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Old 05-11-10, 11:03 PM   #1
gldrgidr
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Painting a rusted steel rim

Am I better off sanding the rim brake surfaces and living with the pitting or is it a good idea to repaint the surface. The wheels were originally unpainted steel.
Is there a better paint for doing this? The current wheel has much of the paint worn away by braking, revealing the rusted surface underneath.
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Old 05-11-10, 11:33 PM   #2
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I'd get a new wheel.
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Old 05-12-10, 07:51 AM   #3
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paint and/or rust both sound bad as a braking surface. +1 for new wheel.
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Old 05-12-10, 12:24 PM   #4
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You guys are made of money. This is an old beater that I use for local errands. It's a five year old Roadmaster from Wallyworld that I pulled from a dumster. I'll probably sand the old paint and rust off and then see how it works.
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Old 05-12-10, 01:22 PM   #5
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You guys are made of money. This is an old beater that I use for local errands. It's a five year old Roadmaster from Wallyworld that I pulled from a dumster. I'll probably sand the old paint and rust off and then see how it works.
sounds like you got your money's worth and it's time to move on? Check craigslist for a cheap wheel or another bike you can use for parts.
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Old 05-12-10, 02:04 PM   #6
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There's a reason that steel rims are mostly extinct. Not only are they heavy and prone to rust, but it makes for a terrible braking surface, especially when wet. Sanding is going to make the steel rust faster, and the paint will be quickly eaten away by the brake pads.

Either look on craigslist in your area for a wheel/wheelset/new bike, or find a LBS that deals in used parts or a bike co-op. You'll be able to find a much safer wheel for not much money (or maybe even free).
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Old 05-12-10, 02:48 PM   #7
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If it's rusted bad it may not be safe. It its just surface rust that looks bad clean it off. It might be worth keeping an eye out at local thrift stores for another similar bike. Take the best parts from both make one good bike and use remianing for emergency/spares.
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Old 05-12-10, 06:14 PM   #8
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sounds like you got your money's worth and it's time to move on? Check craigslist for a cheap wheel or another bike you can use for parts.
You misunderstand. I've only had the bike for two weeks. Did a bunch of work to get it back on the road so I will either fix or replace the wheel.
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Old 05-12-10, 06:55 PM   #9
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you got the bike for free, a cheapy wheel at your LBS shouldnt be more than $75. Quite a bargain to have a safe & ridable bike for $75. And I'm not made of money.

in the meantime maybe try to sand it off or just live with it?
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Old 05-13-10, 07:44 PM   #10
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you got the bike for free, a cheapy wheel at your LBS shouldnt be more than $75. Quite a bargain to have a safe & ridable bike for $75. And I'm not made of money.

in the meantime maybe try to sand it off or just live with it?
You don't realize that this is a Roadmaster. A new one is available for $74 at Wallyworld.

I did sand it and it seems ok. The braking is decent for a bike that is just a grocery getter and will probably never see over 12 mph - I'm 60 years old and won't be doing any high speed riding.
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Old 05-14-10, 06:25 PM   #11
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I can see your point, but how much would a 12 mph crash cost your body if your rusted, sanded, painted wheel or brakes FAILED? Look around for a used wheel without the rust thing. SAFETY 1st!! No cracks in the helmet, either!
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Old 05-14-10, 07:40 PM   #12
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Find the most durable rattle can stuff, you can find. I'm thinking engine paint, but I'm no expert. Sand all the old paint and rust off, then hit it with some really fine grit paint. Then, replace your brake shoes with some clear BMX shoes. They're made for painted and powder coated rims.
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Old 05-14-10, 07:57 PM   #13
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I'm a pocketknife fanatic, and have restored many a rusted blade with Naval Jelly. It removes rust and leaves the steal plain, which is perfect for what you need. If you already sanded it, the grooves you put on the rim from the sand (the scratches) will allow moisture to sit in it and rust it again. However, get some naval Jelly for a couple of bucks at your local hardware store, Wally world, or home depot, and apply it to the rim if rust appears again. It'll be all good.
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Old 05-14-10, 08:37 PM   #14
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This sounds like people who say go easy on the safety inspection on their vehicles because their wife only uses it to run errands such as driving the kids around town
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Old 05-14-10, 08:40 PM   #15
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Am I better off sanding the rim brake surfaces and living with the pitting or is it a good idea to repaint the surface. The wheels were originally unpainted steel.
Is there a better paint for doing this? The current wheel has much of the paint worn away by braking, revealing the rusted surface underneath.
Just remember that steel wheels almost don't slow you down in the rain, when wet the braking is very, very,very poor.. If you plan to run errands in the rain dump the whole bike and get one with aluminum rims.
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Old 05-16-10, 10:07 PM   #16
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Just remember that steel wheels almost don't slow you down in the rain, when wet the braking is very, very,very poor.. If you plan to run errands in the rain dump the whole bike and get one with aluminum rims.
I've been riding steel for years so I know to avoid rain, wet roads, wet grass, etc.
As far as avoiding safety inspection, with new shoes and correct adjustment, at speed, I can apply full brakes and almost be thrown over the handlebars. Believe me, the brakes still work.
We live in a culture where everything has to be new and high priced to be considered safe. With proper setup and maintenance there are many older bikes which can provide good transportation.

