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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 08-31-08, 11:09 AM   #1
cabrilo
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3rd broken spoke in 300 miles

Hi,

I have recently got into road cycling. I purchased an old cannondale for $120 and have enjoyed it greatly. For the first couple hundred miles I had no problems with wheels, but recently I broke a spoke on my rear wheel. I took it to a mechanic who fixed it. 50 miles later I broke another spoke. I took it to a different mechanic (i've heard this one is better). We discussed the wheel, he assured me it would handle my weight and he just fixed the spoke. (ironically, this store is called "truly spokin")
This morning I broke another spoke. I have searched the forum and it seems like deep v's are the way to go. This seems a bit expensive for my $120 dollar bike (with down-tube shifters). However, the cost of replacing spokes is adding up

My question is this: Is there any reliable alternative to buying these expensive wheels? If you still think I should go with deep V's where can I purchase them? Can I save some money by reusing my hubs? Should I save money by only upgrading the rear wheel?

My weight: 239lbs
Wheels: mavic xp11 32 spoke count
tire: bontrager select B 700x23
Hub: shimano RSX
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Old 08-31-08, 11:20 AM   #2
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Look at the Weinmann dp18. Get it in a 36 spoke configuration. It's not quite the quality of the Velocity wheels, but it'll work. Make sure they are at least hand tensioned, and preferabley hand built and tensioned with a 14 gage spoke. I've had great luck with straight gage spokes on my wheels, but viewpoints differ on butted, double butted, or triple butted spokes.
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Old 08-31-08, 11:28 AM   #3
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Thank you for your idea Tom. I just did some more research, and now I understand that the wheel, hub and the rim are 3 independent pieces of equipment.

Since I had no problems with the rim I am wondering if I only replace the spokes with something stronger, would that help?

Also would you recommend I switch to 700x25 from 700x23? My ride is very harsh as is, with an old aluminum cannonade.
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Old 08-31-08, 11:40 AM   #4
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Been there, done that.. I just got sick of it.. Had my wheels re-spoked. Its worth it..
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Old 08-31-08, 12:04 PM   #5
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Yeah, it'll help. Rermember, though that the rims have a limited lifetime as well as the spokes. They get a bit soft and flexy, so you might respoke and start breaking spokes right off the bat. Have a good wheelbuilder look and see if the rim needs replacing. You might also consider just replacing the rear wheel with a deep section like the Weinmann or Velocity.

As to the 25 down to 23? Yeah, you'll have a bit harsher ride and no real difference in performance that you'll notice. I run 26mm Soma Everwears and just love them!
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Old 08-31-08, 12:22 PM   #6
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Thank you for your idea Tom. I just did some more research, and now I understand that the wheel, hub and the rim are 3 independent pieces of equipment.

Since I had no problems with the rim I am wondering if I only replace the spokes with something stronger, would that help?

Also would you recommend I switch to 700x25 from 700x23? My ride is very harsh as is, with an old aluminum cannonade.
Yes, going to a 25 should give you a slightly smoother ride.
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Old 08-31-08, 01:47 PM   #7
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Thank you all. I will speak with my mechanic on tuesday and see what he thinks. I am thinking about trying better spokes on the rear wheel first, and see if that helps.

Next time I replace tires, I will definitely go with 25 or 26.
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Old 08-31-08, 02:29 PM   #8
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Save money by only doing the rear. Front wheels last much longer since they are under less stress.
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Old 08-31-08, 03:25 PM   #9
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also, typically when you break a spoke, the ones around it weaken as well. Has your mechanic check the rest of the spokes? If not, you can squeeze the crap out of them your self and see if they go. Good luck!
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Old 08-31-08, 05:58 PM   #10
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I had good luck with Mavic Aksium's, if you keep your eyes open (Performancebike, Nashbar, etc...) you might be able to pick up one for a little over $100. But then you should have it tensioned by hand ($40). At that point you're at the same place as a Deep V ($60 for the rim, $32 for the spokes, $40 for the build if you reuse the hub which should be fine).

If you check out the 'Devolution of a Wheel' section in my sig you can see how much time and money I went through to find a cheap alternative. Just plunked down the cash for a Deep V (rear) built by Norm at Harris Cyclery and am soooo happy about it.

Or you could keep pouring money into it to save money. Like:
- Rebuilding with all new spokes ($1 x 32) + $40ish to build ($72 +)
- Replace rim after rebuilding it if that doesn't work ($60-$70 for the rim, $40 to rebuild again) - $100 (add $32 if you want to rebuild it from the beginning)
- ....and now you're at $170. I could keep going with that progression but trust me - I did it and went through more than what the Deep V cost.

