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  1. #1
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    Disc rims with rim brakes

    This is a dumb question, but here's the situation:

    I bought a used bike with Hed Belgium Black rims (black brake track) and rim brakes. The bike is 5 or so years old, so I figured they were some special edition that's no longer available. I'd ridden them in the dry for a few hundred miles with no issues and pretty solid performance, but one short rain ride resulted in all of the coating/anodizing/whatever wearing off (and poor braking performance). That happens sometimes, sure, but it seemed odd.

    I got in touch with Hed, and they confirmed that these are disc-only rims. The only black brake track they offer is on the Ardennes Black wheelset. That's a textured surface and is much different than what I have.

    So, aside from not having a normal machined brake track and now some pretty crappy looking rims, is there any negative to continuing to use these? Hed said that I shouldn't use them, obviously, but did say that they "may" work fine, since they have worked fine so far. I assume the structure of the rim is the same as any other version, so strength wouldn't be an issue... just a poorly-prepared brake track.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah2000 View Post
    This is a dumb question, but here's the situation:

    I bought a used bike with Hed Belgium Black rims (black brake track) and rim brakes. The bike is 5 or so years old, so I figured they were some special edition that's no longer available. I'd ridden them in the dry for a few hundred miles with no issues and pretty solid performance, but one short rain ride resulted in all of the coating/anodizing/whatever wearing off (and poor braking performance). That happens sometimes, sure, but it seemed odd.

    I got in touch with Hed, and they confirmed that these are disc-only rims. The only black brake track they offer is on the Ardennes Black wheelset. That's a textured surface and is much different than what I have.

    So, aside from not having a normal machined brake track and now some pretty crappy looking rims, is there any negative to continuing to use these? Hed said that I shouldn't use them, obviously, but did say that they "may" work fine, since they have worked fine so far. I assume the structure of the rim is the same as any other version, so strength wouldn't be an issue... just a poorly-prepared brake track.
    As far as the anodizing goes, that wearing off is irrelevant and no problem. yes brake performance does slip a little (as per my experience with Archetypes) but continued use if not problem and expected.

    I have no clue, or comment, about using disc rims and rim brakes.

  3. #3
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah2000 View Post
    So, aside from not having a normal machined brake track and now some pretty crappy looking rims, is there any negative to continuing to use these?
    Uhhhh other then damage, injury and death?

    Hed said that I shouldn't use them, obviously, but did say that they "may" work fine, since they have worked fine so far.
    He said that? Really!? I wouldn't bet my life on it.

    I assume the structure of the rim is the same as any other version, so strength wouldn't be an issue... just a poorly-prepared brake track.
    Material is removed from the brake track and used elsewhere to strengthen the rim. Definitely a strength issue. It's worse than a poor brake track, probably no brake track. Is the brake surface even flat?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    As far as the anodizing goes, that wearing off is irrelevant and no problem. yes brake performance does slip a little (as per my experience with Archetypes) but continued use if not problem and expected.

    I have no clue, or comment, about using disc rims and rim brakes.
    Yeah, the anodizing wearing off isn't my main concern. I'm leaning towards just getting new wheels though. I sort of wanted new wheels for other reasons anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Uhhhh other then damage, injury and death?

    He said that? Really!? I wouldn't bet my life on it.

    Material is removed from the brake track and used elsewhere to strengthen the rim. Definitely a strength issue. It's worse than a poor brake track, probably no brake track. Is the brake surface even flat?

    Yep, he said that. I assume the "don't ride" was CYA, but they're fine.

    These have the same shape as the rim brake version, including a vertical brake track. It's just not machined and pretty like you'd normally get. These aren't clean-sheet disc rims without a brake track like you'll find from most other manufacturers.

    Here's what they currently look like:


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah2000 View Post
    Yeah, the anodizing wearing off isn't my main concern. I'm leaning towards just getting new wheels though. I sort of wanted new wheels for other reasons anyway.




    Yep, he said that. I assume the "don't ride" was CYA, but they're fine.

    These have the same shape as the rim brake version, including a vertical brake track. It's just not machined and pretty like you'd normally get. These aren't clean-sheet disc rims without a brake track like you'll find from most other manufacturers.

    Here's what they currently look like:

    based on your pic, it does appear that is still a legit brake track (that is not machined). Well, if you have examined and compare this with similar rim-brake HED wheel and feel that the two types of wheels have the same brake track (save for the nonmachined on the disc wheel), then I'd go ahead and take some sandpaper and lap over the track on the disc wheel and call it "machined".

  6. #6
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    Looks can be deceiving. Now I don't know for sure, but it's possible that the "brake area" on a disc specific rim isn't quite as strong or thick as on rim brake rims. Alloys could be different.

    Personally, I would not take the chance. I would sell them on eBay, cut my losses and buy rim brake rims. New rims are cheaper than an emergency room visit.
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  7. #7
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    Can you get a micrometer on the brake track and measure the thickness of the rim there and compare it to a rim brake version? Better still, can the thickness of the rim there be compared to the thickness of a rim brake version that HED recommends be retired due to wear?

    That should give you a good idea of whether it is feasible or not.
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  8. #8
    changingleaf
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    They should be fine. It's the same rim without a machined surface which sometimes leads to variable surface and a thump at the weld seam. The ano will wear off and it will be the same as a typical alloy rim with a less than perfect braking surface.

  9. #9
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    So long as it appears there is a sufficient flat metal space for a brake track, as it appears is the case in the photo, I should think it is fine to keep on using the rims with rim brakes. In decades past, I've come across several road bike rims that were made from the softest of Al that wore through with very little dry weather braking. I've not seen any modern Al rims that are anywhere near as soft.

    Since the rim alloy and rim profile may not have been specifically designed for rim brakes, I think you just need to pay closer attention to rim wear than you would a regular rim brake rim. I can personally vouch that it isn't fun having the side of a rim split off on a high speed descent. But that is a risk of any worn out rim brake rim.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the replies. It seems that the consensus is that they'll be fine to use (just as they were for the past several hundred miles). It's not like a thin layer of anodizing is structural... heh.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RHankey View Post
    I can personally vouch that it isn't fun having the side of a rim split off on a high speed descent. But that is a risk of any worn out rim brake rim.
    I guess you didn't periodically check the wear indicators on your brake tracks? Oh well.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    I guess you didn't periodically check the wear indicators on your brake tracks? Oh well.
    I am well aware of rim wear indicators, and they are fine to check for those rims that include them. I have never owned a rim or wheel that has rim wear indicators, and that is not for a lack of having many wheels over the years.

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