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  1. #1
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    Busted Spokes on Hybrid -- Need a new wheel or a new bike shop?

    Hi all,

    I'm 6'1", 225lbs, and my main form of transportation is my bike. I ride a Felt Verza City 3 and have both front and rear racks for carrying stuff. I bike commute daily, so I always have at least my two rear panniers loaded with general bike repair tools, 2 strong locks (~11 lbs together), and my work clothes. I put the torque down when the lights turn green, but am otherwise a very smooth rider.

    My bike is pushing a year old and I don't know if the wear and tear on my rear wheel is starting to show or if my bike shop's new management is untrustworthy. I broke my first spoke on my rear wheel 3 months ago. I took it in and the guy who ran the shop (a good personal friend of mine) who threw a new one on there and trued the wheel.

    Two weeks ago, I popped another spoke and took it in. My buddy is no longer in charge (decided to go on a 3 month tour of the states) and the shop is under new management. That guy took the wheel in happily, threw on a new spoke, trued the wheel and gave me an scary omen-- "Your spokes are a bit tight... if you pop another spoke, it's probably time to look into getting a new wheel. We can set you up with whatever wheel you'd want."

    While I've only been heavily into bicycling for a bit over a year, I've kinda dove in head first... and I've read nothing about the end of the life of a whole wheel being determined by spoke tension.

    Well, I noticed some lack of power return for the effort I was putting in on the way home yesterday, so I did a tune up today, myself. I threw my bike up on my stand, pulled the wheels off, and got down to scrubbing out some cassette, derailleur, and chainring gunk (it rained recently) when I noticed, out the corner of my eye, a blak line that seemed out of place. It was a third busted spoke-- the 2nd in as many weeks.

    So what am I to think? Do I need to shell out silly amounts of money for an aftermarket wheel or is my current bike shop's manager playing me and setting me up for an easy sale?

    I know I'm a big guy and I've always wanted a stronger rear wheel with thicker spokes for more reliability, so if you don't have an opinion on wheel health, could you suggest an affordable Clydesdale-worthy rear wheel?

    Current Wheel Specs
    Spokes (mostly stock): Stainless 14g w/Brass Nipples
    Rear Hub (stock): forged aluminum w/allory QR 36H, shimano style cassette rear hub
    Rims (stock): Doublewall aluminum for V-brake, 700c X 1.5, 36H w/ground sidewall rims
    Tires (aftermarket): Vittoria Randonneur cross 700x38c

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Are you breaking the drive side leading spokes?
    (the ones that want to "unwrap" when you mash the pedals)

  3. #3
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    It is always good to scout as many local bike shops as you can in your area. You never know were youre going to have a problem, and which shop you might have to deal with. Its also good to know which shops specialize in what. As one shop may do things better in one area then another. For example, one shop i have almost all of my maintenance work done at, because their techs are absolutely amazing, and have kept me running virtually trouble free, and they stand behind the work they do. Another shop i go to for upgrades, and ergo changes, because the owner of that shop has done really good with fitting me, and has always helped me improve my riding, not just selling me crap i didnt need. And his prices are fair (where the maintenance shop is a bit more expensive, and rock solid on sticking to retail pricing). And the one shop in town i would never go to for service or parts, has a metric butt load of merchandise. Lots of apparel, lots of brands, good selection, and expansive stock. I wouldnt trust those guys to put air in my tires. But i will happily buy their brand name goods because of selection, and fair pricing, as well as a great clearance section.
    So shop your area, and get familiar with who does what. It will help you in the long run. And might help you find a place to better suit your needs.

    To your wheel issue, IMHO, youre weight is not high enough to be popping spokes on a 36 spoke wheel. Like Bill said, what side, and what spoke location can say alot about what might be happening.

