Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: A Coffin Called Earth. or Toronto, ON
Bikes: Bianchi, Miyata, Dahon, Rossin
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older rims and even some new ones sometimes don't have a wear indicator.
rims with external wear indicators, the cheap ones have a small groove on the outside. once that groove is gone, the rim needs to be replaced.
rims with internal wear indicators will develop holes once the rim has worn past a certain amount. these can be found on many higher quality rims like open pro.
so, how to judge... the braking surfaces will become concave were the pads hit most often.
it's a bit hard to judge unless you are really staring at it when it's clean.
obviously the rim will wear out faster with harder pads and riding conditions which kick up a lot of debris like sand, salts and mud.