However, you're also lighter than I am and if the rim is OK you may get by with spending $70 on new spokes and build. Or you may not...

If you don't care about matching, sets, and that sort of nonsense you only need one rear wheel which saves quite a bit right there. I have a Mavic Aksium on the front and Deep V on the rear right now.
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Old 08-31-08, 06:51 PM   #11
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Mechanic is going to sell you what he has in stock. Order a Velocity Deep V online. Can be had for $50'ish bucks. Google it and you'll ocme up with a few online stores.

$60 for the rim and $50 for the build and $25 for spokes. Seems expensive to you but it's really not and well worth it for a long life or riding. Yup, use the same hub!

Remember, a $120 bike with a $120 wheel is much more enjoyable than a $120 bike hanging in the garage!
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Old 08-31-08, 06:54 PM   #12
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Save your money on getting a new hub and have the current hub relaced to a new rim. Hopefully there is a good wheelsmith at one of those shops that can properly build the wheel and tension the spokes. A Mavic CXP 22 or 33 will somewhat match your front wheel, assuming you have a matching set now.

A good shop will order the rim you want.
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Old 09-02-08, 06:22 PM   #13
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Update: Spoke with Mark at "Truly Spokin" He thinks we should try fixing the spoke one more time. Only charging me $1.50 this time. I will let you know how it goes.
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Old 09-03-08, 03:56 AM   #14
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Remember, a $120 bike with a $120 wheel is much more enjoyable than a $120 bike hanging in the garage!
excellent advice!
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Old 09-03-08, 07:02 AM   #15
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Update: Spoke with Mark at "Truly Spokin" He thinks we should try fixing the spoke one more time. Only charging me $1.50 this time. I will let you know how it goes.
You can go this route but it won't work.

The wheel is a system. The spokes balance out the loads of you sitting on it by counteracting those forces. When one starts to push, another pulls. Broken spokes come from one of three sources (everything else remaining equal (no sticks in the wheel and that sort of thing)): Too much tension, too little tension, manufactures defect. Of these too little tension is usually the culprit and will break at the elbow next to the hub. Too much tension will usually and hopefully break at the rim - I say hopefully because too much tension can also crack the rim or cause the spokes to pull through.

When you break more than two or three it means the wheel isn't tensioned and that the remaining spokes have been stressed and stretched by improper tension. Adding a newer, stronger spoke in its place changes the dynamics of how this new and used system works - now THAT newer spoke won't stretch like the others which will place extra forces on the system until another pops.

Yes, eventually after all 32 spokes break you'll effectively rebuild the wheel, but at $1.5 x 32 = $48 how many trips to the lbs is it worth until you'd realize all that back and forth time could be better spent riding for an extra $25 ($72 for new spokes and rebuild). Also at that point you've completely stressed out the rim by messing with the system - if a spoke popped and you immediately didn't get off it could very well bend the rim.

Besides that though I'm not convinced he's a good wheelbuilder - not sure of too many builders that would recommend replacing them one at a time after a Clyde broke three spokes (unless you told him that you have no money and what other options are there). It's good he's giving you a steep discount to test his theory out so that's a plus and makes me less inclined to think he's just milking your business.

[by the way, have a few wheelbuilding links in my sig if you want to get a better idea of how this whole thing works]
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Old 09-03-08, 03:54 PM   #16
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Got the bike back. He did not charge me at all.
I don't know if it makes a difference but they are all breaking on the head of the spoke at the hub.

Thank you all for great input. I am thinking about printing this page and taking it to mechanic. (is this kosher?)
Air, thank you for detailed response.

Agreed on the fact that it sucks not having a bike at all.
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Old 09-03-08, 06:41 PM   #17
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Besides that though I'm not convinced he's a good wheelbuilder - not sure of too many builders that would recommend replacing them one at a time after a Clyde broke three spokes (unless you told him that you have no money and what other options are there). It's good he's giving you a steep discount to test his theory out so that's a plus and makes me less inclined to think he's just milking your business.

Kind of unfair to make that statement. The guy didn't build the wheel, only trying to make it work. Obviously the OP doesn't want to invest too much money so the shop guy is trying the cheap way. Not his fault it's not working. Plus the guy is now only charging the cost of the spoke and last post the OP says 'no charge'.

But again, like I said before, the $120 wheel is going to be much more enjoyable. And the original wheel is obviously at this point not going to work!
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Old 09-03-08, 07:55 PM   #18
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took it for a 20 mile run. Smooth as can be. Honestly, I would pay for a new wheel but the mechanics is convinced this will work.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:10 PM   #19
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Only time will tell, like the other posters have stated, it's typical that once one spoke goes, the rest will follow. (based on personal experience and in reading of other's experiences).