    My own personal experience with wheels has been quite frustrating as well. The shop i bought the bike from (the third shop with all the apparel) could NEVER true my wheels properly. They were always out of round and had a bit of a hop to them. And they always had a couple 32nds of wobble to them. Their excuse was "this is normal wheel behavior for a clyde".
    Not being particularly happy with this "explanation", i took it to the first shop. They have a wheel builder that builds wheels for professional cycling teams, and ships alot of custom built wheels overseas. He didnt even have to put the wheel on the trueing stand and said "im gonna have to rebuild these...someone murdered these wheels". Sure enough, the guy started by almost completely disassembling the whole wheel, replacing a couple spokes that he said were iffy, and started the tensioning process from the ground up like a brand new wheel build.
    The next day i got the wheels back...and OMFG! If someone had told me when i first started riding, that a properly trued, and tensioned set of wheels would improve the ride quality, handling, and increase the feedback so dramatically...i would have told them they were nuts, there is no way. But the difference was literally night and day.
    He was also super up front with me, and said that the wheels will have some breaking in to do, and the new spokes will have to relax into the wheel, and the rim will have to restress itself tot he new proper tension. So it will make some noises, and it will feel a little strange at first (which i thought was an odd thing to say given how much better it felt already). He told me that every 50 miles, or after a long ride, bring the wheels by to be trued. And he would do the first dozen, or however many it took, for free to get the wheels properly tensioned, and prevent them from going all wobbly like they did before. He stood by his word, and i have yet to break a spoke, yet to have any flats associated with rim issues (or flats at all really). And the wheels rarely go out of true, but save for a little wobble after a few hundred miles of hard riding on rough roads.

    For perspective, im 5' 10", about 275 pounds, ride a Felt F75, i ride with a faster, lighter group of people, and keep up just fine. So its not like im babying the bike, or riding it slow.

    I have said it many times on here before, and i will say it again...i think the vast majority of why people overbuild the wheels here with big deep V wheels, and absurd spoke counts, and heavy duty super weight components, and metal hoop beaded tires made of super hard rubber compounds, etc. has little to do with actual needed or perceived durability, and more to do with poor maintenance schedules of the riders, and poor build quality of the initial wheel. Where in excessive over building of heavy duty parts compensates for the other shortcomings. Such as, the wheel will be less likely to go out of true by virtue of having a super high spoke count, and a heavy overly stiff deep V rim, not because it was built properly in the first place, and maintained correctly in the second, so it could take the bumps and vibrations of being ridden with a heavy rider.

    So i guess i said all of that to say this...find a competent wheel builder first. Then consider getting another higher component quality wheel built if that one still gives you problems.

  4. #4
    Senior Member 1oddmanout's Avatar
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    I'm used to having factory wheels rebuilt by an experienced wheel-builder, but recently learned a new lesson - I got a new bike last Fall from a dealer that was going out of business (Jamis Allegro 1), it rode OK, at 200 miles took it to an authorized dealer to have first service and check spokes (as used to breaking spokes) for a winter beach bicycling vacation. Shop said everything was fine, they made a few adjustments and I was on my way.
    Took the ferry into Cape May, 10 miles in, the bike felt odd; 5 more miles in, that familiar noise, but this time 3 bad spokes. I disconnected the back brakes, rode it back to the ferry, and next day dropped the wheel off at an authorized dealer. One spoke had broken at the rear rim on non-drive-side, and two had come out of their nipples. He tried to replace one but other spokes started going bad in the process, and as I expected, needed to be rebuilt. Eh, if they could have done it that day, I would have paid to have it done, but their wheelbuilder was at another store.
    So, back home, the closing dealer gave me a new wheel off a display bike, and I took it to the authorized dealer to have it checked. Again he said it was true and OK.
    This shop also isn't a "bike store" but an athletic chain, but with high reputation and knowledgeable bike guys. I asked the bike repairman about rebuilding a wheel, and asked him does he use a spoke tensioning guage. He said no, only by eye. Hmmmmm.
    So I took it to my experienced wheel-builder, of course he uses a tensioning guage, and I watched him check out the new wheel (and another wheel he had rebuilt that needed re-tensioning after 200 miles).
    Amazing, wheel nice and true and one spoke very loose. I know now why I had the difficulty in NJ on the old wheel. He tensioned and trued the wheel using a tension guage, put on a heavy set of gloves, grasped 4 spokes apart and pulled then together to set everything, and retensioned and trued the wheel again.
    Lesson learned - don't trust a shop that doesn't use a guage.
    I considered just buying a tension gage and a good truing stand, but at the cost, I can just have my wheel builder do this a few times a year.
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  5. #5
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Unless your rim is warped you probably just need to get the wheel rebuilt - 3 busted spokes is my cue to start over. My guess is the shop is just replacing the one spoke that broke and adjusting the tension on that one spoke to get the wheel roughly true again, and they're not really retensioning the wheel all over for you. Lots of bikes come with machine built wheels and they're just not as sturdy for us larger dudes. Hand built by a competent builder is more desirable.

