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Old 10-17-10, 09:13 PM   #1
LongIslandTom
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Mavic Ksyrium SL front wheel broken spoke-- how involved is the fix?

Seeking guidance from this forum's collective wisdom...

On a ride today, one of the spokes on my bike's front wheel (Mavic Ksyrium SL with bladed spokes) suffered a broken spoke. Wheel immediately went severely out of true (by at least 7mm), which put my bike out of service. (Photo of the damage enclosed).

Up to this point the wheelset has 3000 miles on it, and the front wheel did have one severe crash about 300 miles ago that required trueing (which my LBS mechanic said was difficult to do because the Ksyrium SL is a very stiff wheel).

My questions:

How involved would repairing this wheel be? Does it require a complete rebuilding of the wheel and what is the average amount I should expect to pay for rebuilding that wheel? Or is it as simple as replacing the broken spoke and getting the wheel re-trued?

Thanks for any answers towards helping me getting back on the road.
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Old 10-17-10, 10:31 PM   #2
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I would suspect that the LBS mechanic's comment about how difficult it was to true the wheel was based less on the wheel's stiffness and more on the fact that the crash had actually bent the rim, and it took lots of extremely high and unbalanced spoke tension to get it to spin "true." The problem with simply making bent rim run true in a wheelset is that it's essentially forcing that wheel to operate on borrowed time. Either spokes will start breaking, or the wheel will constantly keep going out of true. The only truly strong wheel is the one built with balanced spoke tension all around, a condition that's simply not possible to do with a rim that's been bent/flat spotted or damaged in another way. I can't tell you how much it will cost to repair the wheel because as far as I know you can't buy replacement rims for those wheels. You'll probably have to send it back to Mavic who will do the replacement and wheel rebuilding themselves at whatever they charge. Good luck and let us know what you end up doing. Wheels can do really well if they are well built and used normally...but even the best wheels will be compromised with a good "severe crash."

Oh, and the fact that this is a front wheel that broke a spoke indicates that it's more than just a slight bend in the rim. Front wheels are FAR less likely to give you problems than rear wheels, and when they do, there's typically a legitimate reason for it.

-Jeremy

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Old 10-17-10, 11:26 PM   #3
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+1 on everything Jeremy said.

I only count 18 spokes on that wheel. I suspect you are suffering the effects of a low spoke count. It's tough enough getting a crashed rim back in shape with lots of spokes, but with only 18 you have to pull some of them really tight. Even if you get the wheel fixed, you'll probably continue breaking spokes because the rim isn't true. Your best bet would be to get a new rim (if possible) or just get a whole new wheel.
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Old 10-18-10, 01:49 AM   #4
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... as far as I know you can't buy replacement rims for those wheels. ..
it is possible to buy replacements rims, www.cyclecomponents.com for instance will happily sell you one, even if it isn't listed in their regular inventory. Trouble is pricing, doubly so when you have to chase down a replacement spoke as well. Mavic likes to sell their spokes in batches, so unless you're OK with that you have to find someone who sells them piecemeal.

The financially sensible thing is a situation like this is to pick up an used wheel from somewhere, and then sell yours as spares. If you have the energy for it you can probably sell the spokes one by one on ebay and recover a chunk of the cost for your replacement wheel.
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Old 10-18-10, 01:51 AM   #5
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The crash I suffered a couple months ago was ugly, complete with a lot of road rash that I'm barely healed from. When my LBS mechanic first looked at my wheel, he did tell me that the impact has to be pretty severe for that wheel to be out of true by that much, and that he would give it his best shot at trueing it. I guess some sort of failure is indeed inevitable after that.

So tonight after reading your explanations, I went and placed an order for a new wheel. Hopefully it will be here by the end of this week.

Thanks guys.

P.S. Any suggestions on what I should do with the broken wheel? I don't even know if that sucker is recyclable, and if it is, where to take it to.
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Old 10-18-10, 05:06 AM   #6
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P.S. Any suggestions on what I should do with the broken wheel? I don't even know if that sucker is recyclable, and if it is, where to take it to.
Getting a new wheel was definitely the right thing to do - replacing the rim and at least one spoke and paying for it to be re-built probably wouldn't have been any cheaper. As for the old wheel, there should be nothing wrong with the hub, and probably also most of the other spokes (although I would check those very closely), so as said above, you could sell those as parts on eBay. The rim is therefore the only thing that needs to be disposed of, so ask your local recycling center if they take random bits of aluminum.
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Old 10-18-10, 08:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
The crash I suffered a couple months ago was ugly, complete with a lot of road rash that I'm barely healed from. When my LBS mechanic first looked at my wheel, he did tell me that the impact has to be pretty severe for that wheel to be out of true by that much, and that he would give it his best shot at trueing it. I guess some sort of failure is indeed inevitable after that.

