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Old 06-09-06, 01:02 PM   #1
dknapp
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Dealing With Multiple Broken Spokes

The bike: Gary Fisher Nirvana hybrid used for daily commuting (16 miles total on mostly smooth pavement), loaded with back panniers. Also used for longer unloaded, week long touring. The symptom: broke a rear spoke at two different times with less than 1 year of riding on bike. Spoke broke at hub attachment. Spokes are black painted and look a tiny bit thinner than the stainless ones that were used for replacements. Should the whole rear wheel be relaced with new spokes by LBS or get a new wheel with more spokes? Current wheel has 32 spokes. Never used off-road, most roads pretty smooth. Rider weight 145, load weight 20. Usually run stock tires at 100 lbs pressure. Same thing happened on a prior Gary Fisher of similar model that was stolen.
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Old 06-09-06, 01:18 PM   #2
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A total relace would be a little drastic, I would just have it retensioned and stress relieved all around. 32h is fine for your purposes. If you start breaking more spokes, then maybe have it redone.

Were the spokes that broke both of the same side or position (i.e. leading or trailing)?
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Old 06-09-06, 01:24 PM   #3
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It seems like a pretty desperate solution to have to replace the whole back rim/hub to only get four more spokes.

I would just replace spokes as they brake and keep an eye on tension. On my mountian bike I go through 7-8 spokes a season, and quite frequently will hit the trails hard with 2-3 broken spokes.
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Old 06-09-06, 01:37 PM   #4
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There is probably a small amount of play at the hub/spoke junction. I've heard that using spoke washers and seating the spoke in the hub with a small punch will alleviate the problem. Alternatively you could try a larger diameter spoke.
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Old 06-09-06, 01:49 PM   #5
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Sounds to me like low-quality spokes are a major part of the problem here. If you were my customer I would recommend a hand-rebuild with 14ga. butted spokes from either Wheelsmith or DT, and would probably try to make Gary Fisher pay for them too. IIRC, Wheelsmith's 14-16ga. butted spokes are lighter than straight 15ga., too.
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Old 06-09-06, 02:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechBgon
Sounds to me like low-quality spokes are a major part of the problem here. If you were my customer I would recommend a hand-rebuild with 14ga. butted spokes from either Wheelsmith or DT, and would probably try to make Gary Fisher pay for them too. IIRC, Wheelsmith's 14-16ga. butted spokes are lighter than straight 15ga., too.
How are you determining the issue is low-quality spokes and not a low-quality build? Wheelbuilding is something I don't know much about (yet), but I was under the impression that you didn't necessarily need high-end spokes to make a wheel that will last.
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Old 06-09-06, 03:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by KevinF
How are you determining the issue is low-quality spokes and not a low-quality build?
Basically, gut instinct backed by >10 years of experience as a shop mechanic If those were 15-gauge DT or Wheelsmith spokes, instead of the cheap trash you find on $500 bikes like that one, then I think even a mediocre wheel build would still get several years of life from them. At any rate, by having the wheel hand-rebuilt with good-quality spokes, both issues are laid to rest at once, and if the owner can get double-butted spokes in the process, that's even better.
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