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Old 10-01-07, 10:04 PM   #1
Air
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When is a rim 'shot' and can it be fixed?

Here's the backstory.

Reader's Digest version: Got a handbuilt CR18 36 spoke 27" rear wheel that loosened up very quickly (I'm a Clyde but from the responses I got it seemed that that wheel should have held up without an issue for my 280# frame). They said it was because the (external) builder didn't use spoke prep. They (I guess) put spoke prep on the spokes and sort of trued it up. I don't think they have a tensionmeter. They also told me that if it loosens up than it just won't hold me so don't bother bringing it back, and because I broke a spoke (because they didn't tension it when they were supposed to) the rim is bent.

From the moment I had the wheel the non drive side felt very loose which was the first bad sign. The wheel wasn't true which was another bad sign (but they said it was because of that broken spoke which was fixed but they said the rim was bent). Went on a 60 mile ride, by the time I get back half of the spokes were rattling and the bike was shimming something fierce (was very out of true by then). I'm done with that lbs for wheels. I like them for all the other work they've done on my bikes so I'm not going to push it for now.

Here's my question. Can a brand new rim with 100 miles on it bend because of a broken spoke? If I bring it to another place to have them properly tension it up will this work or is the rim now shot?

I've been reading every wheelbuilding and tension thread/site I can find. I understand that a properly tensioned wheel is a system where everything depends on everything else. I don't quite understand the tolerances of rims I guess. I don't know how someone can see looking at a rim that it's out of true or just bent and when they just want me to buy something else or are telling me the truth. [Reading Peter White I see how an imperfect rim can be properly tensioned but out of true and then needs to be discarded] Some people say that a rim can be brought back into true as long as there are no physical damage to it and others seem to say that once it's significantly out of true it's done.

Do I now have an expensive decoration?

If it is 'shot' could I get another CR18 rim, reuse the hubs and spokes, swap rims, then bring it to a builder for the final tensioning and truing? Or are the spokes and nipples suspect too? I don't want to spend two or three times what I've put into it just to have it fall apart after going around the block.

Needless to say, this has all been very frustrating but it's great having you guys to bounce off of.

Thanks!
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Old 10-01-07, 11:22 PM   #2
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With a broken spoke and the load of 280 lb rider, just about any rim can bend. Is it shot? You'll have to try and true to know for sure, but a single spoke breaking shouldn't total a wheel. If multiple other spokes have dramatically changed in tension because of the break, and the wheel is deformed on a large scale, rather than just bent in the location of the broken spoke, it's definitely a loss. If the bend is confined to the area of the broken spoke, it's usually worth giving it a shot unless it's REALLY bad.

In any event, you need to find a wheel builder who doesn't suck and have him or her properly true, tune and tension your wheel, whether it is your current wheel being repaired or a replacement. This isn't something to scrimp on when you put that much load on a wheel. You'll definitely save yourself money and frustration by paying someone to get it right the first time.
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Old 10-02-07, 06:41 AM   #3
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As a wheelbuilder who has built hundreds of pairs of wheels, there is no way I would spec a CR18 for you. That is one the softest, and most flexible rims out there. Your choices in a 27" rim are limited, though. Perhaps were it properly built, tensioned, and stress-relieved, it could work if ridden conscientiously. My advice would be to, if at all possible, use a long reach brake and go 700c. Use a triangulated rim such as the Velocity Dyad and have it built with butted spokes.

The situation you've described speaks of a wheel that was inadequate from minute one. A properly built wheel should need no follow-up attention. The stress releiving should be done by the builder so that the wheel "stands". That is, everything is equilibrated so that no reasonable amount of use will put the thing out of true. Also, a wheelbuilder without a tensiometer is like a doctor without a thermometer. Close don't get it.

<shakes head> A CR-18 for a clyde....what is the world coming to....
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Old 10-02-07, 07:51 AM   #4
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Is there a 27" rim that you would recommend?

Thanks for your comments guys!
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Old 10-02-07, 03:40 PM   #5
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If it is 'shot' could I get another CR18 rim, reuse the hubs and spokes, swap rims, then bring it to a builder for the final tensioning and truing? Or are the spokes and nipples suspect too? I don't want to spend two or three times what I've put into it just to have it fall apart after going around the block.
Was curious if someone had an opinion as to swapping the rims and keeping the spokes and hub. The wheel only has 140 miles on it on three easy rides.

