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  1. #1
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    Pothole damaged rim, fix or replace?

    Went into a very nasty pothole a while ago. There was that split second of the bike stopping and wondering if I'm going to go over the handle bars or come out of the hole, thankfully it was the latter.

    Anyhow, I now have a rim with a dent / bend in it (see attached photo). The wheel is fine and not buckled but the front brakes take a whacking when they pass over the dent.

    My question is, can this be fixed, i.e. with a hammer or something or is it a case of having to replace the rim? and does a replacement involve replacing the wheel as well?

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    If your rim is aluminum it cannot be bent back without likely causing a crack which could eventually cause the rim to fail. Even with the lower tire pressures for hybrid and mountain bikes this could be a dangerous situation for you.

    You have three alternatives:

    1. Buy a new rim and rebuild the wheel, using the old spokes and hub.

    2. Buy a new rim, spokes and hub, and rebuild the wheel.

    3. Buy a pre-built wheel.

    From the photo, your rim looks to be rather low-end one which would be cheaper to replace than to rebuild. In fact, you might even be able to find a used one somewhere for next to nothing.

    Bob
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  3. #3
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    You could try to realign the bent section using an adjustable wrench with the jaws set to the sidewall thickness as a alignment tool. Remove the tire and tube and use the wrench to carefully bend the dented section back into alignment.

    If the dent can be straightened satisfactorily without the sidewall cracking, you should be ok to continue using it. If it cracks, then obviously, it must be replaced and Bobby's #3 option, a new complete wheel, is probably the lowest cost choice.

  4. #4
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Pothole damaged rim, fix or replace?

    I had the same problem with a Steel Rim.
    Used a small block of wood placed over the Bent Area.
    Kept tapping the wood with a Light Weight Hammer Untill
    The damaged area returned in line with the rest of the rim.
    My Rim was Steel.

  5. #5
    META Severian's Avatar
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    Huh... looks like that dent is right on the seam of your rim. That would cause me to seriously consider replacing the rim.

    As far as rim/wheel replacement goes. Depends on how much you want to spend. You can probably find a Cycle Pro wheel for around 60 bux that'll get you back on the road. But no guarantees on quality. Handbuilt wheels are much more expensive. But, that may be a more cost-effective solution than purchasing a new wheel off-the-shelf.

  6. #6
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    Thanks all for the advice, the rims are from a Trek 7500 Hybrid, Fairlane Bontrager ERD 604, I've Googled them but can't find out whether they are steel or aluminum, anybody know?

  7. #7
    Sometimes knows stuff. rmfnla's Avatar
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    They are aluminum, and that should be fixable using HillRider's wrench or 10 Wheels' hammer (my usual approach).

    Just work slowly and in small increments.
    Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...

  8. #8
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmfnla View Post
    They are aluminum, and that should be fixable using HillRider's wrench or 10 Wheels' hammer (my usual approach).

    Just work slowly and in small increments.
    But don't invest too much time or effort in them. Try to fix them but consider them busted and you are only applying a bandaid.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I think the steel or aluminum question can be answered with a magnet.

    Riding Tip: I used to ding rims like this a lot when I was first starting out. I think it was a combination of really cheap rims and poor riding technique. To avoid dinging your rims when hitting potholes, try to unweight and become a shock absorber. Get your butt out of the saddle and allow your legs and ankles to absorb the jolt. Try to imagine the bike taking the hit without any interference from your big old body.

  10. #10
    Senior Member biker128pedal's Avatar
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    Looks like an excuse to upgrade the wheel(s).
    Mike
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  11. #11
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    They're aluminum.
    It looks as if you did not have enough air pressure.
    See HillRider's and rmflna's posts.
    In addition to straightening the rim laterally, you need to make it round again, that will require judicial use a rubber mallet.

    Al
    Last edited by Al1943; 12-29-07 at 04:51 PM.

  12. #12
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    Maybe not kosher, but what I did with my aluminum rims on my commuter was to file down those sections flush with the rest of the rim. I had two minor bulges that were annoying felt during braking & filing worked. I'm sure the spot is weakened a bit by being thinner.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by biker128pedal View Post
    Looks like an excuse to upgrade the wheel(s).
    More like replace. A wheel like that can be had for $30. Not worth the manpower to even relace it to a new rim.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    They're aluminum.
    It looks as if you did not have enough air pressure.
    Al
    More than likely, the road surface is so bad around here that I can't have the tires pumped as much as they possibly should be.

    Anyway, I tried a wrench and made it a bit worse, so I just brought it to the bike shop and initially they were going to replace the wheel etc. but then they were able to straighten it out, so it's almost as good as new, with just a tiny feel when the brakes go over the place where the bump was. I got nice new brakes while I was there as well.

    Next step is to replace the saddle since one of the medal bars attaching it to the bike broke off a while ago.. 1 down 3 to go! :-D

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzap64 View Post
    More than likely, the road surface is so bad around here that I can't have the tires pumped as much as they possibly should be.
    Even more reason to keep them pumped up. If you'd had enough air in your tires the rim would not have been damaged.

  16. #16
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    But the ride is quite bumpy and I can almost feel bits falling off the bike, i.e. my mudguard screw but the guy in the bike shop didn't seem to pump them up as madly as before, so I'll leave them as is this time.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzap64 View Post
    But the ride is quite bumpy and I can almost feel bits falling off the bike, i.e. my mudguard screw but the guy in the bike shop didn't seem to pump them up as madly as before, so I'll leave them as is this time.
    You need to invest in a good floor pump with a built-in pressure gauge. Road bike tires need to be pumped before each ride. Tires as big as yours should be pumped up at least once a week or before each ride.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by youthcom View Post
    Maybe not kosher, but what I did with my aluminum rims on my commuter was to file down those sections flush with the rest of the rim. I had two minor bulges that were annoying felt during braking & filing worked. I'm sure the spot is weakened a bit by being thinner.
    Aluminium rims are already filed (and become thinner) every time you apply the brakes. With adequate tyre pressure, your rims are surely going to explode one day...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    You need to invest in a good floor pump with a built-in pressure gauge. Road bike tires need to be pumped before each ride. Tires as big as yours should be pumped up at least once a week or before each ride.
    +1

    If you have strong thumbs and are able to tell "good pressure" from "not good pressure" by pushing your thumb into the rolling surface of the tyre, you may perhaps not need the pressure gauge. But it won't hurt to have it either.

    The thumb trick does hurt, and is supposed to. The amount of pain is indicative of the pressure

    BTW I go weeks, sometimes months without pumping on my main bicycle. The tubes I have aren't too miserable, I guess. But I do check them often.

  20. #20
    slower than you Applehead57's Avatar
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    Eerie, I did the identical thing this past summer, looked exactly like that.
    I bought new wheels. Too much at risk if that rim should fail.
    "Lack of opportunity does not constitute virtue". Diana Tickle.

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