So tonight after reading your explanations, I went and placed an order for a new wheel. Hopefully it will be here by the end of this week.

Thanks guys.

P.S. Any suggestions on what I should do with the broken wheel? I don't even know if that sucker is recyclable, and if it is, where to take it to.
If you store the bike in the garage and like to hang it from the ceiling, then its possible that the front wheel takes the brunt of the weight. Instead of throwing away the damaged wheel, why not use that wheel as the "hanging wheel"?
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Old 10-18-10, 09:06 AM   #8
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I would suspect that the LBS mechanic's comment about how difficult it was to true the wheel was based less on the wheel's stiffness and more on the fact that the crash had actually bent the rim, and it took lots of extremely high and unbalanced spoke tension to get it to spin "true." The problem with simply making bent rim run true in a wheelset is that it's essentially forcing that wheel to operate on borrowed time. Either spokes will start breaking, or the wheel will constantly keep going out of true. The only truly strong wheel is the one built with balanced spoke tension all around, a condition that's simply not possible to do with a rim that's been bent/flat spotted or damaged in another way. I can't tell you how much it will cost to repair the wheel because as far as I know you can't buy replacement rims for those wheels. You'll probably have to send it back to Mavic who will do the replacement and wheel rebuilding themselves at whatever they charge. Good luck and let us know what you end up doing. Wheels can do really well if they are well built and used normally...but even the best wheels will be compromised with a good "severe crash."

Oh, and the fact that this is a front wheel that broke a spoke indicates that it's more than just a slight bend in the rim. Front wheels are FAR less likely to give you problems than rear wheels, and when they do, there's typically a legitimate reason for it.

-Jeremy
thanks Jeremy! your post is useful
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Old 10-18-10, 12:58 PM   #9
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If you store the bike in the garage and like to hang it from the ceiling, then its possible that the front wheel takes the brunt of the weight. Instead of throwing away the damaged wheel, why not use that wheel as the "hanging wheel"?
The forces exerted on a wheel while your bike is hanging in the garage are pretty small compared to what it's being asked to support while riding. Granted, the force distribution is different between the two scenarios, but unless you're doing pull-ups off of your headtube while the bike hangs, it shouldn't matter what wheel you hang it from. If my front wheel can't handle a 19-21 lb. bike hanging from it without being compromised, I sure wouldn't trust it for descending a mountain pass at 45-50+ mph.

I say either fix it if you want to keep your matching set (since it was noted above that the rim can be sourced) or pass it along on Ebay or CL for parts. It's the expensive repair/spoke replacement on these particular wheels that motivated me to put together a custom set that I can easily and affordably source and replace each component myself on if it ever becomes necessary. Bikes and wheelsets that use purely proprietary parts are always going to be a bit more challenging to upkeep than those built with standard (boring) universal parts.

-Jeremy
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Old 10-18-10, 01:48 PM   #10
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Changing the spoke is simple. The only trick is the threads are left-handed. That makes the spoke wrench turn the same direction as wheels with conventional nipples with right hand threads. If this wasn't done, it would drive a wheel builder crazy.

The problem is that you may have bent the rim in the crash and using excessive spoke tension to correct that problem is not going to result in a long-lived wheel.

I had to replace one spoke on my rear Ksyrium. After I took the cassette off, it was a 5 minute job.
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Old 10-18-10, 07:14 PM   #11
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All good and accurate answers.

Most likely the wheel is junk. If you break one spoke, you will begin to break more.

To see how damaged the wheel is, loosen all the spokes, a little on each one to keep the tension even, then when there is no tension, put the rim on a flat surface and see how "warped" it really is.

To adjust the tension on flat bladed spokes, you need to hold the spoke as you turn the nipple.
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Old 10-18-10, 07:21 PM   #12
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Dang ive been wanting that wheelset. Maybe one day....
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Old 10-18-10, 08:30 PM   #13
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I think the new wheel was the right thing to do. Keep the hub and spokes from the broken wheel to use as spares if needed for your new wheel.
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Old 10-19-10, 08:30 AM   #14
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The forces exerted on a wheel while your bike is hanging in the garage are pretty small compared to what it's being asked to support while riding. Granted, the force distribution is different between the two scenarios, but unless you're doing pull-ups off of your headtube while the bike hangs, it shouldn't matter what wheel you hang it from. If my front wheel can't handle a 19-21 lb. bike hanging from it without being compromised, I sure wouldn't trust it for descending a mountain pass at 45-50+ mph.

I say either fix it if you want to keep your matching set (since it was noted above that the rim can be sourced) or pass it along on Ebay or CL for parts. It's the expensive repair/spoke replacement on these particular wheels that motivated me to put together a custom set that I can easily and affordably source and replace each component myself on if it ever becomes necessary. Bikes and wheelsets that use purely proprietary parts are always going to be a bit more challenging to upkeep than those built with standard (boring) universal parts.

