prevent mountain bike rust

Prevent Mountain Bike Rust From Ruining Your Ride

Mountain bikes are designed to take some punishment and navigate rough terrain. But all cyclists will find their ride remains vulnerable to rust and corrosion if they aren’t careful, ultimately shortening its lifespan. With proper maintenance – and the right bicycle cover – you can prevent mountain bike rust and keep your wheels rolling for years to come.

It should be noted that rust is specific to iron and its alloys (such as steel). Rust is just one form of corrosion. Corrosion can impact a broad range of metals, including aluminum (a key material in the manufacturing of many mountain bikes). Both are chemical reactions, primarily involving a meeting of metal, moisture and oxygen. The process over time will cause degradation of metals. That’s bad news on a bike, where every component is critical for smooth operation.

Although there are thousands of online articles about how to remove bike rust once it’s taken hold, the fact is it’s much more cost effective to prevent it if possible. Here are some expert tips on preventing mountain bike rust.

Fenders and Frame Protection

Mountain bikes are meant for rugged roads and craggy trails. Rocks and dirt batter the frame and mud splatters the drivetrain and suspension. No serious rider can entirely shield their bike during an outing, but the right frame and fenders can help reduce the risk of damage.

Solid frame protection  (fenders and frame protectors) will help limit the amount of debris that hits the frame. This is important because otherwise, the paint can become chipped, resulting in bare metal exposure to the elements. This is what causes or accelerates the rust/corrosion process. The cost of this added feature is arguably negligible, particularly when compared to the overall price of the bike and in terms of how long you can extend its use.

Moisture is the No. 1 catalyst for corrosion and rust. If you leave your bike stored outdoors after use, the elements have free reign. Even if you put a regular cover on it, moisture is going to find its way underneath – and likely do more damage because it gets trapped with nowhere to evaporate.

Zerust bicycle covers are different. Fitting all sizes of upright bicycles, not only do they seal completely, they are corrosion-proof, water-resistant, mold-proof and rust-inhibiting, woven with VCI (vapor corrosion-inhibiting) technology that remains active for a full five years after you buy it.

Ideally, bikes will be kept in a shaded, climate-controlled space. But even if you opt for a storage shed or garage (where temperature fluctuations can put the metal components at risk for rust), Zerust covers will keep your ride protected.

Keep Your Bike Clean and Dry

When dirt, mud, water and moisture rest unabated on the metal elements of your bicycle for long enough, it will damage your suspension and drivetrain. Clean and dry at least one a month (particularly if you’re using it regularly) to reduce the risk of mountain bike rust.

If you frequently drive in wet conditions, you should make cleaning a regular priority. Giving it a good wash not only helps protect it, but also offers a chance for you to determine if there are any signs of trouble.

Keep Your Ride Oiled 

It’s a good idea to keep your bike lubricated – especially the chain, stanchions and shock seals – so they won’t crack or dry out. Just remember that this alone – without a VCI bicycle cover – is unlikely to be enough to keep corrosion at bay for very long.

Don’t Forget the Tune-Ups

Tune-ups are smart if you’re looking to keep your bike in good working order for a long time. Whether you do it yourself or take it to the shop, this will offer an opportunity not just to clean but to reinspect and lubricate all the parts, allowing you to halt or prevent potentially irreversible corrosion. Most mechanics should do this anyway, but make it a point to ask specifically that they look closely in the frame and on the rims for any indicators of corrosion.

The bottom line is your bike can last for many more trails to come if you are proactive about preventing rust and corrosion.

Contact Zerust for information on bicycle covers and bike rust prevention by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.

Additional Resources:

How To Care For Your Bike Frame, July 6, 2016, By Todd Downs,

More Blog Entries:

Don’t Let Bike Rust Slow Your Roll! June 15, 2018, Zerust Mountain Bike Rust Prevention Blog