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  1. #1
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    a spoke-busting clydesdale

    i already posted the question at the mechanics forum but i want some insight from heavy guys like me who have gone through some rear-wheel spoke busting. i ride a pedal forward bike (fuji saratoga 7-speed) which means that i'm always seated back on the rear wheel. the first 3 busted spokes happened in a week after i changed the factory 2.1 in. tires for kenda quest 1.5 in. i went back to 2 in. wheels but anyway busted two more last week after catching a couple of deep potholes. a local wheel builder blames it on poor manufacturing. we all know an under $400 bike doesn't come with first grade components. anyway, tell me your story and what you did (or are doing) about it.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    Especially since you are just getting started with riding, I would just go ahead and get a new and better rim. I've found that after you pop more than 2-3 spokes, it is best to either replace all of the spokes, or get a new wheel. It is not that hard to do it yourself, but it does take time and practice to get right. It will cost $110 and up, if you pay someone else to do it around here.

    The wheels on less-expensive bikes are mass-produced with fewer quality control checks, and out of cheaper materials in general (softer and lower-grade metal, thinner spokes, etc.). Most of us big guys don't have to buy super-expensive rims, either. Especially for 26" wheels. The back tire on my old mountain bike is just a cheap/on-sale double-walled Aluminum rim on a Deore hub made by Performance with 36 spokes ($80-$90 on-sale, $95-$110 "regular price").
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  3. #3
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Hard to say what caused the breakage on the first batch of spokes, but it's fast become a common bit of knowledge around here (which we now pass unto you) that if you start breaking spokes, you will likely continue to break spokes even after the wheel has been repaired.

    Here's the reason:
    Typically a shop will replace the broken spoke(s) and re-true the wheel. If they're keen, your wheelsmith may even de-stress the repaired wheel. Most shops will not take the time to re-tension the entire wheel during a spoke replacement, and this is what leads to more breakage.
    Low tension spokes are prone to breakage at the hub.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    How old is your bike from manufacture, not purchase. Fuji, Raleigh, Diamondback, and a few other second tier bike manufacturers had to deal with poor quality wheels in 2006 and 2007.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

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    Had similar issue. thought it was because of my weight. It was just a poorly built wheel. Have your wheel rebuilt with a new and strong rim, new good quality spokes. Had that done and no more problems. In fact, the wheel stays true.

    Ask your LBS if they specialize in wheel building. Don't be afraid to ask what the experience is of the wheel smith.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Fletch521's Avatar
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    I broke my first spoke in my new Trek 7200 just two weeks after buying it (about 175 miles). My LBS replaced the spoke and I broke another one 30 miles latter. they replaced that one and I broke another 1/2 mile later. Trek sent out a completely new wheel and the LBS installed it under warranty. 6 weeks and 500 miles later no more broken spokes.

    That seams to back up what CliftonGK1 said. Also I have ben told by another non Trek dealer that Trek had quality issues with a batch of spokes recently. My 7200 is a 2010 so I do not know if that was a factor.

    Additionally with the new wheel the mechanic better fitted me with the bike and moved the seat forward about an inch and a half. That took some of the weight off the rear. I also started riding with 90 psi in the rear tire that calls for 60-80 psi and set the front shocks to maximum firmness.

    So I changed four things at the same time making it difficult to know what had the biggest effect. My best guess is the wheel.

  7. #7
    Bumb Bike Addict by Trade CourageousLion's Avatar
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    Strong spokes...

    Unfortunately wheel price does reflect ability to haul around lots of weight too. Now I am not saying to go out and pay $15,000 for a pair of Lews Racing wheels because they are only rated for a 185 pound rider!
    BUT, here is what I found. And a price was paid. I found after doing some reading that the PBO spoke technology that Spinergy developed is almost indestructible. I had decided to put their Stealth PBO FCC's on my Aegis Victory:



    (Time to brag, even though braggin' ain't braggin' if it's true.) I am 6'4" tall, weigh 260 and have 19 inch biceps, 24 inch thighs, 18 inch calves. I can hammer curl 50 pounds 50 reps with each arm and then do it again after a 15 minute rest. I LOVE to do this with the 20+ guys gawking. (I'm 55) Or tricep pressing 400 pounds strapped to the machine! My arms are probably stronger than a lot of guys in the 180 pound ranges legs. Too bad I can't pedal with them! LOL! Anyhow, I read about these wheels and called Spinergy and asked how well their 16 spoke wheels would hold up to a 260 pound rider. They told me FINE. We have had FOUR HUNDRED POUNDS on them! That is a LOT folks. I have hit a fair amount of bumps with these wheels and haven't put them the least bit out of true after 3,000 miles.
    I am convinced after riding the less expensive XAERO Lite wheels they sell that they would last just as well under the rear of a big heavy rider. BUT even the low end wheels list for $799.00 ( I can get you on a pair in 8 different colors for about $550 plus shipping to you) And yes, that is STILL expensive, but you won't have to be using the cell phone to call someone to haul you and your bike in to get spokes fixed or worse yet another set of wheels that last two rides.

