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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 11-24-08, 07:37 AM   #1
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Tacoed two wheels in six weeks. Advice?

Hello everyone, I'm new to the board, and it's been helpful reading though a lot of the posts.

I bought a 22" Raleigh Oakland about six weeks ago for commuting. Most of my riding is on roads or paved cycle paths, with some cobblestones and other bumps along the way. I'm 6'2" and about 250 lbs.

Three weeks ago, my front wheel tacoed going around a corner at a slow pace (slow enough that I caught myself pretty easily, didn't hit the ground). I had it repaired, and had no troubles until today, when my rear wheel folded over just after I came to a stop at an intersection. The wheels are the standard alloy set that come with the bike. I'm not sure of the spoke count, as it's currently in the shop and I can't go look, but I'd assume it's fairly high, as it's a Trekking bike.

So, I'm pretty frustrated now, because I really don't know what it is that I'm doing wrong. The riding I'm doing is 5 to 7 miles a day, and generally good terrain. So the question I have is: should I look to upgrade to sturdier wheels, or can this be remedied through a change in the way I cycle? I don't have a lot of money to play around with (just a poor grad student) but repair bills will pile up fast if this keeps up.
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Old 11-24-08, 07:48 AM   #2
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If it like this one it has 36 spokes.
Did you buy it New?
Sure happy you were not injured.
The wheels somehow were weak.
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Old 11-24-08, 07:50 AM   #3
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Sounds like the spokes were never properly tensioned. As they break in, they need retensioned. So, your wheels went from bad to worse. The store probably didn't really retension the machine-built wheels and sent you on your way.
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Old 11-24-08, 07:57 AM   #4
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many (most) cheaper wheels come with spokes that have too low tension. investing in a spoke key (wrench) of the correct size for your spokes, and increasing the tension evenly on all spokes can help prevent those accidents before they happen.

even cheaper wheelsets should be able to deal with those stresses without folding, provided the spokes have sufficient tension. if the spokes are too low in tension, they loosen when at the bottom of the revolution and allow the nipples to turn a little so the spokes become even looser. small diffferences in tension become a source of major wheel instability.

sufficient tension is important for all riders, but more so for heavier riders.

read up on the Internet about truing wheels, just so you know what you;re doing when you tensiuon spokes. small turns on each spoke in sequence are what you need. start at a recognisable point, like the valve or the label, so you know when you've done all spokes the same amount. then repeat enough times to get sufficient tension. (spokes should take quite a lot of force to get them to move across each other when you squeeze adjacent, crossing spokes).
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Old 11-24-08, 09:10 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice. I'll make sure to pick up a spoke key this afternoon.

Also, can anyone point me to a thread with a good introduction to regular bike maintenance and upkeep? I want this bike to last me awhile, so might as well start now.
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Old 11-24-08, 09:44 AM   #6
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Sheldon Brown's website has all you need to know....

Also, during the off season, many LBS run maintenance classes.
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Old 11-24-08, 07:28 PM   #7
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I have weighed between 235 lbs and 270 lbs for the last 15 years (since I was a teenager). I have tacoed two wheels - one when I was showing off how I could do a weird sprint and zigged when I should have zagged, and one where another rider came around a corner on some singletrack and I did a nose wheelie to avoid a collision.

I cannot imagine how someone could taco a rear wheel coming to a stop on flat ground. Were you doing a high speed sideways skid like a motorcycle dirt track racer? Were you standing on the side of the frame and holding the handlebars doing a rodeo trick? If not then I suspect, as others have said, that the wheel was improperly tensioned - perhaps to the point that the spokes were completely loosening off while you rode.
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Old 11-25-08, 07:25 AM   #8
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The spokes were not tensioned properly.

Did you buy the bike from a shop? If so, they should be willing to retension them for you.

I personally bought a cheap wheel stand and Park tension meter. I meticulously keep my wheels trued and in tension.
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Old 11-25-08, 08:19 AM   #9
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I am surprised the LBS hasn't taken care of the fixes. I broke spokes, and had one repaired while I was travelling, and then when I got back to Iowa, I took it to my LBS, and he called Jamis and upgraded my wheels. It is actually a lower spoke count setup, and I have had much better luck. I also true my own wheels now. Not too difficult to do and is something I needed when I was on the bike trails in Des Moines while I was at a conference.
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