How can I check and reduce rim wear?

Paul Gibson

Paul of Ellis Briggs

The rims of your bike’s wheels are one of the more likely things you’ll have to replace.

To save difficulties during a tour, it’s always a good idea to make sure your rims are in good shape before you set out.

In this week’s Ask-A-Mechanic, Paul Gibson of British framebuilders Ellis Briggs dishes out information on how to tell if your rims might need replacing soon and how to make them last longer.

The Question: “How can I check for wear to my rims once I’m on the road? I don’t want to get stranded somewhere because of a cracked rim. Is there a general rule of thumb for how long a rim will last? Also, are there any ways to make my rims last longer?”

rimwearThe Answer: “A lot of rims now have a groove in the braking surface so you can visually check when they are getting worn.

Once the groove starts to disappear, it’s time to change your rim. In the workshop though, we run our finger along the braking surface and if its surface is concave, that’s when we advise the customer that it’s time to change the rim.

How to make your rims last longer?

There’s no general rule of thumb as to how long a rim will last as it really depends on the rider, but nothing wears down your rims quicker than riding in grit, sand or mud. So if you want your rims to last longer you need to keep them clean.

For example if you do ride a muddy section of trail try to find a stream and wash the mud of your rims and brakes.

Or of course you could fit disc brakes.”

Thanks to Paul of British framebuilders Ellis Briggs for answering the question. Get in touch to submit a question of your own to Ask A Mechanic.