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Thread: breaking spokes

  1. #1
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    breaking spokes

    I have a GT Backwoods mountain bike that I only ride on the road for exercise, maybe 1000 miles a year. Every year, sometimes twice a year, I'll end up breaking spokes.
    The dealer wants to sell me $400.00 rims.
    Is this just poor maintenance on my part? In the past, the wheels on my motocross bikes (motorcycle) would loosen initially, I'd tighten them and they would eventually settle in.
    Dumb question, I'm sure, but thought I'd ask .
    Thanks. P.S I weigh 215#, 6'.
    Last edited by sparks650; 09-13-09 at 09:37 AM. Reason: added info

  2. #2
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    If your rims are tweaked you will be breaking spokes because you won't be able to get even tension.
    If you can get even tension on a true wheel then you don't have tweaked rims.
    So there's not enough info to say if the dealer's trying to sell you something you don't need, but he should be able to diagnose (and convince you) WHY the spokes are breaking before trying to sell you the solution; and your weight is a factor but not an automatic reason for beefier rims.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    Spokes break from metal fatigue (usually at the elbow) caused by insufficient tension and unequal tension. As a wheel (under load) rotates, the spokes go through a load-unload cycle and the looser the spokes, the bigger the cycle difference and the faster the fatigue. Machine made wheels (and yours will be) are notorious for this. Hand built and sufficiently tensioned wheels with equal tensioned spokes rarely do this.

    There's one more thing too - all wheels should be stress and spoke-windup relieved when being built. This prevents having to do what you did with the m/c wheels - having to re-true after initial use. Properly built wheels (that suffer no damage) never need touching again.

    We can't judge whether you need "$400 rims" or not but I seriously doubt it. A re-build (by a competent wheelbuilder) with new spokes (64 x $0.75 + labor) should fix the issue. If the "rims" do need replacing you would be much better off getting new wheels. Bicycle Wheel Warehouse have great wheels for under $200 for your bike. I can vouch for them - 5 sets of their wheels have come my way.

  4. #4
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    Wow! Thanks for the quick responses.

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