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  1. #1
    Videre non videri
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    Rim wear - most economical strategy?

    After riding through the winter so far, I decided to thoroughly clean my bike yesterday. For the most part, it was in perfect condition after all the grime and dirt came off.
    However, after wiping the rims clean, it was obvious where all that salt and dirt had taken its worst toll.
    The brake surfaces of the rims look like Swiss cheese, because of massive pitting.

    I'll soon, provided I have the money, get the stuff I need to build my own wheels, but the question then is, what's the most economical strategy?
    Buying cheap (but not too cheap) rims that could be considered expendable and replace them frequently, or buy high-quality rims, that may or may not last longer (in terms of brake wear), and not be able to replace them as often?

    How big a difference is there between cheaper rims anyway?
    I've been looking at the Mavic range of rims, mostly, and their cheapest ones are about a third the price of their top rims (for my needs).
    I'm talking 559 rims with a bead seat width of between 17-20 mm.

  2. #2
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Is there something about the expensive rims that makes you belive that they will be less susceptible to the corrosion that pitted your current wheels? If not, then the expensive rims will not likely last any longer than inexpensive ones. I suspect that more expensive rims do not necessarily have thicker braking surfaces or alloys more resistant to corrosion than inexpensive rims.

    A better strategy would be to regularly clean your bike to remove the grit and corrosive salts that caused your problem. Otherwise, use inexpensive rims.

  3. #3
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    For future reference, it's a good general habit to wipe grit and aluminum dust off the the rims and brake pads after riding in ugly conditions.
    That said, you don't necessarily have to trash the rims yet. Eventually the sidewalls will get this and they'll wear through, especially with the kind of wear that you're putting into them, but if the sidewalls aren't too thin yet (and they probably aren't, after just one summer) you should wipe the rims down with a rag, then rub them down (after taking off the tire) with a brillo pad, and perhaps very fine sandpaper. Also, remove your brake pads and scour them with fine sandpaper to smooth the surface and take any hard film off the rubber. You may well be able to ride for a few more years on these rims.

    If you're going to be shredding your rims in winter riding every year, you should probably buy cheaper ones, as the extra durability of more expensive ones will be lost on you.

  4. #4
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    Cheaper rims are probably MORE durable than expensive ones since, with expensive rims, you are paying for "lightness", i.e. less material. Cheap rims will be heavier and likely have thicker side walls that will last longer under abrasion.

    If you are using 559 rims, that means an MTB so consider disc brakes. Abrasive conditions will wear out pads and rotors but won't hurt the rims. Of course your frame, fork and hubs will have to be disc compatible.

  5. #5
    Senior Member juicemouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    Cheaper rims are probably MORE durable than expensive ones since, with expensive rims, you are paying for "lightness", i.e. less material. Cheap rims will be heavier and likely have thicker side walls that will last longer under abrasion.
    This is probably true of racing rims, but not of rims meant to be strong and long-lasting. I know we're talking about MTB rims here, but the 700c Mavic A719 comes to mind as an example of an expensive, durable rim that probably isn't skimping on wall thickness any.
    It is my belief that every person in this world has something to teach, and everything to learn.

    In memory of Jim Price (aka. sydney) ...

  6. #6
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juicemouse
    This is probably true of racing rims, but not of rims meant to be strong and long-lasting. I know we're talking about MTB rims here, but the 700c Mavic A719 comes to mind as an example of an expensive, durable rim that probably isn't skimping on wall thickness any.
    Exactly. I was thinking the Mavic CXP33 here, but the A719 is even more durable.
    Whatever you do, don't go for really light rims.

  7. #7
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    just stop braking so dang much!

  8. #8
    Videre non videri
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    Yeah, wiping them off is of course what I should be doing, but when I get home, cleaning my bike isn't my first priority. Stretching, drinking, eating, in that order, are. After that, well, my absentmindedness makes sure I never get around to cleaning them...

    I guess the general advice is (as I expected) to go for cheaper rims, as long as they're decent quality. Right?
    And no, light isn't exactly my game - my bike is so loaded with stuff that it weighs 39 lbs in its regular configuration (lights, bell, pump, lock, rear rack, extra handle bar, fenders...).

