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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-22-04, 06:41 PM   #1
bemoore
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Wet Braking with Steel Wheels

I'm currently using my mtb that I've converted for commuting with fenders, slicks and lights, but I'm getting the itch to switch it back for off road use and convert my beater road bike for commuting. My concern is the steel wheels and wet braking. Is there any way to improve the wet braking? I've thought of using sandpaper, but I don't know if there is a finish on the wheels that would prevent this from working, or what grit paper if it would. Any ideas?

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Old 10-22-04, 07:03 PM   #2
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Solution is to get AL wheels.
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Old 10-22-04, 07:09 PM   #3
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I wouldn't sand the rims. Any nicks you put in them would be prone to rust. I used to ride in Washington (wet weather) many years ago on a steel rimmed Raleigh Grand Prix. You learn to anticipate stops and ride your brakes a ways before the stop to get rid of the moisture. Apply a light pressure to the brakes while you pedal. When the rims start dry you will feel the drag increase, sometimes sharply. Ease off a bit if necessary to keep the light drag sensation. Then you will have sufficient brakes for the stop. This also applies to alloy rims as well. The technique works as long as your rims are not completely submerged in water. Someone else may have another suggestion.

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Old 10-22-04, 07:15 PM   #4
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Red low carbon Koolstops work better in rain I found.
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Old 10-22-04, 09:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by operator
Solution is to get AL wheels.
One AL wheel is probably worth more than the entire bike.
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Old 10-22-04, 10:01 PM   #6
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I don't know much about this, but perhaps there are break pads that are more performant with steel wheels? Ask your LBS?
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Old 10-22-04, 10:43 PM   #7
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Anyone know if there is an Aussie alternative?
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Old 10-23-04, 04:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bemoore
One AL wheel is probably worth more than the entire bike.
I tend to buy used bikes (I have a '77 Grand Prix) and yes the bikes don't cost much and there are plenty of parts that cost more then the bike (a high end tire can cost more then the bike). I used to look at parts and think, "Man that's twice what I paid for the bike.", but my philosophy has become no matter what the bike costs when I'm getting something that will improve my bike safety wise I'm not investing in the bike so much as I'm investing in my life and safety and I go ahead and spend the money.

If you still don't want to spring for new wheels you can always cruise the thrift shops for a crudy bike with decent Al rims and switch them out.
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Old 10-23-04, 06:45 AM   #9
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bmoore, if the bike has steel wheels, it's likely 27". Go to the local thrifts and find a bike with alloy 27" wheels and switch them out. Or ask about, they're not that hard to find; I've several in the basement right now, for instance.

If you're going to use the bike regularly, get rid of the steel rims.
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Old 10-23-04, 06:38 PM   #10
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Thrift store special for just the wheels? Why didn't I think of that? I'll see what I can find. Thanks.
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Old 10-23-04, 11:46 PM   #11
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bemoore,

You can get Sun CR-18 rims in 27" for around $50 a pair. Rebuilding a set of hubs and good spokes will set you back another $50 or so. I know it sounds crazy to take a $25 bike, install a $25 dollar headset, $100-200 for new wheels, $50 for new cables, brake pads and god knows what else.... but in the end you'll have a quality bike with a super low cost per mile (and that's the real cost of riding-- the cost per mile)

Take a $400 hybrid-- not a bad bike mind you, I ride one, and put it up against an older steel road bike you upgrade with $250 and steel bike will have less maintance costs and be on road long after the hybrid is dead.
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