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  1. #1
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    New question here. Water trapped in aluminum rims

    Hi all, Im new to the forums and recently newly back into mountain biking. My first mountain bike was a 1995 Cannondale SM600. I loved that bike and wish i still had one. But I am enjoying my full suspension 29er bike now .

    Anyhow how things have changed.

    My 14yo son has stock intense tracer. We were riding last weekend and had to ride through some pretty deep water. When we were cleaning the bike off after the ride, we noticed water sloshing around in the rim. Now i know I can dis assemble the wheel and drain the water out of the stem hole , but I am thinking of drilling a couple 1/8" holes in the side rim to let them drain in the future. I cant imagine i would be compromising the aluminum rim at all since it already has holes in it for the spokes and valve stem and its a pretty small hole. Certainly if water stays in the rim , it seems the rim would be compromised by corrosion much more than allowing the water to escape.

    What do you all think?

  2. #2
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    Many rims already have small drain holes in them. I donít see any issue in adding one or two in the correct place.

  3. #3
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    Do NOT drill holes in the rim!

    Don't worry about the water. It will work its way back out the way it got in. Just ride the bike, forget about it and it'll be fine.

  4. #4
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    I'd do it, but I'd also find a drawing or tech document showing the shape of the extrusion, and I'd make sure I drilled in a spot that was unlikely to affect anything structurally.

  5. #5
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    If water got into the rim, there has to be a hole in it already, right? So what is the point of drilling another one? Also, more holes will make it easier for water to get in as well as dirt which will trap the moisture.

    Just........ don't.

  6. #6
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    +1 for heeding mikesee's warning about taking care where you drill. Then there's the fun of making sure all the metal filings are collected so you don't have endless mystery punctures if not running tubeless or at best bits of metal rattling around the rim to drive you insane.

    Personally, I would just not mess with it. I've gotten water in my rims plenty of times and it's always found its way back out by the end of the ride.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    If water got into the rim, there has to be a hole in it already, right? So what is the point of drilling another one? Also, more holes will make it easier for water to get in as well as dirt which will trap the moisture.

    Just........ don't.
    Well, good point... sort of . The only way water can get in is through the spoke holes or the filler stem, which are on the inside of the rims. So water would have to go up to get out. Like if you had a coffee cup with a lid on it full of coffee - the coffee will never work its way out of the cup and it wont evaporate very quickly, if ever.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    I'd do it, but I'd also find a drawing or tech document showing the shape of the extrusion, and I'd make sure I drilled in a spot that was unlikely to affect anything structurally.
    I'm going to disassemble the wheel tonight and make sure i don't drill through the 'tubeless' air chamber"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by noapathy View Post
    +1 for heeding mikesee's warning about taking care where you drill. Then there's the fun of making sure all the metal filings are collected so you don't have endless mystery punctures if not running tubeless or at best bits of metal rattling around the rim to drive you insane.
    Structurally, the hole will not be in the same chamber that the "air pressure chamber is in . Its on the other side of the rim tape.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by basshack View Post
    The only way water can get in is through the spoke holes or the filler stem, which are on the inside of the rims. So water would have to go up to get out. Like if you had a coffee cup with a lid on it full of coffee - the coffee will never work its way out of the cup and it wont evaporate very quickly, if ever.
    Which is why we are all riding around with wheels full of water? Of course! I feel so stupid now.

  11. #11
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    In nearly 30 years of mountain biking I've never had problem with water getting inside my rim, nor have I heard of anyone else having this problem. If it's really bothering you, pop one side of the tire bead off and drain the water out. That'll take all of 30 seconds. Sure sounds easier than drilling holes where they weren't meant to be.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Which is why we are all riding around with wheels full of water? Of course! I feel so stupid now.
    Thanks for your snarky comment.


    Last night disassembled the wheel. About 3/4 of a cup of water came out.

    When we were riding in the stream, we all actually had to ride up the stream for 100 yards or so. The water came up to the cranks at times. 3 bikes/6 wheels and this was the only one that took on enough water that we noticed it in the rim.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairbanks007 View Post
    If it's really bothering you, pop one side of the tire bead off and drain the water out.
    /thread

    Don't drill holes in one of the components that sees all the forces of riding.
    Guerrilla Gravity BAMF
    Smash

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by basshack View Post
    Last night disassembled the wheel. About 3/4 of a cup of water came out.