  9. #9
    Videre non videri
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    just stop braking so dang much!
    Hehe, hilly city with plenty of red lights and slow traffic...
    Feels like I'm braking constantly...

  10. #10
    Senior Member juicemouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    Yeah, wiping them off is of course what I should be doing, but when I get home, cleaning my bike isn't my first priority. Stretching, drinking, eating, in that order, are. After that, well, my absentmindedness makes sure I never get around to cleaning them...

    I guess the general advice is (as I expected) to go for cheaper rims, as long as they're decent quality. Right?
    And no, light isn't exactly my game - my bike is so loaded with stuff that it weighs 39 lbs in its regular configuration (lights, bell, pump, lock, rear rack, extra handle bar, fenders...).
    I guess if you're going to be abusing them like that, then cheaper is probably better. The most expensive aspect of all this is probably the labor of having them rebuilt all the time, unless you do that yourself. Just try to get rims that will last until the brake tracks are worn out. Don't go so cheap that they start to crack around the spoke holes or flat-spot easily on the terrain you normally ride, or else you'll be replacing them even more regularly. Even though it might be a pain in the butt sometimes, preventative maintenance is really the way to go for non-disposable components like this.

    May I ask what the extra handlebar is all about?
    It is my belief that every person in this world has something to teach, and everything to learn.

    In memory of Jim Price (aka. sydney) ...

  11. #11
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    Yep, I plan to build/rebuild them myself in the future. Economy is the only thing holding me back at the moment. As for rims, I'm thinking of the cheaper in the Mavic range XC(x)17, or maybe another brand with similar rim profiles.
    Any you can recommend? How easy they are to true for a beginner wheel builder is also a factor, and I've read that Mavic rims are generally good.

    Oh, the extra handle bar is to have somewhere to mount all the stuff... Two lights (one battery LED, one reflector/bulb off a hub dynamo), bell and HRM mount.
    The main handle bar has an over-sized centre section, and if I were to mount everything down there, there wouldn't be any room left for my hands other than in the drops...

    Here's the "cockpit"!
    (Pay no attention to the bar tape - it's holding up, even though it's not very pretty anymore...)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by CdCf; 01-18-06 at 11:37 AM.

  12. #12
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    what about your brake pads? i've seen people use brake pads so old and hard that they literally acted as a lathe in wearing down the rims brake surfaces. depending on the climate you may need to change brake pads more often. colder climates seem to harden the compound in the pads. you may want to consider a softer pad.

  13. #13
    Videre non videri
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    They're pretty soft all right. The rim wear is due to salt (as soon as there's a hint of frost in the air, they're out there with the salt trucks, even if the roads are perfectly dry...) and abrasion from particles (mostly sand) thrown up from the road surface or from cars in front.

    But I've actually planned to replace them anyway - got kool stop salmons a couple of weeks ago.

    As I said at the start of the thread, the bike's being thoroughly serviced right now. I've taken almost everything apart and cleaned it, at least the lower sections where dirt accumulates.

  14. #14
    Year-round cyclist
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    Don't replace your rims needlessly. If they are seriously worn, you will see that the surface is deeper where the pads rub; there won't be simply tiny grooves, but a whole 8-mm wide path of about 2 mm deep the width of your brake pads. Scratches, even deep ones, are not important, unless braking is uneven.

    In terms of maintenance, remove rocks from your brakepads when you hear some scratching, but otherwise, don't fret about it. But a long term solution would be to use Kool Stop pads, which tend to last much longer and to be gentler on the rims.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  15. #15
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    When my baby is subjected to salt, and I don't have enough time for a thorough cleaning, I just get a bucket of hot water, a big rag, and slop it off. You don't need to spit shine it, but if you get the salt off, it will always clean up like new later. Takes about 2 minutes...OHB

  16. #16
    Videre non videri
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    Bucket of water probably works fine if you have your own house...
    But I live in a small one-room flat on the second floor (first floor if you're British), with a wooden floor. Can't clean it inside, and the outside has no hose or anything else like that. I'd have to find a place to securely lock my bike outside (almost impossible), get up to fill a bucket, and go back down...
    Could be done, but it'd probably take half an hour...

    And the rims aren't really worn in terms of brake pad wear, but the pitting goes quite deep. Probably over 1 mm deep in the worst spots. And they were smooth as silk in November.

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