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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 12-07-09, 10:43 AM   #1
Fletch521
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Tied and soldered spokes???



This came up in the C & V Forum Does anyone think it could help my spoke breaking issues?
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Old 12-07-09, 11:07 AM   #2
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Where do the spokes break? - at the elbow or at the threads?

What gage and pattern?

Testing by Brandt indicates no benefit to tieing and soldering although he didn't test for some things like a resistance to pretzeling.
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Old 12-07-09, 11:13 AM   #3
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Does anyone think it could help my spoke breaking issues?
It can't hurt. I still do it to many wheels I build. The biggest issue, I feel, with spoke breakage is a poor fit between the spoke head and hub flange. I use brass spoke head washers to fix this, and guarantee my wheels against spoke breakage, because I know this works.

There will be many who quote Jobst Brandt's book where he unequivocally states tying and soldering to be of no benefit, then claims to "prove" it with a static test. His methods do not support the conclusion he reached. A wheel rolling down the road with a rider on it is a much different animal than one that is fastened into a test jig having sideways deflection and torque tests applied without spinning. In the end, if I built it, JB isn't guaranteeing your wheels, I am!
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Old 12-07-09, 11:13 AM   #4
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This technique was quite popular back in the 80's.. Properly built and tensioned wheel will still be the best thing for broken spokes.. If they are breaking at the hub, your mechanic needs to check the hub for burs..

Counter sinking hubs can also help with spoke breakage.. Campy hubs and many other have this done right from the factory..
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Old 12-07-09, 11:21 AM   #5
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Campy hubs and many other have this done right from the factory..
Campy hubs also have smaller spoke holes, which I believe makes a bigger difference than the countersinking. Hubs that are favored by machine builders, i.e. most Shimano, Joytech/Novatech, and others, have holes large enough to allow the spokes to fall through to the head without getting hung up. This is great for machines, but not so good for ultimate wheel durability. Any movement at the head is not a happy thing. Of course, I prefer to build with hubs that have a better fit, like Dura Ace, Campy, DT Swiss, and King. But if someone doesn't want to spend the bread on a top drawer hub, then spoke head washers are the next best thing.
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Old 12-07-09, 01:45 PM   #6
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I will remind everyone that the countersink is for the bend in the spoke, not the head. Tying and soldering spokes makes it difficult to replace a broken spoke, and harder to true up a wheel too.
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Old 12-07-09, 02:09 PM   #7
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Tying and soldering spokes makes it difficult to replace a broken spoke
Slightly more difficult. It's easy to cut the tie. You can stick a spoke in yourself to make the wheel rideable and have the tie replaced later.

But this:

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and harder to true up a wheel too.
Is not true at all. The spokes don't get longer or shorter when you tighten or loosen them!
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Old 12-07-09, 02:49 PM   #8
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The spokes don't get longer or shorter when you tighten or loosen them!
Would tie/soldered wheels be more difficult to destress, though? When I build or true a wheel, I settle the spokes by placing the wheel flat on the floor and pressing at the braking surface around the circumference of the wheel, then I flip it and do the same. Then it goes back on the stand for another round of check/tune/settling.
If you tie the crossings, would it make that process more difficult if not impossible without breaking the ties?

/ I always thought the basis behind tying was to make for a laterally stiffer wheel for flex resistance in sprints, that's why it was popular on old-school track setups.
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Old 12-07-09, 03:02 PM   #9
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Would tie/soldered wheels be more difficult to destress, though?
No, because you do it as a final step after all the stress relieving is finished. In other words, the wheel is finished before it is tied.

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I always thought the basis behind tying was to make for a laterally stiffer wheel for flex resistance in sprints, that's why it was popular on old-school track setups.
The old Robergel wash-plated spokes weren't very strong, and aero (strong and stiff) rims were still years away. People tried everything to make the wheels stiffer and stronger. Now, I don't do it on many wheels for lighter riders, but I find heavier riders and bikes with disc brakes seem to benefit from it. In any event, there's certainly no downside.
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Old 12-07-09, 03:12 PM   #10
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Why would you mess with it? Proper build is the key, not hocus pocus! When I read Sheldon Brown's site, he stated that today's equipment is machined so precisely, that spoke prep isn't really needed. As an experiment, I did just that, built it without any prep. The wheel lasted 20,000 miles with no problems at all.

The shop guys, several used prep, loctite and other stuff and couldn't get it right. I treated the build like I treat my woman, and it stuck around for a looooooong time!

If a builder can build a good wheel, why would he mess with that junk unless it was for the retro cool factor?
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Old 12-07-09, 03:45 PM   #11
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Count me as one who believes this practice has no effect whatsoever on durability or reliability.

