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Q: Are 20-year old rims safe for another rebuild?

Posted: 25 Apr 2008, 4:26pm
by natmat
I need some new wheels and wondered about using some old road MA40 rims for the job. The braking surfaces are still reasonable, just the old hub is 120mm OLN and I need some 130mm hubs now - hence the rebuild.

I've had these wheels from new so know their history. Am I just penny pinching to re-use them (I avoid at all costs throwing anything away)? Obviously I could buy new rims, just wondered what people thought.

Ta, Nat.

Posted: 25 Apr 2008, 5:01pm
by Willpower
Why don't you just put 5mm of washers or a 5mm nut on either side of the hub?

Posted: 25 Apr 2008, 6:07pm
by glueman
Normal rims are a pretty cheap part of the wheel. I wouldn't risk the effort or cost of a build on a less than 100% rim.

Re: Q: Are 20-year old rims safe for another rebuild?

Posted: 25 Apr 2008, 8:39pm
by gaz
natmat wrote:I've had these wheels from new so know their history.


In which case I see no problem, especially if you're building your own.

Posted: 25 Apr 2008, 9:15pm
by natmat
I like the nut either-side idea, I think I'll opt for that for now (why didn't I think of that?). That'll help me keep my conservationism desire satisfied for another year or so.

Thanks folk, over and out.

Posted: 25 Apr 2008, 10:07pm
by JohnW
natmat wrote:I like the nut either-side idea, I think I'll opt for that for now (why didn't I think of that?). That'll help me keep my conservationism desire satisfied for another year or so.

Thanks folk, over and out.


Are you surev the spindles are going to be long enough?

Take your rims to a bike shop and ask the wheelbuilder - the wheelbuilder, not the shop assistant. I've had a wheel disintigrate underneath me because I'd ridden it too far; luckily it was a rear wheel, but a front wheel doing the same could kill. Re-building has costs, and the price of a peir of rims is only a proportion of that cost. If you need a new spindle, that could be a tenner or more.

Take a balanced judgement, but include a qualified and experienced wheelbuilder in the process.

Posted: 26 Apr 2008, 4:39pm
by Bob S
I had some MA40's that where 1976 model, when I up graded my rear hub to cassett, I had heared about the terrible tales of rims exploding, so I cut them through to see how bad they where. It broke my heart, it would easily have lasted another 30 years. The front was the same.

Posted: 26 Apr 2008, 4:46pm
by Mick F
My MA40s are now consigned to the recycling dump. Sad.

Goodness knows how far they'd traveled, and they weren't too worn. I bought them as a wheel-set in 1986, scrapped in 2004. The eyelets were rusty. That was the problem with them, why have plated steel eyelets?

Also, they were 36/36, I wanted 32/36, so out they went.

The Ridida Chrinas I have now have SS eyelets, but I can't believe the rims will last like the MA40s.

Posted: 26 Apr 2008, 8:58pm
by JohnW
Bob S wrote:I had some MA40's that where 1976 model, when I up graded my rear hub to cassett, I had heared about the terrible tales of rims exploding, so I cut them through to see how bad they where. It broke my heart, it would easily have lasted another 30 years. The front was the same.


Yeah - that's one of the problems - it's difficult to tell until obvious signs appear and then you may be so far from home its too late.

I really don't think that you can judge rim life in years - you can only measure miles.

I have two G40 rims that are about 25 years old, but one has done 3,000 and one 7,000 miles. I could now take them out of their respective bikes, never use them, and they'd last for ever.

Posted: 29 Apr 2008, 10:46am
by andwags
Replace them, why have half a new wheel...

Posted: 29 Apr 2008, 11:46am
by pigman
my view is
I wouldn't increase the axle width - too wide a span between frame and bearings will result in numerous bent/broken axles. Plus you might have to spend good money (new axle & QR spindle) to achieve this.

A shop might be reluctant to use old rims to build wheels - it risks their reputation, but I wouldn't discard the old rims, I'd self-build them onto a bike used for local trips - commuter/shopper/pubber/etc.

I'm not a metallurgist, but I'd say mileage coupled with type of riding is far more influential in wearing rims than age alone. So if you commute in all weathers where grime builds up and its hilly with lots of braking, over relatively few miles it will have more effect than 100 mile summer riding on flatlands.

Only you can judge for sure.

Posted: 3 May 2008, 5:58pm
by fixer
If the rims are in good condition ie the sidewalls are not too worn, the eyelets are not damaged by rust etc, then there's no reason not to re-use them. I use 25 year old Mavic Mod E and E2 rims without any problems.

Yes, you can add washers or spacers to widen the hub to 130mm, but you would probably end up with hardly any of the hollow axle sticking out past the locknuts because your 120mm hub axle should be around 131mm long. It'll still work but it might be a bit awkward when fitting the wheel to your bike. So you might need a longer axle, and you would need a longer QR skewer as well.

Re the axle bending, this is less of a problem with good quality hubs, I haven't had any problems with my Campag Nuovo Record hubs.

Posted: 3 May 2008, 9:24pm
by peanut
Mick F wrote:My MA40s are now consigned to the recycling dump. Sad.

Goodness knows how far they'd traveled, and they weren't too worn. I bought them as a wheel-set in 1986, scrapped in 2004. The eyelets were rusty. That was the problem with them, why have plated steel eyelets?

Also, they were 36/36, I wanted 32/36, so out they went.

The Ridida Chrinas I have now have SS eyelets, but I can't believe the rims will last like the MA40s.


MA40's .. I still have some that have made many trips to the tip in my mind . The reality is I go to the tip and bring more wheels back :roll:

Older rims weren't made for the modern aggressive brake blocks. Modern brake blocks are not better in my opiinion they are just designed to wear out the rims faster . :twisted:

Posted: 3 May 2008, 9:29pm
by JohnW
peanut wrote:
Mick F wrote:My MA40s are now consigned to the recycling dump. Sad.

Older rims weren't made for the modern aggressive brake blocks. Modern brake blocks are not better in my opiinion they are just designed to wear out the rims faster . :twisted:

peanut - that's the conclusion that I've come to.