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Home » Cycling » Repairing a damaged aluminum rim… The price of lightweight equipment.

Repairing a damaged aluminum rim… The price of lightweight equipment.


While lazily looping around the parking lot waiting for the club ride to start, I was talking to a friend while he was prepping his bike.  I was just barely faster than a track stand, looking at my buddy when my wheel sank into a crack in the asphalt.  I stopped dead. 

I know what to do in this situation.  It’s automatic:  Lead with the forward heal (right in this case) and push toward the ground.  This unclips the cleat and gets my foot to the ground in a split second, before I can lose my balance.  It worked perfectly.  Unfortunately I scraped my rim pretty good when the wheel sank into the crack:


There were four more chewed up spots but they were trivial in comparison.

This is the price we pay for lightweight equipment, but thank God I ride alloy wheels… I can only imagine what a lapse in attention would have done to composite wheels.

Now, the fix, after assessment is simple. For the assessing part, we want to make sure we didn’t crack the rim. Obviously, the rim is not cracked (had it been, it’s a new hoop). With that out of the way, I checked to make sure there were no cracks at the spoke nipples too, just in case. Then it’s time to sand the rough spots smooth. The idea is to not feel that dent when the brakes are applied.

Once the raised surfaces of the dings are sanded flat (preferably with progressively less aggressive sandpaper), we check again for cracks and make sure the wheel is still true.

Here’s the trick, if you don’t know if the damage is catastrophic, take a photo and text it to someone at the bike shop…. That’s the reason I took that photo above in the first place.



  1. Sue Slaght says:

    Glad to hear you managed to get out of your clips. Makes my hands sweat thinking about those split second moments. My hips are not keen on hitting the pavement.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Nor mine, which is EXACTLY why I developed my way of unclipping in such a circumstance. It is flawless and wonderful. Well, at least so far. 😀

  2. first, ball. i **hate** it when something happens at the beginning of a ride. but, good for you, that it wasn’t a show stopper. sheesh. on the pic to the bike shop… BRILLIANT! never thought of that. wonder how the mechanic will feel that i start using his number for something other than cats pics… (kidding… that’s his wife who shares cat pics…) 😉 😛

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