How To Maintain Steel Frame | Steel Bike Frame Maintenance

Steel Frame Care

You just got your first Standert steel frame?

Thank you and congratulations!

You know what they say - steel is real. To us this is not just a bon mot: a steel frame rides like no other. The material's elasticity gives it a smooth and quiet ‘full bodiedness’ that makes it a pure joy to ride.

It’s the connaisseurs material! With the right care, steel also has a wonderfully long lifespan and will ride the same it does today for decades to come. 

The arch nemesis of all carbon steel tubing is rust. All Standert steel frames are treated inside and out with a corrosion-prohibiting coating prior to painting. While this is an essential preventive step, all steel frames need reproofing as the seasons go by. 

Follow these easy guidelines to keep your steel real:

Bike assembly

Grease for the win! Grease is your barrier against humidity. When building a bike, liberal amounts of grease should be applied to the following contact points:

  • bottom bracket threads and shell
  • head tube and headset
  • seat post and the inside of the seat tube (here is where carbon assembly paste will provide the sealing effect and better grip, preventing the seatpost from moving)
  • under the seat binder collar
  • rear derailleur threads
  • water bottle bolt threads
  • brake bolts
  • housing ferrules
  • fender and rack bolts
Protecting the inside of your frame

Moisture will get inside your frame, whether as water or condensation. No matter how you try to prevent it, moisture will get in your frame. So protect your frame.

Under normal conditions, we suggest using a liquid rust inhibitor (such as Frame Saver™) annually as part of regular maintenance. In areas of the world where salt and chemicals are used on roads, or areas near ocean moisture, corrosion can be more of an issue. In such cases, we recommend treating your frame more often (twice a year or as often as you feel necessary). A schedule could look like this:

  • Rust inhibitor applied in November: This will protect your frame through the toughest winter months. Road salt and wet conditions are the harshest on steel.
  • Rust inhibitor applied in April: This will protect your frame through the summer rain and humid weather that occurs in some areas.
Post-Ride Care

All Standert steel frames have a drainage hole at the frame’s lowest point in the bottom bracket to allow water that found its way in, to find its way out. However, small amounts of water might collect for example in the chainstays as there is a little step between stays and BB. Make sure to give all water a chance to leave the frame after a wet ride or a good wash, for example by removing the seatpost and turning your bike upside down for a bit.

Storing your bike in a climate-controlled environment is another great way to avoid rust damage. Air conditioning or any type of heat system pulls moisture out of the air and will help dry out your bike. Leaving your bike in a damp garage or basement accelerates corrosion, and is one of the worst things you can do to your steel bike.

Protecting the Outside of Your Frame

Frequently inspect your frame for paint chips. Repair chips with appropriately-colored nail polish to protect the exposed steel from the elements. If you can't do this for some reason, applying a thin coat of grease to the exposed area will protect the steel from oxygen and the elements for the time being.

Season End or Season Change

We recommend removing all parts from your frame at the end of each riding season. There are two reasons for this: the first is so your mechanic can reapply a coating of a rust inhibitor to the inside of your frame; the second reason for disassembly is to reapply grease to all of the components mentioned above.