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  1. #1
    Spoke busting fat guy
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    Too heavy for my wheels?

    Alright, I'm a 6'2" 243 pound clyde, and I've got a frustrating little problem going here. It seems my weight is causing my spokes to bust. I've got about 800 miles on my 07 Allez Elite, and the wheels are the ALX 298's.

    The guys at the LBS are replacing them, but they're telling me it's probably gonna just keep happening. These guys are honest, so I believe them.

    I'm really not too excited about the idea of dropping major $ on a new wheelset, but busting a spoke in the middle of BFE was definitely not a good time.

    Anyone had a similar problem? What wheels are you using? WTF should I do about this? I didn't spend this kind of $ on a bike so I could be afraid to ride it.....

  2. #2
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    Where do the spokes "bust"?

    With low spoke counts you need to be checking the spoke tension after EVERY ride. You can get away with a lower number of spokes but you need to watch them.

    If you do not want to fork money out for a new wheel set then I would suggest having the wheels laced up with thicker spokes.

  3. #3
    Banned
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    Although my current weight is classified, when I started I was 300 pounds of big strapping white boy. And I bought a bike with Bontrager Race Lite Aero wheels:



    And I've put 2000+ miles on these wheels and they are so solid they are still true. But on my FS MTB I was breaking spokes every day, I had the LBS rebuild the rear wheel with Swiss DT 14 gauge spokes and a badass rim with eyelets for spokes and that wheel has never busted a spoke since...

  4. #4
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Ask if you can trade the new wheels in for credit towards a different pair.
    One of the best Clyde rims out there is the Mavic CXP33.. build it up with
    ULtegra hubs and good spokes and you won't have any more problems.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  5. #5
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    ALX 298:
    20f/24r tipping the scales at 1680g/pair.



    Ultegra hubs: 615g
    Mavic CXP33 rims: 940g
    DT Champion 1.8 spokes (64): 359g
    Total weight: 1914g <-- 234g gain
    Total weight with DT Comp 15/16 spokes: 1866g

    Ultegra/DT 1.8
    DT Swiss RR1.1 single: 830g
    Total weight: 1804g
    Total weight with DT Comp 15/16 spokes: 1756g <-- 76g gain.


    For only a 76g weight gain, you can move up to a stronger, more forgiving wheel with 32 double butted spokes and not have to worry about checking your spoke tension after every ride as you do with a lower (sub 28) spoke count wheel. For 234g you can can go up to a wheel that would handle double detail as a minesweeper and probably stay trued.

    I ride 32h Alex DA16 rims, 3 cross laced with DT Champion 2.0 spokes to Deore 535 hubs on my commuter/distance bike. I'm building a 32h DT Swiss RR1.1single, laced the same to a dynohub.
    I've got 17 year old 32h Wolber Alpine rims, 3 cross laced with Champ 2.0 spokes to IRO high flange hubs on my fixed gear, and I've never had a problem with them.
    In case you can't tell, I'm a big fan of DT spokes over Wheelsmith, and a recent convert to their rims over Mavic or Alex. Don't get me wrong; Mavic rims still kick some serious tail, but I like the DT rims on personal preference for picky reasons like wear indicators or a 0.4mm wider profile.

  6. #6
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    I hope that rim works out for you. But I know from years of experience that
    the CXP33 would.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  7. #7
    Spoke busting fat guy
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    Thanks for all the input. I guess I don't have to worry about it, though. When I went to pick up my bike the LBS had installed a brand new wheel for me at no charge. Un-frickin-believable I didn't write down the specifics on the wheel, but it is a Specialized brand wheel which definitely looks beefier than the ALX 298 I had previously.

    I can't say enough good things about my LBS. I'd post the name of the shop but I'm not sure if it's against forum rules. I can say that if anyone is looking for a good LBS in the Jeff City, MO area, there's a really awesome one on West Edgewood.

  8. #8
    Senior Member tabnlu's Avatar
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    I just had a new set of cxp22's put on my bike about a month and a half ago. So far so good with my 260 lbs of packaging to ride on them. Did my 1st half century yesterday! Yay me!
    2000 Trek 1000 (yellow bike)
    2008 Trek 7000

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    FWIW, I would go 36h on the rear if you replace your wheels.