    When we were riding in the stream, we all actually had to ride up the stream for 100 yards or so. The water came up to the cranks at times. 3 bikes/6 wheels and this was the only one that took on enough water that we noticed it in the rim.
    You should have done that from the start and after each water soaked ride. Drilling holes is kind of the duct tape approach to things that make other ppl scratch their heads saying lol wut?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Which is why we are all riding around with wheels full of water? Of course! I feel so stupid now.

    A question that I find myself asking, um, myself right now: Why are you so adamant against this? Why do you care?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesmokingman View Post
    You should have done that from the start and after each water soaked ride. Drilling holes is kind of the duct tape approach to things that make other ppl scratch their heads saying lol wut?
    Im certainly gong to try and avoid rides like that in the future. I definitely don't have time to go popping wheels off and on after every ride.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by basshack View Post
    Im certainly gong to try and avoid rides like that in the future. I definitely don't have time to go popping wheels off and on after every ride.
    Yea, I bet and its annoying as heck to go thru with all the fluid waste and things associated with. It's one of those inadvertent downsides to going tubeless.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairbanks007 View Post
    In nearly 30 years of mountain biking I've never had problem with water getting inside my rim, nor have I heard of anyone else having this problem. If it's really bothering you, pop one side of the tire bead off and drain the water out. That'll take all of 30 seconds. Sure sounds easier than drilling holes where they weren't meant to be.
    Well if you do that, then the water drains into the tire (assuming you have tubes) and all that needs to be dried out. . If you don't have tubes (which we do), you have to pop the tire bead, then remove the stem, then the water will drain into the tire, whence you have to soak it up and dry it out, then you have to re-assemble. At least that's how it went for me last night.

  19. #19
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    Could just say F it and fill it all up with water, then you won't have to drain it?

    https://youtu.be/vq7fF0_AjW0?t=167

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesmokingman View Post
    Could just say F it and fill it all up with water, then you won't have to drain it?

    https://youtu.be/vq7fF0_AjW0?t=167
    Seth is awesome.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by basshack View Post
    Well if you do that, then the water drains into the tire (assuming you have tubes) and all that needs to be dried out. . If you don't have tubes (which we do), you have to pop the tire bead, then remove the stem, then the water will drain into the tire, whence you have to soak it up and dry it out, then you have to re-assemble. At least that's how it went for me last night.
    Umm, OK... I must have misunderstood the scope of the problem. Stuff an old towel into the tire where you've popped the bead to soak up the water (alternatively you just pour it out). Time elapsed: 60 seconds. Sorry to have misled you.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairbanks007 View Post
    Umm, OK... I must have misunderstood the scope of the problem. Stuff an old towel into the tire where you've popped the bead to soak up the water (alternatively you just pour it out). Time elapsed: 60 seconds. Sorry to have misled you.
    Actually, i used the tire removal as an opportunity to remove the tubes. I added new stems and sealant and refilled the tires with air. If I have to dismount the tire again, do i need to add more sealant, or will the tire be good for remounting and refilling with air with just the sealant I originally added?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by basshack View Post
    Actually, i used the tire removal as an opportunity to remove the tubes. I added new stems and sealant and refilled the tires with air. If I have to dismount the tire again, do i need to add more sealant, or will the tire be good for remounting and refilling with air with just the sealant I originally added?
    I don't pull my tires off the rims all that often. I seem to recall hearing somewhere that Stan's sealant is good for six months or so. Seems like a bit of overkill to me to change your sealant that often. I know I've had the same sealant in my tires for at least a year without any issues. Having said that, all of the tubeless tires I've ever had tend to lose a couple psi over a few days, therefore I've gotten in the habit of checking pressures before every ride and adding air when necessary.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Why are you so adamant against this? Why do you care?
    Good question. Maybe because the conversation just seems too stupid for words?

