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  1. #1
    Unfit, fat and forty SSSwede's Avatar
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    Brake improvement on steel rims?

    Hi all, just bought an 73 Bianchi which is very nice but it has steel rims, having read other threads I realize that I shoul replace them with alloy rims but until then, is it possible to improve the brake on steel rims? any special pads? paint the rims? rub them with sandpaper?

    Thankful for any ideas

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    The best advice I can give you for riding in the rain is to keep an eye out for soft things to run into. With those steel rims your brakes aren't going to be much help at all.

  3. #3
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Steel rims are fine when dry. It's wet steel rims that are bad news. Best thing is to get new rims. If nothing else, get a new rim for the front wheel so you have good brakes where they count. The rear is not critical.

  4. #4
    Year-round cyclist
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    Since most braking is done -- or should be done, anyway -- with the front brake, replace the front rim with an aluminium rim. Or buy a complete front wheel, as it's usually fairly cheap.

    My local repair shop sells complete Al front wheels for $30, and used ones at half that price.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  5. #5
    Unfit, fat and forty SSSwede's Avatar
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    Thanks all, I´ll just get a new front wheel to be on the safe side, the rear will probably end up as a fixed wheel anyway.

  6. #6
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    What I used to do in the bad old days of steel rims and 1970s brake pads was to drag the brakes continuously as I rode in the rain, or at least to squeeze the handles frequently. This is similar to the advice I received from my high school driver's education teacher in 1965, regarding the need to dry 4-wheel drum brakes periodically in wet weather.

    For safety and performance, aluminum rims are by far the best upgrade you can make to any bike with steel rims. Salmon-colored KoolStop brake pads are right up there, as well, along with new brake cables AND housings.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  7. #7
    Unfit, fat and forty SSSwede's Avatar
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    I just made a small test, today it rains badly here, I went to the LBS and bought a pair of gray shimano pads, put them on the rear wheel and went for a spin. It worked pretty well, I was able to skid on wet tarmac, I will however anyway get at least a new front wheel.

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