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Old 08-12-17, 06:21 AM   #1
BikingViking793
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Road Bike - First broken spoke

So this morning for no obvious reason I broke a spoke. Don't remember anything in particular happening, just wheel was suddenly out of true. Is that normal for a spoke to go that way?

Now that I have a broken spoke I guess my best option is to bring to the shop? Replacing a spoke looks pretty easy, but I don't have a truer. How should I bring the wheel in? Should I just bring the whole bike? Should I just bring the wheel? Should I remove the tire? Will this be a quick repair for a shop or will it take days? Approximately how much should this repair cost? Thanks in advance for any info. It is my rear wheel btw.
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Old 08-12-17, 06:48 AM   #2
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If you have a reliable bike shop and don't have the tools or lots of exprience, I'd just take it in to them. It shouldn't cost that much. Mine were just trued by my LBS for about $30 done on the same day. Unless you want to become proficient and spend time on this.

I'd bring the whole bike in as they can make sure everything works well together.
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Old 08-12-17, 06:54 AM   #3
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Is this wheel on a road bike or MTB. How many miles on this wheel? How heavy are you? Do you ride harshly (jump curbs, etc.)? Is this a low spoke count wheel?

Unless they have been obviously damaged, spokes do break with no prior warning as it's usually a fatigue failure. For the first broken spoke, have it replaced and hope it was an unusual event. If you break a second one, start thinking about a new wheel or having that one completely respoked. If you break a third one, have the wheel rebuilt.

If you want a fast turn around at the LBS take in just the bare wheel with the tire removed. How long the job will take depends on the work load at the LBS and how good a customer you are so a phone call to ask would be worth while. The cost should be fairly low unless this is an exotic wheel.
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Old 08-12-17, 07:05 AM   #4
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Yes, it's normal for spokes to break without an immediate cause. They break because of metal fatigue, which results from millions of flex cycles over time. It's just a reminder that the wheel is older, but likely has plenty of life left.

If you're comfortable with the basics like fixing a flat, remove the tire and bring just the wheel in. That should lower the cost by roughly the charge to install a tube.

Some shops will fix it while you run another errand, others will want to schedule it. Bringing just the wheel increases the odds of a quick turn around, since it reduces the time involved, and doesn't involve using the repair stand.
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Old 08-12-17, 01:59 PM   #5
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Assuming the wheel was true to begin with-
Just replace the one spoke yourself and tension it enough to make the wheel true again.
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Old 08-12-17, 07:53 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. I brought it in and got it fixed, cost $16. Bike is ready to go now. Not sure if I will have more issues though. Only 400 miles on the bike.
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Old 08-12-17, 08:11 PM   #7
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Thanks guys. I brought it in and got it fixed, cost $16. Bike is ready to go now. Not sure if I will have more issues though. Only 400 miles on the bike.
400 miles to a spoke break isn't good news.

A single broken spoke may simply be a fluke or spot of bad luck, or it may be a harbinger of what's to come There's no way to know, but if/when you break another that may give you some insights. Generally the time interval between broken spokes gets progressively shorter.

So, if it was 400 miles to the first, and you break another in less than another 400 miles, then you can expect the 3rd in a yet shorter interval, and at that time may want to think about a new wheel rather than get to where you're spending $16.00 every hundred or so miles.
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Old 08-12-17, 09:43 PM   #8
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400 miles to a spoke break isn't good news.

A single broken spoke may simply be a fluke or spot of bad luck, or it may be a harbinger of what's to come There's no way to know, but if/when you break another that may give you some insights. Generally the time interval between broken spokes gets progressively shorter.

So, if it was 400 miles to the first, and you break another in less than another 400 miles, then you can expect the 3rd in a yet shorter interval, and at that time may want to think about a new wheel rather than get to where you're spending $16.00 every hundred or so miles.
My bike has Weinmann TR28 rims and 14g spokes.

I don't know anything about wheels yet, is there any reason to believe these wouldn't be a very good wheel. It's on a very entry level road bike (Nikishi Maricopa). The shop seemed to think the wheels were ok, but mentioned the spokes were nickel? Which I assumed was nickel plated.
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Old 08-12-17, 10:00 PM   #9
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My bike has Weinmann TR28 rims and 14g spokes.

I don't know anything about wheels yet, is there any reason to believe these wouldn't be a very good wheel. It's on a very entry level road bike (Nikishi Maricopa). The shop seemed to think the wheels were ok, but mentioned the spokes were nickel? Which I assumed was nickel plated.
The spokes are OK. They're carbon steel, similar to piano wire, and should last until rust gets to them.

