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  1. #1
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    Matrix Clincher Rims - Bad Reputation?

    I was just wondering. I keep finding negative comments about how terrible these rims are.

    I have 2 pairs of these rims. One pair I rode (yes, past tense) quite a bit and never experienced a problem. I rode mostly on bike trails and smooth roads.

    What were the problems with these rims? And why do they have such a bad reputation?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Butchya can't eat just 1 ***Butch***'s Avatar
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    Not sure what version of the Matrix rims you are talking about, but I've got a newer set that I've got tons of training miles on and have no problems. I've even got several races on them. They've been fine and have only needed a little truing one time on one wheel.
    "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." ~Lynn Lavner

  3. #3
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    I have matrix rims on my 85 Trek 670. They were the rims that
    Trek used (house brand?), they are 20 years old, have thousands
    of miles and no problems.
    I think that Matrix were sourced from Araya
    T-mar, otherguy?

    marty
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  4. #4
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    The ones that I have are the aero profile ones, charcoal dark grey in color. The name 'ISO' rings a bell but I am not sure.

    Glad to hear that there are other people with positive experiences. Sheldon Brown does make a comment about how terrible they are.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    I have a pair of Matrix Titans that lasted 15+ years and many thousands of miles. Finally retired them when a couple of the spoke hole ferrules started to pull through. But I definitely got my money's worth out of them.

  6. #6
    juneeaa memba!
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    I have seen several die of just that curse - nipples pulling through the rim...but...these were all wheels that had lots and lots of hard miles on'em. I personally have never had a failure with one of these rims.

    The point to observe here, I guess, is that rims are expendible, and do wear out, both from fatigue failure (like ferrule failure or rim joint failure) or from excessive braking surface wear. You have to inspect wheels carefully and regularly, because a catastrophic failure while riding is, well, catastrophic.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotek
    ....I think that Matrix were sourced from Araya
    T-mar, otherguy?

    marty
    The Matrix rims were originally manufactured in the USA by Tru-America. While it would not surprise me if Trek off-loaded production of some or all of the line to a foreign manufacturer, I have no knowledge of it.

    Personally, I have no extended experience riding Matrix rims, but I have not heard complaints from the many cyclists that do.

    The only road rims that I have had a personal problem with are Campagnolo Omega, which I started riding in the early 1990s on my Marinoni and Gianella. The nipples would start pulling through after about 20,000 km. Wheel guru Jobst Brandt is convinced that hard oxidized rims, like the Omega, are more suspectible to failure. He argues that micro-cracks are created when the manufacturer punches the spoke holes into the brittle hard anodizing. The cyclic loading of the rim eventually causes these cracks to propogate into the underlying aluminum, which weakens the area around the hole and allows the nipple to pull through.

    My personal experience supports Brandt's case, though I did not realize it until after I had read his argument. Apart from the abusive, heavy hit or crash induced failures, the vast majority of wheel rebuilds that I have performed are due to spoke pull through on hard anodized rims. This could also be due to the current prevalence of this finish, but I do not recall doing many rebuilds for this failure mode prior to the introduction of hard anodizing. For instance, my favourite vintage wheelset used a set of Fiamme yellow label rims and they had had about 150,000 km on them before I had failure between the double eyelets.

  8. #8
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    you know I should have known that, I just ruined a "made in america" sticker
    from my '85 wheelset (they don't hold up to finish line bike wash, or was it
    degreaser?).
    Knew I always liked the polished look better than anodized for a reason.
    T-Mar are you aware of the same problem on Mavic Rims (i.e. SSCs)?
    I've heard that Campy had problems back in the late 80's to mid 90's
    but hadn't heard anything about other anodized rims.

    marty
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotek
    Knew I always liked the polished look better than anodized for a reason.
    T-Mar are you aware of the same problem on Mavic Rims (i.e. SSCs)?
    I've heard that Campy had problems back in the late 80's to mid 90's
    but hadn't heard anything about other anodized rims.

    marty
    Yes, the problem exists on Mavic rims. I've also seen it on hard anodized Araya rims. I can't honestly say if I've seen it on SSC rims, as not too many cyclists around here ride them. However, rims with double eyelets/ferrules should be more resistance to the problem. Rims without eyelets, like the Omega, would seem to be most prone to the problem. If Brandt's root cause analysis is correct, then the solution would appear to be rather simple. Punch the spoke holes prior to anodizing.

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