Also, BikeWise1 - would you recommend the Dyad or Deep V? It looks like I have at least 4 mms of extra space on my brake arms so knock on wood 700cs should be an easy switch. If I'm going to switch than I'd like to do it once and not have to think about it - I haven't heard anything about the Dyads before.
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Old 10-02-07, 05:11 PM   #6
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Also, BikeWise1 - would you recommend the Dyad or Deep V? If I'm going to switch than I'd like to do it once and not have to think about it - I haven't heard anything about the Dyads before.
Last winter I rebuilt my tandem wheels using Dyad rims. They were among the easiest wheel builds that I've ever done. After tensioning neither wheel took more than the most minor trueing in either direction. To me that's an indication of a very solid rim.
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Old 10-02-07, 06:34 PM   #7
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Hmmm, the CRT-18 is much heavier-duty than the CR-18 with 40 or 48-spokes. I'd build a completely new wheel with 48-spokes. Comes in 27" size as well.
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Old 10-02-07, 07:43 PM   #8
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Is there a 27" rim that you would recommend?

Thanks for your comments guys!
FWIW, borrow a 700c rim and install it on your bike as a trial fit. At least then you would have some idea as to what options you have in regards to wheels.
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Old 10-02-07, 08:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Air View Post
Also, BikeWise1 - would you recommend the Dyad or Deep V? It looks like I have at least 4 mms of extra space on my brake arms so knock on wood 700cs should be an easy switch. If I'm going to switch than I'd like to do it once and not have to think about it - I haven't heard anything about the Dyads before.
I'm about your same weight now. I built up a bike in 2005, and, sparing no expense because this was to be my "dream bike", I contacted Peter White (Peter White Cycles) for the wheelset. Peter is the premier US wheelbuilder IMHO. When I built the bike, I was running about 325. Peter recommended the Dyad in a 36 or 40 spoke, and I got a set with 36 spoke front/40 rear. I have now ridden them over 3000 miles without a hitch - they haven't even needed truing.

Definitely go with the Dyad. I agree the CR18 is not a strong enough rim for a person your size and that crappy LBS ought to be run out of business for selling them to you and for treating you the way they have afterwards. Snotty little elitist sh*ts need to have their a*ses kicked, and I'm happily finding that shops with workers that have that kind of attitude are losing out as racers become a dwindling percentage of the bike consumer market. Instead of looking down their noses at you and trying to make you feel like it was your fault, they ought to have been working to set you up with a wheelset that worked for you and kept you riding.

The other rim that I have used personally with good results is the Salsa Delgado-X (Delgado Cross), but I have also heard that the Sun RhynoLite and the Mavic 319 (or maybe it's the 719) touring rims are good strong rims as well. The Velocity Deep-V is strong, but the Dyad is much stronger.

BTW -- feel free to forward a copy of this post to that piece of sh*t shop, along with my best wishes for a short and unhappy future. And get it to the owner/manager, who is the one who stands to lose the money when customers receive this kind of inexcusable treatment - rather than the pissy little salesmen you have been dealing with.

I don't see where you've indicated what hub the wheels were built up with, so hard to give an opinion as to whether to rebuild with them.

Last edited by ginsoakedboy; 10-02-07 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 10-03-07, 09:44 PM   #10
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Thanks all!

So, I've been doing some more research, looks like I can pick up a 36 hole Dyad or Deep V rim for about $50 give or take. A friend just dropped off an old (I think he said they were about 20 years old collecting dust in his closet) set of tubular Campy Record wheels (36 spoke) that look they they were ridden around the block then wrapped in plastic. I'm thinking about using those hubs, getting some 14/15/14 double butted spokes, playing for a day or so then having a wheelbuilder do the final tensioning and truing. (Never built one before but read Sheldon Brown's and a few other sites plus keep gleaning threads here on how to do it). I'd be looking at $50 + $40 (spokes) + $40 (tension & true) = $130 on the high side.

The hub on the POS wheel have sealed bearings and say Quando. Figure I could build a second rim on that as a backup and as wheelbuilding practice. Or use that hub as primary and when I drop enough weight build a lighter one on the Campy hub.

