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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 08-19-08, 02:47 PM   #1
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dependability

I am really having problems here. I went 100's of miles early in the season with no problems. Since I have had 2 busted spokes and so many flats I have lost count. I am really good at not hitting chuckholes or bumps, I am very careful iwth it. I have a 2005 Raleigh Grand prix with 700c x 25 tires. I have been riding along on smooth road when the spokes popped. I keep it clean and well lubed. What else can I do. I pick up students next week and cannot be late to work anymore. I am just over 200 lbs and was up to 235 when I bought the bike. Does evey one have some problem about 1 or twice per week? Today my bike is parked in my office. Everything was fine about an hour ago. I change and get ready to leave and the damn tire is flat. I can change it and I even have a pump in my office but now I have to wait till someone calls me back so they know I am going to be late. Just dang frustrating.
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Old 08-19-08, 03:06 PM   #2
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I would true the wheels or take it yo your lbs and let them do it., and make sure the spoke tension is up to where it should be.check the spokes nibble so they are not cutting the rim tape or tube. I would also check the tires for somethings in them.(like broken glass, nails ,ect.).keep your air presser up too.
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Old 08-19-08, 06:40 PM   #3
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I would true the wheels or take it yo your lbs and let them do it., and make sure the spoke tension is up to where it should be.check the spokes nibble so they are not cutting the rim tape or tube. I would also check the tires for somethings in them.(like broken glass, nails ,ect.).keep your air presser up too.
thanks, we did all that again. This wrench spent several minutes searching for glass and inspecting the tube. I took it in to have the spokes trued up and just checked out, and a new liner over the spoke nipples. He did a great job so I decided to go head and buy a new wheel. I ordered a 36 spoke mavic and gator skin tire. Hopefully no more busted spokes and flat after flat. Even if I have problems I have a spare now. I get sick of riding to work in a car.
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Old 08-19-08, 07:34 PM   #4
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Cloth rim tape like Velox is mandatory in my opinion if you want to avoid problems. Also, make sure the spokes are not loosening up while riding - get yourself a Park tension gauge and learn how to use it.
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Old 08-20-08, 07:55 AM   #5
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thanks, we did all that again. This wrench spent several minutes searching for glass and inspecting the tube. I took it in to have the spokes trued up and just checked out, and a new liner over the spoke nipples. He did a great job so I decided to go head and buy a new wheel. I ordered a 36 spoke mavic and gator skin tire. Hopefully no more busted spokes and flat after flat. Even if I have problems I have a spare now. I get sick of riding to work in a car.
I have posted on this forum <100 times, and I bet half of my posts have contained this advice: "If a spoke breaks on your wheel, get all the spokes replaced" You have done the right thing by ordering a new wheel. Just be sure to check the tension (or take it back to the shop after a month or two of riding to make sure you have not lost spoke tension... low spoke tension is (ironically) why most wheels get broken spokes, and low spoke tension is often caused by not properly tensioning the wheel in the first place or by not stress relieving the spokes after building.

As for flats, I think replacing the tire and rimstrip will solve that problem. Even if there is not a foreign object in your tire, a tire with 100s of miles will be worn, (some will be worn a lot) and the thinner tread could be allowing tiny things to penetrate. Also! Make sure you check your tire pressure regularily with a guage! If your tire is a narrow road-bike style then do not ride with pressure below ~90PSI, if it is a bit wider (say ~30mm) then probably 65psi should be a minimum... 35mm and above, maybe 50psi on the road minimum. There is a reccomended pressure on the side of your tire and you should keep your tire inflated to this pressure. Buy a good floor pump with a pressure guage.
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Old 08-20-08, 08:04 AM   #6
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I have posted on this forum <100 times, and I bet half of my posts have contained this advice: "If a spoke breaks on your wheel, get all the spokes replaced" You have done the right thing by ordering a new wheel. Just be sure to check the tension (or take it back to the shop after a month or two of riding to make sure you have not lost spoke tension... low spoke tension is (ironically) why most wheels get broken spokes, and low spoke tension is often caused by not properly tensioning the wheel in the first place or by not stress relieving the spokes after building.

