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Old 01-26-02, 04:39 PM   #1
Crazy Cyclist
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Breaking spokes

I am a first time poster, and want to know some info, last year i bought a mtn bike and have broken a few spokes already, what is a good long lasting spoke, I ride a lot .
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Old 01-26-02, 04:55 PM   #2
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I use DT Swiss spokes exclusively when I build a wheel, but the way the wheel is built, trued, and tensioned and whether the spoke heads properly fit the holes in the hub are more important than the brand of spoke used. If you have a bent rim which is being forced straight by unevenly-tensioned spokes, you have an unreliable wheel. Sheldon and others have good advice on proper spoke tensioning.

Are you breaking rear spokes (I suspect) or fronts? Are you breaking drive-side torque spokes, or any other identificable group? Are they breaking at the heads (I suspect) or elsewhere? Do you have radial lacing, either on the front (recommended by some, but not by me) or on the left side of the rear wheel (a controversial, but interesting response to the uneven tension caused by wheel dishing, and as old as the Ford Model A)?
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Old 01-26-02, 05:12 PM   #3
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I assume that the spokes you have in your wheel are taiwanese ?, very cheap low grade stainless steel !. As mentioned by John , DT swiss are very reliable, wheelsmith also...tell us a few more details about the wheel and we'll see whats the problem ! .
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Old 01-26-02, 06:49 PM   #4
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Any of the premium brand spokes, DT, Sapim, Wheelsmith are good. They should be a fairly tight fit in the hole to minimise movement. Spokes which are thinner in the middle (butted) are stronger than straight guage ones.

How much do you weight, how many spokes in your wheel, and what kind of riding (stunts/jumps/trails/ roads) do you do.

Many factory supplied wheels on mid-range MTBs are pretty shoddy, even if they are made from good components.
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Old 01-26-02, 07:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Crazy Cyclist
I am a first time poster, and want to know some info, last year i bought a mtn bike and have broken a few spokes already, what is a good long lasting spoke, I ride a lot .
Go to a reputable bike shop and get the wheels trued (i.e. the spokes tensioned uniformly). If some spokes are tensioned more tightly than others, they will break first. I used to have this problem myself, but I haven't broken one for a couple of years.
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Old 01-27-02, 07:47 AM   #6
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Hi everyone,

I have just finished reading Gerd Schraner's book The Art of Wheelbuilding. According to him, there are two reasons for spoke failure: firstly, you will be breaking spokes if there is too much play between the hub and the spoke. Secondly, if there is insufficient spoke tension. He does qualify these statements by saying that one must use high quality rims, hubs,spokes and nipples.

Hope this helps,
Mike
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Old 01-28-02, 03:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by mikey
Hi everyone,

I have just finished reading Gerd Schraner's book The Art of Wheelbuilding. According to him, there are two reasons for spoke failure: firstly, you will be breaking spokes if there is too much play between the hub and the spoke. Secondly, if there is insufficient spoke tension. He does qualify these statements by saying that one must use high quality rims, hubs,spokes and nipples.

Hope this helps,
Mike
Overall, I agree with Schraner, although I would say, "There are two PRIMARY reasons for spoke failure: ... ."

On a related topic (spoke hole deformation/elongation), I experienced a series of spoke failures after I reversed the spoke orientation when I relaced a Campy low-flange rear hub. Now, whenever I build around a used hub, I try to conform hole-for-hole to the original spoke pattern. Moving up a size (e.g. from 15G to 14G) can also help on an older hub.
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Old 02-06-02, 06:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris L


Go to a reputable bike shop and get the wheels trued (i.e. the spokes tensioned uniformly). If some spokes are tensioned more tightly than others, they will break first. I used to have this problem myself, but I haven't broken one for a couple of years.
I agree with Chris here.
Make sure your wheels are hand-made and build by a professional.
I used to have this problem with mechanical made wheels.
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Old 02-06-02, 11:07 AM   #9
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Sometimes it's just a bad build.

One of my bikes had a similar problem when I bought it. Decent quality parts... Mavic rim, Shimano hub, DT spokes, just that every so often a spoke would break. In fact, it wasn't even necessarily under stressful conditions... just cruising along on pavement. Ping! click click click...
Each time I had a spoke replaced, I had the shop true and re-tension the wheel. After the third spoke broke, I had the shop rebuild the wheel, same hub, same rim, replacing all spokes. The problem went away.
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Old 02-16-02, 10:37 AM   #10
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I have no idea how you can break a spoke, I've never managed that and I'm not all that kind to my bike. I have however stretched a spoke when I was trying to steal a flag from a golf course to put the finishing touches on the putting green I made in my back garden and I got the thing trapped in the rear wheel and it did stretch some and left quite a kink in the wheel.
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Old 02-16-02, 10:51 AM   #11
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Spoke breakage is pretty common, on cheaper , heavily used bikes. Its almost always caused by metal fatigue at the head of the drive side spokes, often aided by gouged metal from a chain deraillment. When one goes, then they often start to pop over time.
With a 36 spoke wheel, you can usually bend the spoke out of harms way, and limp back home carefully. On badly tensioned wheels, the rim may buckle too much to ride.
Professionally handbuilt wheels are much more resistant to this problem.
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Old 03-25-02, 08:57 PM   #12
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Here is my two cents worth: The spoked wheel world needs a technology makeover. Traditional spokes with the elbow need to go away. The only spokes I have ever broken have been at this weak elbow. Straight pull spokes address this problem and offer the added benefit of easier spoke replacement. On my mountain bike, I have to take off the rear cluster and disc brake rotor to replace a broken spoke. All that effort for an inferior spoke arrangement!

I wish guys like Chris King would help usher in the new world of straight pull spokes, rather than uphold the old one. Mavic and other OEM type wheel manufactures are starting to fix the problem with their new wheel designs. It is time for others to join them.
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Old 03-26-02, 12:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by MichaelW
Professionally handbuilt wheels are much more resistant to this problem.
Perhaps because a profesionally built wheel is much more likely to be stress-relieved and then correctly tensioned. Stress-relieving is almost never done on factory built wheels, and that's a major reason their spokes break prematurely at the elbows. Even if they're top-quality spokes.

The life of an ordinary factory wheel can be significantly extended if it's correctly stress-relieved and tensioned when new.

RichC
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