    I'd say you need to find a real live wheel builder in OC and maybe somebody on this forum (or try the regional forums too, I assume you're in Orange County CA not Orange County New York) can point you in the right direction.

  6. #6
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Since I carry some rather heavy cargo loads, I upgraded to a touring wheel set, and I haven't broken a spoke since. I went the spoke replacement route, but the stock hybrid wheels are just not cut out to handle anything more than occasional riding at their very best.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
    Are you breaking the drive side leading spokes?
    (the ones that want to "unwrap" when you mash the pedals)
    I'll admit. This is my first foray into in-depth wheel mechanics, so, while I've given Sheldon's site a look-over on the matter, I don't know which are "leading" spokes. They are all drive-side, though.

    Here's a link to an image of the wheel. The spokes highlighted in yellow denote the previously replaced spokes and the red one is the currently broken one.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    The 2 yellow ones are leading.
    When you "mash" the pedals, they want to go slack.
    IF there isn't ENOUGH tension, they will visibly go slack under hard pedaling. (mashing)
    The constant slacking/tightening fatigues the spoke rapidly, causing failure.

    Your wheel probably wasn't properly tensioned from the onset.

    The problem now is most your other spokes have probably been over fatigued to some extent. Especially the DS spokes.

    I think what I would do is replace the DS spokes with a known good quality spoke and have the wheel trued and TENSIONED.
    I would not go to the mechanic that said your spokes were too tight. MAYBE??? they were, but that's simply not the "NORMAL" cause of breaking DS spokes.

    IF you look at your wheel, you'll note the DS spokes are at a straighter "angle" to the hub than the NDS spokes.
    They HAVE to be under greater tension than the NDS spokes to accomplish this.
    By greater angle, I mean laterally, because of the space the cassette uses.

    Edit-
    I notice the last broken spoke is pretty much opposite of the previous 2.
    Makes me kind of wonder if that specific spoke got "overstressed" when the other 2 spokes let loose????
    Last edited by Bill Kapaun; 02-19-12 at 05:26 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by eepok View Post
    Hi all,
    Well, I noticed some lack of power return for the effort I was putting in on the way home yesterday, so I did a tune up today, myself. I threw my bike up on my stand, pulled the wheels off, and got down to scrubbing out some cassette, derailleur, and chainring gunk (it rained recently) when I noticed, out the corner of my eye, a blak line that seemed out of place. It was a third busted spoke-- the 2nd in as many weeks.

    So what am I to think?
    You need to realize that spokes fail due to fatigue which comes from the load decreasing and increasing about 750 times per mile as they slacken passing the bottom of the wheel.

    The number of cycles survived is dependent on the average stress (which can be extremely high in parts of the elbows which were never taken past their elastic limit as in most machine built wheels which aren't stress relieved) and magnitude of the cycle with the later increasing with your weight although it can be high in the non-drive side of undertensioned rear wheels when the spokes are too slack and they bend back and forth like a paper clip before you break it.

    With identical cycles for all spokes and the other parameters about the same for spokes within the same group (front, rear non-drive side, rear drive side) you can expect them all to fail about the same time (like popcorn - after the first few kernels go you know the rest are coming).

    Do I need to shell out silly amounts of money for an aftermarket wheel or is my current bike shop's manager playing me and setting me up for an easy sale?
    A machine built aftermarket wheel which isn't stress relieved and brought up to uniform high tension is likely to suffer the same fate.

    You'd be better off replacing all the spokes in the failing side(s) with DT Competition 2.0/1.8mm butted spokes (about $1 each but expect to pay more at your LBS), achieving high uniform tension (probably 110kgf in the drive side and whatever it takes non-drive side), and stress relieving the wheel

    I read _The Bicycle Wheel_ and started building my own wheels after folding a poorly tensioned front and having a rear that failed to stay true from a formerly reputable shop. It takes moderate patience and a little mechanical intuition but isn't the black art some shops (through ignorance or desire to sell you a wheel build for $70 in labor) make it out to be (Jobst tested his book by having his grade school sons each build a wheel set with no other help). My wheels don't break spokes for at least their first 15 years of life (Jobst is up to 300,000 miles on a set of 15/16 gauge spokes so I don't expect anything different to happen in the second fifteen years), stay true from when they're built until crashed hard enough to bend a rim and when that happens or I wear out a brake track it's $65 to fix things.

