Bart Haynes here in sunny San Diego, continuing my August series on bike maintenance to celebrate the winding
down of the cycling season. In this article, I’m going to briefly discuss 3 everyday bike maintenance tips to keep
your bike frame in good shape:
- Nail varnish for scratches
- Watch that cable rub
- Quick and dirty cleaning with water and dish soap
These tips can be reminders for seasoned riders and new information for new riders.
Scratches and chips on your frame, in addition to not looking terribly good, can also lead to rust and other
problems with your bike frame. They should be covered and sealed. You can do this with nail polish!
Not only does the polish cover the scratch and chips to protect the frame underneath, but you can also match
(or closely match) the right nail polish color to your bike – no one will notice the difference.
Here’s how to do it:
- Take your bike to someplace like a drug store or wherever else you get nail polish and get the right nail
- If you have rust on your frame, clean it off with fine gauge steel wool – if you don’t do this then the rust
will continue to eat your frame! If rubbing does not remove the rust then it might be too deep…
- Clean your frame using a solvent and clean rag – I use a 50% vinegar and 50% water mixture with a
squirt of dish soap
- Let frame dry
- Apply nail polish using a tiny, tiny brush from a paint store instead of the nail brush – this will allow you
to only fill in the chipped/scratched part
I bet you’ve never heard of this before, and I bet you’re glad you did! It’s truly an awesome trick that can make
your beat up bike look brand new.
Watch Cable Rub
Cables have a nasty tendency to rub against your bike frame and, in effect, rub away the paint. If it gets bad, you
can use the nail polish trick above.
But it’s better to be proactive.
Simply get some electrical tape and tightly wind it over the area that rubs. If you want to match your cables, you
can get duct tape of the same color as your cables.
Of course, if you have money to burn you can simply get cable-less shifters.
Don’t Need Bike Cleaner
Here’s a secret you might already know – you don’t need to spend money on a bike cleaner to clean your bike.
To be fair, I do buy bike cleaner but it’s not what I use on a daily basis. On a daily basis I use the following
o 50% water, 50% white vinegar, two squirts of dish soap
Full frame cleaning
o Lots of water, several squirts of dish soap
Making my frame shine
o Lots of water, a little bit of Windex, and a squirt of dish soap
As you can see, it’s not scientific but it doesn’t have to be! As long as it works.