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?