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  1. #1
    enginerd
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    check braking surfaces for wear! yeesh

    Had a tire blow off the rim after fixing a routine flat. Saw this:


    Upon closer inspection, there were several small dings around the rim. The braking surface was very, very worn. We built this 48H Deep V wheel about 4 years ago. I guess it's a great sign we're riding enough!

    I know the black arts so rebuilding to a fresh rim was no big deal.


    All done!


    With higher loads and higher speeds of tandems, this was a good wake-up call to pay close attention to details.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Learning to build a wheel is one of my winter projects! I already asked the LBS guys if they might teach me.

  3. #3
    enginerd
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    go for it! it's actually pretty straightforward. it's math, not voodoo. take your time, don't be afraid to start over to correct tension errors, and you'll get it. I've had many a wheel that had a hop that could only be fixed by detensioning and starting over. a pain in the butt but in the end the wheel is better for it.

    this is all you need:
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  4. #4
    Senior Member CaptainHaddock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EnzoRWD View Post
    I know the black arts so rebuilding to a fresh rim was no big deal.
    So we're talking sacrificing chickens, rattling bones and burning the black candle? Nice!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by EnzoRWD View Post
    this is all you need:
    I've found a spoke wrench and a new rim (with compatible ERD) to be useful as well.

  6. #6
    Senior Member obrentharris's Avatar
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    Many years ago Robert Wright, a wheelbuilder from Santa Cruz, CA, put out a little book called "Building Bicycle Wheels" a very nice, concise how-to book. It still pops up used pretty regularly.
    Brent

  7. #7
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Usually I feel it in the brakes before the rim actually goes. Usually there'll be one spot that's a little thinner and it'll start pooching out and I'll feel it. I'll stop braking on that wheel and creep home. With the higher pressures on tandem tires, though, that margin of safety is uncomfortably small, so I'll replace my rims earlier than I would on my single.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    One advantage to disc brakes is the rim is not worn down from braking.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandem rider View Post
    One advantage to disc brakes is the rim is not worn down from braking.
    Good point, but I kinda doubt the rim damage in the OP's picture was caused by braking (but perhaps a lack of braking before hitting a giant pothole, or something). I don't have a lot of tandem experience, but I have always been a fairly heavy rider and live in a hilly area. In 40 years of riding I have never worn through rim braking surfaces before other issues (like the picture above) destroyed the wheel.

    Great recommendations for both books. Building a good wheel isn't real difficult to do if you pay attention to details. It has been years since I built a wheel, but this thread is encouraging me to do so when I am ready to switch our vintage Santana over from 27" to 700c

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by msvphoto View Post
    Good point, but I kinda doubt the rim damage in the OP's picture was caused by braking (but perhaps a lack of braking before hitting a giant pothole, or something). I don't have a lot of tandem experience, but I have always been a fairly heavy rider and live in a hilly area. In 40 years of riding I have never worn through rim braking surfaces before other issues (like the picture above) destroyed the wheel.

    Great recommendations for both books. Building a good wheel isn't real difficult to do if you pay attention to details. It has been years since I built a wheel, but this thread is encouraging me to do so when I am ready to switch our vintage Santana over from 27" to 700c
    I had a wheel give me 250,000 miles (on a single), but that was in the Bay Area/Central Valley. It's just different in places where the roads get covered in wet grit (wet by rain, grit by the county roads department). Rim life is pretty short when the brake pads get that sand-paper assist and they do blow out just like the OP shows, usually just after being re-inflated.

  11. #11
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msvphoto View Post
    Good point, but I kinda doubt the rim damage in the OP's picture was caused by braking (but perhaps a lack of braking before hitting a giant pothole, or something). I don't have a lot of tandem experience, but I have always been a fairly heavy rider and live in a hilly area. In 40 years of riding I have never worn through rim braking surfaces before other issues (like the picture above) destroyed the wheel.

    Great recommendations for both books. Building a good wheel isn't real difficult to do if you pay attention to details. It has been years since I built a wheel, but this thread is encouraging me to do so when I am ready to switch our vintage Santana over from 27" to 700c
    On my single, I have to replace a rim about every 2 years. On the tandem, we go through about a rim/year. I've never had a wheel fail except by rim wear, or even a spoke break. OTOH, I build most of my own wheels and use and maintain reliable hubs. My rim failures are usually not so abrupt, the "pooch" being more like 6" long.

    Yeah, definitely build your own wheels. You do need a Park TM-1 tension meter. It will pay for itself in two wheels. Besides, it's fun and you get more reliable wheels. When I buy my spokes, I spec the hub and rim and the shop sells me the correct length. I know, I could figure it myself, but it's nice to have the vendor spec it. I always use DT 14-15 double butted spokes, for my singles and tandem. Deep V's build up nicely for our tandem.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Wow, never too old to stop learning as they say! Failures like that are what make me really miss riding tubulars (which I wouldn't be using on either my tandem or my commute bike which besides spin class "bikes" account for the vast majority of my riding now). Really good to know. I would have sworn that was from a pothole, but in thinking about it I get it now. Thank you for the clarification! I guess my commute bike is just so overbuilt (super-strong 26" MTB wheels) it hasn't been an issue (this despite a 800 foot daily descent rain or shine).

  13. #13
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    Does anyone else think that rims used to wear less? When I was riding 20+ years ago I don't recall rims wearing out as fast as they seem to now.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
    Does anyone else think that rims used to wear less? When I was riding 20+ years ago I don't recall rims wearing out as fast as they seem to now.
    I don't know about you, but 20 years ago now only did I weigh less but I thought I was immortal which I expect led to far less use of the brakes

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
    Does anyone else think that rims used to wear less? When I was riding 20+ years ago I don't recall rims wearing out as fast as they seem to now.
    My bicycle mechanical mindset is obviously lost in the 1970s, but best I can recall rim failures like in the above photo from brake wear were pretty much unheard of "back in the day" unless you hit something hard, like a pothole, with low tire pressure. Then again, we all rode on silk sew-ups back then (and learned how to repair them every which way at Jobst Brandt's Redwood City home while he held court for all us young riders). I am beginning to think this is a clincher thing, which kinda makes sense.

    I think this accelerates the plan to ditch our 27" wheels for new 700c wheels once we wear the current set of Gatorskins out. Thanks again for the heads up!

  16. #16
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    To keep track of brake track wear, you really need a pin micrometer. I have a physicist friend who owns a machine shop and uses one. IIRC he said 1.5mm is about the failure point on his singles. Tandems should be more conservative.

  17. #17
    enginerd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
    Does anyone else think that rims used to wear less? When I was riding 20+ years ago I don't recall rims wearing out as fast as they seem to now.
    A guru at a shop once told me this is partly due to much more effective modern brakes. Road dual pivots, linear pull mtn brakes with modern pads have more squeeze than sidepulls ever did.
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