  10. #10
    Bikezilla Mazama's Avatar
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    Dude, I'm running 100lbs more butt than you. Exactly what spoke are they offering you? I would suggest your LBS step up to a better spoke (or change LBS).
    14,000 miles and rolling...

  11. #11
    Senior Member brotherj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobjenkins79 View Post
    Alright, I'm a 6'2" 243 pound clyde, and I've got a frustrating little problem going here. It seems my weight is causing my spokes to bust. I've got about 800 miles on my 07 Allez Elite, and the wheels are the ALX 298's.

    The guys at the LBS are replacing them, but they're telling me it's probably gonna just keep happening. These guys are honest, so I believe them.

    I'm really not too excited about the idea of dropping major $ on a new wheelset, but busting a spoke in the middle of BFE was definitely not a good time.

    Anyone had a similar problem? What wheels are you using? WTF should I do about this? I didn't spend this kind of $ on a bike so I could be afraid to ride it.....
    Low spoke count is a problem, but even with low count I've managed to get good milage on by Khamsin's and never broke a spoke. I have a set of 24 spoke Weinmann's that have not hiccuped. On the other hand I bought a Schwinn mountain bike a couple years ago when just starting out with 36 spoke front and rear and went through the rear drive side spokes like penny candy. I finally put stiffer rims on and really tensioned the spokes and all problems went away.

    Looking at a friend's bike that was breaking spokes, and he wasn't heavy, barely a clyde, and found that the spokes were not tight. I trued and tensioned the spokes until I couldn't tighten them any more without twisting the wrench off the nipple and he hasn't had a spoke break in nearly 2000 miles.

    It seems that loose spokes cause more problems than anything else. From my reading it appears that loose spokes allow a constant tensing relaxing to occur which fatigues the metal in the spoke and causes a break in short order. If the spoke is under high tension there is a tensing relaxing cycle but the spoke isn't flexing to the same degree and it doesn't fatigue as quickly.

    This is probably the reason my Khamsin wheels are so sturdy. Between the rim, which seems absolutely stiff, and the spoke tension, the wheel doesn't flex at all. I tried a tensiometer on it and could hardly get the spoke to deflect at all.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mazama View Post
    Dude, I'm running 100lbs more butt than you. Exactly what spoke are they offering you? I would suggest your LBS step up to a better spoke (or change LBS).
    Yes! I think the problem with most stock wheels isn't the low number of spokes, but the fact that the spokes you do get are small and spindly. And not properly tensioned in many cases. A thicker, heavy-duty spoke may do as much to prevents problems as increasing the number of spokes....

  13. #13
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Yes! I think the problem with most stock wheels isn't the low number of spokes, but the fact that the spokes you do get are small and spindly. And not properly tensioned in many cases. A thicker, heavy-duty spoke may do as much to prevents problems as increasing the number of spokes....
    Most of the low count wheel spokes are actually thicker then more traditional spokes. However spoke tension is the key. Most pre-built wheels are built by machines, the problem is that as you add tension, you get an increasing chance for the spoke to twist as the nipple is being turned. This is called spoke wind-up.

    Machines handle this one of two ways, the first is they use a type of glue called spoke-prep, and tighten the spokes only to the point where they tend to twist. Second they tighten them further and don't worry about it. As you put weight on the wheel, spokes tend to unwind. The result ends up the same, too low tension, causing the spokes to flex and break.

  14. #14
    Senior Member BayBruin's Avatar
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    I had stock wheels on my Trek Portland...Bontrager with 20 count up front and 24 on rear. Rode it for about 3 weeks before the rear wheel got tweaked beyond repair. Was constantly having the LBS true the wheels. I was over 300+ back then. BTW, I also cracked the top tube of my Portland (aluminum frame) without knowing it. I ride very carefully and try to miss all pot holes and bumps. I put on a couple thousand miles and noticed a creaking noise. The shop caught it. The Trek rep said he had never seen anything like it. They replaced the frame free of charge.

    My second wheel set has been aces....DT Swiss hubs (440 I think), Salsa rims, 36 count spokes. No problems and holds a true very well.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emile Faber

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