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Old 04-02-08, 09:50 AM   #1
xerotope
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Rebuild wheel or time for a new one?

Hey all,

I bought a 2004 Trek 1000 last summer, and so far I've broken two spokes (both drive side, rear wheel) in less than 200 miles of riding. After the first spoke broke, I bought some new spokes from my LBS and replaced it myself at our local bike kitchen (http://www.freeridepgh.org/). I got the wheel true laterally, but admit I forgot to dish it.

With this latest spoke, it's so far out of true (both radially and laterally) and the dish is so far off, I'm considering just having the LBS do the work. I gave it the 'ole college try for a bit over two hours, but the end result isn't pretty and the dish is still off. I also manged to strip a few of the nipples.

The wheel in question is stock, has an Alex AT450 rim, a no-name hub, and 15 gauge-straight spokes. The options I'm considering are:

1. Buy new double butted spokes, and attempt to rebuild the wheel myself (Cost: $35 for new spokes, 3-5 hours labor)

2. Have the LBS just true, dish the wheel, replace spokes as necessary (Cost: $20ish)

3. Have the LBS rebuild the wheel (Cost: $40 + $35 for spokes)

4. Buy a new wheel (Cost: $110ish for low-end)

As the bike frame/components are low-end, I don't really see the point in getting a $400 wheel-set for it (I only paid $225 for the bike), and I primarily use it for commuting to school. So I question whether a $100 wheel is going to be a significant upgrade.

My frugal and mechanical sides says option 1 is the best, but I also want to spend my time riding and not replacing spokes after a botched build. So, any opinions on which option will best get my bike in ridable shape?

Also, I'm having a rough time identifying my hub in order to compute the spoke length. As mentioned above, there is literally no name brand on it anywhere, and I don't have calipers handy for measuring. I measured the broken spoke, and it looks to line up with a 293mm. Do I just go a mm or two longer for the non-drive side?
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Old 04-02-08, 09:59 AM   #2
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Warranty claim?
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Old 04-02-08, 10:30 AM   #3
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One thing to consider is whether or not you have a wheel stand, spoke wrench, spoke prep (I have used the linnseed oil) and spoke tensionmeter you need to build a wheel. You should definitely consider having the shop rebuild your wheel instead of buying all of the tools you'll need to do it yourself - especially if you don't think you'll build too many more wheels in the future.

With that said; once you have built up a wheel or two you will fee very empowered. My wife got sick and tired of hearing how I was comfortable doing just about everything on my bikes but building wheels. So a few Christmas' ago she gave me a wheel stand and told me she would appreciate it if I'd learn the skill so she wouldn't have to listen to me piss and moan about it anymore. It's a funky, one sided model, but it works.

Well recently, I rebuilt the wheels on a vintage 80's road bike I've been refurbishing. I took a wheel building class at the local bicycle co-op. It took a few hours, but my front wheel came out great, as they instructed us step by step in spoke prep, lacing, tensioning and truing. The next weekend I was able to build the rear wheel at home - although I had to return to the co-op to borrow their tensionmeter for the final steps. Although I'll have to wait until the bike's all the way together to see how they ride, they look and feel great.

So there you go. I'd say if you're getting into it, might have a few bikes eventually, and don't want to have to wait on bike shops... invest in some tools. Or do a search, there are mech's here who make their own stands out of old forks and such. But there's nothing wrong with having a decent LBS take care of it if you're just not that 'into it'.

DanO
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Old 04-04-08, 06:35 PM   #4
Jim-in-Kirkland
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I would vote for a new 32 spoke $100 range replacement wheel from LBS or Performance or slightly used from friend or eBay.
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Old 04-04-08, 06:53 PM   #5
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I would vote for a new 32 spoke $100 range replacement wheel from LBS or Performance or slightly used from friend or eBay.
I had a 2004 Trek 1000 and it started breaking spokes at around 2000 miles. This has been a common problem with that particular wheelset. I think it's the cheap spokes.

I replaced my 32 spoke Alex wheelset with a 36 spoke alex wheelset, and continued to break spokes. As I said, I think it's a problem of a low quality build and cheap spokes.

If the rim is nice and straight, I'd vote for rebuilding it.
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Old 04-04-08, 07:27 PM   #6
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To rebuild a wheel form most shops the cost is about $50.00 for labor plus $1.00 or so per spoke. On a 32 hole wheel that is $82.00. A new wheel for about $100.00 is a no brainer. Better hub, better rim.
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Old 04-04-08, 08:33 PM   #7
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If you're up to the challenge of learning then rebuild it.

Take it apart completely for starters. Then buy enough new spokes and nipples to replace the ones you messed up. I like to lube the nipples for a build by dumping them all into some thick oil or some grease that's been thinned down with a little bit of solvent like lacquer thinner so the threads and all the surfaces are lubed. Re-assemble the wheel using the front as a guide for crossovers and spoke orientation. Tighten the nipples a few turns each and when you're all done then tighten them down so the threads just barely don't show. Then start tensioning 1/2 turn at a time walking your way around the whole wheel starting from the stem hole. Do everything starting at the stem hole.

For the rest go look at Sheldon's or any other of the excellent pages on wheel building. It's really not that bad but I agree that it's daunting the first time. I've done about a dozen wheelsets now and had great success with them.

If it doesn't work out you're only out the cost of a few spokes and nipples. And THEN you go buy the other wheel. If it does work out then you've saved a bundle and learned a lot.
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Old 04-04-08, 08:37 PM   #8
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How much did you mess with it after you bought it? The shop should have quadruple checked it before giving it to you, then checked it again after 30 days. I bought a Lemond Reno, put 2000 miles on it and never broken a spoke, and I am a heavy dude. so you either (1. Dicked with it too much or (2. Bought it from a lousy shop or (3. Weigh 400 pounds. The shop I work at is 3 bucks a spoke if we have the right size, plus 20 bucks labor.
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Old 04-04-08, 09:48 PM   #9
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How much did you mess with it after you bought it? The shop should have quadruple checked it before giving it to you, then checked it again after 30 days. I bought a Lemond Reno, put 2000 miles on it and never broken a spoke, and I am a heavy dude. so you either (1. Dicked with it too much or (2. Bought it from a lousy shop or (3. Weigh 400 pounds. The shop I work at is 3 bucks a spoke if we have the right size, plus 20 bucks labor.
It was bought used off craigslist, so there was no shop inspection. While the wisdom of this is debatable, it was definitely right for my budget. I'm mechanical enough to make sure the bottom bracket isn't loose and the brakes work. I left the wheels alone until I broke my first spoke, as tensioning spokes is new to me.

I ended up having the LBS true the wheel for $15. I just got it back tonight, so we'll see how it holds up in the future. If spokes continue to break, I'll probably try upgrading them. $30ish for decent spokes was a large enough fraction of a new wheel to give me pause.
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Old 04-05-08, 05:19 AM   #10
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I respoked a pair of old wheels over the winter and I can say it was not easy but it was fun. Its allot easier to do the work if you have the right tools like a truing stand, good wrench and a spoke tension gauge.
You might want to try buying new hubs/spokes and rims and do it your self that way too. Give it a try. See Sheldon brown site for instructions on wheelbuilding.
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