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Rear rim wall on drive side wearing thin faster, rim brakes

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Rear rim wall on drive side wearing thin faster, rim brakes

Old 07-08-21, 11:54 AM
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tomtomtom123
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Rear rim wall on drive side wearing thin faster, rim brakes

On my 20" rear rim with rim brakes, the wall on the drive side is wearing thinner faster than the non-drive side. The front rim has very low wear. It has happened on my old rear rim, with the wear line completely gone after 2 years and only maybe 1500km, and now again on my new rims after 2 years but lesser than the old rim since I've been cleaning the rims more regularly.

Does anyone else have a similar experience?

I'm wondering if it has something to do with having very wide tires, I have 2.15" Big Ben plus. I was thinking that it collects more dust that runs onto the rim walls when wet, and then in combination with an oily chain, sticks more to the drive side rim wall. In addition, the fenders collect a lot of dust underneath when it rains, probably more so with the wide tires.

I'm thinking if maybe switching to narrower tires would reduce the rim wear. I would consider Big Apple, but it's only a 5mm difference (2.00").

But I don't really know if the chain would cause the drive side to wear so much more than the non-drive side.

When I had the old rim, the pannier would be on the non-drive side. With the new rim, the pannier is more often on the drive-side. So I don't think the pannier makes too much difference.
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Old 07-08-21, 04:32 PM
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No, no such experience here. What type of rim brakes are you using? Is there a chance the rear brake is incorrectly set up?
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Old 07-09-21, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
No, no such experience here. What type of rim brakes are you using? Is there a chance the rear brake is incorrectly set up?
With the old rims I had the stock v-brake brake arms and pads which were oem tektro. The right arm had dug a deeper groove into the arm than the left arm where the spring was rubbing against and had a delay of returning to neutral position when releasing the brake lever.

With the new rim I installed shimano brake arms which has a different spring design that doesn't rub on the arm. I installed koolstop single compound orange pads.

I set the tension so that the left arm touches the rim slightly before the right arm.

I don't see how the brake setup would cause greater rim wall wear on the drive side.

Someone theorized wheel alignment, but I don't see how that affects the brake engagement.
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Old 07-09-21, 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by tomtomtom123 View Post

I don't see how the brake setup would cause greater rim wall wear on the drive side.
It might have everything to do with it. With any kind of clamping type brake system, one side will always come into contact first. I do not know which side contacts the rim first, but I would be interested to know whether it was the drive side.

I would ask whether they are well adjusted, but I would rather see a photo just in case you are missing something subtle.

Originally Posted by tomtomtom123 View Post

Someone theorized wheel alignment, but I don't see how that affects the brake engagement.
This too. Assuming that your frame is straight and that they have no done something unusual in terms of frame design, then your rear wheel and your brake should be centred with the frame. However, if you have a derailleur system then the spokes on either side of the wheel will be at different angles, to 'dish' the wheel. Is your frame straight and your wheel dished/centred correctly?

Check your tires as well, to make sure they centred on the wheel. Tires are less likely to cause a problem, but without seeing you ride it is difficult to say for sure.

Next is you - and how you brake. Do you ride with your hands resting on the levers? Do you use the rear brake in preference to the front? Do you do a lot of braking in city traffic or are you just a countryside cruiser?
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Old 07-09-21, 08:11 AM
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I set the non drive side brake arm to contact the rim just a fraction of a millimeter sooner than the drive side. This changes though when the bike is folded and unfolded, as the cable housing moves around inside the internal run. Friction and a rubber fitting at the frame opening will temporarily keep the housing in place. If the housing is pushed backwards, the drive side contacts sooner. If the housing is pushed forward, the non drive side contacts sooner. Usually the folding and unfolding pushes the housing forward, so that the non drive side contacts sooner. But I always check the brakes after unfolding the bike and adjust the position so that the non drive side contacts just a tiny bit sooner.

I rebuilt the old wheel and also built the new wheel. Both are dished and centered, maybe 0.5mm offset towards the non drive side. The old wheel was radial/2x. The new wheel is 2x/2x or maybe 3x/3x, I forgot which. The rim runout is under 0.3mm.