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Old 05-17-10, 12:01 AM   #17
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Bravo gldrgidr +1!!
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Old 05-17-10, 08:40 AM   #18
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I've been riding steel for years so I know to avoid rain, wet roads, wet grass, etc.
As far as avoiding safety inspection, with new shoes and correct adjustment, at speed, I can apply full brakes and almost be thrown over the handlebars. Believe me, the brakes still work.
We live in a culture where everything has to be new and high priced to be considered safe. With proper setup and maintenance there are many older bikes which can provide good transportation.
.

As long as you know, you can always compensate for it.
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Old 05-17-10, 09:44 AM   #19
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We live in a culture where everything has to be new and high priced to be considered safe.
While that is generally true, it doesn't apply to this thread. If you bought that $74 Roadmaster new, the steel rims would still be unsafe.

That said, if you know the risks and choose to ride the bike as-is anyway, that's your choice and your freedom.

For what it's worth, my beater, around-town bike's newest, non-consumable component dates from somewhere in the 80s, the oldest from the early 70s. Nothing about it is "new and high-priced," but it is functional and safe.
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Old 05-17-10, 12:14 PM   #20
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My observation is that most steel rims were chrome-plated, and that the chrome can be cleaned with steel wool. It may rust again, but it's just surface rust and won't affect the integrity of the rim until the chrome is gone. If that describes your wheels, then clean them up with steel wool. If not, can't you find another dumpster special that uses the same size wheels, and just take the wheels?
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Old 05-17-10, 02:32 PM   #21
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Just remember that steel wheels ... If you plan to run errands in the rain dump the whole bike and get one with aluminum rims.
Most people who already ride steel rims are aware of their handling. Heck, I AVOIDED aluminum rims for decades because one aluminum front wheel tacoed under medium braking, sending me to the asphalt. I considered them dangerous. I don't think we need the wheel police.
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Old 05-17-10, 03:41 PM   #22
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I've been riding steel for years so I know to avoid rain, wet roads, wet grass, etc.
As far as avoiding safety inspection, with new shoes and correct adjustment, at speed, I can apply full brakes and almost be thrown over the handlebars. Believe me, the brakes still work.
We live in a culture where everything has to be new and high priced to be considered safe. With proper setup and maintenance there are many older bikes which can provide good transportation.
There are also plenty of old bikes around that have aluminum wheels. I have a lot of them. No reason you need something new. One of my favorites is from the early 1970's. Generally speaking the low end bikes had steel wheels.
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Old 05-17-10, 03:45 PM   #23
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Most people who already ride steel rims are aware of their handling. Heck, I AVOIDED aluminum rims for decades because one aluminum front wheel tacoed under medium braking, sending me to the asphalt. I considered them dangerous. I don't think we need the wheel police.
No wheels will taco under medium braking unless something is seriously wrong with it. Has nothing to do with the wheel being aluminum.
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Old 05-17-10, 07:10 PM   #24
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I assuming that most of the complaints about the braking on steel rims is directed towards chrome plating. While not steel, chrome rims were popular in BMX until well into the 90s, due its superior braking performance. When dry, chrome is the best braking surface out there.

My own experiences with chrome plated rims (both steel and aluminum) is that even when wet, effective braking can still be achieved, with a good set of brakes. Of course, with good brakes, chrome rims aren't really necessary.

I can't comment on painted rims. I've never ridden on them.
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Old 05-18-10, 07:36 AM   #25
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I've been riding steel for years so I know to avoid rain, wet roads, wet grass, etc.
As far as avoiding safety inspection, with new shoes and correct adjustment, at speed, I can apply full brakes and almost be thrown over the handlebars. Believe me, the brakes still work.
We live in a culture where everything has to be new and high priced to be considered safe. With proper setup and maintenance there are many older bikes which can provide good transportation.
Cool. Glad you know what you are talking about. Perhaps I'm just too freaky to take risks.

My next suggestion would be to use the money otherwise spent on a new wheel and invest in a helmet, mouth guard, body pads, thick gloves and insurance.
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