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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 9000+ miles on my current beater wheels, I'm considering going carbon for my next set of beater wheels. That would mean they would be ridden in the wet (with the resulting sand and grit from the roads getting on the braking surface etc etc).

Does anyone have experience with how well the Reynolds carbon rims hold up to that kind of abuse? are they any better or worse than doing the same to an aluminum rim?

Thanks.
 

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CF & grit

s2ktaxi said:
After 9000+ miles on my current beater wheels, I'm considering going carbon for my next set of beater wheels. That would mean they would be ridden in the wet (with the resulting sand and grit from the roads getting on the braking surface etc etc).

Does anyone have experience with how well the Reynolds carbon rims hold up to that kind of abuse? are they any better or worse than doing the same to an aluminum rim?
Riding in the rain with lots of grit would be no problem if you didn't use your brakes. Otherwise, CF rims are not nearly as tough as Al, and you would go through the sidewalls pretty quickly. Take heart, however. You'd be one of the few people in the world riding CF wheels on a beater bike, and that has to be worth something :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
the beater wheels are actually for rides where there is a chance of rain. They are still on my System Six :) My beater bike is actually a hybrid with disc brakes and full fenders - but it's not very suitable for 100 mile rides where there is only a chance of rain. I've done it but it's not a fun experience.
 

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s2ktaxi said:
the beater wheels are actually for rides where there is a chance of rain. They are still on my System Six :) My beater bike is actually a hybrid with disc brakes and full fenders - but it's not very suitable for 100 mile rides where there is only a chance of rain. I've done it but it's not a fun experience.
If you want to ride carbon in the rain, get some clincher carbon wheels with aluminum brake tracks (carbon fairing bonded to an aluminum rim). Carbon rims are sketchy when braking in the wet, the aluminum brake surface would take care of that.

I don't really see the point of a wet weather carbon wheelset. If you look at what the pros ride in bad weather, you will see 32 spoke wheelsets with box tubular rims. The non pro rider would use some open pros with a standard 3 cross lacing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I got caught in some unexpected rain last week with my Reynolds DV46c with Swissstop yellows and I was surprised that they actually stopped better than my koolstops on my aluminum rimmed wheels.
 

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^^^ well there u go... have to try that out... over here in oz, could be waiting a while for rain... heard it can be dangerous on some sets ups tho.... no braking then suddenly locks the wheel...

my only memory of coming down a mountain in the rain trying to brake was not good... stock campy on campy alu...
 

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It is interesting to hear the opinions about carbon wheels and braking. I have been riding my Nimble Crosswinds for 10 years as my regular wheels - rain, dry, hot, cold. The carbon braking surface is much harder than any aluminum rims I have seen and hasn't worn at all. They do not brake as well as aluminum in the dry but do not have that no-brake then grab that wet aluminum can give. The only issue I have with the Crosswinds is they wear (melt) the brake pads more than aluminum brake surfaces.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
JimP said:
It is interesting to hear the opinions about carbon wheels and braking. I have been riding my Nimble Crosswinds for 10 years as my regular wheels - rain, dry, hot, cold. The carbon braking surface is much harder than any aluminum rims I have seen and hasn't worn at all. They do not brake as well as aluminum in the dry but do not have that no-brake then grab that wet aluminum can give. The only issue I have with the Crosswinds is they wear (melt) the brake pads more than aluminum brake surfaces.
Thanks Jim - when you ride in the rain, I assume you get sand/grit etc get onto the braking surface. Are you still on the same rims for all of the 10 years? how many miles/yr do you ride in the wet on those wheels?
 

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One has to realize that a couple or three years ago, carbon rim braking was pretty poor. Reynolds and then Edge made big steps forward and have rims that work just fine. You do have to use the right pads (and pads have gotten better as well) but nowadays a Reynolds or Edge carbon rim will typically brake as nicely as any aluminum rim ever did.

As for abrasion, yes, you can wear your braking surfaces on a carbon rim from grit in the brake pads. However, you do the same thing to aluminum rims -- they score and wear fairly quickly in the wet. So if you don't mind wearing out a rim costing ten times what an aluminum one does (and that's your decision, not anyone else's) you should go ahead and enjoy the carbon rims. I personally find that, except for racing, I simply don't ride as fast in the rain and if I'm not riding as fast I'm not gaining the aero benefit from carbon rims. Since flats go up in the rain as well, it's sometimes a place to ride a nice alloy clincher and save the carbon rims for nicer weather.
 

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^^^ hrmm, thats a good point, i guess we don't have many of the latest reynolds or any edge down here in Oz...and the price of Zipps here are typically >$3k.... not too many peeps beating those daily....

so in your estimation, cheaper products probably not so good at braking? - anyone compared this aspect of carbon rims to say gigantex? or are they comparable?
 

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I have Carbon XXX Lite Wheels from bontrager and got caught in the rain and had no breaking power. I would consider a non-carbon wheel for rain riding. I just got some Swiss stop pads and they are a little but more improvement, but still no luck on hard stops.. which is really affecting my cornering at high speeds even when the road is dry.
 

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I have been riding some Zipp 303s, bought used on Ebay, for two seasons as my beater wheels. Tubulars, too. These were crappy when I bought em, all wrinkley in the sides of the rims, but otherwise sound. I've replaced the spokes and the hubs, but the rims still soldier on very nicely indeed. While I don't choose to ride on rainey days, I do, living in the Northwest US, get caught out in it at times. They brake ok when wet..I keep a close watch on the sidewalls of the rims and so far, they have endured my abuse. I average about 150 miles a week, over the course of the year.. The Zipps are on my bike about 3/4 of the time. Paid $375 for the set..got my money's worth of pleasure out of them..Life is too short to ride a cheap bike...
Don Hanson
 

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s2ktaxi said:
Thanks Jim - when you ride in the rain, I assume you get sand/grit etc get onto the braking surface. Are you still on the same rims for all of the 10 years? how many miles/yr do you ride in the wet on those wheels?
I have over 30,000 miles on the original wheelbodies (rims). Yes, sand and grit gets on the surface but it doesn't score the epoxy. The sand and grit wears off of the pads quite quickly. The brake pads do wear faster due to the heat generated and will leave deposits on the rims. When the deposits get too thick, the brakes will start to squeek. I clean the rims a few times a year with 400 grit wet-or-dry paper and soap & water to remove the film.
 
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