    Doing the same would be prudent. You could also find a competent local wheel builder (just finding a shop that does good work isn't good enough when there's more than one employee because you might get a set built by the new guy in his last week on the job) although in high cost markets labor can hit $70-$90 a wheel and you'll be buying new spokes each time for $40-$50 a set on a 36 spoke wheel on top of rim costs.

  10. #10
    Senior Member recumbenttoad's Avatar
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    When I have to replace a spoke it's always on the drive side (more tension). I'm a heavy rider and because of that I do have to replace a spoke now and then (I tend to ride less expensive bikes - less than $700). I got tired of needing to depend on my LBS, so I bought the tools I needed to do the work myself. After all, nobody cares about your bike as much as you do. So, if you have any mechanical aptitude at all, and can afford to get the tools needed, I would learn to do the work. And, when you need to, yo ucan build your own wheels if you want.
    My name is a thread killing word.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by recumbenttoad View Post
    When I have to replace a spoke it's always on the drive side (more tension). I'm a heavy rider and because of that I do have to replace a spoke now and then (I tend to ride less expensive bikes - less than $700). I got tired of needing to depend on my LBS, so I bought the tools I needed to do the work myself. After all, nobody cares about your bike as much as you do. So, if you have any mechanical aptitude at all, and can afford to get the tools needed, I would learn to do the work. And, when you need to, you can build your own wheels if you want.
    Quote Originally Posted by [URL="http://www.bikeforums.net/member.php/192132-Drew-Eckhardt"
    Drew Eckhardt[/URL];13873405]I read _The Bicycle Wheel_ and started building my own wheels after folding a poorly tensioned front and having a rear that failed to stay true from a formerly reputable shop. It takes moderate patience and a little mechanical intuition but isn't the black art some shops (through ignorance or desire to sell you a wheel build for $70 in labor) make it out to be (Jobst tested his book by having his grade school sons each build a wheel set with no other help). My wheels don't break spokes for at least their first 15 years of life (Jobst is up to 300,000 miles on a set of 15/16 gauge spokes so I don't expect anything different to happen in the second fifteen years), stay true from when they're built until crashed hard enough to bend a rim and when that happens or I wear out a brake track it's $65 to fix things.

    Doing the same would be prudent. You could also find a competent local wheel builder (just finding a shop that does good work isn't good enough when there's more than one employee because you might get a set built by the new guy in his last week on the job) although in high cost markets labor can hit $70-$90 a wheel and you'll be buying new spokes each time for $40-$50 a set on a 36 spoke wheel on top of rim costs.
    I've been building up my tool kit over the past year of mostly mid/low-range gear. I've considered just truing my own wheels and looking into building my own wheel(s), but the cost of screwing up makes me rather hesitant (though I've done pretty much all other types of upkeep, saving bunches of money). I'll likely buy The Bicycle Wheel within the next couple of weeks so that this experience will, hopefully, be one of the last I'll have. I just need to the bike rolling again for now. (Correction -- I found The Bicycle Wheel, used, online for $12 shipped. So it's on the way!)

    I jumped on a Groupon a while bike to get $40 of service/parts for $20 from the OC Bicycle Service & Garage (Laguna Hills), but they're never open when I can get to them (Sundays, Holidays). I've read some good things about Bicycle Discovery (Fountain Valley) in my area and I've purchased a good bit of gear (including my partner's bike) from them, but never thought to use them for repairs since they're so far away. They're one of the few places open tomorrow, so they'll likely be getting my business.

  12. #12
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Like others, I build my own wheels and it saves money and guarantees the quality is as good as I can put into it. A couple of points to touch on:

    1. Where is the failure? You don't seem to have a spoke protector. If you are cutting spokes with your chain and it's breaking lower part but in the middle of the spoke, then I'd invest in a spoke protector.