As for flats, I think replacing the tire and rimstrip will solve that problem. Even if there is not a foreign object in your tire, a tire with 100s of miles will be worn, (some will be worn a lot) and the thinner tread could be allowing tiny things to penetrate. Also! Make sure you check your tire pressure regularily with a guage! If your tire is a narrow road-bike style then do not ride with pressure below ~90PSI, if it is a bit wider (say ~30mm) then probably 65psi should be a minimum... 35mm and above, maybe 50psi on the road minimum. There is a reccomended pressure on the side of your tire and you should keep your tire inflated to this pressure. Buy a good floor pump with a pressure guage.
Thanks for the advice, I am meticulous about maintaining the pressure but I never thought bout taking my new wheel in after a month or so.
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Old 08-20-08, 02:07 PM   #7
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Well I am getting ready to ride home. I am afraid to see if I have air in my tires etc. Oh well here goes.
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Old 08-20-08, 02:46 PM   #8
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nibble at the lbs

what does a spoke nibble?
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Old 08-20-08, 02:50 PM   #9
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get on it

I truly sympathize with your frustration--- I just pushed myself to be a wheel truing gold metalist and a 3 min tire changer-- I got mad and pushed myself to do it and learn--- the more problems you have the smarter you get---- get dirty---
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Old 08-20-08, 03:58 PM   #10
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what does a spoke nibble?
nipple?

I know about the learning the hard way thing, I can change a flat in about 5 minutes. But I am getting tired of working on it instead of riding it. The LBS has waht sounds like really good wrench classes. I will do that this winter.
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Old 08-20-08, 04:00 PM   #11
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Oh yea, made it home no problem. Nice ride, thought it was kinda hot, sure enought it was 86 degrees when I got home. Where did all these dang scooters come from?
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Old 08-21-08, 06:18 AM   #12
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what does a spoke nibble?
Apparently tubes!
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Old 08-31-08, 07:32 AM   #13
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Just busted another spoke. Just over a week without a breakdown. I ordered a new wheel over a week ago. A Mavic my LBS says will be very dependable. No bumps nuthin. Just snapped, wheel is so out of true it was hard to get it home.
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Old 08-31-08, 07:33 AM   #14
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I truly sympathize with your frustration--- I just pushed myself to be a wheel truing gold metalist and a 3 min tire changer-- I got mad and pushed myself to do it and learn--- the more problems you have the smarter you get---- get dirty---
I am gonna learn how to do that this winter. But right now i have to come up with something dependable enough to make it 30 miles per day 3 or 4 days aweek till it snows.
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Old 08-31-08, 11:28 AM   #15
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I admire your persistence in the face of your maintenance issues. Although I would like to know how to true wheels, etc., I hope I don't have to learn by necessity.

Just curious.. how much weight do you plan to lose? 35lb loss is excellent.
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Old 08-31-08, 12:26 PM   #16
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Velox is mandatory
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i jam my thumbs up and back into the tubes. this way i can point my fingers straight out in front to split the wind and attain an even more aero profile, and the usual fixed gear - zen - connectedness feeling through the drivetrain is multiplied ten fold because my thumbs become one with the tubing.
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Old 08-31-08, 12:57 PM   #17
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Just busted another spoke. Just over a week without a breakdown. I ordered a new wheel over a week ago. A Mavic my LBS says will be very dependable. No bumps nuthin. Just snapped, wheel is so out of true it was hard to get it home.
Mavic, shmavic. What brand are the spokes? That's the starting point, if you want to fix spoke breakage: high-quality spokes such as DT Swiss or Wheelsmith. In this situation, consider having the wheel rebuilt by hand using DT Swiss 14-15ga. double-butted spokes, by someone who's decent at building wheels.
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Old 08-31-08, 12:59 PM   #18
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You need to have someone build you a wheel with some heavy stainless steel spokes. I used to break spokes all the time on the stock wheel that came on my trek 7.3fx while pulling 300#'s on a bikesatwork trailer.

