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  1. #1
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    Tons of busted Spokes!

    I did some maintenance on my bike today. I was going to try and true up the rear wheel but then discovered I have six busted spokes They are all on the drive side of the wheel and they are all the ones that have to slide in between the hub and sprocket. Should I just buy a new wheel or is there some hope for repairing the old rim? It's extremely wobbly. I can't use the rear brakes at all.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    6 makes a new wheel a good idea, though if the hub is premium quality
    and still fine..
    a new rim and spokes rebuild is also a good idea.

  3. #3
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    Drive-side spokes are a little harder to replace since the sprocket/cassette/freewheel needs to be removed beforehand. It depends how mechanically inclined you are whether you want to dive into the world of wheelbuilding (not hard, just takes a steady hand and a craftsman's mindset). But, even if you replace the broken ones, the others are stressed and could give out at any time. What I'd do:

    1) If the hub and rim are of decent quality and not worn out, I'd buy a set of new spokes and re-lace the wheel. Requires wheelbuilding skillz and some special tools to remove the freewheel/cassette/sprocket.

    or

    2) If the rim is worn out and the hub is marginal quality (crunchy bearing races, that sort of thing), then I'd buy a new wheel. Still requires the tools to remove the cassette/sprocket/freewheel. If it were me, I'd rebuild the new wheel since more often than not they come out of the factory without stress relieving and tension equalization.

    Somewhere in between, I may clip out a good old rim or hub and re-use in a new wheel build, or save for the future and buy a new wheel. Depends how I feel that day.
    Last edited by cycle_maven; 02-07-12 at 02:01 PM.

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    the knowledge and experience you will derive from rebuilding the wheel will enhance your cycling experiences for the rest of your life. research and fix it yourself regardless of quality of the current components is my advice.

  5. #5
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    I would recommend against relacing the same rim. The odds of a wheel in that condition having a rim that is undamaged and unstressed (necessary for being able to do a good, routine build) is very, very low. Lace on a new rim if the hub is of high quality and running very smooth, or buy a new wheel

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    Thanks for the replies. I think I might go with a new rim. The bike was a clearance sale Wally World special and has been rode pretty hard (bashed over a lot rocks) so I'm sure the rim is of questionable quality. Not sure of the hub quality although it seems pretty smooth with no strange noises. I plan on going bike camping out in the Arizona back country in a month and a half so a heavier duty setup may be in order. Surprisingly the front rim has held up pretty well so I'm going to leave it for now. Any suggestions for a durable setup that would hold up under a lot of rocky trail riding?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilJohnson View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I think I might go with a new rim. The bike was a clearance sale Wally World special and has been rode pretty hard (bashed over a lot rocks) so I'm sure the rim is of questionable quality. Not sure of the hub quality although it seems pretty smooth with no strange noises. I plan on going bike camping out in the Arizona back country in a month and a half so a heavier duty setup may be in order. Surprisingly the front rim has held up pretty well so I'm going to leave it for now. Any suggestions for a durable setup that would hold up under a lot of rocky trail riding?
    I'll leave specific recommendations to those who are familiar with off-road rims, but given any decent quality, wheel durability has more to do with the rider and the build than with a specific rim.

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    Wally World special, eh? If you try to start upgrading things as they break, then you'll end up spending a fortune for, what in the end is, a WW special. I'd just replace the broken spokes in that case- carrying a few spares and plenty of tools for the Arizona trip. Better yet, for a nice reliable ride get an older mid-level used MTB of some quality marque like Trek 820 or Specialized Rockhopper for about $100 off Craigslist, and tune it up. The wheels, frame and components will be way less prone to failure. Plus it will weigh less, shift better and generally be more pleasant to ride.

  9. #9
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    At the qualiry level you're riding and likely to replace, a complete wheel from a reliable source will cost you less than just a rim and spokes. That will also include a new hub, negating the need to service the current one.

    If your intent is to learn how to build, that's a different story and totally your call, but be aware that it'll cost more than buying outright. Then consider the added outlay in tools. The only thing I'd suggest is a cassette lockring tool (or freewheel remover) so you can transfer the cassette (or freewheel) to the new wheel.

    Be aware that the new wheel's hub must be a match for your old one in terms of axle width, whether freewheel or cassette, cassette type (freehub spline type (most like Shimano type) and the number of speeds. if these aren't matched you'll need a new cassette also, and this could both add to the cost and open another can o' worms.
    FB
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    Thanks for the heads up on the hub I ask what labor is at the not so local bike shop for replacing the rim and spokes versus the whole wheel. The place is ran by Mennonites and labor is exceedingly cheap. I had a Mega Range cassette put on this bike 5 years ago and I only had to pay for the part, the labor cost nothing And while I don't really expect free labor for building a wheel I don't think it'll break the bank either judging by my past experiences with them.

