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Old 03-09-11, 07:49 AM   #1
work4bike
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New Rims

Since 2005 I've noticed that on many occasions (not just in my personal case, but others), upon the purchase of a new bike or a new rim, that the wheels were trued, but the tension of the spokes were such that riding on them (especially the rear wheel) led to popping spokes.

This happened first with my bike I bought in 2005 I eventually took it to a bike shop and had them replace all the spokes and still it didn't fix the problem, regardless how many bike shops I took my bike to they did not tension the spokes enough to keep them from popping. I finally decided to read all I could on truing wheels and from that study I determined that the only problem was tensioning. Before this problem I could true a wheel, but all of my initial truing I had done at a bike shop and I would only do minor truing.

Since learning all I could on this I've noticed that when I purchase a rim that many times the spokes are not properly tensioned, this is funny because of all my purchases before this timeframe did not present the same problems -- never had a problem with constantly popping spokes before my purchase in 2005.

In the end all is good because I got very good at truing wheels, but still wondering if I've just had a string of bad luck or if anyone else has noticed a trend of poorly tensioned spokes?

Just recently I bought a new rim and noticed it also was very well trued, but the spokes had very little tension on them. Another case was when my father bought a new rim had it trued at a bike shop and he started popping spokes; I tensioned all the spokes and no more problems.
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Old 03-09-11, 08:10 AM   #2
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I think that the problem you are alluding to started in the mid 90's. 8-speed cassettes were the issue. Even with 130 mm dropout spacing the wheels were dished more than many wheelbuilders were used to. When they tensioned the drive side spokes to the level they were used to, the non-drive side spokes were under tensioned.

I'm a little surprised that you are still finding this to be an issue. I would have thought that by now 15 years of experience with such wheel spacing and the much more common use of spoke tensiometers would have all but eliminated that problem.
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Old 03-09-11, 08:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I think that the problem you are alluding to started in the mid 90's. 8-speed cassettes were the issue. Even with 130 mm dropout spacing the wheels were dished more than many wheelbuilders were used to. When they tensioned the drive side spokes to the level they were used to, the non-drive side spokes were under tensioned.

I'm a little surprised that you are still finding this to be an issue. I would have thought that by now 15 years of experience with such wheel spacing and the much more common use of spoke tensiometers would have all but eliminated that problem.
I've never heard that, but it makes sense, since all my bikes/rims prior to this purchase in 2005 had less than 8-speed cassettes. And I've noticed an issue with dishing the rear wheel. And more often than not it would be the non-drive side that would pop a spoke.
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Old 03-09-11, 09:56 AM   #4
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Are we talking about handbuilt wheels or an average wheelset that was machine tensioned?

My own experience is that the bikes I`m getting right from the factory have wheels that are improperly tensioned and that every bike shop in my area tensions by feel and don`t use a tensometer even for a ballpark confirmation. If that goes on in North America I can imagine it goes on in China as well where lots of wheels are being built today.

Unfortunately its hard to market a wheel that has all the same components and ask for a higher price simply because its been properly tensioned. Same goes for properly greased and adjusted wheel bearings.

But thats a consumer issue - not really a manufacturing issue.
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