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-   -   Winter brake effectiveness - steel wheels vs aluminum? (http://www.bikeforums.net/winter-cycling/40611-winter-brake-effectiveness-steel-wheels-vs-aluminum.html)

brokenrobot 11-11-03 05:39 PM

Winter brake effectiveness - steel wheels vs aluminum?
 
My winter bike is a department-store MTB. I've put some better-quality canti brakes on it, but am still running the stock chromed-steel rims. In your opinion, how much improvement in braking would I get out of switching to aluminum / alloy rims, especially in wet conditions? It's gonna be a slushy winter...

Thanks!

-chris

Rich Clark 11-11-03 06:37 PM

You're taking your life in your hands every time you go out with those steel wheels. In the wet, you might as well have no brakes at all.

But since new wheels will cost more than the bike is worth, you might as well buy new wheels with a decent bike attached to them.

RichC

brokenrobot 11-11-03 07:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rich Clark
But since new wheels will cost more than the bike is worth, you might as well buy new wheels with a decent bike attached to them.

Thanks, Rich - that's good advice that I probably won't take ;) A new wheelset will be portable to whatever bike I get next, and for the winter, all I need is something reasonably solid that I don't mind feeding to the road salt - and this Kmart Special will fit the bill nicely, at least on those (hopefully few) days where conditions are such that I can't take my road bike!

dafydd 11-11-03 09:12 PM

If you have a throw-away bike mentality, why not buy a dept. store bike with alloy wheels? Probably won't cost much more than a replacement wheelset.

Smoothie104 11-11-03 09:58 PM

When i first read this, I thought it was a joke.... HAHAHA!! Dude, you need to get rid of those chrome wheels, you're gonna get killed.

brokenrobot 11-11-03 11:09 PM

Sounds like a pretty unanimous opinion! ;)

Thanks, all!

Jay H 11-12-03 07:01 AM

When those steel rims freeze up from the water, just lower your seatpost enough so that you can reach the ground with your feet to stop...ala Flintstone style! :D

Either that or make one of those old 1900's foot brakes that puts pressure on the tire and not the rim.

Jay

Ed Holland 11-12-03 09:58 AM

I remember the excitement of steel rims in the rain....

it's not a nostalgia thing.

Alloy rims are so much better for reliable braking in the wet - this is a serious safety issue. Of course, how you spend your money is up to you :)

Cheers,

Ed

MichaelW 11-12-03 12:39 PM

Al rim wheels are so cheap, there is no excuse for riding steel. My old mid-range sports bike had steel, I still ride it occasionally but its nowhere near as safe. Even really low-end junk MTB come with Al rims.

brokenrobot 11-13-03 12:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelW
Al rim wheels are so cheap, there is no excuse for riding steel. My old mid-range sports bike had steel, I still ride it occasionally but its nowhere near as safe. Even really low-end junk MTB come with Al rims.

Yep, very likely true ;) This bike is one I came across for next-to-free ($5 at a stoop sale) but I think I may give it away and replace it with something slightly more modern (but still disposable) for the winter... I just can't justify exposing my "good" bike to the elements all winter!

Anyway, thanks everyone for your help! I'm still new enough at this to have very little experience in bad weather... thanks for setting me straight!

JCM800 11-14-03 08:41 AM

Maybe you can find someone that can hit those chrome wheels with a sandblaster. It will add an abrasive surface for your brakes to grab unto :lol:

BTW,nothing wrong with a department store or beater bike,especially when combined with salvation army clothing.

Regards.


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