On the other hand- I have a pair of 32 spoke Deep-V's on my IRO and I can literally pound the snot out of them and they don't go out of true - amazing wheels.
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Old 09-03-08, 11:41 PM   #20
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Kind of unfair to make that statement. The guy didn't build the wheel, only trying to make it work. Obviously the OP doesn't want to invest too much money so the shop guy is trying the cheap way. Not his fault it's not working. Plus the guy is now only charging the cost of the spoke and last post the OP says 'no charge'.
You're right - it's why I said 'unless' because then he is trying to be accommodating. If the OP brought it in and asked if it should be rebuilt, new wheel all together, option C, etc... and the builder said we'll just replace the spokes one at a time that's probably not a good sign. But if the OP was trying to do this on the cheap he's helping you out.

I really wouldn't print out the page - if he's a knowledgeable wheelbuilder you'll probably come across as trying to show him up especially after he's been trying to help you with someone else's bad build

See what happens, maybe he retensioned it for you. If you pop another one or two though I'd ask him if he thinks the rim should be strong enough and should he replace all the spokes and relace them, replace the rim with the same one and rebuild it, or go with a Deep V.

Also, the more 'favors' that you get from this place the more you'll probably spend on a new wheel - it's bad etiquette to have a place go out of their way to help you out so you can buy something from somewhere else. It's why a lot of great shops go out of business. Also if THEY buy a new rim and it's bent from the factory (it happens) then they'll be in charge of warranty and replace it. If you bring in a rim you found on the cheap from a website and it's bent they'll still charge you for the build. You won't be able to tell it's bent either, you can only tell after it's been laced and tensioned. Good explanation on this from Peter White himself.
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Old 09-04-08, 06:14 PM   #21
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I don't know. If to spokes on my wheel broke and i was low on funds, I'd still "Bite the Bullet" and purchase a new wheel/wheelset or relace your current one. Two spokes is bad enough, but three? I'm pretty sure that all of your spokes are shot. Most builders and mechanics will tell you that. They've seen it all and in this case, I strongly doubt that the majority are wrong.You'll be getting your wheel relaced over time, but the spokes will have different levels of wear on them. That's nice of him to keep you on the road, but is it really worth the all of the time of getting each spoke replaced and stress waiting for the next spoke to break? Just be careful and good luck.
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Old 09-04-08, 07:11 PM   #22
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I don't know. If to spokes on my wheel broke and i was low on funds, I'd still "Bite the Bullet" and purchase a new wheel/wheelset or relace your current one. Two spokes is bad enough, but three? I'm pretty sure that all of your spokes are shot. Most builders and mechanics will tell you that. They've seen it all and in this case, I strongly doubt that the majority are wrong.You'll be getting your wheel relaced over time, but the spokes will have different levels of wear on them. That's nice of him to keep you on the road, but is it really worth the all of the time of getting each spoke replaced and stress waiting for the next spoke to break? Just be careful and good luck.
One of the issues, is that not only do you get to replace every spoke, but every spoke will have extra stress on it, so they will not last as long, eventually it ends up being a cycle of diminishing returns, until every ride, even just around the block ends up breaking a spoke. One way to save some money, is to get the shop to tell you the length of spoke(s) and then just buy enough to do the wheel, plus a bunch of nipples, mark the old spokes, then remove most of the tension on the wheel, and swap the spokes yourself, one by one, drop the completed wheel off at the shop for truing and tensioning, and you have a relaced wheel for about half the cost..... However it really depends on what your time is worth, if you can make more in less time, if may not be worth it, although the satisfaction of knowing that you did most of the work yourself, can make it worth it.....
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Old 09-04-08, 07:32 PM   #23
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waiting for the next spoke to break?
This is an excellent point that I forgot to mention - the next spoke could be when it's sitting in your living room or bombing down a hill. If it goes enough out of true to lock up you could get very hurt.
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Old 09-13-08, 03:57 PM   #24
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Guess what? Broke additional 2 spokes on a 40 mile ride. This was during a group ride, and everyone recommended a local wheel builder. I left the bike with him, and he is rebuilding the whole wheel.

I am thinking if I should call him and ask him to rebuild it with deep V's since they are so highly recommended. He is a third mechanic who thinks the wheel will be fine.
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Old 09-13-08, 07:06 PM   #25
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I would bite the bullet and get him to lace up the Deep V - you'll never have to worry about the wheel again.
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