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Old 09-28-11, 03:57 PM   #1
jim hughes
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black rims that stay black?

This question came up on another thread and I'd like to explore the topic further.

My experience has been that black anodized rims look totally cool for the first hundred miles, then the andozing starts wearing off of the braking surfaces and they look like total cr@p for the rest of their functional lives.

I've read that black ceramic rims may not hold up well either. Seems like that technology isn't quite ready for the masses.

Are there any black rims that STAY black no matter what?

Last edited by jim hughes; 09-28-11 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 09-28-11, 04:21 PM   #2
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Jim: Since hard anodizing (the thickest type) is only 0.0005" to 0.006" thick, once the coating has worn that deep the untreated aluminum beneath will inevitably show through. The only alternative I can see is disc brakes which do not wear the anodized surface. I just run black wheels with machined brake tracks and just live with the shiny tracks.
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Old 09-28-11, 04:31 PM   #3
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brakeless fixie
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Old 09-28-11, 04:39 PM   #4
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disc brakes
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Old 09-28-11, 07:34 PM   #5
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Ceramic's pretty durable IRL.
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Old 09-28-11, 07:58 PM   #6
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Ceramic's pretty durable IRL.
I did some Googling on that and found guys posting photos of ceramic rims where the coating had chipped or worn off pretty disappointingly, considering the price. I should research this some more, maybe some manufacturers are making it work.

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Old 09-28-11, 11:32 PM   #7
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The other thing about ceramic is that it has reasonably good brake-pad grip. If you want the rims to stay dark-colored, but want pretty good braking too, ceramic's hard to beat. But they sure are expensive!
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Old 09-29-11, 02:47 AM   #8
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Any type of rim brake uses the rim as a wear surface. I think the only real way to keep black rims black is to use disc or drum brakes.
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Old 09-29-11, 12:39 PM   #9
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I did some Googling on that and found guys posting photos of ceramic rims where the coating had chipped or worn off pretty disappointingly, considering the price.
IME, that's all down to how you ride & treat the bike. Ceramic rims really don't like being jammed into bike racks where the wheel is wedged, that'll chip the coating bad and fast. If you like riding technical rock gardens, with plenty of chance of banging the rims, keeping ceramics in pristine condition can be quite challenging too.

I've avoided these, and my ceramics are still going strong.
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Old 09-29-11, 01:05 PM   #10
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Duh, carbon.
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Old 09-29-11, 01:56 PM   #11
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I know about carbon wheels and disk brakes, they are not affordable options for me.
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Old 09-29-11, 01:57 PM   #12
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IME, that's all down to how you ride & treat the bike. Ceramic rims really don't like being jammed into bike racks where the wheel is wedged, that'll chip the coating bad and fast. If you like riding technical rock gardens, with plenty of chance of banging the rims, keeping ceramics in pristine condition can be quite challenging too.

I've avoided these, and my ceramics are still going strong.
I don't beat up this bike but I do get caught in the rain occasionally, and the resulting grit is what destroys anodized rims. Can ceramic hold up in the rain?
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Old 09-29-11, 02:19 PM   #13
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Depends of the rim too, old school tubular black rims like mavic or fir user to stay black FOR YEARS, and years i mean maybe 3 to 7 years before the thing started to fade.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:36 PM   #14
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Prolly want hardox then.

It's usually a brownish dark grey, though.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:41 PM   #15
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Magic Marker, or maybe jumping off when you need to stop.
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Old 09-30-11, 10:21 AM   #16
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I don't beat up this bike but I do get caught in the rain occasionally, and the resulting grit is what destroys anodized rims. Can ceramic hold up in the rain?
Yeah, in fact I think Mavic first brought out ceramic for off-road use on the first-generation CrossMax wheelset, and this was one of the reasons: durability against abrasives, particularly important on the CrossMax since it was pretty thin-walled.
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Old 09-30-11, 10:30 AM   #17
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So far no dark matter has been found, let alone make a metal of it..
aluminum is silver colored. any color applied to the surface,
where gripped by brake shoes, will wear away.
it is the friction that stops you.

only by having braking elsewhere, in the hub, can that be avoided.

Disc, drum or coaster brakes..

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-30-11 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 09-30-11, 11:01 AM   #18
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I've had Mavic ceramic road rims on my Litespeed for over 13 years and they seem unworn. These are not really black, but dark gray. For the first thousand miles or so they went through brake pads (Ultegra) like crazy, like every 200 miles. I do not use these in the rain.

So when my commuter bike rims looked thin this summer, I decided to replace them with Mavic ceramic. These look pretty dark, nearly black, and they seem easier on the brake pads (Ultegra and Kool-Stop combo). I shall see if these hold up during the rainy winter commute season and provide decent wet braking power (I can change pads to Kool-stop salmon all around, or Kool-stop ceramic pads).

I'm not so worried about the color, but longevity in the wet and braking power. Staying dark tells me the rim isn't wearing away.
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Old 09-30-11, 11:40 AM   #19
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I don't beat up this bike but I do get caught in the rain occasionally, and the resulting grit is what destroys anodized rims. Can ceramic hold up in the rain?
I've probably got 2000 miles on my my MTB, say 1/4 of which left the bike liberally smothered in mud. Those riding conditions eats drivetrains but doesn't seem to bother the ceramics.
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Old 09-30-11, 11:43 AM   #20
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I've had Mavic ceramic road rims ... For the first thousand miles or so they went through brake pads (Ultegra) like crazy, like every 200 miles. .
There's a trick to that. If you use ceramic-specific pads to start with you won't wear them out that fast. Then, as the somewhat porous braking surface starts to fill up, you can switch back to regular pads.
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Old 09-30-11, 12:05 PM   #21
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Prolly want hardox then.
It's usually a brownish dark grey, though.
I believe that's what's on the Mavic rims I have now, and it came right off after the first couple of wet messy days - a worthless treatment in my opinon. Of course these were OLD mavic rims, that had sat unused since the 80s. Maybe the newer process is better.
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Old 10-01-11, 02:35 AM   #22
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There are also the huffy? tuffy? plastic wheels, as used on some wheel chairs. They're black-ish through and through, and might be possible to convert to bicycle use. Not available in 28" though.
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