Author Topic: Ceramic Rims  (Read 7826 times)

Ceramic Rims
« on: December 01, 2008, 08:32:57 pm »
Can anyone recommend some 32 hole ceramic rims?
I've heard from some that they can be useless in the wet. I've also heard that they can be very good in the wet.
My aluminium rims are wearing thin and am thinking of getting some long lasting ceramics. But only if they don't give poor braking in the wet. I do a lot of wet riding. Not just a few showers, but days at a time of rain, sometimes heavy.
Also some good brake blocks which last a long time for ceramic rims. Again, must work well in the rain.

Che

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2008, 08:40:11 pm »
I thought the whole purpose was to be better in the wet.

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2008, 08:43:15 pm »
I just specced a pair of ceramic rims on my new bike, and I have to say I am a little disappointed at their wet weather performance. It's still better than alloy, but I was expecting something much much better. I'm using Shimano ceramic specific pads.

Off the top of my head I can't remember what they are, so will update this tomorrow when I get to work.
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gordon taylor

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2008, 08:51:54 pm »
I like the idea of ceramic rims and had a pair of Mavic ceramics on my first Audax specific bike. They scared me witless, so I fitted them to my wife's commuter... they scared her witless too. I tried one of the rims on my fixed commuter and it does brake fine AFTER a couple of revolutions.

I've got a beautiful front wheel (Mavic SSC Classic) hanging up in the garage with a ceramic rim. It is getting dusty... would you like to try it out for a while before committing yourself?

Are all ceramic surfaces the same? I recall a similar thread (on C+ maybe) where the vote seemed to be 50:50 between "wonderful" and "crap."




Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2008, 08:57:03 pm »
I've used Open Pro ceramics with Shimano ceramic blocks for a few years and I'd found wet weather braking to be different to aluminium rims.

When you first apply the brakes nothing much really seems to happen for a second or so then the braking force kicks in. I'd imagine this is caused by the pads needing a couple of rotations of the wheel to remove the water and dry the rim. However when the brakes do kick in I've found the performance to be far superior to aluminium rims. Although I haven't done anything as technical as scientific testing I'd reckon your stopping distance is shorter as when braking sharply whilst riding in a group you initially drift off the front and then everyone else comes past you.

It does take a little while to get used to the 'nothing happening' sensation especially if going down a steep descent  :P
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Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2008, 09:06:16 pm »
Are all ceramic surfaces the same? I recall a similar thread (on C+ maybe) where the vote seemed to be 50:50 between "wonderful" and "crap."


That's what I've heard, hence this thread.
Nice of you to offerme the use of your wheels, but I have a lot of riding planned for December. They'll have at least 2000 miles (probably closer to 3000 or more) worth of wear if I borrowed them for the month. I'm hoping to have a new wheel or two within a fortnight if possible.

When you first apply the brakes nothing much really seems to happen for a second or so then the braking force kicks in. I'd imagine this is caused by the pads needing a couple of rotations of the wheel to remove the water and dry the rim. However when the brakes do kick in I've found the performance to be far superior to aluminium rims. Although I haven't done anything as technical as scientific testing I'd reckon your stopping distance is shorter as when braking sharply whilst riding in a group you initially drift off the front and then everyone else comes past you.

It does take a little while to get used to the 'nothing happening' sensation especially if going down a steep descent  :P

That's how I use my brakes in the wet anyway. If I'm going down a hill, I keep my brakes on until they start to work then let go and continue doing this. Just incase I need them to work immediately.

Some of my rims need replacing now, including the one on my Schmidt hub dynamo. I remember descending the Llanberis Pass at 30mph while pulling my brake levers as hard as I would dare for fear of ripping the brake cables out of the lever. I had my brake levers pulled that hard all the way down, but wouldn't have been able to stop. I noticed that a lesser worn rim had better braking performance, so have stopped using it. But now, I really am running out of front wheels!


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Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2008, 09:15:55 pm »
I like the idea of ceramic rims and had a pair of Mavic ceramics on my first Audax specific bike. They scared me witless, so I fitted them to my wife's commuter... they scared her witless too.

Was this with ceramic specific pads?
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gordon taylor

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2008, 09:23:09 pm »
I like the idea of ceramic rims and had a pair of Mavic ceramics on my first Audax specific bike. They scared me witless, so I fitted them to my wife's commuter... they scared her witless too.

Was this with ceramic specific pads?

Yes, I tried both ceramic specific and ordinary. The brakes were Ultegra double pivot.

