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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-13-08, 04:56 PM   #1
SaCaCh
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Frustrated with my spokes

OK I started riding last year on a cheapish bike from Dicks SG in the $300 range. Everything was great until about 1200 miles in a broke a spoke. Couple months later another. Now this spring two in about two months. My roads that I ride between 17-34 miles a day on are crap So what do I do? I don't have much money at all and have no clue how to do repairs on such things. My LBS will repair for $16 should I keep doing that or buy a new wheel? IF so what wheel for cheap but will last? If I get a new wheel what do I do about the thing the chain is on? (See I don't know much). I just want a bike that goes everyday like when I was a kid! (and 150lbs lighter...)

Help!
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Old 05-13-08, 05:13 PM   #2
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OK I started riding last year on a cheapish bike from Dicks SG in the $300 range. Everything was great until about 1200 miles in a broke a spoke. Couple months later another. Now this spring two in about two months. My roads that I ride between 17-34 miles a day on are crap So what do I do? I don't have much money at all and have no clue how to do repairs on such things. My LBS will repair for $16 should I keep doing that or buy a new wheel? IF so what wheel for cheap but will last? If I get a new wheel what do I do about the thing the chain is on? (See I don't know much). I just want a bike that goes everyday like when I was a kid! (and 150lbs lighter...)

Help!
If you break one spoke, you fix it, the fix should include re-tensioning the wheel, you break more then 2 spokes, you need to replace ALL the spokes and get the wheel properly tensioned. Otherwise you will keep repairing spokes ad nausium.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:17 PM   #3
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If you break one spoke, you fix it, the fix should include re-tensioning the wheel, you break more then 2 spokes, you need to replace ALL the spokes and get the wheel properly tensioned. Otherwise you will keep repairing spokes ad nausium.
Is that worth it on a cheap rim??
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Old 05-13-08, 05:21 PM   #4
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I had a Mavic X317 built up for 70 dollars. They did reuse my hub, but if its still good it will save you a few bucks. Check with your LBS, you might be able to score a rim/hub that someone upgraded from when they bought a new bike. You might be able to get one for a little bit of nothing, never hurts to ask.
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Old 05-13-08, 06:06 PM   #5
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Is that worth it on a cheap rim??
Well that depends, lots of folks swap rims at the same time, however if one is short on funds, and the existing rim is in okay condition, then you can reuse it. If you have lots of spare money around then get yourself an Ultegra level 36 hole hub, a good rim and get them a good wheel builder to build up a wheel with stainless steel double butted spokes. The key is the tension though, most bike shop guys are not trained to tension wheels properly.
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Old 05-13-08, 06:24 PM   #6
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Well that depends, lots of folks swap rims at the same time, however if one is short on funds, and the existing rim is in okay condition, then you can reuse it. If you have lots of spare money around then get yourself an Ultegra level 36 hole hub, a good rim and get them a good wheel builder to build up a wheel with stainless steel double butted spokes. The key is the tension though, most bike shop guys are not trained to tension wheels properly.
Yeah I have been to two local guys and one guy said tighter and the other looser spokes, hence this is why I am lost.
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Old 05-13-08, 06:40 PM   #7
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The shop should have tensionmeter to put them in the ballpark. Truing the wheel consists of lossening some then tightening other so all spokes will never be the same, close maybe but not the same.

If you have loose spokes, it allows the spoke to jiggle around in the hub hole. Like bending a wire over and over, eventually it will snap.

A new wheel needs a couple of hundred miles to break in the spokes and for them to set properly etc. They loose tension so they NEED to be retensioned at that point. Then the touble stops. If you don't you are almost surely going to break a spoke.

Most shops true the wheel but don't tension it after 200 miles. I've met too many to metnion in the same postition. Doesn't matter what trick the shop uses (loctite, magic fairy dust) they must be retensioned. I've had too many wheels pop cause the shop guys say they drank magic potions while building the wheel.

Needs tension!..I built mine, retensioned andhas been 14,000 miles with no trouble. The magic fairy guy's wheel failed after 40, and I paid him!
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Old 05-13-08, 06:55 PM   #8
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Get the wheel rebuilt. You can use the same hub.
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Old 05-13-08, 07:30 PM   #9
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Get a rebuild. DT Swiss 14gauge. I had this problem too and after three spokes in 1 (frustrating) month I went for new wheels. THOSE broke a couple of times!! Finally had to have a handbuilt wheel in the rear (shop covered the expense...yay!) and so far no problems. The Mavic wheels had some no-name spokes so they threw on some DTs' and all has been golden ever since...

