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Anodized rims; removing from brake surface?

Old 09-22-22, 02:47 PM
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Anodized rims; removing from brake surface?

Has anyone ever done this with good results? I've removed anodizing from rims before, but only from the entire rim. I never liked the finished result so vowed to not do it, again. However, can you just remove it from the brake track? Is there a good way to do it? Hoping for better braking.
FYI, I'm using early 90's Shimano low profile canti's with Salmon pads. And, yes, they are adjusted properly geometrically at the brake and tuned for lever pull...if that makes sense
Thanks
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Old 09-22-22, 03:32 PM
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Brake pads do a pretty good job of removing anodizing. Or if only there was some kind of easily obtainable abrasive paper or fabric...
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Old 09-22-22, 06:17 PM
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The classic method to "dress" a rim's brake track is with a piece of emery cloth between the pad and rim. If done well the portion of the rim "above" the sides will be un effected. Andy
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Old 09-22-22, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
The classic method to "dress" a rim's brake track is with a piece of emery cloth between the pad and rim. If done well the portion of the rim "above" the sides will be un effected. Andy
+1 this is the way to do the job if you're too impatient to wait for it to happen naturally.

OTOH, if you're talking about hard anodizing, that olive colored finish reminiscent of Calphalon non-stick cookware, be aware,that it's a thicker coating and will take a lo-o-o-ong time to remove even with sandpaper.
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Old 09-22-22, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
+1 this is the way to do the job if you're too impatient to wait for it to happen naturally.

OTOH, if you're talking about hard anodizing, that olive colored finish reminiscent of Calphalon non-stick cookware, be aware,that it's a thicker coating and will take a lo-o-o-ong time to remove even with sandpaper.
Yes, I'm talking about hard anodized rims. A set of Matrix Titan touring rims.
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Old 09-22-22, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Or if only there was some kind of easily obtainable abrasive paper or fabric...
I know!!! Imagine the applications....
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Old 09-23-22, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
Yes, I'm talking about hard anodized rims. A set of Matrix Titan touring rims.
You have my sympathy. I'm doing this now with a set of older Araya rims.

FBinNY is correct. It's a royal pain in the butt, and indeed takes quite a bit of time and effort.
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Old 09-23-22, 08:29 AM
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I've heard of people running super aggressive pads to do this. Like ceramic specific pads you would run on the textured ceramic coated Mavic rims, or the WTB speedmaster pads. Both are probably hard to find at this point. My Swissstop pads took the regular black ano coating off my rims in about 500 miles.
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Old 09-23-22, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
Has anyone ever done this with good results? I've removed anodizing from rims before, but only from the entire rim. I never liked the finished result so vowed to not do it, again. However, can you just remove it from the brake track? Is there a good way to do it? Hoping for better braking.
FYI, I'm using early 90's Shimano low profile canti's with Salmon pads. And, yes, they are adjusted properly geometrically at the brake and tuned for lever pull...if that makes sense
Thanks
If you can stand the current braking performance for a while, just using your brakes will remove it pretty quickly. If you want to speed up the process, cover your brake pads with some fine emery cloth and do a number of light touch stops. The hard anodizing will be gone pretty quickly. Back in the day when these rim "coatings" were popular, you used to see brake tracks with pulsed colors: the slight distortion of the rim by spoke tension would bulge the rim just a bit and as the anodizing wore off, you would have shiny aluminum alternating with the color of the rim.
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Old 09-23-22, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
Has anyone ever done this with good results? I've removed anodizing from rims before, but only from the entire rim. I never liked the finished result so vowed to not do it, again. However, can you just remove it from the brake track? Is there a good way to do it? Hoping for better braking.
FYI, I'm using early 90's Shimano low profile canti's with Salmon pads. And, yes, they are adjusted properly geometrically at the brake and tuned for lever pull...if that makes sense
Thanks
If you can stand the current braking performance for a while, just using your brakes will remove it pretty quickly. If you want to speed up the process, cover your brake pads with some fine emery cloth and do a number of light touch stops. The hard anodizing will be gone pretty quickly. Back in the day when these rim "coatings" were popular, you used to see brake tracks with pulsed colors: the slight distortion of the rim by spoke tension would bulge the rim just a bit and as the anodizing wore off, you would have shiny aluminum alternating with the color of the rim.
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Old 09-23-22, 10:58 AM
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I've used Modolo "Sinterized" brake pads for this. Run them for a few weeks, and the anodizing is gone from the brake track. Leave them on longer, and you'll wear out your rim. Not sure if they were ever offered for cantilever brakes, though.
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Old 09-23-22, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Brake pads do a pretty good job of removing anodizing.
on a tubular rim maybe. On a clincher rim it will be uneven because the rim bulges out slightly where the spoke is pulling on it. Like this:

