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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 07-05-12, 11:20 AM   #1
Bluish Green
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Need advice - spoke & reflector issue

This morning, I commuted as usual 6 miles in to work. Right before I got into the driveway at my workplace, I rode over a dip in the concrete that is more pronounced than most (cars and trucks sometimes scrape rear bumpers if they take it too fast). I must have hit it pretty hard/fast (and my rear panniers were both jammed and heavy), because I knocked my rear spoke reflector loose. It gave a click-click-click, and when I soon stopped the bike I found that it was loose.

I looked at the front one for comparison. The back one seems much looser, but I can still wedge it into the spokes if I want. Both slide on the spoke they are attached to and wedge for stability, it seems. The back one is noticeably easier to slide now. I don't know much about spoke reflectors other than that they help with nighttime visibility. I looked the spokes themselves over and didn't see any problems.

I need to decide whether to take the reflector off before my afternoon commute in 5 hours, with some kind of wrench I suppose, and just replace it with a new one when I get a chance (prior to my next nighttime ride), or if I want to wedge it back in and use it as is. Since I am a larger individual, I am more concerned with spoke integrity than reflectors or trying to save a $2 part. But I wanted to float the question here and get feedback. I don't know any of the specifics about how many spokes, etc., I have on the wheels, and I have not had any spoke issues to date. I just don't like the idea of wedging anything tighter against the structural component that is carrying my weight. Any thoughts, anybody have a similar experience to share? I'm leaning towards getting it off the spoke without damaging the spoke, and looking for a new one sometime soon. Is that being overly cautious? Thanks!
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Old 07-05-12, 11:35 AM   #2
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Do you run lights fore and aft? IMHO wheel reflectors are not worth the trouble. 99+% of my miles are daylight and rural so reflectors of any type are of limited usefulness, YMMV.
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Old 07-05-12, 11:36 AM   #3
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Take is off so that is doesn't fall off and get wedged in the spokes causing you to wreck.

You can then take time to re-install it correctly like nothing at all ever happened.
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Old 07-05-12, 12:01 PM   #4
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Do you run lights fore and aft? IMHO wheel reflectors are not worth the trouble. 99+% of my miles are daylight and rural so reflectors of any type are of limited usefulness, YMMV.
Yes, I run 2 headlights (one blink, one bright) and two taillights (one blink, one bright) at all times, even bright daylight. I agree with you, but want to stay legal (need to check to see if wheel reflectors are required in Illinois...) and every little bit helps.
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Old 07-05-12, 12:03 PM   #5
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Take is off so that is doesn't fall off and get wedged in the spokes causing you to wreck.

You can then take time to re-install it correctly like nothing at all ever happened.
That's good advice, I hadn't thought about it possibly causing a crash. Thanks, I was leaning that way and will take it off. Sorry to bother everybody with a minor question, but I guess it's not minor when I'm commuting in 103 F heat today! Safety first and always....
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Old 07-05-12, 09:19 PM   #6
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I take them off as soon as I pick the bike up. I hate the spoke reflectors.
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Old 07-05-12, 11:04 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback everybody.

The reflector came off easily. The plastic housing around the connector had an edge crack off, so it is ruined and in the trash. I know it's a minor issue, I'm just glad no spokes were damaged.

I checked Illinois law - front light and back red reflector are required for nighttime riding. White front reflector and spoke reflectors are required to be sold on all new bikes. It doesn't say that they are required for riding though, so I will replace the broken spoke reflector one when I can. I run a full compliment of 4 lights and have oodles of retroreflective tape geeking my bike out, so I am no ninja at night as it is.

More importantly, I survived the 103 degree F commute home. Thanks again!
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Old 07-06-12, 10:45 AM   #8
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I am fairly sure that reflectors are just like the material tags on pillows. Required by law to be there until delivered to the first consumer and then may be removed.
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Old 07-06-12, 07:33 PM   #9
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I am fairly sure that reflectors are just like the material tags on pillows. Required by law to be there until delivered to the first consumer and then may be removed.
Since visibility is key to staying alive on a bike removal of any reflectors permanently is plain oi' dumb.
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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