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  1. This is a fantastic piece! There is a lot of useful and valuable information in this article that I will save for future reference. Thank you for sharing this fantastic information!

  2. Thanks for pointing out that removing the minor oxidation and making the chrome shine can be achieved by using fine steel wool. I will keep that in mind to keep the chrome in great condition for a long time. I haven’t gotten one yet, but I plan to get one for the bicycle that my father will pass down to me. My plan is to get the forks exchanged since the original material of the fork is quite heavy.

  3. I just picked up a 1954 flying pigeon woman’s bicycle. I don’t want to go about restoration without some input from everyone. I don’t even know what exactly the plan is other than I appreciate the workmanship and want to not screw it up

  4. I am looking to repair my old Idéale 42 saddle. I am trying to track down and old tension pin and shackle. Anyone know where I could look for that bit of hardware?


  5. Hello. I recently acquired two rusty and neglected “Sting rays.” One is a Schwinn (purple) and the other a top tube mounted shifter with the chrome chain guard bearing the #2. Head badge says Sears. A lot of rust. I want to clean them up but keep them in the patina condition they are in. Will 0000 steel wool be the way to go? Thanks

  6. Hey man! I am currently stripping a bike and it is torture. I was trying to use chemical strippers but it has been quite a nightmare. What grade sandpaper do you use to get to the bare frame? Thanks!

    1. Hi Tara, yeah it’s a lot of work. You definitely want to remove absolutely every component from the frame. I’ve had success in the past with paint remover and a wire brush, but you’ll need to go over everything several times. After that, you’ll want to prime before painting. If you plan to keep the frame as bare metal, use a clear coat to prevent oxidation.

  7. I purchased a frame from a place in Portland called Embers. It is a Skyrider. I dated it from its emblem to be between 1959 and 1960’s. I found another single speed bike that was whole. Just plain black for 45.00. Tires are perfect and so is the back fender and other parts I need. Using fine sand paper to take all the rust off…have drawn up my emblems to replace them. Taken pics of chain gard. And other white parts. Thi king about getting g a little license plate that says ember on it

  8. I use molasses for rusty components. Depending on how rusty the parts are soak for 2-4 weeks or more. The rust will be gone. Works a treat.

  9. A while ago I was selling my old bike after buying a new one, so I had to remove all the stickers, because some of them had my name on it – and the new owner would probably not like that. I learned how to remove them on the website of the store, where I bought them: . As they said, I tried to heat them up a bit using a blowdrier and it went off almost by itself without damaging the original paint. Just something you can try in your case as well 🙂 Btw, thanks for the article.

  10. I lucked up on a 1970 Schwinn​. I’m looking for a more natural way to remove the rust off the pedals and exposed metal areas. There are two small spots​of rust on the frame but very minor and I’ll have to find a paint off the same color for it… Everything is original it needs new tires definitely it’s a five Speed the gears and chain are rust free . It works great other than that just wanting to re-touch it keep it as original as possible and ride it.

    1. I have discovered a good way to de-rust components (especially Chrome Plating) is to soak them in white vinegar for 24 hours. Cleaned up a 93 Mongoose BMX by this method. Need a large tray for components like handlebars and a few gallons of vinegar, gallon containers are available in supermarkets. After soaking rub with chrome cleaner and they look like new!!

  11. I have a Gios Compact Pro chromoly road bike that I purchased new in 1996. It has a lot of chrome, including chain stays, fork, and lugs. The chrome is showing its age, not rusty at all, but marred and needs to be rechromed. Can I do this myself, or is it very difficult?

    1. Re-chroming isn’t something I’d DIY, personally, talk to a local paint shop and they’ll give you an idea of your options. But first I’d test fine grit steel wool or aluminum foil. You’d be surprised how shiny and new you can get it to look!

  12. I just purchased an old 1960’s Sears Spyder that i hope to fix up for my daughter. Do you know of any good parts sites? I will probably repaint, but would like to replace the original stickers if i could find them.

    Also, any resource that i could trace down exactly what year my bike is?

    1. Hi Shawn, the best parts site I’ve found is eBay. Takes some patience, but you can usually find what you’re after there, or a decent reproduction. As for dating the year of your bike, I’d head over to, they’re a great resource for that sort of thing!

  13. My wife just bought a 1968 Schwinn. Has lots of rust I’m doing the Coke and aluminum foil to remove rust. My question is how do I bring out the green color in the paint make that look shiny and new again.

    1. Hi Timothy, it depends on how oxidized the paint is, but start by giving it a bath and wipe down, and then try buffing with a good automotive wax, it can work wonders. 🙂

  14. Nice writeup, and a good primer for someone getting started with a restoration.

    One suggestion though: using tire dressing on bicycle or motorcycle tires can be a recipe for disaster. Centrifugal force causes the slippery substance to migrate from the sidewall onto the tires contact patch. Lean into that first curve, and watch out.

  15. This is good to know 🙂 I recently purchased a Trek bicycle, I’m pretty sure it’s a titanium frame, but it could definitely use some TLC. I wasn’t sure how to clean the frame, since it’s covered in old stickers, but I’ll take Saundra’s advice and use a blowdryer. Thank you!

  16. hey, i have an old Raleigh bike from err 20? years ago give a decade or so and I want to keep the original wheels as they are good and solid however they are really pitted with rust. Is there anything I can use on them once I clean them up to help prevent further damage to seal them? perhaps some sort of varnish sealant ?

  17. Just completed restoring my 35 year old Knight 531SL road bike ?. Are you interested in seeing the finished bike?
    Regards Andy

  18. My 15 year old son and I are restoring an old, rusty bike this summer. Its about as old as he is, give or take. We’ve taken the chrome fenders off and are removing rust with 60 grit sandpaper. Next will be the handle bars and seat shaft. He is soaking the chain and derailleurs in WD40. What’s next? Can I use and indoor/outdoor spray on primer & paint? Do we have to use auto-body paint? What about the tires? They’re beautiful white walls but the rubber is dry. Is that something we can repair? I have so many questions.

    1. Hi Michele, glad to help! First, I’d get a brand new chain if it’s rusted. Second: no, autobody paint isn’t necessary! Spray primer and paint can look nice, thought it takes a long time to cure (harden fully.) Check out Sheldon Brown’s site for lots of good bike frame paint info. As for tires, if they’re dry / cracking there’s nothing you can do, it’s not worth the safety risk. Replace them (and the tubes too) and start fresh.

  19. Hi,
    I just got hold of an old puch which is pretty rusty. Do you have any tips for how to get the rust off the paint work without stripping the paint? I don’t want replacing it as the original design is very nice.

    1. Hi Michelle, how extensive is the rust? Paint bubbling? A hack I’ve used before: you can sometimes very carefully sandpaper the rust spots and then use a similar colour nail polish to cover the exposed metal.

  20. Something to help with removing stubborn stickers is a blowdryer. The heat from the blowdryer will melt the glue and make the stickers peel off a lot more easier. Heating left over glue residue also makes it easier to wash off.

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