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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 08-16-11, 08:20 AM   #1
JusticeZero
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Do you take spokes personally?

so my cruiser is in the shop with a spoke problem. I needed to run to the college though, so I jumped on the too-small ss walmart can and zipped out tfo school, got paperwork taken care of, zoomed back and spent an hour lost, then made insane great time getting to wife's work for lunch. Felt great. Then I get home and hear a "twang". Yep, broke a spoke.. Been feeling like a huge lardass since.
Is it just me?
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Old 08-16-11, 08:43 AM   #2
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If I broke a spoke JRA then I would take it as a personal affront to my wheelbuilding skills, since I build my own wheels.
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Old 08-16-11, 08:44 AM   #3
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I think its more about where you ride and how you ride (and also how the wheels were built) that makes a difference.

Does it bug me? no.... it annoys me but then I just remember to be more careful where and how I ride (no jumping off curbs, watch out of pot holes etc). If it happens a lot, I consider getting a stronger wheel.
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Old 08-16-11, 09:11 AM   #4
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After breaking a number of spokes on my first (cheap) bike, I invested in hand-built wheels. That fixed the problem.

I have since bought more bikes that came with decent wheels and haven't broken a spoke in a long time.
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Old 08-16-11, 09:21 AM   #5
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Would you believe I've never broken a spoke? Knock on wood...! I think riding the bike somewhat gently (if it's a road bike - cross and mountain bikes have overbuilt wheels that love abuse) and avoiding potholes is probably more important than how many spokes you have, etc. Strong wheels are nice, too, though.
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Old 08-16-11, 09:26 AM   #6
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yeah, thats the next thing on my list when the money comes in next. I'd actually like to build up a fixed monstercross bike, just that my luck with spokes the past few weeks makes me feel like the only bikes I should be looking at are ones with moped wheels.
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Old 08-16-11, 09:32 AM   #7
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Been feeling like a huge lardass since.
Is it just me?
Yes. Use it as motivation.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-16-11, 09:35 AM   #8
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After breaking a number of spokes on my first (cheap) bike, I invested in hand-built wheels. That fixed the problem.
When I started breaking spokes, I simply invested in a ~$100 non-hand-built wheelset and never had problems after that. Cheap bikes just come with cheap wheels, good for riders up to about 200 lb. Simply getting new wheels, even fairly low-end ones, is an improvement.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-16-11, 09:36 AM   #9
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Would you believe I've never broken a spoke? Knock on wood...! I think riding the bike somewhat gently (if it's a road bike - cross and mountain bikes have overbuilt wheels that love abuse) and avoiding potholes is probably more important than how many spokes you have, etc. Strong wheels are nice, too, though.
With me it was always climbing. Every time I've broken a spoke it was when I was out of the saddle, climbing up a hill (usually Oakmont Blvd., aka the Oakmonster).
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-16-11, 06:44 PM   #10
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Funny you mention it, I had my first broken spoke tonight. I have not had any wheel problems on my road bikes, putting over 4,000 miles on them in the last year and tonight the first time out on a mountain bike that is supposed to have overbuilt wheels and I pop a spoke after 7 miles :/ I will say that it was a pretty rough single track trail with lots of rocks, roots and ruts to negotiate but still I would not have expected a spoke to break. I guess you never know.
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Old 08-16-11, 07:14 PM   #11
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Stopped by the bike shop (Mike's) to see about a new spoke. Prognosis: Two broken spokes, but don't bother to replace them. The hub on the beater is shot; the remaining spokes will last more than a week, and the hub will PROBABLY last through the week.
Oh well, I have a cunning plan for a new beater anyways, if I can figure out what frame I can build it on.. *wrings hands* And the shop I got the Giant from called back, they're going to relace the defective wheel with heavier gauge spokes as a warrantee job. Hence the week wait, since they don't have said heavy spokes in stock.
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Old 08-16-11, 07:30 PM   #12
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I think its more about where you ride and how you ride
Nope.

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(and also how the wheels were built) that makes a difference.
Yes.

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Does it bug me? no.... it annoys me but then I just remember to be more careful where and how I ride (no jumping off curbs, watch out of pot holes etc).
Dropping off curbs decreases tension in the bottommost spokes with minimal changes in the rest of the wheel. While things like that may bend a rim it's not going to do anything to the spokes.

Spokes fail due to fatigue, with about 750 cycles a mile. They survive fewer cycles when average stress is high (like in parts of the elbows which were never taken past their elastic limit) and/or the cycles are larger (the bending of loose spokes, or with a Clydestale in the saddle).

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If it happens a lot, I consider getting a stronger wheel.
$25 worth of DT butted spokes are a better solution.

Broken spokes and/or wheels that go out of true without crash damage are wakeup calls by some one telling you to learn wheel building. It's so easy school children can do it (Jobst Brandt tested _The Bicycle Wheel_ by having each of his sons build a pair with no other help), will eliminate broken spokes for the first 200,000 or 300,000 miles, and get you a durable crash replacement tonight or tomorrow for the $50 price of a new rim instead of a few hundred dollars for a manufacturers' rebuild which can take weeks or a good chunk of that to a local shop (when feeling lazy I had a shop take care of my wife's bike - that was $70 in labor, $45 for spokes, and ready the next week).

