Two years ago I was knocked off my bicycle by a car and was too scared to cycle for a long time, and left my bicycle outside uncovered for over a year. That was a mistake.

Now, WD-40 applied to the chain did not help much. The chain still won't bend. I think cleaning it won't be possible, I will replace it. But how about the rest? I have no idea what I will have to do to make it work or if it is even possible. Do I have to replace anything else apart from chain and cables?

These are the bicycle specs.

  • 1
    From the link, the bike originally sold for $380 and is a hardtail (so presumably GT's entry-level model at the time).
    – Chris H
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 20:48
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    To limit further damage, consider storing your bike inside, or at least under shelter. Good work for getting back on the bike.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 23:52
  • Anecdotally, I knew a mechanic that restored a bike that had been sitting for decades - I think maybe the bottom bracket was seized and needed replacing, or maybe just a thorough cleaning? Anyway, of course it's possible. Whether or not it's worth it is up to you :) Commented May 10, 2018 at 22:25

5 Answers 5


You don't have pictures of the bike, but honestly, theres not much you need to worry about. Pump up the tires and make sure they hold air. Check that the brakes work (may need new pads, cables). Add a new chain and you're likely good to go.

A lot of bikes live outside their whole lives (in rain and snow) and aren't worse for the wear.

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    Maybe, just to be safe, have the bike shop to look at the headset, bottom bracket and wheel bearings as well? if some humidity seeped in and they got a bit rusty they can degenerate pretty quickly and cause damages to races and stuff Commented May 10, 2018 at 1:18
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    Regarding your last sentence: there is a big difference (in my temperate climate) between a bike that is left outside its whole life but is ridden regularly, and a bike that is outside and not ridden for several months. Otherwise +1
    – Qsigma
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 10:16
  • “if some humidity seeped in and they got a bit rusty they can degenerate pretty quickly and cause damages to races and stuff” Depends on the type of bearing. If they are modern, sealed industrial bearings you’d have to replace the whole bearing anyway and riding with a worn bearing shouldn’t cause any damage. The advantage of those bearings is that they are pretty well sealed and probably still okay.
    – Michael
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 14:43
  • If the bike is steel, and got damaged by impact with a car, then it's quite possible parts of the frame hsve rusted and so isn't safe any more.
    – James
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 17:52

A chain left outside for a long period, unless freshly oiled beforehand (or in a desert), will be ruined. The rest is worth checking over by someone experienced, but the bike can probably be saved by replacing routine components, and it's probably worth doing.

I'd expect to change the brake pads as well (another cheap consumable). The cassette (rear gears) might want doing at the same time as the chain but it might be OK if it's not too worn, and the cables might have survived (they're probably stainless, though they might be a bit stiff anyway). The tyres and tubes might have suffered but should be OK.

  • 1
    What would be wrong with the brake pads? I'd imagine that they shouldn't take more damage than normal aging (they should be pretty water-proof, shouldn't they?). I might be wrong, but I'd put the lifetime of a break pad at least at five years (unless they are worn down faster), so I wouldn't be too worried after just a year without maintenance. Commented May 10, 2018 at 10:12
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    @cmaster you could well be right/lucky, but I've found prolonged outdoor storage to lead to a layer of grime that affects braking and doesn't clean off easily (sanding might help but i just replaced them). Use wears this layer off before it can become a problem.
    – Chris H
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 11:38

Is this the same bicycle that got knocked by a car? Considering that it has an aluminum frame, I suggest you should carefully check it for cracks. They can actually be easier to spot now that dirt and water has had time to work itself into them.

More details can be found in e.g. this question: I was in a collision the other day. What should I check?

  • Yes, the very same. It didn't suffer any damage though. Thanks
    – Oksana
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 6:55

Braking ability, it might be highly impacted since there'll be deposits on the rim and the pad both. Brake levers might also ought to be checked up. Check the valves for air after 2 3 use.

Apart from this, everything will be better again with regular maintenance and usage.


Bring it into the local bike shop and ask for a full tuneup. They will let you know what needs to be replaced, which we can only guess at without seeing the bike itself (a picture of the bike as it is now would help us guess better than a picture of a new one, though.)

My guess based on the damage my bike has suffered from parking outside during the winter is that you'll definitely have to replace the chain, and possibly the cassette (regular wear wouldn't be too bad on the cassette, but after a year...). Maybe some other minor things. None of those are especially expensive. I'd count on a final bill of roughly $50 for the tuneup and $10-$70 for the parts (on the low end of that if the cassette is fine).

  • I'd ask for a quote first. It would be easy to spend more on a retail tuneup than the replacement cost of the bike, considering hourly rates for mechanic time. Often a bike shop will simply replace marginal parts rather than spend the time to reuse them, because its quicker.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 22:52
  • @Criggie Get a quote, certainly, and ask that they call you to confirm if it turns out they need to replace something expensive. But if a tuneup, even with some replacement parts, is even approaching the cost of even a used bike, you might want to find a different shop.
    – Ray
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 23:01
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    Shops are conscious of their liability, and replacing a suspect part limits their liability more than saying "its okay to ride" I've seen $400 NZ charged to tune up a $500 bike. Charges were ~3 hours at $60/hour plus parts.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 1:03
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    In my part of the world (suburban London, UK) there are two sorts of cycle repair shop. The utilitarian ones, and the boutique ones. If you're offered a cup of coffee, you're in the wrong sort! But the right ones can be very reasonably priced.
    – Laurence
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 16:33

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