What is the strip called on the rim that when you push the brakes on? I have a fixed bike and I bought it a new front white deep v rim that doesn't have the strip on it for the brakes and when I used it the wall gets dirty from the brakes. Can I buy the strip or is it suppose to be like that normally?

  • 1
    If the rim isn't designed to be used with rim brakes it could fail when you use the brakes. That would be bad. I've seen one rim where the brakes punched through the side of the rim and the wheel suddenly stopping going round. Also, you can't add the braking surface to a rim once it's been made.
    – Móż
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 22:26
  • In case its not clear - you should not be using that rim for braking. Stop riding the bike till you replace the wheel with a suitable one. If you're scored away metal already, the rim may now be unsafe to ride even with disk brakes.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 0:05
  • You do need to make it a bit clearer. Some "fancy" rims have paint on the brake surface, while other rims are not designed for use with rim brakes. If the rim is designed for rim brakes then the portion of the rim directly adjacent to the tire will be "square" and flat, so that the brake pads can press on it effectively. If the surface is slanted then it's not designed for rim brakes and should not be used on a bike with rim brakes. If it's simply painted, the paint will eventually wear off -- how rapidly depends on the type of paint and how much you brake. Commented May 30, 2016 at 0:39
  • If the rim doesn't have a brake surface it s either meant to be used with disk brakes or it is for a track-bike that don't have any brakes at all.
    – Carel
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 7:17
  • Seems you need to get another new rim if you want to put brake in. Some shop might sell those "lighter rim for brakless fixed-gear bike" for those fixie brakeless-cult .
    – mootmoot
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 13:10

2 Answers 2


The part of the rim you're talking about is a brake track or braking surface (the silver colored thing in this picture): enter image description here which is where the rim brake is supposed to make contact with.

These are a part of a particular rim's design and are not available to be added after market.

You should check that your rim is indeed intended for rim brakes (not all rims are) and if it requires any special pads. You can do this by checking with the rim's manufacturer. If its not intended for use with rim brakes, I would suggest getting a different rim (as using them with rim brakes may lead to rim failure, which is bad).

Note that even if it is intended to be used with rim brakes, it may not provide as good braking as a rim with brake tracks and you may want to clean the braking surface more often.

  • 3
    I don't recall answering this, but it's correct ;)
    – BruceWayne
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 6:10

Just to expand on @Batman's excellent answer...

Rims properly designed for rim brakes will have sufficient thickness of material to withstand wear from the pads.

It's not uncommon for track/street rims to be 'unmachined' like yours. Most of the time the downside will simply be dirt / paint wear as you have experienced, but bear in mind that many deep rims aimed at the fixed gear market may well assume brakeless riding, and running rim brakes may compromise their safety before too long.

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