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  1. #1
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    Black spokes break more?

    I had to replace three spokes in my back wheel today. As he was fixing them, the mechanic noted that the black painted spokes seemed to break a lot easier than the unpainted metal ones.

    Oh dear! How bad does this sound for my wheel?
    Current stable: Sun Atlas X-type (mine), Trek Navigator 3 (wife), two Sun Revolution cruisers (wife, daughter)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Street Pedaler's Avatar
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    I'd have to say that, if there's a connection, it's with the gauge or quality of the black spokes. I can't see where the color itself would have anything to do with it.

  3. #3
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    spokes are NOT painted black, they are plated. Plating is an electro-chemical process that actually micro pits the surface of the spoke as the layer of black zinc or black nickel is deposited. This does weaken the critical outside surface of the spoke. Spoke breaks start with a crack at the surface, and progresses through until it fails.
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

  4. #4
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    So: Clydes should get chromey bright rims then?
    Current stable: Sun Atlas X-type (mine), Trek Navigator 3 (wife), two Sun Revolution cruisers (wife, daughter)

  5. #5
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    True for me.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  6. #6
    Senior Member Street Pedaler's Avatar
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    Hmm. Learn something every day. Good info.

  7. #7
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    black spokes on all my wheels, no issues. may be true but if the wheel is built right, and you don't ride like a maniac you won't have problems

  8. #8
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    So: Clydes should get chromey bright rims then?
    don't go with chrome or zinc plated spokes (UCP, etc); go with a top quality unplated spoke like Wheelsmith, DT Swiss, etc.
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

  9. #9
    Senior Member Street Pedaler's Avatar
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  10. #10
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Street Pedaler View Post
    Your quoting an Analyst on an Engineering issue???? At least get a plating expert or material scientist. Please feel to research me on LinkedIn, the US Patents listing, or anywhere else.
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

  11. #11
    Senior Member Street Pedaler's Avatar
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    I think that, based on everything I've read, it comes down to quality of spoke as well as other factors. I haven't come across anything definitively proving that a black spoke is any more prone to breakage than any other color, all else being equal. Not all black spokes are "Plated", some are simply painted. In my own experience, the only problem I've ever had with a black spoke breaking was determined to be caused by a defective spoke. YMMV.
    Last edited by Street Pedaler; 08-01-11 at 03:21 AM.

  12. #12
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    I've broken more silver spokes than black ones. In fact, I've never broken a black one, only silver ones.

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