    Apart from the fact that people have been riding bikes through water for generations without needing to take a Makita to their rims, if this really were a problem it would be a lot simpler to stop the water ingress in the first place! If it were a problem that is.

    I've had water in my rims. I ignored it. The water went away. Mystery. Call Scooby Doo.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by basshack View Post
    Actually, i used the tire removal as an opportunity to remove the tubes. I added new stems and sealant and refilled the tires with air. If I have to dismount the tire again, do i need to add more sealant, or will the tire be good for remounting and refilling with air with just the sealant I originally added?
    It depends, if the fluid is still good then you need to reclaim the fluid or just refill with new fluid. If you want to reuse the fluid, use a syringe to suck up the the fluid. I recommend the KOM Cycling syringe, its 10 bucks well spent.

  26. #26
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    Sounds like a good reason to get a new set of wheels. I would never have a
    wheel set that gave me problems.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    Sounds like a good reason to get a new set of wheels. I would never have a
    wheel set that gave me problems.
    All wheels will have this problem of being waterlogged. Go ahead and try it out. Submerge your wheel in water and see if it doesn't get waterlogged. Going to buy a new wheel every time or just simply drain it?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesmokingman View Post
    All wheels will have this problem of being waterlogged. Go ahead and try it out. Submerge your wheel in water and see if it doesn't get waterlogged. Going to buy a new wheel every time or just simply drain it?
    That and it's a brand new bike.

    Sent from my SM-N950U1 using Tapatalk

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Good question. Maybe because the conversation just seems too stupid for words?

    Apart from the fact that people have been riding bikes through water for generations without needing to take a Makita to their rims, if this really were a problem it would be a lot simpler to stop the water ingress in the first place! If it were a problem that is.

    I've had water in my rims. I ignored it. The water went away. Mystery. Call Scooby Doo.

    People will spend an extra $100 for a "better" rear derailleur that is functionally identical to the cheaper version. Yet you find it "stupid" for someone to want to eliminate many ounces of *actual* rotating weight from each wheel?

    Water gets into rims. It happens. It's not magic. That same water doesn't always find it's way out on it's own. Centrifugal force and all that. Many rims these days come with holes specifically for the reason of letting water drain out. If the manufacturers recognize that this happens, why can't you?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesmokingman View Post
    It depends, if the fluid is still good then you need to reclaim the fluid or just refill with new fluid. If you want to reuse the fluid, use a syringe to suck up the the fluid. I recommend the KOM Cycling syringe, its 10 bucks well spent.
    $10 for a syringe? Uh, sure.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    People will spend an extra $100 for a "better" rear derailleur that is functionally identical to the cheaper version...
    Turn your bike into a Swiss cheese if you like, knock yourself out :0)

  32. #32
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    has anyone suggested you don't wash your bike with water?

    I'm pretty sure the need to clean a bike is not the same as the desire to have a clean bike.

    I don't wash my bike with a hose. I wait for the mud to dry, then I knock off the chunks, clean around seals, and lube the chain.

    If you wash your bike with a hose, you may end up with water in places you don't want... wait, that happened didn't it

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Turn your bike into a Swiss cheese if you like, knock yourself out :0)

    Hyperbole -- it's your thing.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    has anyone suggested you don't wash your bike with water?
    Did you read the first post?

  35. #35
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    So, the set of wheels I have that have a drain hole in will weaken them? Huh, wish I knew that 2 years ago, after multiple 5-6 foot drops and jumps they have taken and still run true.. And the water comes right out of them perfectly.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Do NOT drill holes in the rim!

    Don't worry about the water. It will work its way back out the way it got in. Just ride the bike, forget about it and it'll be fine.
    Sure, a small amount of water is no big deal and will eventually drain out, but this sounds like more of an issue. If I were the OP I would definitely drill a small drain hole in the rims. If you are careful about it you are unlikely to cause any problems. Keep in mind that I am the guy who drilled a hole in my seat tube for a dropper cable and a second hole in my shock mount to change the geometry. Neither hole caused any problems, and no I don't care about warranty.

  37. #37
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    If you do drill, chamfer the hole to reduce chances of cracking.

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