I should also note while I'm 280 it's the heaviest I've been in a long time. I'm pretty active and the fact that I haven't been able to really ride this summer took a toll on my body - I'd drop down to 260 relatively quickly. Then again the streets in NYC tend to be chewed up so a stronger rim isn't the worst idea either.

Good idea? The idea of saving $80 on a hub is very tempting especially when I have one brand new hub sitting here and another that's good quality. At the very least I'd recoup some of the cost of the wheel just by reusing the hub, take the sting out a bit of this whole mess.
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Old 10-04-07, 01:25 PM   #11
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Sorry for the double post.

Went to another LBS, they said the Mavic A719 is stronger than either the Deep Vs or Dyad. Thoughts?
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Old 10-04-07, 01:45 PM   #12
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I'm on the big side, and built up a rear wheel with the Mavic last summer. 2.000 miles later just minor adjustment. I ran the tension on the high side, but I figured that with the ferrels (sp) everything would work out fine. I'd figure that a Mavic tandem rim should be more than strong enough. Also consider 48 spokes.
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Old 10-04-07, 08:50 PM   #13
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Haven't used the Mavic, so unable to compare. Contact Peter White Cycles, or look at the info on his website -- he builds with both rims, and should be able to give you an opinion.
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Old 10-04-07, 10:11 PM   #14
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You're past this, but I feel compelled to say that you need to get your money back, including the cost of the ruined components. It sounds like the rim just wasn't tensioned nearly to what it should be. "Spokeprep" is a lubricant that set like a fixative. Don't ever let anyone tell you it is necessary except in abnormal circumstances. A properly tensioned wheel does not need locktite, spokeprep, or any other fixative. The builder was without question grossly negligent and incompetent, and its lucky that you did not get hurt.

On the original question, I've heard competent builders claim that any wheel that is not "tacoed" or worn out is salvagable. Jobst Brandt has some suggestions on how to salvage various rim problems in his book. I don't know if this particular rim is OK for your weight, but the failure you got is not a result of a weak rim; its the result of improper tension.

I recently had a wheel built by Peter White, and can vouch for it being a decent build. It was slow, however, and they consistantly (three times) gave me unrealistic time estimates that they did not meet.

Another possibility is to rebuild the wheel yourself. It is easy to do, if you take the time to learn how to do it, and you have money for the proper tools (truing stand, dish gauge, spoke wrench, tensiometer).

By the way, any professional wheelbuilder (someone who accepts money for a build) who does not have a tensiometer is not a serious builder. Some expert wheelbuilders may not need a tensiometer if they repeatedly use the same spoke types etc, but a pro will still have one.
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Old 10-05-07, 07:26 AM   #15
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Thanks again all!

I'll contact Peter White and I've also heard good things about Mike Garcia, see what they recommend with the Mavic A719 vs Deep Vs vs Dyad. I'm not a weight weenie but want to do centuries without feeling like I'm on my mtb and at the same time get to the end without constantly checking to see if I have to stop and retrue the wheel.

Since I have two rear hubs at my disposal I think I'll have a bombproof rear done by a pro and build a slightly lighter 'reward' wheel myself when I drop that weight down.
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Old 10-05-07, 08:00 AM   #16
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You're past this, but I feel compelled to say that you need to get your money back, including the cost of the ruined components. It sounds like the rim just wasn't tensioned nearly to what it should be. "Spokeprep" is a lubricant that set like a fixative. Don't ever let anyone tell you it is necessary except in abnormal circumstances. A properly tensioned wheel does not need locktite, spokeprep, or any other fixative. The builder was without question grossly negligent and incompetent, and its lucky that you did not get hurt.
Sometimes there are battles worth fighting and some not. This shop has been very good to me with everything except the wheel with breaks and steep discounts on parts and labor. Plus they're nonprofit and do a lot of good things for the community. I'm using this is a learning experience (especially the 'oh it didn't have locktite excuse ), reusing the hub and getting something out of this mess.

I know now that no, it wasn't tensioned right and I won't trust them with wheels. It IS nice taking an older bike into a shop for some work and not having the first thing they say is "you need a new bike."
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Old 11-23-07, 09:51 AM   #17
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I just saw a wheel that I built about 25 years ago by carefully following the directions I found in a book. The bike has been in constant use all these years and the guy never once touched the spokes. It is still perfectly true. No spoke prep, no tensiometers, etc. The spokes were tied and soldered.
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