Corrosion on 7005 Series Aluminum

Oct 15, 2010
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#1
I have a 7005 series aluminum road bike frame that is less than a year old and have recently noticed corrosion near the top of the head tube, and also on the rear dropouts. There seems to be some pitting on my aluminum hubs too, but the main reason for posting was to see if others have had this problem on a frame too, and what should be done. Perhaps this is clearly a warranty issue?

As for the cause, I am guessing that the salt from my sweat may have played a part in this, but I assumed that long distance road bikes would be designed to handle some perspiration.
 
Oct 15, 2010
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#3
About once a week - give or take. I could understand a little bubbling around the dropouts where the paint gets damaged from removing the wheel etc, but at the top tube? That is shocking.
 
Oct 15, 2010
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#5
I usually just wipe it down with a cloth because it does not get that dirty, but if I have to ride in the rain, then I rinse it off with a gentle shower from the garden hose after the ride, then wipe it down. If there is something that does not want to come off, I use a little WD-40 or the equivalent. WD-40 on the SPD peddles, and bolts with any corrosion. I just wipe the chain clean with a dry rag, then apply more chain lube.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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#6
From what I can see, the corrosion / staining is not on any single part, but rather over the entire bike; look at the rear drop out photo - all the parts are a bit of a mess.

When cleaning, I would not go anywhere near a garden hose.

Using WD-40 to clean is not something I would do either.

You really need to get dedicated bike cleaning products to do the job properly.

Also, do you store the bike outside?
 
Oct 15, 2010
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#7
I keep my bike in my house, not outside. I was expecting some grief for using the word hose, but wrote ''gentle shower'' because it is about as intense as using a watering can with a sprinkler head, just when I have had to ride in the rain. I do try to be pretty careful with my bike.

This is not my first bike and I have never had this problem. That said, it is my first aluminum frame, but they are supposed to be pretty durable I thought. I sweat a lot when I ride, and in hindsight, I suppose my bike gets covered in salt water all the time.

My main reason for posting was to see if others have had this problem on a frame too, and what should be done. Is a new frame through warranty a possibility? If not, I guess I need to file the paint off and touch it up with something else? I searched the TCC site before posting, also did a quick search on Google. Doesn't seem like a common problem.
 

StuInTokyo

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#8
I keep my bike in my house, not outside. I was expecting some grief for using the word hose, but wrote ''gentle shower'' because it is about as intense as using a watering can with a sprinkler head, just when I have had to ride in the rain. I do try to be pretty careful with my bike.

This is not my first bike and I have never had this problem. That said, it is my first aluminum frame, but they are supposed to be pretty durable I thought. I sweat a lot when I ride, and in hindsight, I suppose my bike gets covered in salt water all the time.

My main reason for posting was to see if others have had this problem on a frame too, and what should be done. Is a new frame through warranty a possibility? If not, I guess I need to file the paint off and touch it up with something else? I searched the TCC site before posting, also did a quick search on Google. Doesn't seem like a common problem.
My 23 year old Cannondale did not have anywhere near that much bubbling of paint when I went to repaint it, nothing like that much corrosion :eek:
I'd get hold of the maker of the frame and ask "What's up??"
 

kiwisimon

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#9
The component staining is chemical and looking at where the bubbling is, near the ends of tubes where stuff can get in I would think you have some foreign chemicals (salt?) getting into the cracks and nooks and working it's evil magic. Pure water will pose no problems at all. This is a Bianchi, right? if I remeber you bought it from overseas so warranty might be a PITA. I would definitely contact them and see what they say. Good luck.
Was the bike fully assembled when it was delivered? I would hazard a guess you have not had it fully serviced by you LBS, a good idea after about the first month to tighten up the inevitable loosening of parts, those loose areas are where crap happens, Headset BB and Hubs.

Really if you sweat a lot then washing the bike with slightly soapy water and then rinsing with tap water is a good solution. Also keeping your bike in a heated room then taking it out into cold air and vice-versa is really not good for them, Changes in humidity and temp are great for condensation build up.

I hope this all works out well for you. Keep us in the picture , Oh and this is just my opinion, others may differ so keep asking.
 
Oct 15, 2010
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#10
It is starting to look like the issue is salt, but the manufacturers do prepare for that, don't they? It is a Bianchi, and I got a 'Coast to Coast' model hoping to do some long distance rides, and likely some sweat would be involved. I recently found a 2006 brochure for my bike (mine is a 2010 bought in 2011) and Bianchi claimed that the Via Nirone was treated with a special anti corrosive coating prior to painting. They do paint/anodize things for function too, no? I don't think it is 100% cosmetic on steel and aluminum anyway. Starting to think I am wrong though.

