I am a happy owner of a Surly Cross Check frame, two years old. Today I put it against a pole, but a strong wind blow made it slide along the pole and fall to the ground. As a result, there is one deep scratch--I can even see some bare steel.

My questions are:

1) Should I worry about the bare steel rust?

2) Is there a product I could use to say, "paint over" the steel and protect it again? Surly itself suggests "automotive touchup paint", but I know nothing about it.

Thanks for any help.

  • What I recommend (if you're inclined to fix it at all, which is totally optional) is auto touch-up paint from an auto parts store. It is often available in small jars similar to nail polish jars, with a brush in the lid (or even in "pens"). And the auto paint is a good choice in terms of adhesion, durability, etc. Commented Jun 22, 2013 at 23:28

1 Answer 1


Either find a touchup paint that closely matches (often bike shops have tons of surplus or can order one that matches), or clear coat it. Or use clear nail polish.

Or don't worry about it ;)

As long as you're not storing the bike outside in the elements, you will reach the fatigue life of a weld somewhere on the frame before scratches will rust sufficiently to compromise its structural integrity.

And before anybody says it- yes, I know steel can be repaired. Once again, as long as the bike is being stored out of the elements you'll be able to repair welds many times over before the frame will rust through.

  • Thanks a bunch. Do you have any link to a good touchup paint? Also, will it stick on the surrounding, non-damaged original Surly coating?
    – fabio
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 9:18
  • @fabio affermative - just make sure you clean the area well. Especially grease will compromise adhesion. Fingerprints and the like.
    – anaheim
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 13:48
  • @fabio typically the touch up paint will come from the manufacturer of the given frame. Find a local Surly dealer or contact Surly directly to get the color to match.
    – joelmdev
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 15:38

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