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How long do carbon rims last (braking surface) ?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

How long do carbon rims last (braking surface) ?

Old 10-14-11, 11:27 AM
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Seattle Forrest
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How long do carbon rims last (braking surface) ?

To my dismay, LBS informed me that you have to replace the whole rim when it wears out. Even if you have a carbon rim with an aluminum braking surface. The guy went into he back for a moment, and came back with an Edge rim with a bunch of spokes dangling, with no hub. Its owner had worn it down racing cyclocross.

Suppose a person were to use a carbon wheel set as every day wheels, except in the rain. But also suppose that person lived in a place with gloomy winters, where it can be cloudy for weeks at a time, and he prefers his road bike. There will be days when it's dry and calm when I leave the house, but get caught in the rain before I get home. I'm also taller and heavier than the average roadie, and do a lot of hill and mountain riding.

Any guess how long a set of carbon rims would last me? Or, at least, how their longevity would compare to the metal ones I've got now?
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Old 10-14-11, 11:29 AM
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Exactly 27.462hrs of actual surface friction use. Better start keeping track of how often you have the brakes applied. It eventually adds up.
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Old 10-14-11, 11:36 AM
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Ymmv
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Old 10-14-11, 11:45 AM
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I wonder if its owner was using the correct brake pads...
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Old 10-14-11, 11:49 AM
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If you do a lot of hill riding, the braking is going to be more intense.
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Old 10-14-11, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
I wonder if its owner was using the correct brake pads...
I didn't ask, but assume so. Do carbon rims need special brake pads because they can damage the rim, or is it for heat reasons? Either way, CX means lots of mud, a fair amount of braking, and all kinds of grit between the pads and wheels.

Originally Posted by lpolliard View Post
Ymmv
That answer is equally true and unhelpful.
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Old 10-14-11, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I didn't ask, but assume so. Do carbon rims need special brake pads because they can damage the rim, or is it for heat reasons? Either way, CX means lots of mud, a fair amount of braking, and all kinds of grit between the pads and wheels.

That answer is equally true and unhelpful.
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Old 10-14-11, 11:58 AM
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Carbon rims require specific pads which are usually recommended by manufacturer. Some are cork pads and some are made of special compound material. Some pads are really swiss stop or kool stop re-branded for rim manufacturer.

Here's some commentary from Lennard Zinn of Velo magazine:
http://velonews.competitor.com/2005/...questions_9143
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Old 10-14-11, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bike_boy View Post
Carbon rims require specific pads which are usually recommended by manufacturer. Some are cork pads and some are made of special compound material. Some pads are really swiss stop or kool stop re-branded for rim manufacturer.
I know that much. I've heard people offer both reasons, and, occasionally, say "no, that's not it, it's really ..." Thanks for the link!

I've been on carbon wheels once; LBS lent me a set, and changed out my brake pads before I could leave with them. I'm coming into the market for a wheel set, and trying to learn as much as I can before I make a decision.
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Old 10-14-11, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by botto View Post
I like Star Trek.
That's nice. I know a girl who rides a Trek.
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Old 10-14-11, 12:24 PM
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42, I'm not telling you the units, but the answer is always 42.

Oh wait, this isn't a science fiction forum???
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Old 10-14-11, 12:25 PM
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Carbon rim manufacturers have made some real strides in past year or so in reducing the amount of heat generated during periods of long braking. Changes to braking surface, pad compunds, rim design.

Example:
I believe for 2011 Reynolds switched from a ceramic brake surface to a carbon one (ie. CTg) along with incorporating what's called Swirl Lip Generator on some models. I've heard these efforts reduced heat signature signficantly as well as improved braking capability. (wet/dry)

Last edited by bike_boy; 10-14-11 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 10-14-11, 12:30 PM
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if you wear out the braking surface it can be fixed by calfee design and others. I've read they use a epoxy to resurface it. I've heard it doesn't look pretty as a stock but it will extend the life of the rim.
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Old 10-14-11, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Do carbon rims need special brake pads because they can damage the rim, or is it for heat reasons? .
Yes, and yes. And also so the rim maker won't void your warranty.

Running full carbon as your daily wheels is like burning $20 bills to stay warm.
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Old 10-14-11, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by gg-madone View Post
if you wear out the braking surface it can be fixed by calfee design and others. I've read they use a epoxy to resurface it. I've heard it doesn't look pretty as a stock but it will extend the life of the rim.
Really? That makes a huge difference! Not that Calfee is free, but we're talking about a lot less than new rims, when the time comes.
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Old 10-14-11, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Yes, and yes. And also so the rim maker won't void your warranty.

Running full carbon as your daily wheels is like burning $20 bills to stay warm.
First Part: Right on.
Second Part: Dumb. There's no reason to leave your carbon wheels at home. If you have them, ride them.
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Old 10-14-11, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ancker View Post
First Part: Right on.
Second Part: Dumb. There's no reason to leave your carbon wheels at home. If you have them, ride them like you stole 'em !!
fify
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Old 10-14-11, 01:12 PM
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How long will your aluminum rims last. I hear that when you wear down the braking surface on them you have to replace the whole rim.....



Hopefully you get the point. Braking with all current forms of brakes used in production bicycles like these depend on friction and heat....as such -they break down. Being shocked that you have to replace them is like being shocked that you can wear out brake pads or that you have to replace brake pads.

The conditions you use them in and how you use your brakes will greatly affect the life of your rim's braking surface. This is regardless of what material it is made from.
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Old 10-14-11, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ancker View Post
If you have them, ride them.
Sure, if you can afford to replace $800 rims when they break or the brake track wears out. Rims are a consumeable.
The performance benefit from carbon is small and unless you're racing it's meaningless. Who cares if you are 2 seconds faster on the climb up Vulture Peak on a training ride?
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Old 10-14-11, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Sure, if you can afford to replace $800 rims when they break or the brake track wears out. Rims are a consumeable.
The performance benefit from carbon is small and unless you're racing it's meaningless. Who cares if you are 2 seconds faster on the climb up Vulture Peak on a training ride?
Carbon doesn't make you faster. Neither does aluminum, steel, or ceramic for that matter. It's what you do with the material that makes the difference. In lots of ways. So trying to link a material to a performance metric of any kind is kind of silly.
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Old 10-14-11, 01:19 PM
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discs win.
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Old 10-14-11, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by adriano View Post
discs win.
yes.
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Old 10-14-11, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by adriano View Post
discs win.
if you ride your wheels untill you wear the braking track out, then discs could be of value in that regard. I'm guessing most people have found something else new and shiny well before they ever get to that point.
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Old 10-14-11, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Who cares if you are 2 seconds faster on the climb up Vulture Peak on a training ride?
Me?


Ditto on the discs...I suspect my next road bike will have disc brakes.
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Old 10-14-11, 01:32 PM
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in my experience, they last for x; although my friend has used his for y.
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