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  1. #1
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    Spoke replacement on Bontrager LT1, 700x38c rim

    I brought my Trek DS 8.2 in for a spoke replacement. The charge was $25.
    Now I have another broken rear spoke that I have been riding on for a few months.
    The wheel is a bit wobbly and the pad brakes don't grip the rim as tightly as when the
    rim was true. I do jump a lot of curbs and steps carrying a heavy backpack.
    I 'am now interested in replacing the spoke myself but I am new to this type of repair.
    What tools do I need for this job and where can I buy the spokes for my rim size?


    trek-bike-boca.jpg

  2. #2
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    spoke wrench and freewheel tool. freewheel tool so you can snake the new spoke in. i would consider a new wheel or rebuild if you continue to break more spokes

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo007 View Post
    ... I do jump a lot of curbs and steps carrying a heavy backpack.
    Quote Originally Posted by reptilezs View Post
    spoke wrench and freewheel tool. freewheel tool so you can snake the new spoke in. i would consider a new wheel or rebuild if you continue to break more spokes
    Don't forget that besides the tools mentioned above, you'll need to make sure to buy the right length spoke within 1mm or so. Rebuilding a new wheel with new rim and spokes might be better, but the real solution is to give up the curbs and steps, with or without the backpack.
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  4. #4
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Yeah, you either need a stronger wheel or you need to change your riding style. Not being one that likes to change my riding style, I would get a stronger wheel!

    Right now you have a freewheel hub. I would not throw good money after bad trying to fix this wheel. I'm actually surprised you haven't bent or broken an axle yet. Now would be the perfect time to upgrade to a wheel with a Shimano cassette freehub. Get a wheel with 36 spokes, and look for one with a heavier touring type rim. If you get a rim that weighs over 500g you should be set. Then get it professionally tensioned and you should be able to hop all the curbs you want.

    You can replace the spokes with a spoke wrench easily enough but then you have to re-true the wheel which can be frustrating once things are already out of whack, and especially if you start rounding off seized spoke nipples. It's possible you may not be able to get the wheel true again without replacing all the spokes, which would not be worth the money unless you also swap out the hub at that point.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Sounds like you don't have the bunny hop together , if you stop slamming into curbs,
    you wouldntt have the wheel problems..

    might be better to go back to the BMX bike..

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    I like this wheelset at sheldonbrown.com. Would this rear wheel work with my Shimano TZ31 14-34, 7 speed cassette? Can I do all the work myself?
    It will be interesting to see how these wheels hold up to a lot of step jumping at the campus.

    WE629 Shimano Tiagra/Velocity Dyad 36 Spoke Touring Wheelset $239.95 pair!

    Machine-Built By Our Supplier.
    Hubs: Shimano Tiagra 4500 8/9/10-speed cassette type. Silver.
    Rims: Velocity Dyad. Silver.
    Spokes: 36 DT Swiss 2.0/1.8mm Double-butted, stainless steel.
    Rear Hub Spacing: 130 mm Standard road.
    Recommended Tire Width: 28mm and up.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo007 View Post
    I like this wheelset at sheldonbrown.com. Would this rear wheel work with my Shimano TZ31 14-34, 7 speed cassette? Can I do all the work myself?
    It will be interesting to see how these wheels hold up to a lot of step jumping at the campus.

    WE629 Shimano Tiagra/Velocity Dyad 36 Spoke Touring Wheelset $239.95 pair!

    Machine-Built By Our Supplier.
    Hubs: Shimano Tiagra 4500 8/9/10-speed cassette type. Silver.
    Rims: Velocity Dyad. Silver.
    Spokes: 36 DT Swiss 2.0/1.8mm Double-butted, stainless steel.
    Rear Hub Spacing: 130 mm Standard road.
    Recommended Tire Width: 28mm and up.
    This wheel has an wider 8/9/10-speed cassette freehub so it requires a 4.5 mm spacer to fit a 7-speed cassette. These spacers are available from most bike shops and from Harris Cyclery too.

    The hub is 130 mm wide over the locknuts which is a standard road bike width. Your bike may be 130 but is probably 135 mm so you would have to respace the axle with a 5 mm spacer and redish (recenter) the rim.

    Can you do the work yourself? From the sound of your questions, not now. Can you learn to do it? Certainly.

    Frankly, there isn't a wheel made that will stand up to a steady diet of the abuse you describe. You can either modify your riding style or have a big budget for replacement parts.

  9. #9
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    A quality set of road rims, properly built and correctly tensioned, will stand up to the occasional pothole and infrequently slipping off a curb, if you are not too heavy. I am 185# and my handbuilt 28H/32H Mavic Open Pros stay true in that situation.

    If you insist on jumping off curbs and down steps regularly, and you are a heavy guy or carry a significant load, even those wheels will get damaged. An inexpensive set of machine built wheels like the one the OP linked to, that have not been hand-tensioned and maintained, will get damaged sooner. I think you'll chew through a set of wheels each term, if not more often. At $25-40 for a bike shop to replace spokes and retrue, or $250 to buy a new set of wheels after the rims are no longer salvageable, that will get rather expensive.