I also tried the ceramic pads with alloy rims, but that is a noisy and messy experience - with the rims being scraped to pieces.

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2008, 09:28:46 pm »
I know someone who used normal brake pads with ceramic rims. He told me that his brakes worked well, but they only lasted for about 100 or so miles, which was somewhat of a problem on a 200 mile ride in Doset!
He spent several hours at home with some emery cloth, removing the ceramic from his rims and a few moments later, a friend arrived at his house with just the thing he needed. Some ceramic rim brake pads. ::-) ;D
He is actualy pretty good with fettling, but we all have our off moments.

border-rider

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2008, 10:24:56 pm »
I've been using OP ceramics for a couple of years and I'm very, very impressed

Vastly improved  wet-weather braking, and rims that last longer than a season !

I descend faster on that bike than other beacause I know it'll stop on a sixpence :)

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2008, 10:40:28 pm »
I've been using Mavic Open Pro Ceramics almost exclusively for a number of years now. My experience has been that they give improved braking, wet or dry, when new. In due course - say three or four years use for me, perhaps a couple of months for TG (!) they can become a little "glazed". This reduces their braking efficiency, as you would expect, and I've had some alarming moments in the wet when I've had the levers crammed on to "cable breaking point" as TG described. I set out to see if I could find better pads; I'd always previously used standard pads, not ceramic specific; these seemed to wear OK, except on the fixer (one brake only) which had BBB pads, which wore quite quickly.

Recently, I've tried Fibrax, Kool-Stop and Shimano ceramic specific. The Shimano (Dura-Ace BR-7800 R55C "Ceramic rims only") were poor - no improvement over standard blocks (this is all on an old, quite well glazed, rim) I found a considerable improvement with Kool-Stop - I tried their Ceramic Green (RK-J3 3109-9835 from Dotbike) on the front and the "foul weather" Salmon (RK-J3 31109-9834 also from Dotbike) on the rear. The Kool-Stops are a great deal better; there seems little difference between to ceramic green and the salmon but of course the salmons are on the back, so it's not a direct comparison. The feel is as described in an earlier post - a bit of a pause when little seems to happen followed by a sensation of someone grabbing the rim and sqeezing tighter and tighter until you have to ease off your grip to prevent a lock-up! This delay is much better than my recollection of alloy rims, when you started with a pause when nothing happened and it just carried on that way!

I've also tried Fibrax (number ASH 410C ceramic specific on the front and ASH 410E brown "Xtreme" compound on the rear) on another bike, also with well used Mavic Open Pro Ceramics - as with the Kool-Stops, there doesn't seem much difference between the two colours, albeit again, not directly comparable because the front does much more work than the back. If anything, the Fibrax are even better than the Kool-Stop - just as grippy and perhaps a bit more progressive; but there's not much between them.

My recommendation would be to go for the Ceramic rims with either Fibrax or Kool-Stop ceramic specific pads. I haven't tried the recently advertised Swiss-Stop (? - from memory) stuff yet.

Neither have I tried rubbing over the used rims with fine wet'n'dry to break up the glaze; that was  going to be my last resort, but so far, the different pads seem to have cured the problem.

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2008, 02:11:54 am »
...
He is actualy pretty good with fettling, but we all have our off moments.

You called?

CommuteTooFar

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Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2008, 10:50:57 am »
I have been using ceramic rims for over ten years.

My views ceramic brake pads are a harder compound to reduce pad wear and not to improve braking.  I have found it best to use good conventional pads. 

The best combination I ever had was with Scott Mathauser brake blocks.  When they were new the rim and block went to war against each other.  After a while I had an orange streak around the rim.  The rubber on rubber braking was superb.

As has been commented already ceramic rims can be finely polished by brake pads and we can find ourselves without any adequate braking in the wet.  However you can use polishing blocks to re-roughen the surface of the ceramic and improve the braking again. You can buy one with Mavic branded cardboard wrapped around it for over twenty quid but you can buy them from engineering suppliers for a few pounds.

The real advantage of ceramic rims is you can always be certain that the rim wall is not worn out. If there is still ceramic on it then the rim is all there. I have never worn through a ceramic rim but I have killed them by doing something I regret leading to bending, kinking or complete collapse of the rim. My brother claims once the ceramic has worn away you have a new rim to wear through.


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Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2008, 11:04:59 am »
What on earth am I doing here on this beautiful day?! This is the only life I've got!!