    If you look at the concept of the spokes, you will see why they don't break. EVER!




    I actually have a 2007 Trek 6.9 Madone with Bontrager XXX Race lite wheels on that have had TWO spokes break while sitting in the living room without anyone on the bike! And those are the wheels that came on an EIGHT THOUSAND dollar bike! You tell me!

    Here I am at the top of Gaither "mountain".


  8. #8
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Dude, it's a sub $400 bike ^^^^^^ Why would he put $800 wheels on it? Unfortunately the wheels on the bike are junk. Blame poorly built wheels by the mfg'er, it's just low end junk wheels. Best ou can do is drop $200 on a rear wheel that will last. IF not, you'll soon drop out of the cycling world and stuff the bike in closet with broken spokes.

  9. #9
    Bumb Bike Addict by Trade CourageousLion's Avatar
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    Missed the price!

    Sorry, I guess I missed the price. Big guys need to spend more money on bikes that can hold up. Sorry, but the $400 varieties won't hold up for a 100 pounder too long. It just can't...

  10. #10
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    ^^I think the OP will get some enjoyment out of the frame and some components, but the wheels? I once bought a $300 bike for funzies. Spining the wheels in the shop with my hands, I knew the wheels had to go. Bearing jsut weren't there, rough and didn't roll more than 4 or 5 times around. Can't expect too much for the price.

    I bought a $100 set of wheels that was far better (Mavic rims with Deore hubs).

  11. #11
    Bumb Bike Addict by Trade CourageousLion's Avatar
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    Good climbing wheels...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    ^^I think the OP will get some enjoyment out of the frame and some components, but the wheels? I once bought a $300 bike for funzies. Spining the wheels in the shop with my hands, I knew the wheels had to go. Bearing jsut weren't there, rough and didn't roll more than 4 or 5 times around. Can't expect too much for the price.

    I bought a $100 set of wheels that was far better (Mavic rims with Deore hubs).
    Sounds like those wheels that came with the 300 bucker were good climbing wheels! Or maybe for going down hill slow...as if we big guys don't have enough problems with friction! The new Spinergy Stealth FCC PBO come with ceramic bearings and talk about low rolling resistance! It is amazing how much farther I can go up this one hill with those wheels over the stock ones on my Trek. Almost 40 feet .

  12. #12
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    From your posts in both threads, you have either broken a total of 5 or 7 spokes. With that many spokes broken, the remaining have fatigue issues.

    I would either have the wheel rebuilt by a competent wheel builder or replace the rear wheel with a mountain bike wheel. The cost of spokes, nipples and a round trip via UPS or US Mail to NJ to Noglider is likely your cheapest option.

    Competent wheel builders are a very rare breed, but I'd bet there is a good one on your island. Find the local bicycle club and ask around.

    You should have a 36 hole hub which is plenty strong.

    As for tires, try these http://www.schwalbetires.com/node/1328 (Schwalbe Big Apples), I love them. They have a supple side wall and do not eat up the amount of energy that their size suggests they might.



    If money is an issue, buy a spoke wrench, spokes, nipples, go to youtube and lookup expertvillage and bike wheel building. Also read this: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html
    Last edited by MikeWinVA; 11-09-09 at 10:56 PM. Reason: pooor spelin

  13. #13
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    I've broken a couple spokes recently. They were both under tough conditions for a wheel. The first was heading uphill, upwind, riding hard, trying to beat out a storm. Then a short time after that, I hit a Bott's dot in the road and popped another spoke.

    I've been trying to be more careful since then.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  14. #14
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    I've broken a couple spokes recently. They were both under tough conditions for a wheel. The first was heading uphill, upwind, riding hard, trying to beat out a storm. Then a short time after that, I hit a Bott's dot in the road and popped another spoke.

    I've been trying to be more careful since then.
    I ride a Gold Rush recumbent (among other bikes) and I'm not gentle on it- I've been known to drop off curbs and there's this one pothole that always seems to suck me in...

    If you're breaking spokes in those conditions, I think you need to invest in a good quality, hand-built, highly tensioned wheel. I haven't broken a spoke in 15 years, despite my 220 pound arse holding the rear wheel down. I've built my own wheels for longer than that, and until I learned to build a wheel with high, balanced tension I broke spokes often. Since relearning, not a one.
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  15. #15
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    And how much would such a wheel cost me (in 700 x 38c size)?
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  16. #16
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    Look up Velocity Dyad for replacements. Not ultra cheap but not uber-expensive, and very good.