I believe Jobst's tests did indeed mimic real conditions. Hearing how the practice of tying and soldering came about makes it easy to believe that the folklore sprang out of an ignorance of this fact. It came about so that broken spokes wouldn't stick out. With that fact lost, people made up reasons for doing it.

I'm willing to bet that no one has compared two otherwise identical wheels where the only difference is the tying and soldering.
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Old 12-15-09, 06:40 PM   #12
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One thing to note is that once you break one or two spokes, it's time to rebuild the wheel, as metal fatigue has set in, and otherwise you're going to be replacing spokes all the time.

This gets old fast, and once you rebuild your wheel properly, and tension it correctly, it should last you a while.
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Old 12-17-09, 07:18 AM   #13
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Fletch...try this combo:

DT Swiss Alpine spokes
135mm Shimano cassette hub
40 hole rim
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Old 12-17-09, 11:42 AM   #14
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I'm riding an 2010 Trek 7200. Broke my first spoke when it was two weeks old. LBS replaced tat one for no charge. about one week later a second spoke broke and after replacing that one a third broke 6 miles later. The LBS I bought the bike from got a replacement wheel from Trek and installed it at no charge. The replacement wheel went about 7-800 miles before it broke a spoke. The first one about 175.

If I break another spoke I know I'll have to replace them all, was hoping to try something I could do myself before spending money.

My weight was 350# when I bought the bike and I/m down to about 310# now.
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Old 12-17-09, 11:53 AM   #15
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Another believer that tie and solder does nothing to increase the strength, stiffness, and/or durability of a wheel. A simple understanding of how wheels get their strength and distribute loads it all it takes. Tie and solder will not prevent spokes from breaking. Proper spoke tension will.
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Old 12-17-09, 12:12 PM   #16
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I'm riding an 2010 Trek 7200. Broke my first spoke when it was two weeks old. LBS replaced tat one for no charge. about one week later a second spoke broke and after replacing that one a third broke 6 miles later. The LBS I bought the bike from got a replacement wheel from Trek and installed it at no charge. The replacement wheel went about 7-800 miles before it broke a spoke. The first one about 175.

If I break another spoke I know I'll have to replace them all, was hoping to try something I could do myself before spending money.

My weight was 350# when I bought the bike and I/m down to about 310# now.
The OE wheel is not going to last. Sorry, but bikes at this level have to be built to a price. Miamijim's suggestion is a good one, although 40 hole Shimano hubs are scarce.

You need a double wall rim at least, and preferably spoke head washers.

rydaddy: I've built a lot of wheels for big people and I T&S most of them. Can I prove that it is the T&S that makes them last? Maybe I'm just a kick butt builder who builds wheels that last and the T&S is just window dressing. No matter. I'll quit doing it when someone can effectively demonstrate to my satisfaction it does absolutely nothing for wheel longevity.
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Old 12-17-09, 12:16 PM   #17
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I doubt it does anything to HAMPER longevity. I guess my objections are cost and misinformation.

One way to test is to use identical wheels with T&S on only one and put them into identical use. Repeat many times until sample size is ample. That's an expensive test, and I don't know anyone willing to conduct it.
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Old 12-17-09, 12:17 PM   #18
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Maybe I'm just a kick butt builder who builds wheels that last and the T&S is just window dressing.
I think you nailed it there.
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Old 12-17-09, 12:18 PM   #19
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Fletch, I looked up the 2010 Trek 7200 and have few observations/comments:

1. OEM wheels are 32 hole.
2. The 7200 has a very upright riding position
3. Hub width isnt listed

I'm going to venture a guess and say that a majority of your 350lbs is over the back wheel being supported by 32 average gauge spokes. i'll offer up a few suggestions:

1. Tweak the setup of your bike to shift some of your weight forward. You can try sliding the forward on its rails.
2. The 7200 has an adjustable stem. If its jacked all the way up try lowering it a touch which in turn moves the forward. Moving the bars forward will compenate for moving the seat forward.
3. Put a BIG 38c or possibly a 42c rear tire on it. Bigger tires need less pressure to suport and equal amount of weight as a smaller tire. i have a feeling the 35c tires on your 7200 are inflated to a very high pressure which in turn transfer alot of force to the wheels.
4. If you continue to break spokes ask your Trek dealer if you can upgrade to rear wheel from a Trek 520 road bike.

When I suggest moving your seat and bars I'm suggesting maybe a 1/2" or so on the seat and maybe an inch or so on the bars.
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