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Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2008, 12:06:11 pm »
I had Mavic EX721 ceramic rims on my Raven Tour for about 18 months, and despite trying a range of brake pads I could never get decent braking performance in the wet. They were great in the dry, but in the wet the first few rotations of braking seemed to have very little effect, and then lots of finger pressure would result in a very 'grabby' response which would eventually bring the bike to a juddering halt. The pads I tried were:
  • standard shimano ones - were pretty much all gone within about 150 miles
  • green KoolStop ceramic ones - very long life
  • salmon KoolStop wet weather ones - not really any better than the rest

I changed to the Rigida Andra tungsten carbide coated rims with the blue Swisstop pads (I've done about 2500 miles with them). In comparison, the dry weather braking is about the same, but the wet weather braking is much better. Yes, you lose some braking performance in the wet, but there's no longer the panic of nothing seeming to happen when you first apply the brakes, or having to keep the brakes on going down hill to attempt to dry them out.

dasmoth

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Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2008, 10:12:59 pm »
I've got some DT Swiss 4.1 ceramic rims -- also for about 18 months now -- and am pretty pleased with how they've worked out so far.  Rain certainly does affect the braking performance, but it's still pretty good compared to alloy rims I've used in the past.   If you want the best wet weather stopping at any price, you're probably better off with disks, but otherwise I think ceramic rims are worth a try.
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Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2008, 10:54:30 pm »
So far, it looks like Mavic Open Pros with the green Kool Stop pads are the way to go.
Wear and tear is the main attraction for me. I know a 3 times former AUK points champion who showed me a very new looking pair of rims which had done at least 50,000 miles. Much better than any alloy rim I've ever used and still had a lot of miles left in them.
I never used them before because cycle lights were awful in those days and one big hit, which did happen sometimes, would write off an £80 rim, whereas my alloy rims were about £10-15 and almost as cost effective if I never wrote one off.
But now that I can see lumps of concrete or missing drain covers at night, there's less chance of me hitting them at speed.

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2008, 10:36:17 am »
Mavic Open Pros are what I have.
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Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2008, 07:14:34 pm »
..... you can use polishing blocks to re-roughen the surface of the ceramic and improve the braking again. You can buy one with Mavic branded cardboard wrapped around it for over twenty quid but you can buy them from engineering suppliers for a few pounds.
What do you ask/search for at suppliers - is it just "polishing blocks"?

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2008, 02:13:54 pm »
Surely a bit of wet-n-dry would work just as well?  I've never "polished" my ceramic rims - might just give it a try now.

CommuteTooFar

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Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2008, 07:27:15 pm »
..... you can use polishing blocks to re-roughen the surface of the ceramic and improve the braking again. You can buy one with Mavic branded cardboard wrapped around it for over twenty quid but you can buy them from engineering suppliers for a few pounds.
What do you ask/search for at suppliers - is it just "polishing blocks"?

Google for GarryFlex abbrasive block.  Choose fine 240 grit or medium 120 grit.
You can also find Sandflex blocks (made in Germany then imported by an american company Klingspor)

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2008, 08:01:14 am »
..... you can use polishing blocks to re-roughen the surface of the ceramic and improve the braking again. You can buy one with Mavic branded cardboard wrapped around it for over twenty quid but you can buy them from engineering suppliers for a few pounds.
What do you ask/search for at suppliers - is it just "polishing blocks"?

Google for GarryFlex abbrasive block.  Choose fine 240 grit or medium 120 grit.
You can also find Sandflex blocks (made in Germany then imported by an american company Klingspor)

Many thanks.

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2010, 08:49:04 pm »
This wet weather is absolutely killing my rear rim on the Etape.
I am looking into getting a Mavic Open Pro ceramic to replace it when it goes.
This thread has helped me make my mind up  :thumbsup:  Well done yacfers  ;)

Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2010, 10:05:53 pm »
I have a DT XR 4.1 ceramic rim (bought at a bargain price - end of line) ready to replace the normal XR 4.1 front rim on the Inbred.  I'll use Kool-Stop Z-Chromium pads (dark green).

The trouble with ceramic rims is that normal pads appear to work fine in the dry, but actually melt because the cermaic coating is such a good insulator and there is a lot of heat build-up at the surface*.  This leaves a shiny residue on the sidewall, which is supposed to be rough.  When it rains, you have rubbish brakes.


*wooden rims are supposed to be even worse - your legs get burned with bits of hot brake pad.
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Re: Ceramic Rims
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2010, 10:56:37 pm »
...... I have a DT XR 4.1 ceramic rim ..... (
Am I right in thinking that these are available only in MTB size? Are there in fact any 700C/622mm road ceramic rims other than the Mavic Open Pro Ceramics?