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Old 10-10-08, 09:11 AM   #1
jet16lg
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Trashed Wheel???

I took my wheel to Performance Bikes (they were only ones open at the late time of day) for them to replace 2 spokes that had broken (I'm a heavy rider). Bike is a mid 80s Centruian LeMans and everything appears to be orginal equipment that's in good shape. Well, they could not fix the wheel right then and there so I left it for them to work on it later. When I returned to pick it up, there was a note saying that the wheel was 'trashed' sorry.

I had to call back the next day to talk to the mechanic, and he said that the wheel it to old to fix. Which, does not really seem right to me. Wheel appears to be in good shape, and the only thing was it was out of true left to right due to the 2 broken spokes. I asked if the wheel could be rebuilt, and he said no. Does that sound right? Can a wheel that appears to be in good shape not be usable any more? Or, is the mechanic just not that good or taking the easy way out since the wheel is old and he's 'very busy' so does not want to take the time to fix it right?

Right now, I'm thinking about taking the wheel to a different bike shop and get a second opinon before I buy a new wheel set. Granted, rebuilding a old wheel might not be the most cost effective route but it's probably cheaper then a new wheel.
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Old 10-10-08, 10:25 AM   #2
Joshua A.C. New
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It definitely seems like you want a second opinion.

Wanna post some pics?
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Old 10-10-08, 10:55 AM   #3
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It depends on a lot of factors. A new wheel can be much cheaper than paying for multiple hours spent dealing with frozen or corroded nipples.

My answer:
Take back your old wheel, get a new wheel (or wheelset), and use your old wheel to learn wheel building and truing.
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Old 10-10-08, 11:12 AM   #4
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If the wheel is so far out of true that the rim cannot be bent back into shape with spoke tension alone then the only option is cold setting (bashing rim against work bench) to straighten things out, which can weaken the wheel quite a bit as aluminum (most likely your rim material) has no elasticity. Also, replacing spokes should involve detensioning, putting in new spokes, and then tensioning the wheel. This would probably take 15-20min for a good mechanic and up to an hour for a less experienced mechanic. This would incur a cost in the ~$30 range and a new wheel freewheel wheel with aluminum rim was about $50 when I used to work in shops so the new wheel might be your best option considering the finite lifetime of aluminum rims and the fact that you are breaking spokes.

If you could do the work yourself I would say to go for it, but if you have to pay labor costs that are much greater than parts that I get the feeling that you will soon be throwing good money after bad.
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Old 10-10-08, 12:07 PM   #5
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Why did the 2 spokes break?

Keep in mind that we're talking about a wheel that's nearing the quarter century mark. Lots of bad things can happen to a bicycle wheel in that much time. If you brought that wheel to me the very first thing that I would do would be to examine the brake track for wear. If the brakeing surface has significant wear (very likely on a wheel that old) it's pointless to talk about doing anything else with the rim.

Most likely you have a bent rim. Sometimes it's possible to massage that back into line but you can never make a good wheel out of it.
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Old 10-10-08, 01:42 PM   #6
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I have never had good experience asking the folks at performance about anything regarding component specs or maintenance.
I once asked thier mechanic if they sold wheels with flip-flop hubs and he said "No, they stopped making those 20 years ago". HA!
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Old 10-10-08, 01:47 PM   #7
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Depends greatly on which spokes broke and where. If the rim warped too badly, it isn't salvageable not matter how much you try to re-true it. Had a similar incident with a Mavic MA40.
Looked OK, but couldn't be rebuilt.

Your's may be in a usable condition...then it's rebuildable. How badly warped was the rim once the spokes broke? Did the rim rub the brake pads? If the deflection was great, then the rim may have suffered damage.

It's best to seek another shop with a wheel builder who is sympathetic. Have him evaluate the wheel. If he says no-go, then you need a new rim and a set of new SS spokes....IF the hub is valuable enough to keep.
(ie. high end hubs, rare vintage group piece)
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Old 10-10-08, 07:15 PM   #8
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I appreciate the replys so far. I am going to get a second opinion. However, i'm not not attached to these wheels by any means, they are not high end and I'm not trying to keep a vintage item. So, I have done some pricing and if the repair involves more then just replacing a couple spokes, I'm probably better off in the long fun buying a new wheelset (hubs included).

I was just a little confused how a wheel could be 'trashed' when it looked fine. But, you guys have helped me understand that it is very possible. The rim was rubbing against the brake pad after the spokes broke so there might be irepairable damage to the rim. Plus, it is old, so, at some point it might make sense to just replace it.

Thank you for your wisdom!
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Old 10-10-08, 09:39 PM   #9
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If it had been rubbing on the brake-pad for 25 years - yes. But just after it broke? Did you ride a century minus 2 spokes? I thought not. I'd be suspicious being told it was "to old" to fix. I've seen similar stories before - then being steered towards some fancy new part or other. So get the second opinion. AND get a new wheel set. The worst thing that could happen is you have back-up wheels.
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Old 10-10-08, 09:56 PM   #10
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Spokes are spokes, so they can be replaced(Not even a length issue).
The issue is: Is it worth replacing spokes on a twenty year old wheel that has broken two spokes at the same time?
Good question.
Sometimes you have to trust that someone that does this stuff for a living just might know more than you do(altho it might be a good idea to find a place better than Performance)
Just about anyone with a spoke wrench, chain whip, and cassette tool can put a couple of spokes in a wheel in less than a half hour(Even if they cannot make the wheel true and round). All the spokes sizes that would fit a twenty year old wheel are still easy to get(and most real shops will stock them)
Maybe the wheel is F'd, because it is bent or the brake surface is worn. Ask the shop guy more questions. Or go to a shop with a crusty A-hole like me, because we will tell you WHY, not just I CAN'T
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