    2. Are you transporting the bike in a way that might damage the spokes? Does something strike them and damage the spokes?

    3. If the failure is in the head of the spoke, can you spot the imprint on the head of the spoke? If so, go to MrRabbit's spoke head ID chart and see if you can find it. http://www.mrrabbit.net/docs/spokeheads/main.html I think most folks on this forum who build or ride seriously will like DT, Wheelsmith, or SAPIM spokes. If you can get those brands, they're probably good. If you spokes don't match any of those common brands, you might think about replacing spokes with better ones (or get the new wheel with good spokes of course).
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    Follow-Up:

    I took my wheel into Bicycle Discovery in Lake Forest, CA. It was $1 per DT spoke ($36) plus $40 labor for the rebuild. I got the wheel back in 5 hours. Before I say more, I want to preface it with the following:
    1. I figured out I had a broken spoke while doing a full drive train cleaning derailleur tune-up.
    2. I read, possibly in this thread, how amazingly good it feels to move from a bad wheel to a rebuilt wheel.

    With those things in mind, I now say "everything is wonderful". The ride is as smooth or smoother than my first ride on the bike. Everything seems like it takes less effort. I am happy again. =D

    Also, my used Copy of The Bicycle Wheel arrived. I think it's the first edition, though. Does anyone have both the first and third edition? Could you tell me what the difference is and whether or not I should bother seeking out the third edition?

  14. #14
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    I didn't post earlier though I watned to. I let the technical udes get their say first, then give my experience.

    New bikes, new wheels, last me about 2000 miles before problems arise. HWat I did not know early in my cycling days was that the wheels shoudld be retensioned after 300 miles or so. Or it wil not last much more than 2000.

    I build my own wheels, retension after 200-300, then get 20,000 troule free miles.

    Every expert wheel builder I have met and paid to build a wheel fro me has said "you don't need it if I use loctite, spoke prep, or magic fairy dust."

    But never once has a wheel gone over 500 miles without needing retension.

    If I were you, I'd have the builder retension the wheel after 200-300 miles or you "will" be in the same situation after 2000-3000 miles.

    I'd be willing to bet you never took the hybrid back for the free tuneup and asked for a re tension of the spokes. I also bet the shop dude only trued the wheels in the past and never checked the tension or retensioned the spokes. If so, I bet this would have prevented the current problems you are experiencing.
    Last edited by Mr. Beanz; 02-23-12 at 11:15 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Every expert wheel builder I have met and paid to build a wheel fro me has said "you don't need it if I use loctite, spoke prep, or magic fairy dust."

    But never once has a wheel gone over 500 miles without needing retension.
    Whenever i hear comments like this, it reminds me of just how fortunate i am to have the LBS that i do to go to. From the get go they told me on the new wheels to bring them in after every 50 miles or so, until they got properly tensioned. And then instructed me to bring them in every 300 miles for an inspection, tension, and truing. And every 2000 miles for inspection, and service. They have always been up front about it. And usually, because i am so good about bringing it in after rides, that the adjustments they do to my wheels are so minimal, they dont even charge me for it.

    As you know i harp on pretty hard about proper, and regular maintenance on the mechanics of the bike. And I have that LBS to thank entirely for that attitude. Because every part i have broken on my bike has been because I BROKE IT, not because it "failed". As one of the mechanics there put it "We would rather you were out riding, then sitting in here paying for service. We like the money, but we like people riding bikes even better."

    It really does amaze me how little people care about maintaining the investment of a bicycle. A girl i did a fair amount of riding with last year made the worst comment ever to me. I recommended that her bike be serviced before she did the Seattle to Portland ride, and her reply was "Why? I had one done before last years STP..." :facepalm:
    The very next ride we did, she popped two spokes on her rear wheel. Needless to say, i was only allowed to say "i told you so" once.
    So we finally got her bike serviced (at the shop i prefer), and she got it back and did nothing but complain that "the brakes grab to tight, and too quickly", "The bike feels stiff", "the shifting feels weird, its like its catching too fast, i bairly have to move the lever to shift, and it jumps now". In other words, EVERYTHING ON THE BIKE WAS ACTUALLY TIGHT!! The shifting issue was because she has so much cable slop, that it took more then one click of the brifter (Tiagra) to get it into the next gear, then she would have to shift down one click to get the gear to stick. She called that "trimming"...on the rear deraileur?! Basically, she had accepted, and trained herself that a sloppy bike, was a good bike, and was perfectly content to ride what i would consider a death trap, out on the road. It makes me wonder how many other people here share similar lack of concern/ignorance in maintaining their ride?

