Mavic Open Pro Ceramic Rim £74.50 each
Winter cycling plays havoc with lightweight bicycles. Water, full of grit and salt, does the damage. Any moving part that gets splashed wears out sooner, either through corrosion thanks to the salt, or abrasion due to the grit. Regular cleaning helps to keep corrosion at bay. Using mudguards keeps most of the grit off everything but aluminium rims, which inevitably wear out more rapidly in wet conditions. Grit lodges in the rubber brake blocks, and simply scratches away the softer aluminium whenever the brakes are applied. It is possible to wear through the braking surface in one winter’s riding. The end result is potentially dangerous. As the rim wears away, it gets thinner and weaker just where the hooked lip keeps the tyre in place. Eventually air pressure breaks the lip away from the rim, allowing the tyre to break free and perhaps resulting in a locked wheel.
Besides the risk involved, rim wear is expensive and dirty. That foul grey muck coating the tyres after a wet ride is abraded aluminium, not rubber from the brake blocks. Replacing a worn rim means paying for a wheelbuilder’s time as well as for the rim and tape. Here are three good reasons, then, to invest in a pair of the ceramic-coated version of Mavic’s Open Pro clincher rims, which suffer none of the above problems. Sure, at just under 75 sovs each, they are not cheap. On the other hand, they last for years and remove the need to start worrying about a rim explosion as the braking surface wears. They also cure that ‘grey finger’ syndrome associated with fixing a flat in bad weather. Don’t they wear brake blocks super-fast? No; save the first ride for a really wet day. The grit in the road splash quickly knocks the high points off the roughened ceramic surface until it is smooth. From now on, brake block wear is about the same as for a normal rim, even in dry weather.
There is, or course, one other benefit. Braking even in the worst downpour is powerful and predictable. 32 or 36 hole, 650c size also available.