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Category Archives: Steel Rims

Steel Rims and Brake Pads

It’s quite frustrating for us when we can see an obvious problem with a bike which compromises the cyclist’s safety. Even more so when, after we have pointed it out, the customer thinks that we are trying to sell them something they don’t need.

We are forever advising cyclists with steel-rimmed wheel to change their aluminium-specific brake pads to leather-faced brake pads. Below is a photo of a bike which crashed into the back of a car because the cyclist couldn’t stop in time. At the time it was raining. The rider ended up crashing into and breaking the rear window. Thankfully the cyclist was fine after a few days but £70 poorer (cost of the screen).

Bent tubing

Bent tubing

As you’ll see the, the frame downtube is buckled, the headtube is bent backwards and the front wheel cannot be used for steering. Essentially, the frame is a write-off. If you look closely at the above image, you’ll notice that the front brake have aluminium-specific brake pads acting upon a steel-rimmed wheel – not a good combination (especially in the wet)!

Badly-adjusted brakes

Badly-adjusted brakes

Similarly, the above picture shows the front brake lever being able to move all the way back to the handlebars – we all know that the braking will be ineffective and a risk to the rider.

Advice: If you have steel rims – used leather-faced brake pads (see picture below). Similarly, carbon, ceramic and aluminium rims will need their own type of pads. Ask your usual bike shop if you are unsure – if they are unsure, find another bike shop!

Advice: Check your brake  pads once a week for wear – if any of the tread is missing, replace them immediately with the correct type.

Advice: Adjust for wear AT THE ADJUSTER ONLY (usually found on the brake lever or the brake caliper – DO NOT re-clamp the cable at the cable-clamp. This will result in you needing a new inner cable every time you change the pads – a cable which has previously been clamped at a position between the new position and the brake lever will be compromised – if the cable is going to fail it will fail at the old position and exactly when you need it the most!

Advice: If you are, in any way, unsure bring your bike into our shop for a free appraisal.

Remember: Never, never, never imperil your safety!!!

Leather-faced brake pads

Leather-faced brake pads

Best wishes and safe-riding.

P/S. We estimated a repair cost of £210 (parts & labour) for providing a used Reynolds 531 frame, transferring the components and correcting all defects.

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