I have a set of AlexRims ACE 19 rims that came on a 2011 Specialized Tricross. They have about 18,000km on them, mostly flat terrain, and a mix of pavement (90%) and gravel/ rail beds (10%). Because of the age and mileage, and some visible concavity to the brake tracks, I've been meaning to clean them up and inspect the brake track closely to determine if they need replacing.
After procrastinating for a few weeks, I took the rear wheel off today and found something much more worrisome: in several places where spokes enter the rim, the rim has cracked around the spoke hole, with sections of the rim separating from the main body of the rim, towards the hub.
There are couple more subtle ones where I think I see a hairline crack coming off the spoke hole along the inside face of the rim:
I had a quick look at the front rim and don't see the same kind of damage there. It may have some subtle cracks like the last picture, but no major ones like the first two.
On the brake track, while I do seem some concavity, I don't see any cracks in the track itself like the one discussed here.
I've got several questions about this:
- Is this a reasonable state for this type of rim to be in given the age/ mileage/ terrain being ridden? FYI, I weigh around 170 lbs.
- How does damage like this generally happen? Would each of these cracked spoke entry points have been a single transient event like hitting the edge of a pothole, or is this a slow process from mechanical fatigue?
- If I hadn't caught this issue and kept riding these, what's the likely progression of the failure? Spokes pop out of the wheel one at a time, flagging the issue to me via wheel out-of-trueness? Or sudden catastrophic disintregration of the rim some day?
- How often is it recommended to clean off your rims and inspect them up close to catch this type of damage (preferably before it progresses this far)? Ideally I would have caught the first two examples while they were still in the state of the last example, if they went through a progression like that.
- Is it safe to reuse the hub and spokes, or should I assume they're near end of life too?