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  1. #1
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    Trouble in Tropical Island Paradise: Bike Corrosion!

    Aloha, folks! A dear friend of mine has landed a job on a tiny island in the Pacific, where travel is by foot or bicycle, and bikes end up in a dissolving heap on the beach all too quickly.

    I'm trying to offer sage advice on preventing/slowing rust/corrosion. Veteran islanders tell terrifying tales of metal breakdown, that have bikes melting before your eyes!

    Can you help?

    My friend's bike is a Fuji Crosstown, which I think has an aluminum frame. It is still en route to Island Paradise and has always been housed inside and not used on winter streets. What advice can we give on minimizing corrosion for the two years of my friend's tour of duty?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Bobcat; 05-01-2013 at 04:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Decrepit Member
    Reputation: Scooper's Avatar
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    I spent two years on Kwajalein Atoll, and took a cheap used single speed bike with coaster brake down with me. It had a chromoly steel frame, and I didn't even bother to use framesaver. The corrosive environment took its toll, but the bike was still serviceable after two years and I sold it to a newbie for what I had paid for it.

    The corrosion resistance of an aluminum frame will depend on the alloy and whether or not it's anodized. We had an antenna farm with Yagi beams and log periodics that had aluminum elements (not anodized and I don't remember the alloy), and they oxidized pretty quickly with pitting and white powder flaking off after just a few months.

    I wouldn't take a decent bike to a salt air environment. A titanium frame would probably be fine, but any aluminum or steel components would suffer.
    -Stan
    my bikes

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    Aloha, folks! A dear friend of mine has landed a job on a tiny island in the Pacific, where travel is by foot or bicycle, and bikes end up in a dissolving heap on the beach all too quickly.

    I'm trying to offer sage advice on preventing/slowing rust/corrosion. Veteran islanders tell terrifying tales of metal breakdown, that have bikes melting before your eyes!

    Can you help?

    My friend's bike is a Fuji Crosstown, which I think has an aluminum frame. It is still en route to Island Paradise and has always been housed inside and not used on winter streets. What advice can we give on minimizing corrosion for the two years of my friend's tour of duty?
    About all you can do is spray oil (or if you want to spend more money, Frame Saver) down all the frame tubes and then regularly rinse the bike with water and wipe it down. Saving the frame will do no good if all the components bite the dust. For winter commuting where a lot of salt is used on the roads I have just dribbled oil on all the metal parts that start to show rust. Makes for a dirty bike but you make choices.

  4. #4
    Big is relative
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    I commuted in Oahu for almost three years on steel frames. A modern steel frame with a good paintjob, a greased seatpost (creates a seal), and frequent maintenance including chain lube and whole bike wipedowns should be fine in the environment. While in Hawaii, my commute included riding through brackish saltwater, some kind of daily rain, and red mud that was very abrasive. In those three years I sent my Phil Wood BB in for an overhaul twice and trashed one rear hub when I rode through hub-deep water and didn't immediately clean it out. The second rebuild of the PW bb included heavy duty seals and six years later it is still good.
    Retired sailor

  5. #5
    coaster
    Reputation: Lelandjt's Avatar
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    No cables! My singlespeed coasterbrake beach cruiser has spent 10 years getting me to the surf and back while I drip salt water on it. It's just a basic model but has alloy frame and rims. I've regreased all the bearings a couple times, put a fresh higher quality chain on after a couple years, and break a spoke or two every year. It's just not worth trying to keep a geared bike going in these conditions.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
    I spent two years on Kwajalein Atoll,
    Ouch, I work with folks that go there for a few weeks at a time I can't imagine 2 years.

  7. #7
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    Trouble in Tropical Island Paradise: Bike Corrosion!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    Aloha, folks! ......... What advice can we give on minimizing corrosion for the two years of my friend's tour of duty?
    .
    Aloha back to you!

    If you use the bike all the time and you leave it outside, use soap and water and clean the bike once a week or as often as you can. Then oil the parts prone to rusting.

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