you wanted to clean that off to remove any trapped contaminates or just re-lube it. I had no idea wd-40 would damage the seals, which is why I'm glad it was mentioned.
Anyhow, this task is under way. Hopefully I got it all done soon enough....
Packing wrap from Home Depot and some painter's tape. Survived 2400 miles of winter, sloppy driving...
Move to California where they use sand not salt on the mountain roads
Warning: Consumption of alcohol may make you think the person on the barstool next to you is attractive
There is no treatment to get rid of rod salt as it is permanent in salty areas and near the salt water sea. The bikes can be clean with proper marine grease which is specially for this purpose.