    Likely the OP's bike is fitted with Alex wheels that have a serious reputation for spoke breakages.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  17. #17
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    I got back into bicycling last May after a 12 year hiatus, and I weighed about 240. In former iterations of myself I have ridden a lot, but in prime shape never weighed less than 200 since high school 40 years ago. I bought a Trek 7.2 FX, not an expensive bike, about $500 at the LBS, but LBS is a wheel guy, and every wheel that comes out of his shop is personally tweaked, and I've had no problems after about 1200 miles. However, to answer the original question about what we're doing to avoid spoke/wheel problems, I've ordered a Rivendell Sam Hilleford with Phil Wood 36 spoke hubs and Dyad rims for some touring that I plan to start next Spring. BTW I plan to Clyde qualify only by my height by then.

  18. #18
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    I have solved a number of these types of problems-and they are solvable. First, we need a stronger rim, of which several come to mind. The flexy stock rim is at the root of the problem. Second, we need butted spokes. Spoke head washers are mandatory, as well. Properly tension balanced, wheels like these will have no problem supporting you. Since the bike in question probably has a freewheel, we could build on the existing hub, although I'd recommend against it. Rather, I'd want you to go with a cassette hub for strength. Figure around $250 for a rear wheel built this way, including the cassette.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    Here are some less-expensive alternatives. You will probably have to replace spokes and/or re-build one of these in 1-2 years, which is not so good, but MUCH better than the wheel that came with the bike.

    Mavic Open Pros - are used by a lot of clydes. They often go on sale for $25-$40 less than what I see online now, but in my opinion based on how tough they are, they are worth a lot more than the prices listed below.

    Shimano Ultegra FH-6600/Mavic Open Pro Silver Rear Wheel $150 - unconditional money-back guarantee at performance...


    Ultegra 105, Mavic Open Pro Black 650c Rear Wheel
    $135

    Mavic Open Pro 650c black 32h $140


    Velocity Deep Vs - are very popular with a lot of clydes, and are considered tougher by many than open-pros

    Deep-V 700c rear wheel S 8-10sp 32h - black $159

    Velocity Deep-V 700c rear wheel, S 8-10sp 32h - black $158

    There are usually local bike shops that specialize in building you a wheel around an Open-Pro or Deep V rim. This is the most sound way to go, but will cost you $200 at a minimum around here for all brand-new parts and labor. You can drop that down to $110-$125 or so, if you supply the rim and hub (they supply just the labor and spokes).






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  20. #20
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Maybe it's penny-wise and pound foolish, but my wheel is a simple $50 LBS wheel. Yeah, I've broken a couple spokes, but I'm still well under those prices. If I continue to break spokes I may upgrade... and then I'll know why the upgraded wheel is worth it. But for now, I'm content with a JB Imports replacement wheel.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  21. #21
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    Maybe it's penny-wise and pound foolish, but my wheel is a simple $50 LBS wheel. Yeah, I've broken a couple spokes, but I'm still well under those prices. If I continue to break spokes I may upgrade... and then I'll know why the upgraded wheel is worth it. But for now, I'm content with a JB Imports replacement wheel.
    After 20+ years of wheelbuilding, I can tell you it is unequivocally "worth it". Remember-your time spent unnecessarily fooling around with low-quality wheels is worth something, too.

    Or as we say around here: "The bitterness of low quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."

  22. #22
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Time spent? Almost nothing. I have four bikes ready to go at a moment's notice. Only one has ever popped a spoke (two of the other three have steel wheels ) I still haven't had enough trouble with broken spokes to be all that bent outta shape about them.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  23. #23
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinyon View Post
    Here are some less-expensive alternatives. You will probably have to replace spokes and/or re-build one of these in 1-2 years, which is not so good, but MUCH better than the wheel that came with the bike.

    Mavic Open Pros - are used by a lot of clydes. They often go on sale for $25-$40 less than what I see online now, but in my opinion based on how tough they are, they are worth a lot more than the prices listed below.

    Shimano Ultegra FH-6600/Mavic Open Pro Silver Rear Wheel $150 - unconditional money-back guarantee at performance...


    Ultegra 105, Mavic Open Pro Black 650c Rear Wheel
    $135

    Mavic Open Pro 650c black 32h $140


    Velocity Deep Vs - are very popular with a lot of clydes, and are considered tougher by many than open-pros

    Deep-V 700c rear wheel S 8-10sp 32h - black $159

    Velocity Deep-V 700c rear wheel, S 8-10sp 32h - black $158

    There are usually local bike shops that specialize in building you a wheel around an Open-Pro or Deep V rim. This is the most sound way to go, but will cost you $200 at a minimum around here for all brand-new parts and labor. You can drop that down to $110-$125 or so, if you supply the rim and hub (they supply just the labor and spokes).







    650's?

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