    I agree that a used Trek mb would be higher quality but I like the up right seating on my beach cruiser. All of the mountain bikes I've ridden all required a slight hunched position which I find uncomfortable. I also figure that replacing one rim in the five years that I've had this thing isn't doing too bad. It's been banged around on rocks, ruts, and rode on snow covered salt laden city streets. Those spokes are the first things that have broke. I got it on extreme clearance, the same framed bike (the specific model has been discontinued) is now going for near double what I paid for mine so I'd say I've gotten my money's worth.

  11. #11
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Before you have them fix the wheel, a good thing might be to root-cause why 6 spokes are broken on the drive side. Did the chain go off the big cog and into the spokes a few times? If that's the case, you need to know and correct that problem so the new spokes don't simply get cut again.
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  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    So, How many spokes , say 295mm long 14 gage, would it take to = 2000 pounds?

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The bike was a clearance sale Wally World special and has been rode pretty hard (bashed over a lot rocks) so I'm sure the rim is of questionable quality.
    Ah now the core issue comes out .. Cheap up front has downstream costs.
    You can say Questionable Quality for a whole Wally World bike..
    maybe its time to visit a proper Bike seller and get a serviceable bike made
    to be submitted to your riding needs.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-07-12 at 06:46 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gyozadude View Post
    Before you have them fix the wheel, a good thing might be to root-cause why 6 spokes are broken on the drive side. Did the chain go off the big cog and into the spokes a few times? If that's the case, you need to know and correct that problem so the new spokes don't simply get cut again.
    Now that you mention it that did happen a couple of times. I looked at it a little closer and all the busted spokes are on the drive side closest to low gear. I can see marks where the chain cut into the other ones that haven't broke yet. While adjusting my rear derailleur I didn't have it dialed in real good. I went on a quick ride to see how things were going when the chain slipped between the cog and the spokes locking up the rear tire. I did get the derailleur adjusted correctly after coming back. It works better than ever. I didn't ride real long after I got it adjusted, just a quick spin to see how everything was working. I might just try to replace the busted spokes and see what happens. Also I noticed that there is no spoke guard. That is something I am going to put on there so this doesn't happen again.

    I do believe that this mystery has been solved, thanks gyozadude It's a bummer though in my quest to save a couple of bucks I wound up making more work for myself and still will have to get the rear derailleur adjusted anyway. Oh well at least I learned what not to do next time.
    Last edited by PhilJohnson; 02-07-12 at 07:25 PM.

  15. #15
    spathfinder34089 spathfinder3408's Avatar
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    loosen every spoke on wheel to where there is no tension. If the rim is bent after all spokes are lose then get another wheel or another rim only if you capable of rebuilding a wheel youself. Wheels are not to expensive if you keep your eyes open on CL. Its not a big deal fixing rim if you have a truiing stand and a little knowledge. Good learning experience

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    This illustrates the need for spoke protectors.
    Pull the cassette or freewheel, detension the spokes about three turns,replace the broken and damaged spokes and retrue the wheel.

  17. #17
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidad View Post
    This illustrates the need for spoke protectors.
    Pull the cassette or freewheel, detension the spokes about three turns,replace the broken and damaged spokes and retrue the wheel.
    A spoke protector should only come into play in the event of some catastrophic event that destroys the rear derailleur and derails the chain.

    Short of that and in normal use the limit screws will keep the chain where its supposed to be. It does help a lot of course if they're properly adjusted. No issue with people that like spoke protectors - they're just not normally needed.
    Last edited by Burton; 02-08-12 at 05:56 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Short of that and in normal use the limit screws will keep the chain where its supposed to be. It does help a lot of course if they're properly adjusted. No issue with people that like spoke protectors - they're just not normally needed.
    An analogy can be drawn to bicycle helmets. A bicyclist isn't supposed to fall on his head, and if all is right won't, so a hlemet is just a waste. OTOH, crashes happen, so the helmets role is to mitigate injury resulting from something that shouldn't happen in the first place.

    Likewise with spoke protectors. A properly adjusted RD won't ever go into the spokes and the protector is unneeded. However all that needs to happen is for a fall or minor crash bend the hanger in a little bit, and the rider not notice (or is more common these days correct the problem by adjusting the trim). At some point with the limits ow mis-adjusted, the RD will overshift into the wheel. The spoke protector doesn't prevent this, but it can certainly reduce the potential damage.

