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Are there any chrome steel rims worth saving?

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Are there any chrome steel rims worth saving?

Old 07-18-21, 08:31 PM
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Are there any chrome steel rims worth saving?

I've got a bunch of random wheels that I'm sorting through, and am thinking of scrapping all ones with the chrome steel rims. I was wondering if any of them would be worth saving? The 2 wheels I was messing around with today were one Araya rim with a rusted Shimano front hub with wing nuts and a Rigida Super Chromix with a dimpled brake track and a steel made in West Germany rear hub. I've got a bunch more, mostly orphans and a couple few bikes with matching sets.

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Old 07-18-21, 09:00 PM
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Yes, but only to someone who needs chrome rims to complete a restoration.

From a use and ride quality point of view, no. Steel rims are heavy and negatively impact the lively feel on any bicycle. In wet weather, they are not worth beans in the slow down department. And they do have a tendency to rust. On the plus side, they are easy to get flat spots out simply by bending the offending area back to its original state.

I, too, have a bunch of chrome rims, some in near perfect condition, some badly oxidized. I am planning to half bury and over lap them around my wife's vegetable garden. I will paint them a cherry color and hope that she likes the look. Why would I do such a thing? The rabbits are eating the tops off of the beats and other root vegetables.
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Old 07-18-21, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Yes, but only to someone who needs chrome rims to complete a restoration.

From a use and ride quality point of view, no. Steel rims are heavy and negatively impact the lively feel on any bicycle. In wet weather, they are not worth beans in the slow down department. And they do have a tendency to rust. On the plus side, they are easy to get flat spots out simply by bending the offending area back to its original state.

I, too, have a bunch of chrome rims, some in near perfect condition, some badly oxidized. I am planning to half bury and over lap them around my wife's vegetable garden. I will paint them a cherry color and hope that she likes the look. Why would I do such a thing? The rabbits are eating the tops off of the beats and other root vegetables.
I half buried the rabbits and painted them a cherry color. No more problems
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Old 07-19-21, 06:34 AM
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A buddy of mine built armillary spheres with his old rims. You need different sizes so they'll nest.


In my experience, the best steel rims came on older Panasonic bicycles; the Tourist 5 and 10, the Sport, etc.
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Old 07-19-21, 06:42 AM
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Dunlop special lightweight steel rims
terrific for a pre hook bead rim
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Old 07-19-21, 07:34 AM
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In my very limited experience, the only steel rims with any value are the original types for REALLY old (pre WW II) bikes or the type for rod/stirrup brake bikes.

Using a comparable - old steel wheels for cars (except English wire wheels) arenít worth much but some magnesium wheels can fetch HUGE dollars.
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Old 07-19-21, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Dunlop special lightweight steel rims
terrific for a pre hook bead rim
Particularly in EA1/597mm size.
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Old 07-19-21, 07:59 AM
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Didn't Schwinn do a double-walled 27" steel rim for some of their fillet brazed line? I'm pretty sure I had a set. Again, mostly worth saving to complete someone's restoration as opposed to a "rider"
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Old 07-20-21, 01:18 AM
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Ukai and Araya made some of the finest steel 27" rims, with nice, smooth sidewalls even near the rim joint. I never throw those out.
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Old 07-20-21, 07:30 AM
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Schwinn rims are worth saving if they are in good enough condition. As I say that, I have to say that I swapped wheels to aluminum rims on my Continental, resulting in a more enjoyable (and safer in the rain) bike.

For collectors, the original Schwinn steel rims in good condition are desirable and they are strong as well. They have a pattern down the center of the rim where a knurled wheel advanced the rim during the forming process.

I've got to imagine that if you had a Bike Boom bike like a Peugeot or Raleigh that came with steel rims originally, that to keep it original you may want the original rims. The French rims with the pattern on the side for better braking are distinctive looking and has a sound and feel that may bring you back to to a time 45 years ago. They still don't stop as well as aluminum rims in the rain. Either don' t ride in the rain with your vintage steel rims or get a pair of aluminum rims from a slightly more modern bike and put the original wheels in a safe place.
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Old 07-20-21, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Particularly in EA1/597mm size.
Don't forget the EA3 Raleigh rims with matte chrome centers. They're not really valuable, but pretty difficult to come by.

-Kurt
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Old 07-20-21, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
For collectors, the original Schwinn steel rims in good condition are desirable and they are strong as well. They have a pattern down the center of the rim where a knurled wheel advanced the rim during the forming process.

