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  1. #1
    Senior Member Dourbali Star's Avatar
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    How long is a decent wheel supposed to last?

    How long is a decent wheel supposed to last? How many miles before it's a good idea to retire a wheel and get a new one?

    This past Sunday, on mile 40 of my first century ride, I broke a spoke at the hub of my front wheel on a descent. I tightened the surrounding spokes to get the wobble out, wrapped the broken spoke around a neighbor, and managed to finish the ride (whew!). Upon inspection after the ride, I also noticed that the rim was cracked at one of the eyelets. The rim/wheel in question is a Mavic Reflex rim with a Shimano 600 hub. I put at least 5,500 miles of it, most of it from daily commuting. The wheel had untold more miles on it, as I bought the bike used. Also, it was on my fixed gear bike with front brake only, so extra braking forces on the rim may or may not have contributed to premature wear?

    So... was this wheel past its prime?

  2. #2
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    My wheels with Shimano 105 and Shimano Ultegra/600 hubs from the 1986 to 1989 era are still as good as new. I suspect that the wheels with Shimano hubs made in 2008 are equally durable.

    It is important for a wheel to be "true" when it is new, and kept "in true". When I get a new wheel, I have it trued on "Day One", again on about "Day Thirty", and then have the truing checked about once a year. If a bad spoke is found, it needs to be replaced ASAP. But, keep the wheel "true" and twenty years of good service is a reasonable goal.

  3. #3
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    My police patrol bike has been in continuous service for about 13 years. I have never so much as tightened a spoke. I have rebuilt the hubs.

  4. #4
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dourbali Star View Post
    How long is a decent wheel supposed to last? How many miles before it's a good idea to retire a wheel and get a new one?

    This past Sunday, on mile 40 of my first century ride, I broke a spoke at the hub of my front wheel on a descent. I tightened the surrounding spokes to get the wobble out, wrapped the broken spoke around a neighbor, and managed to finish the ride (whew!). Upon inspection after the ride, I also noticed that the rim was cracked at one of the eyelets. The rim/wheel in question is a Mavic Reflex rim with a Shimano 600 hub. I put at least 5,500 miles of it, most of it from daily commuting. The wheel had untold more miles on it, as I bought the bike used. Also, it was on my fixed gear bike with front brake only, so extra braking forces on the rim may or may not have contributed to premature wear?

    So... was this wheel past its prime?
    Should last a longer than that. Most rim failures are due to brake track wear. Well a handbuilt one anyways. I've put at least 5000miles on a **** steel rim out of a 1970's department store bike.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    I really don't think there is a figure. But from the reaction of your wheels the "best before" date has definetly arrived and left behind a bunch of reasons to replace or at least rebuild your wheel.

    Rim brake wheels are living on borrowed time since the rims themselves are a consumable item. Anyone that rides regularly in sloppy weather for more than a couple of thousand miles a year has had the dubious honor of having to replace rims when the braking tracks wear strongly concave and you get to where the bead hook is ready to literally tear away. "Dubious" because you really hate to replace an old and trusted friend but at the same time it's slick that you piled on the miles that wore out the rim.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  6. #6
    A little North of Hell
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    I put at least 5,500 miles of it, most of it from daily commuting.
    The wheel had untold more miles on it, as I bought the bike used.
    depends on how the wheel was built,maintained, and used.
    since you don't know the past usage, it is hard to tell.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    XXXI

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Assuming it was a Mavic Reflex clincher rim, you did well. The predecessor to the Reflex clincher was the Open 4CD and I wore one out from brake track abrasion in 12,000 miles in the mid-90's. The Reflex had a reputation for being fragile and was replaced pretty quickly by the Open Pro which seemed to solve the problem as it is still in production.

    The Reflex tubular rim appears to have been more satisfactory as it is still in current production.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dourbali Star's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Assuming it was a Mavic Reflex clincher rim, you did well.
    It was indeed a clincher rim. I suppose the hub is probably fine, but since the rim is cracked at the eyelet, I will probably retire the wheel.

    I rode the wheel for heavy commuting duty year round. In hindsight, I probably could have taken better care of it.

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