    Do you need a spoke protector, certainly not. But, if you're not well attuned to your bike's condition, it can save you big dollars in possible damage.
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  19. #19
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    An analogy can be drawn to bicycle helmets. A bicyclist isn't supposed to fall on his head, and if all is right won't, so a hlemet is just a waste. OTOH, crashes happen, so the helmets role is to mitigate injury resulting from something that shouldn't happen in the first place.

    Likewise with spoke protectors. A properly adjusted RD won't ever go into the spokes and the protector is unneeded. However all that needs to happen is for a fall or minor crash bend the hanger in a little bit, and the rider not notice (or is more common these days correct the problem by adjusting the trim). At some point with the limits ow mis-adjusted, the RD will overshift into the wheel. The spoke protector doesn't prevent this, but it can certainly reduce the potential damage.

    Do you need a spoke protector, certainly not. But, if you're not well attuned to your bike's condition, it can save you big dollars in possible damage.
    Hi FB - my own experience with these is that the plastic in the majority of them degrades rapidly. UV exposure or what I don't know but they end up shattering very easily. So eventually when needed because of some 'incident' they shatter and provide no protection at all. So personally I prefer to make sure the limit screws are properly adjusted because usually they aren't. Don't know if your experience has been any different.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Hi FB - my own experience with these is that the plastic in the majority of them degrades rapidly. UV exposure or what I don't know but they end up shattering very easily. So eventually when needed because of some 'incident' they shatter and provide no protection at all. So personally I prefer to make sure the limit screws are properly adjusted because usually they aren't. Don't know if your experience has been any different.
    it's been years since I was in retail, so my experience may be dated. But back then we often saw bikes saved by the protector. I think over-derailling is one of those things most likely to happen when the bike is fairly new. Folks who ride a lot are more attuned and don't seem to have the same kinds of problems as newbies do.

    Part of the reason for the move to breakaway hangers is RD's torn off by the wheel taking the hanger with them. Like the spoke protector it's a way of managing a problem that we hope won't happen.

    FWIW- I've never had s spoke protector on any of my bikes and in 45 years only put the chain into the spokes once, about 30 years ago. After I laid the bike down to avoid hitting a 3 year old child, I was so rattled that I ended up continuing the trip without thoroughly checking the bike. Since this was before index, I didn't have a trim issue to give me a hint. The next day shifted to low on a climb and whoops. Two years later broke a spoke where the chain sawed it part way through (my only broken spoke DB spoke ever).

    Stuff happens. Using a spoke protector is a personal decision and everyone can make it for themselves. But I'd never suggest removing it to someone not experienced enough not to decide for himself. That would make me somewhat responsible should he come to grief.
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  21. #21
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    I have a few old bikes laying around. They have metal spoke guards instead of the plastic type. The total cost should be nothing and if this happens again it'll save me some money and aggravation down the road. I like to take my bike to some pretty remote places so any thing that helps make it more reliable is a plus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilJohnson View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I think I might go with a new rim. The bike was a clearance sale Wally World special ...
    Forget buying a new wheel, just buy a new bike. When the replacement part exceeds the value of the bike itself, it means its time to start over from scratch.

    new wheels cost between 50-100$, how much do you think the old WW bike is worth? if the bike is old enough to break 6 spokes, good bet that there's much more things worn out on it.

  23. #23
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    The economics of spoke protectors is simply - they cost around $3 online in singles and shipping isn't too bad if you buy it with other parts. They're even cheaper in bulk. And they can be free at some shops that might have a massive collection of these in a bin somewhere, or if you have access to old rear wheels. (You will need a tool to remove the freewheels/cassettes to gain access). Note that spoke protectors vary depending on whether it's a freewheel hub or a freehub. And among freehubs, the design can vary based on number of spokes. But installing one can save you a bundle of downtime and repair costs that are easily an order magnitude greater than the cost of the spoke protector. I think it makes sound insurance for folks who might not have a rear derailleur always in good adjustment.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  24. #24
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    I got my wheel fixed. There were a few extra spokes that were marred up pretty good so I had those replaced. The grand total at my not so local bike shop for 9 spokes and 1 spoke protector, and the wheel being trued came up to $8.25 (that's labor included). Bit cheaper than buying a used "real" bike (like a Trek) that probably would need work done to it anyway. A few more modifications like extra racks and I'll be ready for a back country foray down in the Arizona desert

  25. #25
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Were they all leading spokes?
    The ones that tend to "unwrap" when you pedal hard.

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