I gave up on other peoples' wheels after collapsing a front (probably because it was under-tensioned) and having a rear that never stayed true (from the same pair, definitely loose).

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 08-16-11 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 08-16-11, 07:51 PM   #13
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so my cruiser is in the shop with a spoke problem. I needed to run to the college though, so I jumped on the too-small ss walmart can and zipped out tfo school, got paperwork taken care of, zoomed back and spent an hour lost, then made insane great time getting to wife's work for lunch. Felt great. Then I get home and hear a "twang". Yep, broke a spoke.. Been feeling like a huge lardass since.
Is it just me?
When I first started researching self-bike maintenance, I kept being told that I should learn how to fix broken spokes, because sooner or later they happen to everyone. It took me several thousand miles for it to happen, but sure enough, it did. So I'll tell you the same thing... it happens to everyone. Don't take it personally.
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Old 08-16-11, 07:54 PM   #14
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Stopped by the bike shop (Mike's) to see about a new spoke. Prognosis: Two broken spokes, but don't bother to replace them. The hub on the beater is shot; the remaining spokes will last more than a week, and the hub will PROBABLY last through the week.
Oh well, I have a cunning plan for a new beater anyways, if I can figure out what frame I can build it on.. *wrings hands* And the shop I got the Giant from called back, they're going to relace the defective wheel with heavier gauge spokes as a warrantee job. Hence the week wait, since they don't have said heavy spokes in stock.
Did they take the hub apart to figure out it was shot? My old hub spun very badly, and the LBS recommended just trashing it. I was going to, but the new wheel they sold me didn't last 100 miles, so while I'm waiting for another new one, I cleaned out the old hub, regreased it, and it's spinning better than it used to, which means it's usable again. Still a sub-optimal amount of rolling resistance because the drive-side hub is pitted badly, but it spins and works.
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Old 08-16-11, 09:16 PM   #15
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After spending hundreds of dollars at high end bike shops, I hold against the shops and builders that built the POS's's's's ! I haven't broken a spoke since I started building my own wheels in 2005!
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Old 08-16-11, 09:47 PM   #16
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Don't take it personally. Consider yourself a total bad ass for riding hard enough to break a spoke. May it have something to do with rider weight? Meh, perhaps, but you said yourself that you were riding fast. Everybody who I knew that broke a spoke was a bad ass and rode their bike like they stole it. When I worked at a shop, the people who were breaking spokes were mostly those not even big enough to be considered clydes. It can happen to anyone. Usually, there is something defective with the wheel or how it was assembled.
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Old 08-17-11, 09:08 AM   #17
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I don't have a problem with breaking spokes, but being 215 and getting over the front of my 29er front wheel and pumping on climbs I guess I flex the heck out of it and only make it a few rides before they are groaning at me from being loose. My back wheel never has an issue. I take that back I did break a spoke on my 26er SS MTB but it probably happened bunny hopping curbs and just generally being stupid.
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Old 08-17-11, 10:02 AM   #18
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With me it was always climbing. Every time I've broken a spoke it was when I was out of the saddle, climbing up a hill (usually Oakmont Blvd., aka the Oakmonster).
Interesting. That would seem to undermine my theory.
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Old 08-17-11, 10:12 AM   #19
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First post! I figured this would be a good place to start since I can definitely relate...

I bought a Trek 6000 in 2008 and was about 270lbs at the time, and went through something like 10 spokes in the first 200 miles of riding. I knew the rims themselves were okay, but I had a feeling the wheel was not built right from the factory. So I took the wheel to a different shop that was more willing to do what I wanted rather than just sell me another set of crummy wheels. I got the wheel rebuilt, and the builder actually chamfered the hub where the spokes go thru it so that there wouldn't be as high a stress concentration. He also replaced the cheap spokes with some good DT Swiss spokes.

I now have 1,100 miles on the bike and have not even had to re-tension them yet. I have to admit I don't ride it QUITE as hard as I did before in terms of curbs, but it has been on a decent XC trail 6 times on the new spokes and build, but never on the original set.

I always thought it was because I was a big dude, but it turns out it was more the crappy stock spokes combined with my riding style.

-Eric
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Old 08-17-11, 10:23 AM   #20
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Interesting. That would seem to undermine my theory.
I think its due to being over the front tire with more weight and the general rocking back and forth (picture a bmx'r sprinting, but not as exagerated)
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Old 08-17-11, 10:36 AM   #21
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Spoke breakage is the result of a poorly built wheel, not fat arses or potholes... or fat potbellies or arseholes
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Old 08-17-11, 11:30 AM   #22
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Interesting. That would seem to undermine my theory.
Not undermine... augment. Spokes tend to break at times of great stress. Potholes can cause that stress, but so too can hammering for all you're worth to get up a hill cuz a thunderstorm is rolling over you.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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