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Old 09-23-22, 01:27 PM
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FWIW - i've been riding on hard anodized rims for decades, While there is some measurable reduction in brake friction, I still have no problems, either locking the rear wheel, or lifting the rear with the front brake. Rain braking is lousy, but I can't really tell whether it's worse than with any of my other aluminum rims.

Rarther than focus on stripping the hard coat, try using "stickier" rubber brake shoes. Think about the shoes on your feet. Your leather soled dance shoes may be very slippery on the varnished wood of a basketball court. However they don't sand the courts, instead players wear shoes suited to it's surface.

Shoes do vary by brand, and even by color within brands. For example, I've found KoolStop grey colored shoes to be a bit stickier then their other colors.
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Old 09-23-22, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
on a tubular rim maybe. On a clincher rim it will be uneven because the rim bulges out slightly where the spoke is pulling on it. Like this:

That happens on tubular rims as well. Has nothing to do w/ clincher or tubular.
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Old 09-23-22, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by KerryIrons View Post
. . . . Back in the day when these rim "coatings" were popular, you used to see brake tracks with pulsed colors: the slight distortion of the rim by spoke tension would bulge the rim just a bit and as the anodizing wore off, you would have shiny aluminum alternating with the color of the rim.
You mean like, say, the mid-to-late 1990s, when Araya made hard anodized rims? FWIW: road grime/dirt/other particles embedded in the pads often left streaks of shiny aluminum in the brake track, too.

Wanna guess why I'm manually de-anodizing the sides of a pair of old Araya rims?

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Old 09-24-22, 07:37 PM
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So, what I'd thought of doing was masking off the rims and spokes cutting off tape where the brake surface is. Then spraying a light coat of easy off to the brake surface and then cleaning it to expedite the process. Meh....it all seems laborious. Maybe just stick with the tried and true natural process. It's coming off slowly as it is, I suppose. The other superficially annoying thing is the color...haha! It just hardly matches well with but a couple of color schemes. .
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Old 09-25-22, 03:19 AM
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Commute in the rain and it’ll take half the time.
I wouldn’t recommend any corrosive, you’re likely to end up with pitting, which may be the least of your issues at that point.
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Old 09-25-22, 08:03 AM
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Does anyone want to try and diagnose the marks on this rim?
Is it an attempt at removal of anodization?


Pattern is consistently even

Around one entire side of rim. Deep enough to just barely feel by, or catch, my nail, smooth enough to hardly be able to tell they have a depth by using a finger pad’s feel.

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Old 09-26-22, 06:04 PM
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Scratches or Deposits ?

I can’t tell from the photos if those are patterned surface scratches from grit imbedded in the brake pad or bits of brake pad material transferred to the rim … or both!

I have found both conditions on some of my vintage rims - remedied (right or wrong) by wet sanding the rims with very fine 600+ sandpaper and a very light touch. It’s a time consuming process and kinda rough on the fingers, but the result is a pretty clean and smooth braking surface. Coupled with new pads, it seems braking efficiency is improved too.

BTW, I’ve also seen a SwissStop block that looks like a medium sized blue eraser marketed for cleaning up whatever it is that collects on the
sides of rims, but haven’t tried it FWIW.
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Old 09-26-22, 06:06 PM
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Scratches or Deposits ?

I can’t tell from the photos if those are patterned surface scratches from grit imbedded in the brake pad or bits of brake pad material transferred to the rim … or both!

I have found both conditions on some of my vintage rims - remedied (right or wrong) by wet sanding the rims with very fine 600+ sandpaper and a very light touch. It’s a time consuming process and kinda rough on the fingers, but the result is a pretty clean and smooth braking surface. Coupled with new pads, it seems braking efficiency is improved too.

BTW, I’ve also seen a SwissStop block that looks like a medium sized blue eraser marketed for cleaning up whatever it is that collects on the
sides of rims, but haven’t tried it FWIW.
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