Now that I have my new wheel that does not happen.

My recommendation is to also buy some schwalbe marathon plus tires. You will not get a puncture ever again. I've never known of someone who has flatted while riding these. I personally only have 3,000 miles on mine but have not had a flat yet.
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Old 08-31-08, 01:05 PM   #19
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I admire your persistence in the face of your maintenance issues. Although I would like to know how to true wheels, etc., I hope I don't have to learn by necessity.

Just curious.. how much weight do you plan to lose? 35lb loss is excellent.
I want to get to less than 180. so 20 more lbs. Wonder how many miles that is?
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Old 08-31-08, 01:07 PM   #20
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Mavic, shmavic. What brand are the spokes? That's the starting point, if you want to fix spoke breakage: high-quality spokes such as DT Swiss or Wheelsmith. In this situation, consider having the wheel rebuilt by hand using DT Swiss 14-15ga. double-butted spokes, by someone who's decent at building wheels.
Are you saying i did not really need the Mavic new wheel? Just new spokes. If I sink 300 bucks on a wheel will the guy use good spokes? I hate just not knowing stuff.
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Old 08-31-08, 01:11 PM   #21
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I want to get to less than 180. so 20 more lbs. Wonder how many miles that is?
About 1750 miles assuming you eat exactly what your body needs if you were not riding and no more. Thats the hard part. Its easy to go ride a century and come back and eat that much food.

Its also hard to diet and ride hard as your body will send you signals that you need to eat more.

Its all about staying strong and ignoring your hunger. Tough to do....thats why most people are so fat.
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Old 08-31-08, 01:14 PM   #22
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About 1750 miles assuming you eat exactly what your body needs if you were not riding and no more. Thats the hard part. Its easy to go ride a century and come back and eat that much food.

Its also hard to diet and ride hard as your body will send you signals that you need to eat more.

Its all about staying strong and ignoring your hunger. Tough to do....thats why most people are so fat.
OOOOh you are so right. But also, if I am riding I am not eating. 1750 is probably 100 more spokes too. There I go whining again.

Thanks for figuring out how many miles, that is motivation.
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Old 09-01-08, 12:12 AM   #23
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Are you saying i did not really need the Mavic new wheel? Just new spokes. If I sink 300 bucks on a wheel will the guy use good spokes? I hate just not knowing stuff.
Well, I don't know what you had to start with, so I really can't answer that. But if you tell a wheelbuilder what type of spokes you want in your wheel, then you don't have to wonder if you'll get good spokes or not, because you made that choice yourself.

What particular Mavic rim did they sell you, anyway (look at the label)? What kind of hub, and how many spokes?

Regarding weight loss, I'm not an expert in sports physiology, but many people will lose fat best by riding at low intensity, keeping their heart rate down around 50% of their maximum heart rate (or less). At such easy intensity levels, the body can keep up with your energy needs by burning fat, instead of switching to "fast-burning" fuel. You might not feel like you're getting a very good workout at such a low intensity, but you can add some harder days for that purpose. Or maybe ride a long, easy route to work for your fat-burning session, then take a harder, faster ride back home afterwards for your cardiovascular workout.

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Old 09-01-08, 12:48 AM   #24
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I've had 2 flats in the past 20,000 km and have never broken a spoke... part of that is because I'm a lightweight and the guy who builds and tunes my wheels (me) seems to know what he's doing.

The stock wheel on the Raleigh may have been poorly built and now, after 100's of miles is starting to exhibit problems that may relate to being improperly tensioned or not being adequately stress relieved during their initial build.

Schwalbe Marathons are always a good idea if you are looking for virtually flat proof tyres that will also handle some extreme mileage.
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Old 09-01-08, 12:56 AM   #25
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I'm about 220 pounds these days. I have 2 different bikes to ride. One of them has wheels that I built myself about 20 years ago, the other one I bought used 17 years ago so I don't know who built those wheels. I have not had a broken spoke on either one.

As for flats, I might have a couple of flats a year, or I might go several years without flats. Its just a matter of luck I guess.
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