Please recommend best way to clean rims

Please recommend best way to clean rims when brake pads are not worn but the brakes aren’t gripping fast? 1999 Terry Classic. THANKS!

Hey there, I’m not a mechanic but I play one on TV. I usually use just a plain old rag (what I call a “clean dirty rag” - not used for grease or oil), and hold it to the rim while I spin it. If the rim is really dirty, I’ll spray either plain water or a light solution of water and Simple Green-style cleaner on the rag, then do the wipe/spin. (This is part of what I call the 5-Minute Tune Up, a super quick maintenance that takes care of the things you check as part of the ABC Quick Check. You can see a video of the rim cleaning portion here, part of a Fix-It Fair presentation I did on All Season Cycling. )

Another thing to check is if the brake pads have become “glazed” or shiny - using a bit of sand paper to rough up the braking surface of the pads may help restore some braking power. Best of luck!


thank you so much!!!

You also might want to look into different types of brake pads. There are different compounds that have different intended uses. Some are higher grip, but wear down faster. Others are designed to last longer, but have less stopping power.

thanks so much. i have shimano deore in the back and tektro mini-v in the front (newish, long story) and skinny tires.

And… how old are the pads since manufactured? Rim brake pads use rubber for the most part and they harden with passage of time, and even faster if you have it stored where its exposed to sunlight.

I wipe the rim down by spinning it against a damp shop rag, then after the bulk of the crud is wiped away, spin it against against a green Scotchbrite pad to scour off any glazed rubber.

Paper towel and rubbing alcohol. Turn the bike upside down and spin the wheels to clean.