I've got to imagine that if you had a Bike Boom bike like a Peugeot or Raleigh that came with steel rims originally, that to keep it original you may want the original rims. The French rims with the pattern on the side for better braking are distinctive looking and has a sound and feel that may bring you back to to a time 45 years ago. They still don't stop as well as aluminum rims in the rain. Either don' t ride in the rain with your vintage steel rims or get a pair of aluminum rims from a slightly more modern bike and put the original wheels in a safe place.
Schwinn steel rimes with the pattern you describe from the '75 Continental and Sturmey Archer steel rims on the recently completed '73 Grand Prix. Both these bike boom bikes almost 100% original and a lot of fun to ride (in dry weather)

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Old 07-20-21, 09:07 AM
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There are many different chrome steel rims worth saving. A good set of Rigida or Araya rims are worth saving, as are a good set of Schwinn or Raleigh rims. The old Dunlops are also worth saving in condition. Then there are the unusual old ones like the pre-war Lobdell rims. With Schwinn rims, extra care should be taken to differentiate a chrome steel rim and a stainless rim. The same is true of 1950s Raleigh rims with matte center - set those aside as unusually good rims.

I would not throw any away if they are in good condition. I'd keep the better-made ones and donate the cheapos to a bike co-op, charity or bike shop. The only ones I would recycle bin/trash bin are cheap, no-name rims in bad shape.
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Old 07-20-21, 10:48 AM
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Dunlop Special Lightweight rims, as has already been mentioned, are definitely worth saving. They were made from the late 30's until the early 60's, usually in either 32 or 40 H drillings. The chrome is excellent, and they really are lightweight --similar to aluminum. I understand they were also made in stainless steel, though I have never encountered that.
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Old 07-20-21, 11:09 AM
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Thanks everyone. I'll hold on to the "name brand" ones for now, and will make sure to check what rims are on the old 23" "ladies" Raleigh Superb I'm holding on to for my dotter age..
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Old 07-20-21, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
Schwinn rims are worth saving if they are in good enough condition. As I say that, I have to say that I swapped wheels to aluminum rims on my Continental, resulting in a more enjoyable (and safer in the rain) bike.
The Schwinn rims are often liked by collectors, but they're rough as a cob. The knurled center attracts rust like flies to a garbage heap, and the braking surfaces are more uneven than the Philadelphia Turnpike.

Most Japanes steel rims from the same era - while prone just as well to poor performance on the chromed steel surface - will have a more consistent braking surface.

-Kurt
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Old 07-20-21, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
Thanks everyone. I'll hold on to the "name brand" ones for now, and will make sure to check what rims are on the old 23" "ladies" Raleigh Superb I'm holding on to for my dotter age..
If anyone you love will be riding this bike, consider using an aluminum rim on the front. It can be polished to look sort of like chrome and they'll have a chance of stopping if it rains. The rear wheel isn't as critical.
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Old 07-20-21, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
If anyone you love will be riding this bike, consider using an aluminum rim on the front. It can be polished to look sort of like chrome and they'll have a chance of stopping if it rains. The rear wheel isn't as critical.
Sun "M13 II" rims look very much like chrome steel rims from a short distance and can be had in 27" or 700c. I have two sets of wheels with them in each size and another set of 700c rims waiting to be laced to hubs for the right bike.

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Old 07-20-21, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
If anyone you love will be riding this bike...
.
That exactly why I have a surplus of chrome rims. That and I grab every junk wheel with a 3 speed hub I come across.
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Old 07-21-21, 02:57 PM
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For me, I only toss the newer chinese junk, any name brand rim is likely worth keeping or selling. Even if its of no use to you, there's likely someone out there looking for a good used wheel.
I just sold a set of minty clean 26"x1 3/8" wheels with a Shimano 3 speed hub off of a 70's Murray on CL for $60,
Schwinn collectors are always looking for good used rims as well.
Myself, I have several older Peugeot bikes that have 27" steel rims, as well has a half dozen English bikes.
Clean older English wheels are getting harder to find these days.

I've ridden all my life on mostly nothing but steel rims, I never once gave a second thought to stopping in the rain, but then again, I don't make a habit of taking my older bikes out in the rain. I'd rather have a nice shiny chrome original wheelset than a cheap single wall alloy rim that so many bikes came with back in the day.
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Old 05-09-22, 03:04 PM
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Bumping this thread to chime in, the only steel rims I've seen that've impressed me are these Dolomiti ones with a real nice braking surface on this customer's Bottecchia.



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Old 05-09-22, 03:21 PM
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I recall a guy here who refused to believe that aluminum rims were functionally “better” in any way- and threw them out- irrespective of what they were.
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Old 05-09-22, 03:24 PM
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If you're working on some of the cheaper Schwinn and Murray bikes, then I wouldn't get too worried about the exact wheels. Throw on a set that more or less match front and rear and call it good.

I think it is a bit odd to see those vintage bikes with new aluminum rims.
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Old 05-09-22, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Dunlop Special Lightweight rims, as has already been mentioned, are definitely worth saving. They were made from the late 30's until the early 60's, usually in either 32 or 40 H drillings. The chrome is excellent, and they really are lightweight --similar to aluminum. I understand they were also made in stainless steel, though I have never encountered that.
I've got one stainless Special Lightweight and one stainless Endrick. I think both are 36 holes.
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Old 05-09-22, 05:27 PM
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Some Panasonic bikes, I'm thinking of the Tourist 5 and Tourist 10 here, came with terrific 27" 36H steel rims, by far the straightest and smoothest steelies you're likely to find. Strong, too.
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