I got the bike from Evans. I have sent them an email to see if they have had similar problems and regardless, if this is a warranty issue that either they or Bianchi will cover.

The bike was fully assembled except for the pedals, and the handle bar that needed to be bolted on. Good guess on not having it fully serviced by an LBS. They are all complete idiots around me aside from one. The one that is half decent has no stock and I literally brought my bike to them TWICE asking them to tighten or replace my BB which was making noise, and both times they kind of chuckled that it was the pedals, not the BB, offering to order new pedals which would take a week to get and cost more than Amazon, and not look at the BB in detail.

I have dropped the stem recently and that required loosening and tightening the headset. I don't think I need a shop to do things like that, but time will tell. I guess I need to start getting out of my neighborhood and head over to Positivo in Todoroki with my bike.

I do keep it in the house, but the room is not heated.

Thanks for the tips. I will let you know how the warranty situation works out.
 

trad

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#11
humid room? Lights?

I've had this happen on my mtn bike where I rode in the dark with lights. I'm also a heavy sweat'r and keeping the batteries/cable attached for extended time seemed to accelerate corrosion and even created pitting. seems like sodium and light electrical current are not good combo. started to take electrical gizmos off immediately after ride and this stopped the problem

is the room you keep your bike in very humid? On one of my roadbikes, i had similar issues when I move and kept the bike in the indoor garage w/o humidity removing ac...

Hope things work out with evans..
 
May 22, 2007
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#12
Bummer. It looks to me like there were impurities on the frame or in the immediate environment when it was painted. When I used to re-spray my own motorbikes (oh - those were the days) it could take forever to get rid of all the old paint or paint stripper chemicals. If even the tiniest amount was left behind, eventually the new paint would react, resulting in bubbles that look exactly like this.

Although not the same problem, I bought a bright-red Felt F4C back in 2006. (It's dead now.) Within a year the paint had faded dramatically in the direction of sunlight where I parked it at home. Never bothered to complain because I kinda liked the effect. But it was a sub-standard paint job for sure.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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#13
It is the 3rd picture that is the most interesting; the corrosion and staining is on the frame, the QR lever head, the washer, the axle AND the hub and spokes.

It is not an issue confined to one specific material type...
 

jdd

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#14
What I can't figure is the head tube corrosion. I sweat a lot, but it all hits way back and never--and that is NEVER--on the head tube.
 

AlanW

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#15
Do you live by the sea? A saline atmosphere can cause surface corrosion.

Porous clear coat on the aluminium is another possibility, but it looks like the corrosion is starting where the aluminium is exposed (eg. headset surface will likely have been faced; dropout paint/clear coat will be removed by taking the wheel in and out.
 
Dec 31, 2009
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#16
My vote

I vote sea salt.
Its all over the bike. I sold a folding bike to a guy who lived on a house boat. a month later he brought it back and it was much worse than your bike, even the cables were frozen in the housing. He explained that water would often splash on it and he never rode it. I dont think Bianchi will warranty this as it really is not there fault, and they could prove this by looking at the other parts and seeing the similar problem. If it was only the frame, you would have a homerun, new frame in the mail. Unfortunatly thats not the case. There really is no way of them to know what has come in contact with the frame and they have heard every story in the book when it comes to warrantys and have people whom specifically work in the warranty department as there full time job, so they will absolutely look into the details and not listen to a word you say. I really do not think there is much you can do living near the ocean, maybe buy a carbon bike?
Just my opinion :)
Good Luck!
 

GSAstuto

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#17
Having worked in the aviation industry and done a fair amount of alloy prep / paint, etc. I'm surprised that the alloy bikes stay relatively corrosion free as long as they do. First - most of them are not etched before painting. They don't use multilayer primer and paint (like Imron) , they use very cheap waterbased epoxies and lastly they rarely have the internal surfaces anti-corrosive treated. Combine that with many bi-metal connections, salty, moist air (we are on an Island) and you have a corrosion nightmare.

Just to give you an idea ---

Alkaline degreasing
Rinse
Caustic etch
Rinse
Nitric acid desmut
Rinse
Yellow chromate
Rinse
Rinse in Deionized water
Dry at max 70 deg.Celsius
<end of prep>
Primer Phase
Color Phase
Clear Coat Phase

I'm sure no bike company, with exception of very high end, does this. One advantage of Carbon is that the finishing process is drastically reduced from Alloy (or steel). It's basically just decal gelcoat, paint and clear.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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Good post, Tim.

Yeah, there are a number of things about expensive road bike frames that still dumbfounds me; the latest one is the fact that they still don't (on the whole) use hollow dropouts.... Madness.
 

GSAstuto

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#19
Mostly its economics. Look who are the mfgs?

