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Old 04-14-12, 11:30 PM   #1
cpt. Howdy
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Spoke tension problems.

In the last few months, I've managed to break a spoke, and decided to ride on it anyway (Because at the time, I had no idea how to fix it.) I kept riding on it until I broke the axle. (It snapped in two) and decided now is as good a time as any to fix it. The problem is, Alot of the spokes seem to have very little tension. I can wiggle some of them, and some are tight. Could this have been caused by me riding with broken spokes? Is it repairable?
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Old 04-14-12, 11:38 PM   #2
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how much money and time are you willing to spend?
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Old 04-15-12, 12:00 AM   #3
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I've already bought the axle, 5 new spokes, a freewheel remover. Forgot to get the bearings, and had no idea I needed a chainwhip. I've got plenty of time, and am hoping I can use this to help teach me about wheel truing.
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Old 04-15-12, 05:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpt. Howdy View Post
I've already bought the axle, 5 new spokes, a freewheel remover. Forgot to get the bearings, and had no idea I needed a chainwhip. I've got plenty of time, and am hoping I can use this to help teach me about wheel truing.
First of all, freewheel or freehub? They are two quite different things. Your broken axle leads me to think you have a freewheel. If that's the case, you don't need a chainwhip.

Second, there's more to making a good wheel than just getting it straight. It's more important to get the spokes as evenly tensioned as possible. Most of the time an old rim will have a wobble to it that will result in the spokes on one side of the wheel to be very loose. It's counter intuitive, but those loosely tensioned spokes are the ones that generally break.
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Old 04-15-12, 05:53 AM   #5
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awww dude, just buy a new wheel and get the shop to check the spokes before you ride it and again after the first 100 miles
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Old 04-15-12, 08:12 AM   #6
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Go around and loosen all the spokes, taking tension off the rim. Then check the rim itself for straightness and roundness. You can decide at this point whether to fix it by bending, or leave it for the truing stand, or toss the rim and start over.
On the rims that are really bad, I'll try to get it back in the ballpark anyway, just to see what can be done. Wherever a bend has occured, the metal has stretched, and bending it back stretches it some more. When assembling such a wheel, the rim has to run true with equal tension on every spoke or the same thing will happen again. Use a tensiometer as checking tension by touch is inadequate in this situation.
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Old 04-15-12, 09:50 PM   #7
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Sorry. Which one uses a cassette? Freehub? I know the park too FR-1 fits it.\
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Old 04-15-12, 10:46 PM   #8
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What WickedThump said.

The FR-1 is a freewheel remover.

Also, broken axles are unheard of on proper (read Shimano) freehubs. Can't imagine how broken spokes could cause it. It happens because of the length of unsupported axle on a screw-on hub.
Have a look where the drive side axle bearing is on a Shimano freehub:

Other brands of 'freehubs' have their axle bearings inside the cassette, and thus have an even longer span of unsupported axle than a screw-on hub, but tend to be over-engineered to compensate.

Since you're likely a big guy (as you break axles), I'd advise you to make your rear hub a Shimano freehub in future.

Last edited by Kimmo; 04-15-12 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 04-15-12, 11:29 PM   #9
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It threw me off as well. I thought freewheels threaded onto the hub, and cassettes use a lockring. Sorry, still not familiar with all the terminology.

I've uploaded a couple pics of the axle.


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Old 04-16-12, 02:57 AM   #10
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If it uses an FR-1, it's a FW. No chain whip required, but you need a wrench that opens up to 1" to turn the tool.

http://sheldonbrown.com/free-k7.html
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Old 04-16-12, 05:28 AM   #11
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It's a freewheel.

Remove the freewheel before you loosen or cut out any spokes.

Also put back the axle even if it's broken . Non-splined freewheel removers need something positive to hold the freewheel remover onto the freewheel. This is supplied by the quick release, acting through the axle.
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Old 04-16-12, 09:35 AM   #12
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Thanks. Thats why I thought I needed a chainwhip, because it was very hard to turn, and I thought I could feel the hub moving and spokes bending as I turn.
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Old 04-16-12, 09:44 AM   #13
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If you have a vise, put the freewheel tool in the vise, and turn the wheel like a steering wheel. Fiddling with a freewheel tool and a wrench is a good way to get frustrated.
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Old 04-16-12, 10:40 AM   #14
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Just popped it off, just needed to not worry about breaking it and just crank with all my might.
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Old 04-16-12, 10:43 AM   #15
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A properly built wheel relies on even spoke tension for its longevity. Uneven spoke tension is probably what caused your first spoke to break. Due to the fact that you have been riding for so long on a wheel with spoke tension that's all out of whack, what has probably happened is that you've put undue stress on some of the spokes (the tight ones), thereby decreasing their lifespan. Also, the fact that it's a wheel with a freewheel indicates to me that it is probably a fairly inexpensive wheel, which probably has low quality spokes, made of a poorer quality of metal than higher end (DT, Wheelsmith, Sapim) spokes.

So basically, it would probably be worth you either respoking the wheel completely, or buying a new wheel, because although you will be able to rebuild it, you are likely to have a "cascade" of spokes breaking one at a time.

Just sayin'.
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Old 04-16-12, 11:28 AM   #16
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Actually, all the spokes are DT, and the rim is a weinman. The wheel is going to get replaced, but this is a good a time as any to learn about wheel maintenance.
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Old 04-16-12, 02:39 PM   #17
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Your pic in post #9 is a really familiar sight. I bet I replaced my axle nine times in my old Motobecane. I weigh about 215 pounds and the freewheel design the way the righthand cone is in there so far, it makes that axle break over and over. I have a cassette (freehub) now and never broke an axle again for about 11 years.
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Old 04-17-12, 09:38 PM   #18
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I got the rim straight enough, and put air in the tire, and now it won't hold air. It's blown 2 holes about 2 CM from the valve stem(One on either side.)that looks like spoke punctures, even though I confirmed both times the rim strip was covering all spokes. It also popped one time exact opposite the valve stem (Where the two rim ends meet)

There is about a MM gap between the two rim ends, and I'm wondering if that caused one of the blowouts. And what could of caused the other two near the valve stem? Something I did?
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Old 04-26-12, 10:08 AM   #19
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Check underneath your rimstrip for long spokes poking thru. check the inside of your tire for any sharp objects stuck in there. (I realise you said these holes were on the inside part, but do it just to be sure)
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