The frame is not exactly straight, but I assume this is the same with all dahon bikes with a sideways pivot fold. The difference between the horizontal center of the front and rear dropouts was a few millimeters. I can't measure the vertical alignment. But the rear dropout plates aren't exactly parallel until the axel skewer is clamped in place.

Tire wear pattern seems to be centered.

I don't engage the brakes when pedaling, which seems counterproductive. For showing down I usually engage the front brakes because I know the rear rim wears faster. When braking to a stop I use both brakes.

Last edited by tomtomtom123; 07-09-21 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 07-09-21, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by tomtomtom123 View Post
With the old rims I had the stock v-brake brake arms and pads which were oem tektro. The right arm had dug a deeper groove into the arm than the left arm where the spring was rubbing against and had a delay of returning to neutral position when releasing the brake lever.

With the new rim I installed shimano brake arms which has a different spring design that doesn't rub on the arm. I installed koolstop single compound orange pads.

I set the tension so that the left arm touches the rim slightly before the right arm.

I don't see how the brake setup would cause greater rim wall wear on the drive side.

Someone theorized wheel alignment, but I don't see how that affects the brake engagement.
What about the alignment of the brake bosses?
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Old 07-10-21, 12:46 AM
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I am not familiar with Koolstop Orange pads, but a friend of mine thinks that Koolstop Salmon pads will extend rim life. That pad is sold for rainy weather and is a softer pad with better grip.

But to wear out a rim at only 1500 km, that is terrible life span for a rim. But I can't guess what could cause such wear.

I am careful to make sure that I do not get bits of metal stuck in my rim brake pads, that is a common thing on aluminum rims, I regularly look at my pads. I also like to clean off the dark gray dirt that accumulates on aluminum rims and pads, that is aluminum oxide which is somewhat abrasive.
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Old 07-10-21, 12:35 PM
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I've had this problem on a couple of my folders with 20" rims. Specifically, "Kinetix Comp", which were original on a Dahon and a Tern. I had severe rim wear, and was getting only about 2,000 miles on a rim. After 2 replacements, I switched to a Sun-Ringle "Rhyno Lite" rim, which has lasted almost 4,000 miles with little evidence of wear. The Rhyno Lite rim is a few mm wider than the Kinetix, which probably ameliorates a problem with rim fractures which were probably due in large part to tires that were technically too wide.
My rim problems were only on the rear wheel, in spite of my greater reliance on the front brake. I speculate that the rear wheel gets a lot of abrasive dust thrown up by the front wheel, though this does not account for the better survival of the Rhyno Lite rim. Another possibility is that the alloy from which the Kinetix rim is made is softer than that used in the Rhyno Lite.
As for the differential rim wear between the sides, I have nothing to add other than that I have observed the same thing. Can't explain it.
I doubt it has to do with one shoe hitting the rim before the other. The fraction of a second before both shoes are engaged is negligible compared to the time the shoes are both wearing. There would seem to be little difference in the pressure on the two shoes other than a minor variation between the springs, which is much less than the actual braking pressure. I have noticed that between wear on front and rear wheels, the wear is greatest on the side opposite the cable entry (drive side on the rear wheel and left side on the front). I have no good explanation for this either.

Rear rim, drive side, Kinetix Comp
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Old 07-11-21, 03:59 AM
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The orange pad is the salmon pad.

Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
I've had this problem on a couple of my folders with 20" rims. Specifically, "Kinetix Comp", which were original on a Dahon and a Tern. I had severe rim wear, and was getting only about 2,000 miles on a rim. After 2 replacements, I switched to a Sun-Ringle "Rhyno Lite" rim, which has lasted almost 4,000 miles with little evidence of wear. The Rhyno Lite rim is a few mm wider than the Kinetix, which probably ameliorates a problem with rim fractures which were probably due in large part to tires that were technically too wide.
My rim problems were only on the rear wheel, in spite of my greater reliance on the front brake. I speculate that the rear wheel gets a lot of abrasive dust thrown up by the front wheel, though this does not account for the better survival of the Rhyno Lite rim. Another possibility is that the alloy from which the Kinetix rim is made is softer than that used in the Rhyno Lite.
As for the differential rim wear between the sides, I have nothing to add other than that I have observed the same thing. Can't explain it.
I doubt it has to do with one shoe hitting the rim before the other. The fraction of a second before both shoes are engaged is negligible compared to the time the shoes are both wearing. There would seem to be little difference in the pressure on the two shoes other than a minor variation between the springs, which is much less than the actual braking pressure. I have noticed that between wear on front and rear wheels, the wear is greatest on the side opposite the cable entry (drive side on the rear wheel and left side on the front). I have no good explanation for this either.
I also noticed that there is greater wear on the front non-drive side compared to the front drive side, which is also opposite of where the brake cable comes in from. But since the front wears so much slower than the rear, the difference between the sides of the front rim is less noticeable.

Maybe the non-symmetric wear has to do with the full length brake cable housing without a cable stop on the frame that Dahon uses? Maybe without a cable stop, when the cable is pulled, the housing is free to move, and diverts more pressure to the drive side rear or non-drive side front, opposite to where the cable comes from.

On my very old Speed TR, the Kinetix rear rim lasted 4000km before the drive side wall tore open, and that one I didn't clean very often. But the brake cable ran on the outside of the frame, with very tight fitting braze-on housing holders. The front rim after 6000-8000km is still fine, the front hub was the first to wear out, with the inner diameter widening itself and the cartridge bearing slipping from side to side.

On the newer Vigor D9, the old French made rear rim (forgot the brand) lasted up to 2000km before the drive side wear line was gone, and I also didn't clean very often. The new rim I built with Kinlin DDT32 is maybe at 1500km and shows significant drive side wear, even though I clean the rims and brake pads every 5-6 weeks. I scrape the pads with a knife until the dirty gray film is gone, revealing the original orange color of the Koolstop. There are no cable housing holders though on the Vigor frame, it simply runs internally in the frame, with a rubber stopper that covers the opening of the frame where the cable comes out of, and the housing is free to move around. Maybe this looseness causes more non-symmetric rim wear compared to the Speed TR with the firmer grip on the cable housing.

Maybe the only solution is to go for disc brakes, like the K3 Plus. I was thinking about the possibility of building it with Sturmey Archer cs rk3 3 speed cassette hub with disc brake, although it's usually only available in 32/36 holes.

Last edited by tomtomtom123; 07-11-21 at 04:05 AM.
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Old 07-11-21, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by tomtomtom123 View Post
Maybe the only solution is to go for disc brakes...
Of course, this would solve the problem, but then the front hub has to be wider, and all the other complications of discs (not that there is anything wrong with disc brakes). I replaced the V-brake on my "winter" bike with a roller brake, and the wear problem was effectively eliminated. I could do this only because the rear hub (Nexus 8) has a splined connector for modules such as the roller brake. The front brake remains the same, and wear is slight.

On my "good weather" bike's rear-wheel experiment (n=1 ), the only variable has been the different rim. I don't routinely clean my pads, though I scrub the wheels a couple times a year. The cable arrangement and brake shoes have remained the same. So it seems to me that the improved durability of the Rhyno Lite rim is due to either the greater rim width (verifiable) or more favorable metallurgy (suspected), or a combination of both. I'm not in a position to analyze it much further than that, but I'm not going to argue with success.
Also, to be honest, replacing the rim isn't that hard and rims are generally considered "wear items"... as long as I get 4-5 thousand miles on a rear rim I'm not complaining (much).
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Old 07-11-21, 12:49 PM
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Good to know that it doesn't happen with better rims. I'd go that route before adopting the poor implementation of disc brakes that I've seen on mass-produced folding bicycles (QR-disc). On my Dahon I've switched to the SunRingle CR18, which, is 3.5mm wider than the stock rim that Dahon uses and, fits within the consensus-recommended width range for 50mm tires.
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