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Is this rim unsafe to ride?

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Is this rim unsafe to ride?

Old 12-16-19, 09:05 PM
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Is this rim unsafe to ride?

My kid is 700 miles away, in Portland, where he commutes to work on a bike. It has HED rims. He was putting on some new gatorskin tires, which apparently are a real PITA to mount, even with a tire jack. He got the tire mounted, but heard a loud cracking sound, and sent me some less-than-stellar iPhone photos of what looks to be the seam in the rim:

I told him to get it checked by a mechanic before he rides it. Am I being an over-cautious parent, or is this a concern?

This last one is a "positive control", i.e., the rear wheel's seam:
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Old 12-16-19, 11:53 PM
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Hard to say if it's significant without seeing it/ feeling it,

but failure basically means a flat tire so I wouldn't worry too much, especially for commuting.
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Old 12-17-19, 12:58 AM
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Definitely the rim is toast. Either aluminum or carbon itís cracked and displaced and ready for a catastrophic failure. I am generally not a fear monger however in this case itís pretty clear.

I have always had issues with the tightness of Continental tires and how difficult they are to mount and itís why I wonít ride them anymore.
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Old 12-17-19, 03:10 AM
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I would avoid riding it except very carefully to the bike shop. If the front wheel goes there's a good chance of a fall as it's what you're using to stay upright.
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Old 12-17-19, 06:11 AM
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Just an observation, the rim is under compression when the tire is inflated, so the edges of the seam are being pressed together, not pulled apart. So, I think that the chances of sudden disintegration are slim. But for peace of mind have it inspected hands-on, preferably by de-mounting the tire, tube and rim tape, and making a thorough inspection of the interior to check for cracking, etc. If your son has the thick Velox cloth type of rim tape, substituting Continental Easy Tape, Kapton tape or filament-reinforced packing tape would make tire mounting easier.
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Old 12-17-19, 06:29 AM
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It's in compression on the major diameter but tension on the minor diameter. Either way it's a matter of when not if it breaks.
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Old 12-17-19, 06:58 AM
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W/o seeing it up close that rim wall is in tension, I think all Hed are welded, no sleeves or pins, so a weld failure. I would agree not good for anything but an easy ride to a shop or what could be an exciting ride to work.
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Old 12-17-19, 08:37 AM
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Only makes sense to get it checked out by someone experienced enough to know what the condition is. If it fails when someone is riding it, that could really be catastrophic.
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Old 12-17-19, 08:43 AM
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It's definitely cracked, you can clearly see it in pic #2 . It is toast.
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Old 12-17-19, 09:11 AM
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HED rims have welded seams so a "loud cracking sound" and the pictures are pretty indicative that the weld has cracked. It's hard to tell from the pics, but it looks like only the bead area is affected. If so, the overall integrity of the rim may not be that bad, but I'd certainly not ride it much without getting some good, knowledgeable opinions. You mention a tire jack in your post, but don't say whether your son was actually using one. I have a VAR one and would guess that the tool would break far earlier than the rim weld.

On the positive side, you don't have to wonder about what to get him for Christmas.
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Old 12-17-19, 09:15 AM
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An interesting question.

If this was a cheap rim it wouldn't even blip my radar. That looks like the seam where the rim extrusion was joined. Betting the valve stem hole is exactly opposite. If nothing else, the tire beads alone are going to hold the rim together.
This, however, isn't a cheap rim. Consequently I'd be interested in hearing what HED has to say about it. I'd be more concerned about value for the money than about the rim falling apart.
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
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Old 12-17-19, 10:26 AM
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Thanks, everyone.

I think a replacement would probably be prudent. He also had jaw surgery two years ago, so we have that as an investment to protect.

The HED rim isn't their Belgium plus, it is a bit cheaper. I think HED Flanders C2+ Disc alloy

Assuming I am reading correctly, the rim is pinned rather than welded, which could explain what is in the photo.

Here is the bike: https://www.rei.com/product/893055/d...egra-bike-2016

(Some of the listed specs are wrong (eg: brifters are 105), so that is where the "I think" comes from.)
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Old 12-17-19, 11:53 AM
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Even welded rims have a pin that holds them together before the seam is welded, but that rim looks pinned, and the seam is often uneven on pinned rims, although I wouldn't like it on a HED rim, but would accept it on a single-wall alloy on a cheap bike.

Anyhoo, the spoke tension will hold the rim together, along with the pin. If it were rim brakes then it would be noticeable when braking. With disc brakes I see no reason not to continue using that rim.
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Old 12-17-19, 12:37 PM
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Old 12-17-19, 12:43 PM
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I echo that is appears the weld broke/cracked. It also appears that the tire didn't seat properly or is not yet inflated in that first pic?
For the cost and piece of mind of even another inexpensive rim, I wouldn't take chances on that.
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Old 12-17-19, 12:49 PM
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I am super conservative about these things. If it were my kid I would say don't ride. Loud noise and then notable crack displacement = broken rim to me. get a new rim/or wheel
Life is too short not to ride the best bike you have, as much as you can
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Old 12-17-19, 01:13 PM
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And we're sure the loud noise wasn't just the tire seating? It can be startling to people who are new to this.
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Old 12-17-19, 02:24 PM
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Why not contact HED with a photo? They may choose not to give an opinion without seeing in the flesh or they could even say that they may replace it for free but I would definitely contact them first.
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Old 12-17-19, 05:01 PM
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That's probably the construction joint of the wheel where the two ends of the extruded hoop are joined together. That should be a pretty smooth spot. Most wheel manufacturers hide the joint under a sticker. Not a good thing if it's beginning to separate.
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Old 12-17-19, 05:04 PM
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I would replace it before riding the bike again.
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Old 12-17-19, 05:15 PM
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How far is the commute? What are/is his backup commute options?
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Old 12-17-19, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
Why not contact HED with a photo? They may choose not to give an opinion without seeing in the flesh or they could even say that they may replace it for free but I would definitely contact them first.
This, but only AFTER replacing the rim. You (or your son) can certainly find a temporary front rim cheaply, and mention that in your conversations with HED.
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Old 12-17-19, 08:51 PM
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My experience with rims is that they are almost all put together with a steel pin between the two ends being joined together. Even those welded together. So my assessment is that the rims are not unsafe, but may not have a smooth braking surface. For that reason I would contact the manufacturer. When breaking rims apart for recycling there is always a steel pin holding them together. Using a rare earth magnet will expose the pin in the joint, so get one, they are around for next to free, and put it on the rim joint. That will tell you if it is safe to ride. Smiles, MH

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Old 12-17-19, 09:13 PM
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If this was a standard 30 year old low profile vintage aluminum rim, I wouldn't think twice about riding it (other than brake bumping)). Perhaps even sanding down any irregularities.

The current new rim depends on the construction. I'm very surprised that is a pinned joint rather than a welded joint.

Nonetheless, it doesn't look particularly concerning at the seam. As mentioned above, the spokes will hold everything in place. Plus the tire and air.
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Old 12-17-19, 09:15 PM
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Don't lose sleep wondering. Have the kid ride the bus tomorrow and then take the wheel to a shop. Worst-case scenario is a new rim (maybe $50 for something economical) and another $50 or so to have it re-laced with the existing spokes and hub. That's cheaper than a single trip to the ER.

+1 on velopig 's comment on Continental tires. I've tried 'em and always found them be (1) hard to mount, and (2) lousy tires. Small sample size, but large enough for me.
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