It is a bit pricier but worth it.

Forgot to add, either you or your shop should check the rim. My rim was starting to crack at the spoke heads at about 5/6 places, hence the dough dropped on a new wheel set.
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Old 05-14-08, 03:42 AM   #10
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The last two that have broken have been at the hub, does that mean anything?
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Old 05-14-08, 05:30 AM   #11
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Yeah I have been to two local guys and one guy said tighter and the other looser spokes, hence this is why I am lost.
Tighter is the key, broken spokes mean tension is too low, typically if tension is too high, it will be tough to true the wheel properly, at proper tension, you don't need spoke prep (locktite etc) , the tension on the threads will keep the spoke and nipple from turning, hence keeping the spokes from loosening. Check with local bike clubs and your school board, to see if anyone offers a bicycle mechanics course or better a wheel building course. If you learn how to tension and true a wheel, you can do this job easily yourself, and then you know it's done right.
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Old 05-17-08, 06:51 PM   #12
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Spoke breakage

Ditto on replacing all the spokes.
Far too many LBS's will try to fluff it off and just replace the broken spoke. Asking for a complete spoke replacement will usually get you the "U need a New Wheel" response.
Stick to your guns.
Check the wheel for trueness AFTER you get it back from the shop...trust me on this.
A couple of seasons back a gal I ride with sold a perfectly good Giant road bike because it kept incurring spoke breakage (drive side). The shop always replaced 'just the broken spoke'
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Old 05-17-08, 07:24 PM   #13
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The last two that have broken have been at the hub, does that mean anything?

Hmmm, maybe wasting my time posting improtant stuff here!



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If you have loose spokes, it allows the spoke to jiggle around in the hub hole. Like bending a wire over and over, eventually it will snap.
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Old 05-18-08, 05:26 AM   #14
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Hmmm, maybe wasting my time posting improtant stuff here!

LOL don't be hurt I am getting old and fogged in the brain.

Well I brought the wheel into the guy and he was looking at the wheel and lightly strummed a couple of spokes and another just snapped. We both agreed that it was probably a bad batch of spokes from China as I have a crappy cheap bike. So he is going to rebuild the wheel but it will be about a week as he is busy. Thanks everyone for you help!
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Old 05-18-08, 09:04 AM   #15
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Cool, even the cheap crappy bikes are good bikes once you slap a good strong sturdy wheel on the rear. I've had a cheapo bike, replaced the wheel and the sucker was great to ride!

An important note. Once he rebuilds the wheel, you NEED to retension the spokes after 200 or 300 miles or you will be in for the same problem. The spokes seat, breakin and lose tension setting up the wheel for more broken spokes at the hub. Doesn't matter what anybody says, it nees to be retensioned at that point if you want it to last.
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Old 05-18-08, 11:05 AM   #16
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I have a Trek 7100 that I bought new (based on recommendations here) from a LBS. I've only had the bike for a couple of months, and I've only been riding it for about a month. The other day I busted a spoke.

Now, I'm a for-sure bona fide clyde. 299 when I bought the bike. The lady that sold me the bike obviously knew I was a fat man. When I took the bike back to the Trek store to have the spoke fixed, I asked the mechanic if I could expect to have this sort of thing happen regularly.

He started talking about how the bike I have was on the low end of he Trek line and has cheap wheels. Honestly, he sounded like he was working for Trek's competition.

"OK, what you're telling me is that I walked in here two months ago, gave y'all close to $400 (bike & accessories) and y'all sold me a Cheap Piece O' ****?"

He crawfished (backed up) and said that the next step up had the upgraded wheels that likely wouldn't have broken.

By the time it was all said & done, I wound up ordering an upgraded wheel and cassette (at a discount) that they will install for free. Did I get taken again? Did I throw good money after bad? I dunno. The kid seemed honest & earnest. He sure knows more about bikes than I do. Since I'm using the bike as a commuter I can't afford to be breaking spokes regularly. He didn't try to sell me both wheels, but only the back since that's the one taking the brunt of the punishment when my big fat *** is mashing it over pavement irregularities.

I'm thinking about hanging the original wheel on the garage wall as a reminder to go into a purchase w/ a bit more knowledge in the future.

