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How to get rid of corrosion on a steel bike frame

How to get rid of

We continue to publish useful articles for audiences with a wide interest in e-bikes  on our blog. Today's topic will be a fairly common problem - the corrosion of the bike frame. In this article we will tell you what types of bike frames there are, what are the effective ways to combat corrosion, as well as give professional secrets from Delfast engineers.

What frame to use for an ebike

Aluminum frames have both advantages and disadvantages. One of the big advantages of aluminum frames is their low weight. It is for this reason that e-bicycles with such frames pick up speed faster and make it easier to climb mountains. However, this also gives a negative effect in the form of loss of roll, i.e. when the rider stops pedaling, the bike stops faster. 

Another disadvantage of aluminum frames is that, unlike steel frames, they, while accumulating fatigue, break without cracking. And this significantly increases the risk that it will break right during the trip. The steel frame, before breaking, will first crack, and only then break at this point. This property allows you to notice a crack and throw out the cracked part or weld it.

Summarizing all of the above, we can highlight the following advantages of an aluminum e-bike frame:

  • less weight compared to steel frames, and as a result, good acceleration characteristic,
  • almost absolute corrosion resistance - such frames do not rust from the word "in general",
  • high speed performance: it’s easier to pick up speed and go uphill.

Carbon Fiber frames also has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s start from the ‘pros’:

  • light weight. Carbon is extremely low in weight compared to other materials. therefore, if it is important for you that the bike is low in weight, you should pay attention to the frame made of this material,
  • high depreciation property is another advantage of carbon. However, not all the e-bike fans know about this. Carbon is very effective at dampening the shocks your bike gets while riding. If you try to ride on a carbon frame, and then on an aluminum frame, you will definitely notice a difference, and this difference is clearly not in favor of aluminum. And it's not just frames that give this effect. A carbon steering wheel, for example, will also damp shocks a little and, accordingly, your hands will be less tired. Additionally, keep in mind that a carbon frame does not accumulate fatigue or lose rigidity, unlike aluminum,
  • repairability. Even a broken frame can be reassembled. And even a newly glued frame will not lose either rigidity or strength. Aluminum or steel in that crack will lose its rigidity forever. After the repair, the carbon will be like new,
  • long service life. Unless they are damaged or poorly built, carbon bike frames can last indefinitely. 

Let us now consider the disadvantages of this frame:

  • high price. Technology does cost money! The price of a carbon bike will be significantly higher than the price of an aluminum one,
  • vulnerability to impact. Where there is a dent or scratch on the aluminum frame, there will be a gap on the carbon frame. Carbon, unfortunately, does not know how to sink in and distributes the inertia of the impact over the entire surface much worse,
  • sticking. This property of carbon looks like this. If you have 2 adjacent bike parts made of carbon, by the end of the season, you will be surprised to find that your two parts have turned into one monolithic one.

Ebike frames made from steel have more ‘pros’ than ‘cons’. If talking about the advantages, then it is worth paying attention to the following:

  • steel ebike frames have high indicators of strength, rigidity,
  • durability. Ebike steel frame will serve you for a very long time,
  • withstand shocks. Steel has a very good impact resistance due to its strength, 
  • steel e-bike frames are easy to maintain; 
  • unlike aluminum frames, steel frames do not accumulate fatigue. This property allows the element not to break at one moment, so the rider can notice the crack in time and replace the damaged part.
  • repairing steel structures is quite easy, all that is needed is welding; 
  • e-bikes are relatively inexpensive; 
  • physical properties allow vibration damping during the ride.

Regarding disadvantages of steel ebike frames, the main are:

  • tangible weight of the structure;
  • a steel frame is prone to corrosion, which means it needs constant maintenance.

Titanium frame for e-bike is another type of material that can be used. The advantages of titanium are:

  • the main plus of titanium is, of course, the special durability of the product, which is achieved using rather complex technologies,
  • durability. Titanium bicycle frames serve for a very long time and practically do not require additional maintenance, and the service life of such a base is calculated for decades without loss of properties,
  • a well-made titanium frame performs very well in rough terrain. It softens high-frequency vibrations when driving on uneven surfaces and allows you to keep the speed well on bad roads, be it rubble or mountain trails,
  • titanium is relatively lightweight, making it an excellent solution for tourist and mountain use.

Among the main disadvantages are:

  • the main drawback is boldly called their high cost. But in this case, the pricing is justified by the high quality of this material,
  • another disadvantage of titanium alloy is considered to be low maintainability, since this material has exceptional strength and is not easily affected.

5 tips from Delfast: how to get rid of corrosion on bike steel frame

All metals are subject to corrosion to some extent. Therefore, keep 5 tips from our engineers for the care of your e-bike. Hopefully these tips will help you keep your bike frame stable for a long time.

  1. Use fenders and frame protection for your electric bike. Using e-bikes involves riding on completely different terrains. Tires throw dirt and rocks onto the frame and splatter dirt and grime onto the suspension and transmission. It doesn't cost a lot of money to buy a decent pair of fenders and frame protectors, but it will significantly lower your costs down the road as your e-bike will last you much longer with better protection.
  2. Don't leave your e-bike exposed to the weather outside. Moisture is one of the main causes of rust or corrosion, therefore it is strongly not recommended to leave the bike outdoors, where rain or other condensation can collect on it. Even if you cover your bike with something, it will not save it from moisture condensation, so you will only make it worse. Ideal for storing your e-bike - shaded, climate-controlled environment or garage.
  3. Wash and clean your electric bike regularly. Long-term dirt can cause rust or corrosion on your e-bike. The transparent frame cover can be destroyed and dirt can damage the transmission and suspension. Wash your e-bike at least once a month if you use it regularly and once a week if you use it every day.
  4. Keep your electric bike lubricated. The lubricated surface does not allow moisture to pass through, which means that rust or corrosion on your bike has no chance to appear. It is very important that all bushings and bearings on your e-bike as well as the chaim are lubricated.
  5. Tune-up your electric bike regularly. Inspecting, cleaning and re-lubricating all the parts at least once in six months allows you to prevent any signs of corrosion at early stage.

Why delfast engineers are calm when it comes to frame corrosion

With a Delfast frame you will not be afraid of corrosion. Our engineers have taken care of the new generation Delfast frames. The Delfast frame is constantly being improved in order to increase rigidity and reliability, says Delfast Chief Engineer, Serhii Goncharov. 

In the latest version of the Delfast electric bike, the unknown Chinese metal was replaced by St20 steel. All Delfast frames are treated with phosphoric acid and electrophoresis, and thorough surface preparation is carried out before painting. For painting frames, powder coating is used, which creates a chemically resistant anticorrosive, antifriction (abrasion-resistant) coating.

Also, parts of a plastic body kit made of shock-resistant ABC of increased thickness were developed and mastered in production, which, in addition to a decorative role, also has a protective function. It protects metal parts and the inside of the frame from moisture, dust and dirt. As a result, Delfast bikes are less prone to moisture ingress and less prone to corrosion than frames from other manufacturers.


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