-Jeremy
Jeremy, admittedly the front wheel can hold up a bike. But I think the rims are toast (Mavic toast).

If I had a nice set of carbon wheels, I think it depends what wheels are on the bike. If it were the ZIPP 404, I would not like to hang the bike that way. Actually, I do have the PSIMET carbons and the Mavic SSC SL wheels. But I prefer to hang mine with an old front FIR wheels.
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Old 10-19-10, 12:38 PM   #15
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I hang my bikes in the garage with both wheels on hooks. I do it with my carbon wheels too. No issues to report.
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Old 10-20-10, 12:13 PM   #16
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The forces exerted on a wheel while your bike is hanging in the garage are pretty small compared to what it's being asked to support while riding.
+1

The thing to keep in mind is that every spoke is tensioned inwards at about 100 kg, having one spot pulling outwards with the weight of the bike(say, 10-15 kg, a fraction of the spoke tension) is a non-issue entirely.

There might be an issue with storing MTBs with oil-filled suspension elements hanging, as it gives oil/air ample opportunity to collect and get trapped in unintended places.
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Old 11-06-10, 08:26 PM   #17
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Followup on my Ksyrium SL wheel situation..

The new front wheel I ordered arrived and I'm back on the road. I ordered it from Sage Cycles down in San Antonio TX for $408 shipped, but it took them 10 days to get the wheel to me. This retailer goes into my bookmark category for "order from here if you don't mind waiting a while for your stuff to arrive."

I took the one with the broken spoke to my LBS and they told me they will indeed need to send it back to Mavic to be rebuilt, for around $300 (hub is still good so what I need to pay for are a new rim and spokes). Money is a bit tight right now so I'm going to wait a while before I send it out for the rebuild. I will have the rebuilt as a backup in case of future accidents.
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Old 11-06-10, 08:55 PM   #18
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Thanks for the follow up. That does seem a bit steep for repair costs to me, and i dont' blame you for holding off. Just don't become so attached to the idea that you abandon reason. For $300 you could easily have a very high quality front wheel built by a custom builder that would be every bit as good, if not better.

-Jeremy
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Old 11-07-10, 07:47 AM   #19
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The crash I suffered a couple months ago was ugly, complete with a lot of road rash that I'm barely healed from. When my LBS mechanic first looked at my wheel, he did tell me that the impact has to be pretty severe for that wheel to be out of true by that much, and that he would give it his best shot at trueing it. I guess some sort of failure is indeed inevitable after that.

So tonight after reading your explanations, I went and placed an order for a new wheel. Hopefully it will be here by the end of this week.

Thanks guys.

P.S. Any suggestions on what I should do with the broken wheel? I don't even know if that sucker is recyclable, and if it is, where to take it to.
disassemble wheel. save or sell the hub.

I dont know if it's the same in your neighborhood, but if you put metal out on the sidewalk/alleyway, it will be picked up by metal scrappers within 3 hours. they get some cash / the aluminum gets recycled. win-win.
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Old 11-07-10, 04:53 PM   #20
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Did you get the same wheel? I am not a big fan of the new and improved style gear.
A good 32 or even better 36 spoked wheel lasts years and is easily repaired or parts are easy to replace.
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Old 11-08-10, 02:43 AM   #21
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Did you get the same wheel? I am not a big fan of the new and improved style gear.
A good 32 or even better 36 spoked wheel lasts years and is easily repaired or parts are easy to replace.
+1 Boutique and proprietary wheels are difficult and costly to repair if they are damaged.

A "conventional" 32H rim and hub with db or straight gauge spokes laced 3X will be easy to build, easy to repair, durable and less expensive. What it lacks is bling and possibly a bit of aero advantage.

I do have one pair of proprietary wheels, a set of Shimano WH-R560 modestly deep section rims laced with 16 bladed radial front and 20 bladed, radial ds, 2X nds. They have held up very well so far (3000+ miles) but the only reason I bought them was a "can't pass this up" sale at Jenson where the wheels, rim tape, Michelin tires, tube and a 10-speed Shimano cassette totaled $240.
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Old 11-08-10, 03:45 PM   #22
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Not to hijack the thread, but could you people with experience with MAVIC wheelsets please weigh in with my conundrum? I have two MAVIC wheelsets, an ES and an SSC SL. I like both wheelsets, but I shudder to think of what will happen once/if I break a spoke on either of them. The SSC was sold to me by a good friend at cost after he had bought a couple of them from an online retailer who was closing them out. The ES I bought from Nashbar.

I was thinking of putting them up for sale now that I can still get good price for them. I have always been careful with my equipments, and despite been in cycling for a long time, I have never broke a spoke. I just do things like raise my butt a little bit off the saddle when going over cracks etc, provided I see them before riding over them.

What would you do? Sell now, while they are still in excellent shape? Or continue to ride these boutique wheels and hope they never break a spoke(s)?
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