    I think you should either learn to build and maintain wheels, so you can pick up cheap rims from the bike co-op and chew through them, or ride a mountain bike with robust 26" wheels and fatter tires. Road bicycle wheels are not made for the use you're describing.
    Last edited by jyl; 12-28-12 at 12:15 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Frankly, there isn't a wheel made that will stand up to a steady diet of the abuse you describe. You can either modify your riding style or have a big budget for replacement parts.
    This is a great point Hillrider. Since I like to ride mainly paved streets mixed with curbs,steps, and gravel trails, how would a hardtail mountain bike hold up to this type of riding? I could look at the Trek Hardtails for example. I ride about 20 miles a day. A roadbike or a hybrid bike is not working. So I hope the mountain bike is the answer. The BMX bike is too small, I'm 6'2" @ 195#.

    The Trek Mamba looks very durable.

    Trek-Mamba-in-white.jpg

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...er_sport/mamba

  11. #11
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    Get bigger tires for your DS and pump them up to max inflation. I think you can get a 2" tire in those things. This would be cheaper than new wheels or a new bike... unless you just want an excuse to get a mtn bike.

    Did you buy the bike new at a dealer? If so, they should be replacing those spokes under warranty... you get a two year warranty on the wheels, spokes are not a wear item, you are way below any kind of weight limit which Trek does not put on their wheels anyway.

  12. #12
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    +1 To the MTB route. Myself, I am a big fan of the older, rigid frame mtbs. They are plentiful, cheap, and the better ones were well made. And replacement (used) wheels are also plentiful and cheap. I picked up a set of wheels a couple of days ago, complete with tubes, tires, and cassette, for $4. I figured the tubes alone covered that price. Obviously a deal, but I have seen plenty of them for $10 or less.

    For that price of a new Mamba, you can buy 10 or more used rigid frame mtbs. Your choice. The last new bike I bought was 1974. Since then, everything has been used. Its not uncommon to find 10 to 20 year old bikes, that have been ridden less than 50 miles. A lot of bikes are bought for the best intentions, and then sit idle.

  13. #13
    Senior Member clarkbre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Did you buy the bike new at a dealer? If so, they should be replacing those spokes under warranty... you get a two year warranty on the wheels, spokes are not a wear item, you are way below any kind of weight limit which Trek does not put on their wheels anyway.
    Actually, I would hope that Trek and the LBS wouldn't repair it under warranty. In what way should Trek or any other company have to replace failed parts due to an operator's overly aggressive riding style?

    Analogy:

    "I just bought a Ford sedan a few months ago. I keep driving it off curbs and hitting things. The tires are always going flat and the wheels are bent.... Not to mention, once I know they are flat and bent, I keep driving it instead of getting it fixed...possibly making it worse"

    Ford should replace those tires and wheels under warranty!
    Last edited by clarkbre; 12-28-12 at 07:32 PM.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reptilezs View Post
    spoke wrench and freewheel tool. freewheel tool so you can snake the new spoke in. i would consider a new wheel or rebuild if you continue to break more spokes
    I'd recommend adding a spoke tensiometer to your tool list.

    A bicycle wheel has 4 components: Hub, rim, spokes and build quality. The last is both the most important and the most frequently overlooked. If all that you do after breaking a spoke is to replace the broken spoke, what you've done is to return the wheel to the condition that it was in previously. What it was previously was a wheel that was about to break a spoke.

    When I replace a broken spoke I take the time to check the tension on every spoke and to equalize them to the greatest extent possible. That obviously takes quite a bit longer to do but you won't have to do it nearly as often.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I'd recommend adding a spoke tensiometer to your tool list.
    .
    While I agree that establishing even tension after replacing a spoke is important, it doesn't require an expensive tool. Wheel builders and mechanics have gorren along fine without this tool for about a century.

    Relative tension among the spokes is easily determined by sound. Spin the wheel with your thumb nail against the spokes and listen to the ping. Higher pitch means higher tension, so you can easily spot loose or tight spokes, bringing them all as close to even tension as possible.

    Don't forget that on rear wheels the right flange spokes will be higher than the left. Also, used wheels usually cannot be brought to alignment and even tension because of bends in the rim, so your goal is the evenest tension possible, but alignment is trumps.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    A quality set of road rims, properly built and correctly tensioned, will stand up to the occasional pothole and infrequently slipping off a curb, if you are not too heavy. I am 185# and my handbuilt 28H/32H Mavic Open Pros stay true in that situation.

    If you insist on jumping off curbs and down steps regularly, and you are a heavy guy or carry a significant load, even those wheels will get damaged. An inexpensive set of machine built wheels like the one the OP linked to, that have not been hand-tensioned and maintained, will get damaged sooner. I think you'll chew through a set of wheels each term, if not more often. At $25-40 for a bike shop to replace spokes and retrue, or $250 to buy a new set of wheels after the rims are no longer salvageable, that will get rather expensive.

    I think you should either learn to build and maintain wheels, so you can pick up cheap rims from the bike co-op and chew through them, or ride a mountain bike with robust 26" wheels and fatter tires. Road bicycle wheels are not made for the use you're describing.
    The reason I recommend those wheels is that they are 36 spokes and came from Harris tensioned properly. At least 100kg. I have two friends who bought them.

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