  16. #16
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buck_O View Post
    Whenever i hear comments like this, it reminds me of just how fortunate i am to have the LBS that i do to go to. From the get go they told me on the new wheels to bring them in after every 50 miles or so, until they got properly tensioned.
    I built my wheels, stress relieved, rode 200-300 miles, then retensioned. I had no issues then at 13,000 mile I did one "MINOR" true. After 20,000 miles, the brake surface wore out so I retired the wheel for safety reasons but still true as can be.



    Quote Originally Posted by Buck_O View Post
    It really does amaze me how little people care about maintaining the investment of a bicycle.
    There are few that don't care but I figure most don't know. I can't count the times other riders have told me, "there is something wrong with my wheels, crooked". Let me guess, you took the bike in to the shop for the free tuneup, they trued the wheels but didn't readjust the spoke tension.

  17. #17
    Am I evil? I am Man!!! Mr Sinister's Avatar
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    I used to bring my wheels in about every 500 miles... I think I might change that down to the 200-300 Mr Beanz said here. It sems like a better idea, and will help me with my worrying about braking a spoke again. If I can get them checked more often than I used to, I will not worry about it as much.
    Quote Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Sinister View Post
    I used to bring my wheels in about every 500 miles... I think I might change that down to the 200-300 Mr Beanz said here. It sems like a better idea, and will help me with my worrying about braking a spoke again. If I can get them checked more often than I used to, I will not worry about it as much.
    You might have misunderstood what I meant, maybe I wasn't clear.

    I build my wheels, stress relieve at build, then retension my wheels after 300 miles (break in period). That's it, then I don't need to mess wiht them again for a looooong time.

    As far as taking my wheels in for adjustment frequently, I've had noting but bad luck with lbs's working on my wheels. Most have done more damage than good. Once you get the tension correct after a break in period, they shouldn't go out unless you crash etc. So retension after 300, that's it!

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    More Maintenance wheel truing , check them often, loose spokes flex and fatigue.

    a properly tensioned wheel works as a Whole.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    I didn't post earlier though I watned to. I let the technical udes get their say first, then give my experience.

    New bikes, new wheels, last me about 2000 miles before problems arise. HWat I did not know early in my cycling days was that the wheels shoudld be retensioned after 300 miles or so. Or it wil not last much more than 2000.

    I build my own wheels, retension after 200-300, then get 20,000 troule free miles.

    Every expert wheel builder I have met and paid to build a wheel fro me has said "you don't need it if I use loctite, spoke prep, or magic fairy dust."

    But never once has a wheel gone over 500 miles without needing retension.

    If I were you, I'd have the builder retension the wheel after 200-300 miles or you "will" be in the same situation after 2000-3000 miles.

    I'd be willing to bet you never took the hybrid back for the free tuneup and asked for a re tension of the spokes. I also bet the shop dude only trued the wheels in the past and never checked the tension or retensioned the spokes. If so, I bet this would have prevented the current problems you are experiencing.
    Thanks, Mr. Beanz. I'll make sure to take better care this time around. While I did go back for other tune-ups at 30 days and 60 days, neither tune-ups touched the wheels. I'll likely be doing my own wheel work from hereon out (aside from sudden catastrophic issues).

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    Quote Originally Posted by eepok View Post
    Thanks, Mr. Beanz. I'll make sure to take better care this time around. While I did go back for other tune-ups at 30 days and 60 days, neither tune-ups touched the wheels. I'll likely be doing my own wheel work from hereon out (aside from sudden catastrophic issues).
    This is exactly why I build my own wheels now.

    Little experiment for ya. WHne the wheel is built squeeze two spokes together, get a feel for the tension/stiffness (should be stiff). Put 300 miles on the wheel then squeeze them again. Can you feel a difference? (More than likly get some spoke flex)Or squeeze the spokes of the 300 mile wheel and compare to a newly built wheel. Can you feel the difference?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    You might have misunderstood what I meant, maybe I wasn't clear.

