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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 08-07-10, 04:36 PM   #1
episodic
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Well, I was hoping it wouldn't happen to me - but it did (broken spoke)

Hi,
Me not being the mechanical sort, does the fact that I broke a spoke mean that my rear wheel isn't going to hold up much more?

One spoke broke near my 'axle' on my rear wheel. My rear wheel has a noticeable wobble in it now. Is this going to be an expensive fix?

I have to wait till Monday to take to the bike shop. Anything I should ask them to do in particular. I have 300 miles on the rear tire. It is a new bike. I'm sure this isn't warranty though. Just let me know what I should ask them to do if anything beyond fixing the broke spoke and making the wheel true again (I hope that it isn't ruined and can be made true again). . .

Thanks for telling me anything you can.
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Old 08-07-10, 04:56 PM   #2
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Usually a broken spoke is not an expensive fix. Do you know why it broke? I've had broken spokes a few times. Once I think because I hit a rather large pot hole. Once for no reason that I can think of. I asked the shop if it was because of my weight (I was 240 at the time). They didn't think so and said that not all spokes are the same quality (plus the bike was 10 years old). They replaced it, trued it, and was out the door in about 20 minutes.

You can ask the shop if they think your weight is an issue. Just because it happened once doesn't mean it is. If it happens a few times you just might need to look into a higher spoke wheel or have them build something up for you. It could be your weight, road conditions, or a combination of them both.
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Old 08-07-10, 05:03 PM   #3
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Ask them also to tension the spokes. I had a wheel that was trued but the guy didnt tension the wheel and I had alot of spokes that would pop when they had pressure on them.
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Old 08-07-10, 05:03 PM   #4
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Yes, it should be a quick and inexpensive fix. The broken spoke is probably on the drive-side so they'll need to take the wheel off the bike and remove the cassette to replace the spoke, but it still shouldn't take long. You might ask them to check the remaining spokes to see if they have enough tension. Insufficient tension can result in the spoke becoming completely slack when it's at the bottom of the wheel, especially with a heavier than normal load on the bike. Repeatedly going from being slack to being tensioned can result in a fatigue failure. OTOH, too much tension can result in a failure of the rim so you want them to check that it's at the right level.
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Old 08-07-10, 05:06 PM   #5
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In retrospect, I believe it broke turning into my driveway. I'm not certain though. I remember hearing a 'pop' but attributing it to a gear change. Later that day, I took the bike out and about 3 miles out looked down because the brakes suddenly started rubbing badly and I noticed a bad wobble in the tire. I got off and noticed the spoke was snapped off the hub. Soooo. . . I walked the bike home. I'm purely guessing, but riding into my driveway was the only thought I have that something might have happened. I stick to paved roads - and try to avoid the rough stuff. . .. but you know I hit bumps sometimes too.

I hope I don't need a wheel built up - I don't think they do that here and I really can't drive 3-4 hours. I'd have to order a new rim if that is the case. Hopefully, it is an easy fix like you said though.
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Old 08-07-10, 05:08 PM   #6
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Wheel truing to me seems like an 'arcane art' lol - however, does it hurt anything to get a spoke wrench and tighten all the spokes every week or something as preventative maintainance? Or will I get my wheel out of true by doing that? Just curious.
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Old 08-07-10, 05:17 PM   #7
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Have them fix the spoke and then check the entire wheels spoke tension.. After this is done, you should be fine..
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Old 08-07-10, 05:34 PM   #8
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There is nothing wrong with learning how to do your own wrenching. There are plenty of websites (ParkTools, Sheldon Browns, etc.) that can help. You can also post a question on the Mechanics forum or do a search on wheel truing. Plus there are a number of books available at your local bookstore or library.

If you are unsure of what you are doing, then do some research first. And yes, (over or under) tightening all your spokes can get your wheel out of true.
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Old 08-07-10, 05:40 PM   #9
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Wheel truing to me seems like an 'arcane art' lol - however, does it hurt anything to get a spoke wrench and tighten all the spokes every week or something as preventative maintainance?
Not a good idea unless you first learn how to properly true wheels. Just tightening the spokes is likely to get the wheel significantly out of true and you may end up with too much tension on some of the spokes which can lead to cracks in the rim around the spoke nipples. Nor should properly built wheels require such preventive maintenance - if they have enough tension on them they shouldn't loosen on their own. I've got wheels that have gone over 50,000 miles without any adjustment of the spokes.
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Old 08-07-10, 05:43 PM   #10
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the issue lies in howyour wheels were originally built. A lot of clydes start out buying lower end comfort bikes that have machine built wheels. after riding around on them a bit it's a good idea to get them checked and tensioned from what people say around here. but i agree with everyone, it should be a relatively inexpensive fix and no, you wont have to get more wheels built up or anything crazy like that. It may be worthwhile to invest in a 2nd set of wheels just so you don't find yourself out of commission for too long.
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Old 08-07-10, 06:09 PM   #11
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Here's a video guide on wheel truing that might take some of the mystery out of it: http://bicycletutor.com/wheel-truing/
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Old 08-07-10, 06:12 PM   #12
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There is nothing wrong with learning how to do your own wrenching. There are plenty of websites (ParkTools, Sheldon Browns, etc.) that can help. You can also post a question on the Mechanics forum or do a search on wheel truing. Plus there are a number of books available at your local bookstore or library.

