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Thread: Broken Spoke

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    Broken Spoke

    My rear wheel keeps getting broken spokes. This is the second time it's happened. What do you guys normally pay to fix one? Would it be more cost effective for me to buy equipment to fix them myself? What equipment would I need? And lastly what's causing them to break? The only thing I can think of is an under inflated tire. I don't bang my back wheel that often. Or perhaps I'm too fat at 160 lbs?
    06 Trek 5200
    03 Stumpjumper FSR Comp
    90 GT Pro Series

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    Senior Member Pessi's Avatar
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    If you are having many spokes break, it is likely because it was a poorly built wheel.
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    Senior Member royalflash's Avatar
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    you are not as fat as me-if the wheel is old could be the spokes are fatigued-probably best in any case to replace all the spokes (rebuild the wheel). Bike shops don't charge that much for it. You can do it at home if you want to but it takes some time if you are an amateur like me and if you do it wrong the results could be bad. Warning: rear wheels are trickier to build than front wheels. To rebuild a wheel you will need (at least) a correctly sized spoke wrench, a screwdriver and a set of new spokes (take one of the old ones to the bike shop when you buy them-the correct size is critical). A wheel building stand and dishing gauge is also a good idea and will make it a lot easier. A spoke tension meter is also a good idea to check what you have done. If you get all the gear it will cost you a LOT more than a wheel rebuild in the shop. It just depends on whether you want to do the work yourself or not. I like to be independent of the LBS so I bought the stuff, spent lots of time on it and did it myself. If you are not motivated then just forget it and take the wheel to your LBS.

    Look at Sheldon Brown's site for instructions on how to build a wheel.

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    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    A properly built wheel should not break spokes with a 160 lb rider. I suspect the spokes are defective or poor quality. The only real solution is to have to wheel rebuilt using new spokes.

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    My rule of thumb is to replace the spoke and RETENSION THE ENTIRE WHEEL if only one spoke is broken. If you just replace the spoke and retrue the wheel, all that you've done is to return the wheel to where it was before the spoke broke. In other words, a wheel that is about to break a spoke. I think that most spokes break due to inadequate spoke tension. Slightly loose spokes wiggle around at the elbow in the hub flange too much and eventually fatigue and fail.

    If and when the second spoke breaks, I recommend replacing all of the spokes on the entire wheel.

    My labor charge is $20.00 to replace one spoke and a dollar per spoke to rebuild the whole wheel.

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    I broke a spoke on a tour this spring, thankfully there was a tech truck on the tour as well and he fixed it. He said spokes typically break when they are too loose, just like Retro Grouch stated. Within a month I broke another on a paved trail. I took it in and had it trued. They all were somewhat loose.
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    I got a spoke tensiometer for father's day. My wheels were running true, but when I checked the tension it was very low in all the spokes. The following week my son asked me to true his wheels.

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    Senior Member DeafLamb's Avatar
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    I break spokes a lot (one just last night). I am 260 pounds, add a messenger bag and a rear rack and bag and I'm probably putting almost 300 pounds on the back wheel. Add about 175 miles of riding a week on pot hole covered rodes at night (I hit them hard). To me breaking spokes is just part of riding. I replace, them retrue the wheel and get another week or two before they break again. Maybe in september when I have some time I'll rebuild the wheel. But for now its just break and ride.
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    Hmm ... I'll have to see. The bike is a little over a year old and has 700 miles on it. I ride pretty hard in the mountains (who doesn't though). I'll ask the shop and see what they think.
    06 Trek 5200
    03 Stumpjumper FSR Comp
    90 GT Pro Series

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    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    My labor charge is $20.00 to replace one spoke and a dollar per spoke to rebuild the whole wheel.
    I hope that includes retensioning of the entire wheel!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeafLamb
    I break spokes a lot (one just last night). I am 260 pounds, add a messenger bag and a rear rack and bag and I'm probably putting almost 300 pounds on the back wheel. Add about 175 miles of riding a week on pot hole covered rodes at night (I hit them hard). To me breaking spokes is just part of riding. I replace, them retrue the wheel and get another week or two before they break again. Maybe in september when I have some time I'll rebuild the wheel. But for now its just break and ride.
    Broken spokes are not really part of riding. You should not break them very often. You could use sturdier wheels. Get a pair built properly with 36 hole rims and triple-butted spokes. That should do it for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtown
    My rear wheel keeps getting broken spokes. This is the second time it's happened. What do you guys normally pay to fix one? Would it be more cost effective for me to buy equipment to fix them myself? What equipment would I need? And lastly what's causing them to break? The only thing I can think of is an under inflated tire. I don't bang my back wheel that often. Or perhaps I'm too fat at 160 lbs?
    Its expensive to buy everything you need to build a wheel yourself. Find a shop that has a competent wheel builder (hint: ask them if they use a tension meter to check their wheels). Get the wheel relaced with DT or Wheelsmith spokes. As an alternative, get the shop to replace the spokes and re-tension the entire wheel.

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