Spoke life is a complicated thing, and premature spoke breakage (IMO, all spoke breakage is premature) can from causes relating to the wheel build, ie. too little, too much or uneven tension.

It can also be related to the rider. Some riders tend to have bad luck with wheels, while others never have issues. Things like standing and letting the bike float over bumps and potholes, keeping the bike vertical under you, and a smooth pedaling style make a big difference. In my years I've known ballerinas who rode like gorillas, and gorillas who rode like ballerinas, so as you go forward think abut your part in this.
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Old 08-12-17, 10:32 PM   #10
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It is not unusual for a spoke to break in a new wheel, particularly low end wheels like yours. This is because they are nearly all built by machines and the spoke tension varies around the wheel. A good shop will retension new wheels before they're sold which goes a long way towards preventing breakages but not all shops will do it will do it for all bikes.

Now that you've had a breakage, keep an eye on things because you may have other spokes about to go.

A properly tensioned wheel will go for a long long time without any truing or spoke breakages. Your bike shop would have checked this out in the repair so you should be right from now on. I've only had one wheel that refused to behave and that was hand built, but I've always suspected the drive side spokes were too short (sold the sod now)
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Old 08-13-17, 11:34 AM   #11
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It is not unusual for a spoke to break in a new wheel, particularly low end wheels like yours. This is because they are nearly all built by machines and the spoke tension varies around the wheel. A good shop will retension new wheels before they're sold which goes a long way towards preventing breakages but not all shops will do it will do it for all bikes.

Now that you've had a breakage, keep an eye on things because you may have other spokes about to go.

A properly tensioned wheel will go for a long long time without any truing or spoke breakages. Your bike shop would have checked this out in the repair so you should be right from now on. I've only had one wheel that refused to behave and that was hand built, but I've always suspected the drive side spokes were too short (sold the sod now)
Thanks. So if I'm following you, maybe the spoke that broke was tighter than the others so it was more likely to break? Do most just feel spoke tension, or is a spoke tension meter really needed? They aren't so cheap.
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Old 08-13-17, 11:57 AM   #12
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Thanks. So if I'm following you, maybe the spoke that broke was tighter than the others so it was more likely to break? Do most just feel spoke tension, or is a spoke tension meter really needed? They aren't so cheap.
I've learned to true my own wheels. This was very frustrating at first but in general I enjoy messing with equipment. I don't have a truing stand either so truing takes longer than a pro in a well equipped shop. I turn the bike upside down and spin the wheel while holding a felt tip pen against the rim with the hand resting against some part of the frame. The pen will leave a black mark on every high spot. While turning nipples I also pluck the spokes so that they all sound the same indicating equal tension. At the same time, it is necessary to keep an eye out so that the wheel is centered in the frame. This may sound complicated but it is not really and the wheel can be brought to true within 1/2 mm or so. At this point the felt tipped pen will leave a streak almost everywhere on the rim.
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Old 08-13-17, 11:58 AM   #13
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bring whole bike presuming it was not bought at a bikeshop and so checked over as it was assembled, for adequate spoke tension..

cold have come from a place like WallyWorld, where people don't know enough to realize the fork is backwards in the shipping carton.
to fit, but should not stay that way..
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Old 08-13-17, 12:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
It is not unusual for a spoke to break in a new wheel, particularly low end wheels like yours. This is because they are nearly all built by machines and the spoke tension varies around the wheel. A good shop will retension new wheels before they're sold which goes a long way towards preventing breakages but not all shops will do it will do it for all bikes.
I
Now that you've had a breakage, keep an eye on things because you may have other spokes about to go.

A properly tensioned wheel will go for a long long time without any truing or spoke breakages. Your bike shop would have checked this out in the repair so you should be right from now on. I've only had one wheel that refused to behave and that was hand built, but I've always suspected the drive side spokes were too short (sold the sod now)
+1

Good bike shops are few and very far in between. Good bike shops used to rebuild all new bike wheels out of the box to bring them to even a balance of even tension and radial and lateral true. Finding the sweet spot of a given selection of rim, spoke, nipple, tension isn't something that usually can be done "one-off". Essentially it's a balance of trying to bring the wheel up to the highest tension it can handle without tacoing, or pulling spokes through the rim, excessively.

Sounds like the shop you bought the bike from unpacks new bikes from the box puts them together and sells them "as-is" new. If you took the bike back to the same shop you bought it from with less than 400 miles on the bike AND they charged you to repair the broken spoke you learned a valuable lesson: Never go to that shop again
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