If you are unsure of what you are doing, then do some research first. And yes, (over or under) tightening all your spokes can get your wheel out of true.
I haven't searched on spokes in particular, but for all the maintenance and minor repairs I've done on my bike I've found a Youtube video which showed exactly how to do it.
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Old 08-07-10, 06:34 PM   #13
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Hi,
Me not being the mechanical sort, does the fact that I broke a spoke mean that my rear wheel isn't going to hold up much more?

One spoke broke near my 'axle' on my rear wheel. My rear wheel has a noticeable wobble in it now. Is this going to be an expensive fix?

I have to wait till Monday to take to the bike shop. Anything I should ask them to do in particular. I have 300 miles on the rear tire. It is a new bike. I'm sure this isn't warranty though. Just let me know what I should ask them to do if anything beyond fixing the broke spoke and making the wheel true again (I hope that it isn't ruined and can be made true again). . .

Thanks for telling me anything you can.
What kind of bike, and how new is new? Because broken spokes -- unless you've bought something super-light weight, intended for 120 lb racer whippets -- should be covered by the warranty. If by 300 miles on the new tire, you mean "300 miles on the bike", it's a failure of the bike shop to properly bring the wheel to tension when they assembled it.
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Old 08-07-10, 07:07 PM   #14
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The bike is 6 weeks out of being new.
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Old 08-07-10, 07:10 PM   #15
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What kind of bike is it!?!
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Old 08-07-10, 07:23 PM   #16
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I had a problems both with broken spokes and my wheel going out of true on my bike (a Bianchi Advantage) back when it was new. The bike shop replaced several broken spokes free of charge before finally rebuilding the wheel, also free of charge. Problem solved. No broken spokes in 12 years.
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Old 08-07-10, 07:40 PM   #17
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I once ever got a broken spoke, while out bicycle touring. I had brought a few spare and replaced it on the spot. That got me the next 30 km or so to a town with a bike store where I got them to replace it properly and true the wheel. I am technically inept, so if I could do this, anyone can. So broken spokes don't really need to be a big deal...
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Old 08-07-10, 09:05 PM   #18
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What kind of bike is it!?!
Fuji Crosstown 4.0
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Old 08-07-10, 09:32 PM   #19
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Oh. That's right, you've got the broken freewheel. They fix that yet? Fuji's warranty should cover the spoke. Spokes are not a wear item. Any one who tells you they are is either lying or confused. They should last at least as long as the rim does. Failure at 300 miles is clearly a manufacturing or assembly defect.
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Old 08-07-10, 09:46 PM   #20
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Well episodic, I feel your pain. I was out doing the final test ride for my biking in traffic class, when after about half the ride (roughly 1.5 miles) when I had a catastrophic failure. The rear derailer dropout snapped. Resulting in a destroyed chain, mangled rear derailer, busted dropout, and possibly damaged my wheel (as the whell does not roll freely any longer). I bought this bike in May 2010. have ridden about 30 - 50 miles, I live in a VERY hilly area, and am seriously wondering if my weight was a factor in this. The bike is a brand new 2009 Trek 4500 MTB, which I was told would not have any issues carrying my 387 lb bulk. Now I sit and wait for my LBS to contact Trek to see if they will cover it.

Good luck with your wheel! No matter what happens, we just gotta keep on riding.
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Old 08-07-10, 10:24 PM   #21
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Hi,
Me not being the mechanical sort, does the fact that I broke a spoke mean that my rear wheel isn't going to hold up much more?

One spoke broke near my 'axle' on my rear wheel. My rear wheel has a noticeable wobble in it now. Is this going to be an expensive fix?

I have to wait till Monday to take to the bike shop. Anything I should ask them to do in particular. I have 300 miles on the rear tire. It is a new bike. I'm sure this isn't warranty though. Just let me know what I should ask them to do if anything beyond fixing the broke spoke and making the wheel true again (I hope that it isn't ruined and can be made true again). . .

Thanks for telling me anything you can.
The general rule is break a spoke you fix it, fixing it would include replacing the spoke, truing the wheel AND properly tensioning the wheel, if after that you break another spoke, then the wheel needs to be re-spoked, because otherwise you will be replacing spokes ad nausium.

Spoke failures occur due to four possible conditions:

1) Low spoke tension allows the wheel to flex as it rotates, effectively bending the wire back and forth, it doesn't take long before it breaks.
2) Mechanical damage to the spoke, if something hits the spoke and nicks it, then there can be stress risers in the spoke causing it to break.
3) The spoke was defective in manufacturing.
4) Corrosion, plain steel spokes can rust weakening them most now are stainless steel, so corrosion is less of a factor.

It's a new bike, should be repaired under warranty.....
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Old 08-08-10, 11:05 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by episodic View Post
Hi,
Me not being the mechanical sort, does the fact that I broke a spoke mean that my rear wheel isn't going to hold up much more?

One spoke broke near my 'axle' on my rear wheel. My rear wheel has a noticeable wobble in it now. Is this going to be an expensive fix?

I have to wait till Monday to take to the bike shop. Anything I should ask them to do in particular. I have 300 miles on the rear tire. It is a new bike. I'm sure this isn't warranty though. Just let me know what I should ask them to do if anything beyond fixing the broke spoke and making the wheel true again (I hope that it isn't ruined and can be made true again). . .

Thanks for telling me anything you can.

On my Giant Suede DX - when I broke a spoke on my rear wheel, not only was it FREE, but it was decided that this issue would continue, so my wheels were upgraded for FREE as well - all under warrenty (I love my LBS)
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