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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 08-11-11, 09:41 PM   #1
JusticeZero
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Spoke problems, any advice?

Got a new bike (Giant Simple 3) not that long ago. I've been doing city riding and hauling of groceries, nothing absurd beyond navigating the hideous roads in this city. I'm 270#ish (haven't had a chance to weigh in a long time) and have baskets front and rear.

My back wheel is popping spokes like they were candy; I just replaced three a few days ago, and there are two or three more broken spokes as of yesterday.

Particularly concerned as 1: it's an IGH wheel, and thus likely more expensive (3 speed Shimano Nexus) and 2: I haven't exactly got a lot of money or backup transportation right now.

Makes me wish I knew how to build a wheel, but I haven't got the parts nor do I have room in my tiny efficiency to set up stands and the like.

Suggestions? I don't know if I should spring for more spoke replacements, bite the bullet and buy a heavier IGH wheel, or shake my tiny fist and try to get the wheel waranteed, or what.
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Old 08-11-11, 11:56 PM   #2
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If you bought the bike recently, I would think that the broken spokes would be covered under warranty.

As far as building wheels: if you've got a table where you can eat a meal, then you've got more than enough space.
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Old 08-12-11, 12:25 AM   #3
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A few broken spokes is OK, but if you're breaking too many. Wheel needs rebuilt.
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Old 08-12-11, 01:09 AM   #4
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Wheel needs a total rebuild. Break one spoke, replace, break two, replace all, because the rest will fail in quick succession.

There are home wheelbuilders all over - look on CL. You want your present rim and hub rebuilt with Wheelsmith DH13 spokes or the equivalent. You can do much of the work your self without a stand, on the last steps need something like a stand, and you can actually use your bike as a stand if you have good eyes and are patient.

Note: the left and right spokes MAY be different lengths.

Visit a LBS, and pluck spokes on some expensive bikes, listen carefully to the note.

Here is a bit about the stand I built http://forums.bicycletutor.com/thread-3155.html

On your wheel: Loosen all of the nipples so that three threads on the spokes are showing. Then replace the spokes one by one, tightening the nipples so that there are three threads showing as you go. Once all the spokes are replaced, tighten each nipple one half turn, repeat until the threads are no longer showing. The wheel should be pretty true, both axially and radially. Check in your bike. Now tighten each spoke turn until when plucked the sound like what you heard. Check how true the wheel is in your bike. Now stress relieve (many methods) I grab a handful of spokes on each side of the wheel and squeeze - I have big hands, go all the way around the wheel - the spokes will make popping sounds. Continue around the wheel until the popping sounds stop - usually two or three times around the wheel. Check the wheel for true in your bike, adjust spokes as required; repeat stress relieve; true, stress relieve. Wheel is now ride-able, but you may want a pro to do a final true.

The spokes are around $1.30 each with nipples. The final true will cost you $15 to $30; the later is here in San Jose, where everything is $$$$.
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Old 08-12-11, 05:26 AM   #5
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Learn to build your own wheels. Honestly, given the number of "Help, my wheels are falling apart" threads recently I think that everyone here needs to learn how to build their own because obviously something has gone downhill with the quality of stock wheels and the ability of local shops to find competent wheelsmiths.
The tools aren't that expensive, the parts can be purchased cheap individually, and the basics aren't difficult to learn.
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Old 08-12-11, 09:09 AM   #6
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I'd suggest having the wheel rebuilt under warranty by the shop that sold the bike then learning to build your own wheels. It's nice to have a couple of working wheels around when you're trying to build your first set...
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Old 08-12-11, 09:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
I'd suggest having the wheel rebuilt under warranty by the shop that sold the bike then learning to build your own wheels. It's nice to have a couple of working wheels around when you're trying to build your first set...
for once we agree
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Old 08-12-11, 10:20 AM   #8
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if you just got the bike than take it back and make them replace wheel
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Old 08-12-11, 10:43 AM   #9
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JZ, This issue isn't the rim, hub or the spokes. It's about how well the wheel was built. An IGH makes for a very strong wheel, if built properly. Most wheels on 'complete' bikes are machine made and not generally properly tensioned. Not a dead nuts accurate remark, but once two or three spokes have failed the other spokes become suspect because of the amount of flexing they've encountered.

Your LBS, if they've been involved with the spoke replacements should've already bit the bullet and rebuilt the wheel, IMHO.

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Old 08-12-11, 01:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
Break one spoke, replace, break two, replace all, because the rest will fail in quick succession.
I broke two spokes, and I didn't need to replace them all. I broke one, and I replaced it. Another one broke, and I replaced it. After that, it was good.
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