Tidy Up a Diamond in the Rough: 5 Tips for Cleaning a Vintage Bike

If you’re anything like us, you’re always on the look out for a good looking vintage bike.  It’s great to see a super shiny bicycle from yesteryear that looks like it’s brand new.  That, however, is rarely the case – we’ve come to the realization that most vintage rides have seen better days and experienced some pretty tough love.  But that’s no reason not to give a structurally sound set of wheels a second chance.  Try our 5 tips for cleaning up a vintage bicycle – you’ll be riding in revamped style in no time.image

This could all be yours, too!

Image courtesy of Bicycle Mechanic

1. Use Diet Cola and aluminum foil to scrape rust off of chrome: Do we understand how this works?  We can sort of take a guess, harkening back to tenth grade chemistry.  Either way, it’s a cheap and easy to way shine up a rusty cycle.


Image courtesy of Instructables

2. Cut the grease with Simple Green: According to this product’s website, you can use it for just about anything.  It’s great to have on hand when sprucing up an old bicycle because it’s great at getting rid of grease, which as a tendency to run amok on old chains and gears.  If you happen to have a bottle laying around the house, excellent, get to it!  If you’re purchasing Simple Green for this project, even better!  They happen to make a product specifically for bikes.


Image courtesy of Simple Green

3. A tennis ball and some Dawn will brighten whitewall tires: A simple dish detergent and water solution will brighten whitewall tires right up, especially when you use a tennis ball to buff away the grime. imageLook how bright those babies are!  Image courtesy of Luxlow

4. Use WD-40 to loosen up seized bolts: Odds are, if you’re dealing with an older bicycle, you’re going to have to loosen things up a bit.  Rust has a nasty habit of showing up in the least convenient places, so even if you’ve polished the frame to a shining glow, you’re still going to have to deal with some seized bolts when it comes time to make any necessary adjustments.  No sweat – a bit of WD-40 (a penetrating lubricant meant to bust through rust and loosen screws and bolts) should take care of things.  If you’re interested, the company also makes a line of specialized bike products to browse.imageImage courtesy of Gawker Assets

5. Still a bit dingy? Mr. Clean will take care of the rest: Truly, we can’t say enough about the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Durable, disposable, and truly magical, this powerful tool will help you cut through any remaining grease, grime, or mystery grunge that’s hanging on to your ride.  It’s also great for household cleaning, of course, so we recommend keeping a few on hand in general.imageImage courtesy of Reef Builder

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