1) Almost all 'brands' outsource their mfg to the cheapest possible factories. And in, fact, there really is no accountability directly to the frameset. Like Crappendale, Truck, etc - it's a holding company that has acquired a commodity and just wants to monetize it. Everything they are presenting to you is marketing and very little of it is actually functional technology. The goal is to get the bike off the assy line as cheaply as possible.

2) At the same time - the large factories must adhere to certain ECO standards which logistically prohibit them from actually using the 'good stuff'. Its far cheaper to cut out the steps that incur hazardous waste and use materials that have less impact - yet, far lower degree of performance.

3) Conversely , the smallest makers struggle because they don't have access to the high end mfg process and even if their prdt is technically more advanced, the actual mfg may be even lower quality! So - somewhere there are makers that are putting together top quality prdts at commensurate prices and you do, in fact, get what you pay for. I'd say right now this is limited to a very few NA and EU 'brands' that have a very long history in putting wheels in the peletons. And some very small mfg's doing extreme custom components on a one-by-one basis, because they simply cannot scale their skill (like most framebuilders).

4) If you want cheap , AND Good, then I'd be looking more at the generic , 'no brand' approach and pay more attention to the factory from whence it came and the desired geometry than the sticker that someone put on it. The price will be such that you can ride it, crash it, toss it and no worries about replacement as an heirloom.

5) Back to John's frame - this kind of overall corrosion on various parts is more typical of environmental exposure than anything. For sure sweat can accelerate the issue (due to the electrolyte content), and same as the galvanic issues (like Todor mentions) - so, to take care of these issues, you just need to make sure the frame is washed, dried and properly lubed after each ride or several rides. And use some alloy shielding spray.. So here's where I give you some real tips:

1) Alu-Guard: This is common in the boat yards. I think you can even buy it at WesMarine. After you've thoroughly cleaned and degreased the alloy tube - then spray this on it.

2) T-9: Developed by Boeing - also known as Boeshield. This stuff really works. Again, degrease and spray.

3) Linseed Oil: One of natures wonder oils. Applies wet, dries sticky. We used to use this with a combination of paraffin wax and then dip a frameset into it to boil. The result is nearly 100% coverage of a very highly protective rust and corrosion guard. We also used it in a pressure sprayer (like for insecticide) and then just periodically douched the whole frameset.

4) There are aerospace solvent washes that will clean and self-etch. Like AeroKlean, etc. Here's a pretty good article on EPA recommended techniques. http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/icel/aircraf2.pdf Bear in mind the most important thing is that after you've washed the machine, go out and fly it! The wind and vibration will dry it off. Never WASH AND SIT! I got my pilot's license nearly for free because I'd wash anyone's machine for free (including a short 'drying session') Built up lots of hours that way just making a few turns around the pattern.

5) Use some wax preventative on your finish. This won't help the bubbling (internal corrosion), but it will seal the coat and prevent some surface damage and of course scratches should be always be polished, touched up, then wax covered or sealed.

6) Galvanic issues can be mitigated by making sure you a 'zero ground' potential on your wiring - and if you are using the frame as one of the current paths, then adding a small sacrificial 'zinc' may be a good idea. Otherwise - isolate all wiring within a coax carrier and use teflon washers between any metallic parts that maybe serving as a conductor.

By the way - most of these chemicals and stuff are very common in the aerospace or boating industry. You can find most of this online at industrial supply sites or yachting supply for alot less then as a bicycle branded prdt.

What do I personally do?

1) I build Ti framesets - alot less corrosion resistant and trouble free especially for an island environment. And I do the linseed oil spray internally.

2) Apply a liberal amount of teflon grease onto everything I assemble to provide some barrier against moisture. I do this on all the hubs internally as well as headset bearing, BB and seatpost.

3) Wash my bike alot. I use a mild detergent (100y store dish stuff), then rinse thoroughly, then go for a ride a few times around the block. After that I'll usually hit the ends with some WD-40 or CRC to further displace any residual moisture.

Incidentally - you can get CRC Super Rust Guard at Donki. This is not the best CRC product (as with most rebrand or licensing in Japan) but it's ok and cheap enough. The best CRC product for this purpose is the heavy duty corrosion protection they sell primarily for boating industry.

Good post, Tim.

Yeah, there are a number of things about expensive road bike frames that still dumbfounds me; the latest one is the fact that they still don't (on the whole) use hollow dropouts.... Madness.
 

jdd

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#20
3) Linseed Oil: One of natures wonder oils. Applies wet, dries sticky. We used to use this with a combination of paraffin wax and then dip a frameset into it to boil. The result is nearly 100% coverage of a very highly protective rust and corrosion guard.

Sounds like seasoning cast-iron cookware?