Over time, the paint on the rims of a wheel has slowly been eaten by a set of brake pads.

  • How do I strip left over paint?
  • What type of paint should be used?
  • How can I ensure the new paintjob will endure under friction from brake pads?
  • Would like to retag question with paint/rims when minimum rep. reached. Or a kind someone?
    – Daniel
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 14:23
  • welcome to Bicycles.SE. Asking for "tips" or tricks is discouraged on these sites, so I've reformatted your question slightly; if I've changed the intent of your question, please roll back my edits. Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 14:28

2 Answers 2


It's not paint that has worn off of your rims. It's anodizing. So it won't come off with a paint stripper.

... When braking in wet conditions, road grit wears off anodizing on the sidewall...

Anodizing is an electro-chemical process often used to color aluminum bicycle parts. Some people actually do this at home. http://www.nonlintec.com/anodizing/ And there may be an electro-plating or anodizing shop in your locale who can re-anodize your bike rims.

  • 2
    Anodizing rims would be pricey - you pay for the size of the part, a wheel rim needs a big bath = lots of chemicals. Most anodizing shops are also wary of used parts, any old paint, rubber, chemicals etc on the wheel can ruin their solution so you would probably have to pay for them to bead blast and clean it first.
    – mgb
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 17:55
  • Anodizing can be chemically removed using oven cleaner, followed up by some sanding and polishing.... However, that's a multi-step, tedious, process probably beyond the scope of the question.
    – user313
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 17:55
  • @mgb - You're right. Anodizing a bicycle rim means removing the spokes and hub. De-anodizing. Properly cleaning the rim. And then re-anodizing. Followed by rebuilding the wheel. So, yeah, beyond the scope of the question... I have a friend who customizes classic bikes and have witnessed the process.
    – user313
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 18:05
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    @wdypdx22 - and my experience was in aerospace grade anodizing, they were very fussy about the parts we sent, what alloy, what machining fluid had been used, how we had cleaned them etc. Don't know if a back street car parts shop would be the same
    – mgb
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 21:30
  • 1
    So in other words, while it's technically possible to anodize a used rim, it's probably much cheaper and easier to get a new rim...
    – sleske
    Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 10:06

The braking surface on your rims shouldn't be painted, it will just reduce the brake's effectiveness and the paint will quickly wear out. In fact, over time rim brakes will actually wear down the metal on the braking surface. (After a lot of use, this area can get dangerously thin and the rims will need to be replaced.)

Painting below the braking surface is fine, although I don't have enough experience to give you any tips.

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