    I build my wheels, stress relieve at build, then retension my wheels after 300 miles (break in period). That's it, then I don't need to mess wiht them again for a looooong time.
    I don't get changes over a break-in period and can't come up with any sound mechanical reason for them to happen in a properly built wheel with properly seated spokes, elbows bent to match the hub flanges, sufficient tension, no windup, and sufficient tension.

    A half a dozen spots on the last front wheel I built were all 102-107 kgf just like when it left the truing stand 3700 miles ago in December, 2010 and should measure the same until I bend the rim or remove it due to worn out brake tracks.

    If you don't avoid windup (tape flags or Sharpie dots make this possible without having the experience to feel where you have equal resistance to spoke wrench rotation in both directions) or don't put enough tension in the spokes (With Open Pros, Reflex Clinchers, and MA40s Jobst's method produced identical tension to what I'd shoot for with the Park meter, and the Park TM1 just works as long as you keep it horizontal and ease off the handle when measuring) you'll have the nipples unscrew as the twists come out or the spokes get too slack for the friction between nipple and socket/threads to prevent motion. Spoke heads that aren't seated during the build can cause problems too; some people insure against that by striking each with a hammer and punch.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 02-25-12 at 03:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
    I don't get changes over a break-in period and can't come up with any sound mechanical reason for them to happen in a properly built wheel with properly seated spokes, elbows bent to match the hub flanges, sufficient tension, no windup, and sufficient tension.
    Every....Every wheel builder I have had a build a wheel for me has said the same thing. All the local experts and long time builders, Jack, Mark, Jim (locals know them and rec them on forums) has said the same thing. Properly built wheels with loctite and fairy dust if used will NOT need a retension.

    Believe me, EVERY, again EVERY one of them was wrong. You believe what you like but I know what I know through experience and having to retension their wheels as well as mine.,

    Clyde posters can believe which ever one of us they believe as well "BUT" there is a reason Clyde spokes break after 2000 miles. Since I started retension after the break in period, I have not broken ONE spoke, mine or theirs.

    Could be the experts probably don't know that some of us have had to retension them after the break in period. The experts that built mine have no idea.

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    Mr Beanz I just can't believe your discounting the 'expert knowledge' per wheel building. Obviously these 'exPERTS' have read ALL the books.. can quote said 'exPERTS' almost to the word. And still you fly into that wind of male bovine dung..... well done.

    The 'exPERT' group generally can not comprehend a wheel carrying heavy weight as being something other models referenced in some elemental engineering bike wheel building text.. which only models a symmetrical front wheel. With the 'butted spoke' refrain being quacked endlessly ad nausem... wheel building noise is recycled endlessly via the herd. What a bore.. and too often the 'info' is not valid.

    Retail wheel building is a different game... all that overhead... time constraints... and some even manage a decent product. Spoke replacement at an LBS is filling a hole.. some lateral true and out the door... usually lacking the cure. These marketing companies imitating bike companies are the problem... pushing low count wheels into a market of mostly naive buyers. My favorite theme is the guy buying a several thousand dollar bike only to ASSUME new wheels are needed........unreal IMO. Common sense is not in vogue in these times.

    With the hobby wheel builder.. the impetus is durability/quality and learning the WHY's. As mentioned above.. it ain't rocket science.. by miles. Take the expert noise with a grain of salt.. load your weight on the wheels.. and see what gives. Getting a perfect build completed is a challenge.. assuming .. the variance in the components used and again.. the environment of the heavy weight rider. Can be done.. I agree some tweaks after a few hundred miles only makes some sense. Myself mine are staying put to date.. I stress relieve, tap heads in... dotting all the i's and t's as I do along. Then I stress relieve.. and then some more.

    IF.. a 36 hole triplet is of value for heavy riders I hope to find some answers this spring. I built the below pic.. the caveat being 24 holes/spokes DS (12 NDS spokes) are required.. meaning to date for me a freewheel rear. This example has 85% NDS tension of the DS.. is 122 spaced 7 spd. The use of an on hand box rim was convenience... double wall or more would only add strength. If I'm encouraged with this trial test I'll drill out a 24H freehub.. & add a stronger rim. Yet I think as it it'll give me a decent test.


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