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  1. #1
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    Improving wet braking with steel rims

    I've tried doing a search for this to no avail.

    I love my Raleigh 3 speed, everything, except that it won't stop worth a damn every time it rains.

    Short of rebuilding the wheels with aluminum rims, I'd like to know what else I can try.

    I've already replaced the worthless Raleigh flexy steel calipers with Dual-pivot aluminum calipers. Threw in new brake cables and housing. Brake pads are Kool Stop Salmon.

    Stops almost like aluminum rims in the dry. No complaints until it turns wet.

    In the wet, they are more than worthless until a few wheel rotations dry the rims. Then it's like in the dry, until I need to stop again.

    Can steel rims be coated to improve performance?
    Can they be sanded to improve performance.

    While a ceramic coating would fix the problem, it's by no means a home job.

    If anyone has any suggestions, or explanations for why steel rims perform so poorly when wet, I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member FlatFender's Avatar
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    buy new rims, sorry dude.

  3. #3
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Get some custom shoes made with KoolStop Salmon soles for Flintstone style braking.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  4. #4
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    Don't know if it's what you're looking for, but when I was into riding year round in all weather conditions, I used to very slightly twist the caliper ends so the rear end of the brake pad touches first
    Doesn't need to be a huge amount of twist, just enough so the leading edge touches the rim first.
    most often the wet braking problem is because when the brakes are applied flat, (as they are designed to be) the entire pad surface comes down on a sheet of water which takes a while to work out. (basically hydroplanes) If you have the rear of the brake pad tweaked inwards it squeegees the water out of the way so the rest of the pad is able to come down on a clean dry surface.
    drawback is that it forces you to adjust the brake slightly loose to keep the leading edge from dragging, and the edge also wears faster but not as fast as you'd expect, old style brick types can be flipped to change the edge, newer shaped styles need to be swapped side for side to change leading edge.

    ken.

  5. #5
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    You are fighting a losing battle with these rims. There is nothing practical you can do to make them stop reliably in the wet and needing several wheel rotations to get them dry enough to work is too dangerous. You can't plan your stops well enough to allow this to continue.

    Bit the bullet and replace the rims with aluminum ones. It's cheaper, and less painful, than biting the bumper of a car that stopped unexpectedly in front of you.

  6. #6
    cab horn
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    The way to improve wet braking with steel rims is to replace them with aluminum ones. End thread.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  7. #7
    Your mom
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    I have to agree; you've done everything else.

  8. #8
    B-b-b-b-b-b-bicicle Rider orange leader's Avatar
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    Sand them then leave them to soak in some salt water so they rust overnight. Then they'll have great texture for your pads to grip.
    Rudimentum mendum menda
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    Judicium et erratum!

  9. #9
    (Grouchy)
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    a company called fibrax makes brake pads with a strip of leather through the center that is supposed to improve overall braking on steel rims, i've never tried them myself, but for $12 or so, it might be worth it to try them out. possibly available here: http://www.yellowjersey.org/vinbrake.html good luck!

  10. #10
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    K6-III- I have heard good things about the Fibrax shoes with the leather strips. Until someone makes 590mm alloy rims for our Raleighs this is the best we can do.

  11. #11
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by '72 superbe View Post
    K6-III- I have heard good things about the Fibrax shoes with the leather strips. Until someone makes 590mm alloy rims for our Raleighs this is the best we can do.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/rims/590.html

  12. #12
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K6-III View Post
    I love my Raleigh 3 speed, everything, except that it won't stop worth a damn every time it rains.

    Short of rebuilding the wheels with aluminum rims, I'd like to know what else I can try.

    I've already replaced the worthless Raleigh flexy steel calipers with Dual-pivot aluminum calipers. Threw in new brake cables and housing. Brake pads are Kool Stop Salmon.

    Stops almost like aluminum rims in the dry. No complaints until it turns wet.

    In the wet, they are more than worthless until a few wheel rotations dry the rims. Then it's like in the dry, until I need to stop again.

    Can steel rims be coated to improve performance?
    Yes, just leave the bike parked outdoors in the acid rain. Once the braking surfaces acquire a good coating of iron oxide, you'll find the brakes work much better. ;-)

    Sheldon "Aluminium Is The Answer" Brown
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  13. #13
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    The link http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/rims/590.html shows the rims but they are out of stock. They have been out of stock for quite a while now. I hope Sun or someone else will start making these rims again, soon.

  14. #14
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    It appears that the "polished" 590 CR-18s have been discontinued. However, QBP has a part # for a "silver" CR-18 that has an estimated arrival date in mid October. With other Sun rims "silver" means a matte finish.

    IMHO "Polished" is much better, cosmetically, on a bike that originally came with chrome rims. But it's nice that some alloy 590s will apparently be available again.

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