To investigate the influence of carbon fiber (CF) surface treatment on the flexural strength and tribological properties of the short-cut CF/polyimide (PI) composites, pitch-based short-cut CF were treated by rare earth. The CF before and after treatment was examined by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The flexural strength of the specimens was determined in a three-point test machine. The friction and wear behaviors of PI composites sliding against GCr15 steel rings were evaluated on an M-2000 model ring-on-block test rig. The results show that the surface of the treated CF became rougher and there formed lots of active groups after rare earth treatment. The flexural strength of PI composites with rare earth treated CF was improved. The friction coefficient and wear rate of PI composites with rare earth treated CF were lower than that with untreated CF.