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How do you clean braking surface of rims?

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How do you clean braking surface of rims?

Old 03-17-10, 06:24 PM
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Fleabiscuit
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How do you clean braking surface of rims?

After a ride in the rain I cleaned and oiled my drivetrain. Somehow I got oil on my rear rim and braking is uneven. My first inclination was to use windex to get the grease off of my but I recall doing this on my MTB and having a squeaky braking problem for quite a while. What do you guys use to clean the braking surface of your rims when you get oil on them? Suggestions welcome and appreciated!
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Old 03-17-10, 06:44 PM
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I would try 99 % isopropyl alcohol. I have cleaned oil off of my disk and pads on my cross bike with no issues.
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Old 03-17-10, 06:47 PM
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Simple Green works for me without any squeaking. Just be sure to rinse it off pretty well. You can also try plain old dish soap.
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Old 03-17-10, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by bigd View Post
I would try 99 % isopropyl alcohol. I have cleaned oil off of my disk and pads on my cross bike with no issues.
+1! No need to "rinse" anything. Works superbly. Be sure to get at least 91% (most grocery stores here have 91%, but not 99%. I've found no real difference)
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Old 03-17-10, 07:37 PM
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Thanks! I used alcohol (don't know what %) and it worked perfectly. Took bike for a ride around the block and everything is good. Decided to do some time on the trainer later tonight because I'm concerned about riding at night on St. Patty's day. Too much green beer flowing (unfortunately not to me) and I don't want to get hit by someone celebrating this fun day.

Cheers,

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Old 03-17-10, 07:45 PM
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Soap and water when you wash the rest of your bike, you do wash it after every ride, right?
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Old 03-17-10, 08:02 PM
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Denatured Alcohol was recommended by an old wrench I know and respect. He said it is good for rim cleaning and also leaves no residue, hence no squeak. I bought a can at Home Depot.
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Old 03-17-10, 08:02 PM
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After any rain ride (or every few hundred dry miles): fine steel wool for the hoops and 220 sandpaper to the pads. Wipe with 91% alcohol.
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Old 03-17-10, 08:04 PM
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automotive brake cleaner will work well.
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Old 03-17-10, 08:07 PM
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After most of my rides I do not have the energy to do more than dry the bike off (if it's wet) and hang it up. Maybe when I'm in better shape I'll be able to do all of those things (sand rims, pads, etc.). I wipe my ties off with a wet rag and check for glass before I stumble into the house for a shower.

The alcohol tip works great. Thanks again! I used standard alcohol (ISO) I found in the bathroom. The last time I used Windex, which is mostly alcohol, but it made the bike squeeky. No squeeks with alcohol!
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Old 03-17-10, 08:07 PM
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Isopropyl and the rough side of one of those kitchen sponges with a rough side. Straight butta!
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Old 03-17-10, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by AngryScientist View Post
automotive brake cleaner will work well.
Do you keep that stuff laying around the garage? Is it safe for your paint?
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Old 03-17-10, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Fleabiscuit View Post
I wipe my ties off with a wet rag and check for glass before I stumble into the house for a shower.
Now that's what I call a night of partying!!! I seriously had to re-read that sentence, as I instantly thought of neck ties.

Do you keep that stuff laying around the garage? Is it safe for your paint?
You could after you purchase a can. I am a mechanic (well formally, now for personal reasons only) and I have the stuff everywhere

It depends on the type; the non-chlorinated stuff is a bit less harsh then the chlorinated type. I know on most automotive finishes (mainly engine bay exposure) it is pretty harmless. New paint it will eat with a desire though, and it may dull the finish on certain paints. You could spray into a rag then wipe the rims if you are cautious... Carb cleaner will kill paint FYI!!!

It really does not affect anodizing either. Definitely do not spray it into both eyes... just saying

Last edited by S14-Racer; 03-17-10 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 03-17-10, 11:14 PM
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I had a horrendous brake squeal problem for a week on my 2-month old Cervelo last year. I couldn't figure out what it was for the longest while, but I finally did learn how to properly clean my rims.

- Do NOT use Simple Green! It leaves a slight residue , which in my case, was significant enough to cause some really bad brake squealing.

- Isopropyl alcohol (get it at CVS or your drugstore for $3 for a big bottle) and a green kitchen scrubber pad is the way to go. You can get your rims to new condition with this. This completely solved the brake squeal problem for me.
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Old 03-17-10, 11:53 PM
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Something called a rag. Or even a paper towel. Degreasers are ok. But, you have to rinse them off with water.
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Old 03-17-10, 11:55 PM
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Don't sand your rims or your brake pads. That's just not right.
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Old 03-18-10, 08:38 AM
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Swissstop and Mavic have rubber rim cleaning blocks that, if used sparingly, work really well and eliminate the use of chemicals altogether.
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Old 03-18-10, 09:48 AM
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I'd use naptha. It will dissolve the hydrocarbons and then evaporate quickly. It won't harm rubber or clearcoat.
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Old 03-18-10, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
I'd use naptha. It will dissolve the hydrocarbons and then evaporate quickly. It won't harm rubber or clearcoat.
I have some of this from my smoking days! Isn't naptha lighter fluid? You can also use it to clean a guitar. It's very gentle on the finish (don't squirt directly on the guitar or smoke while using).
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Old 03-18-10, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by dprayvd View Post
After any rain ride (or every few hundred dry miles): fine steel wool for the hoops and 220 sandpaper to the pads. Wipe with 91% alcohol.
I've found Scotchbrite pads are excellent for cleaning the crud off the braking surface of the rims.
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Old 03-18-10, 10:51 AM
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I just use a shop rag. No solvents.
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Old 03-18-10, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Fleabiscuit View Post
Isn't naptha lighter fluid?
yes, mostly
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Old 03-18-10, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by S14-Racer View Post
Definitely do not spray it into both eyes... just saying
One eye at a time please.
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Old 03-18-10, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by dprayvd View Post
After any rain ride (or every few hundred dry miles): fine steel wool for the hoops and 220 sandpaper to the pads. Wipe with 91% alcohol.

This strikes me as a heck of a lot of work for little or no return.

I never clean the brake surfaces of clincher rims, and have not had any problem with braking, brake noise, or wear of the rims.
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Old 03-18-10, 12:55 PM
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Rubbing alcohol. period. Scotch brite pad with the RA if needed but usually just a rag.

I wipe down a butt-ton of rims. Think about it. Removes oil and residue quickly and leave nothing behind except for a clean surface.

Chirpy brakes - sand the pads and remove bits of aluminum that have worked their way in. Doesn't work? Toe the pads.
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