Live & Learn.
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Old 05-18-08, 11:29 AM   #17
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If you have lots of spare money around then get yourself an Ultegra level 36 hole hub, a good rim and get them a good wheel builder to build up a wheel with stainless steel double butted spokes.
I just want to add two points:

1. If Ultegra seems too spendy, get the 105.
2. Consider learning to build your own wheels. It isn't hard, but is is time consuming.
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Old 05-18-08, 11:34 AM   #18
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He started talking about how the bike I have was on the low end of he Trek line and has cheap wheels. Honestly, he sounded like he was working for Trek's competition.
He was doing you a favor by giving you his honest opinion. That guy works on bikes all day long and knows better than almost anyone what is good and what is bad and what is excellent. He doesn't work for Trek's marketing department and you should be happy he isn't sugar coating the truth just because his employer sells Trek products.

PS- Sorry about your wheel. I know what it is like to have a brand new Mavic Open Pro 32h built up on an Ultegra hub fail because it was machine built by a worthless company. That is when I leaned to build my own wheels, and to always use 36h hubs.
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Old 05-18-08, 12:52 PM   #19
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He was doing you a favor by giving you his honest opinion. That guy works on bikes all day long and knows better than almost anyone what is good and what is bad and what is excellent. He doesn't work for Trek's marketing department and you should be happy he isn't sugar coating the truth just because his employer sells Trek products.

PS- Sorry about your wheel. I know what it is like to have a brand new Mavic Open Pro 32h built up on an Ultegra hub fail because it was machine built by a worthless company. That is when I leaned to build my own wheels, and to always use 36h hubs.
Oh - I'm not mad at him. He was a decent kid. I really don't think he was steering me wrong w/ his recommendation. He repaired the spoke for free, ordered the new wheel and didn't demand I pay for it on the spot (even though I offered to). He was OK.

I am a bit annoyed at the woman who sold me the bike. It would have been nice if she had mentioned the issue w/ the wheels. Especially when you consider that I asked specifically about the wheels and the pedals given the amount of weight that I would be putting on them.

But that's certainly not the mechanic's fault.

I'm pretty impressed that you're building your own wheels. I don't know enough about bikes to replace a chain, let alone do something that intricate.

Someday, maybe.
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Old 05-18-08, 01:28 PM   #20
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i am eagerly awaiting a spoke breaking on me i am not allowed to get new tools until i need to repair something. so once i break a spoke i can justify the truing stand, spoke wrenches, etc.

I consider each repair as a chance to learn something new.
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Old 05-18-08, 02:42 PM   #21
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i am eagerly awaiting a spoke breaking on me i am not allowed to get new tools until i need to repair something. so once i break a spoke i can justify the truing stand, spoke wrenches, etc.

I consider each repair as a chance to learn something new.
Wanna buy a wheel?
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Old 05-18-08, 03:15 PM   #22
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The wheel should have held up longer than a couple of miles. If they didn't, you should have had Dick's replace them under warranty. Bad builds happen. While you had a bad experience, the next 20 sold might have no issue. Trek lists the 7100 as having no-name wheels (Alloy hubs w/Clix; Matrix 550 alloy rims ~ TrekBikes.com), while the 7200 has (Alloy front hub w/Clix, Shimano RM30 rear hub; Matrix 750 rims).

If the second rim holds up better -- its probably simply due to luck, as they probably run the same spokes.

As for the sales lady -- when people come in asking for the cheapest bike... usually they dont like being upsold $100 (the difference between the 7100 and 7200). I wouldn't fault her.

I would save your pennies for a good rear wheel (Mavic Open Pro w/ a 105 or Ultregra hub for ~$120 online) that you can rely on.
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Old 05-18-08, 03:18 PM   #23
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i am eagerly awaiting a spoke breaking on me i am not allowed to get new tools until i need to repair something. so once i break a spoke i can justify the truing stand, spoke wrenches, etc.

I consider each repair as a chance to learn something new.
Just take a pair of wire cutters and cut off a spoke! Broken is broken.
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Old 05-18-08, 04:24 PM   #24
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i am eagerly awaiting a spoke breaking on me i am not allowed to get new tools until i need to repair something. so once i break a spoke i can justify the truing stand, spoke wrenches, etc.

I consider each repair as a chance to learn something new.

Spoke wrench is about $5, got mine on sale for $2!...Dishing tool is $12, truing stand is $29 on sale. Shops have fancy stuff, I have cheapo stuff but mine have lasted 14,000. Some pro built () wheels I had only lasted 40 miles.

Don't need expensive stuff. Plus you can slip the truing stand and true the wheel right on the bike. using the brake pads.

Why wait till a spoke breaks, add some tension before they do! If the wheel is ture, I add a black mark onto the spoke with a sharpie pen. Then I turn each nipple about 1 to 1.5 times for more tension. But make sure the black mark stays in place to ensure that the spoke isn't binding up while turning! EZ, biggest thing is most are scared to try.
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