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  1. #1
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    Busted my first spoke

    I'd kitted out my Trek 7.2FX with fenders, rack, panniers etc and had been commuting on it. Not really far, about 9 miles round trip, but there are some pretty rough roads on the way. Went to air up the rear tire on Sunday, found a busted spoke!

    Had the spoke repaired and the wheel trued at the bike shop, have no idea how true the wheel was when I bought it. I weigh about 260 right now, am I going to keep breaking spokes? I'm half wondering if I should start saving my pennies for a touring bike to commute on if the little hybrid can't handle both my girth and a few bumps.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    How long have you had the bike? Wheels are a wear and tear item, and heavy riders tend to wear them down faster.

    I only weigh 155 in season, and I wore out a cheap Jalco wheel in about 4000 miles last year. OTOH, my wife is an Athena, and she has close to 3000 miles on her entry level Bontrager wheels, and they're still true. All spokes are still tight.

    Before you decide to buy another bike, think about going with a 36 spoke rim on the rear.

  3. #3
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    +1...If your car breaks a rim, you don;t buy a new car, you buy a new rim

    As I've found in my experience, most stock wheels only last a couple thousand miles. OR they have been so poorly maintained by shop wannabe wheelsmiths that they break prematurely. OR the owner of the bike has no idea that he should have at any time had the tension checked and adjusted accordingly.

    Have a shop build you a good wheel. Then have them check it at about 300 miles to verify the tension si stil correct. If it isn't adjust it. If a wheel lacks tension, spokes will break.

    If you have the money, buy a better hub and have the shop build you a better wheel. If you are strapped for money, the FX shows it's equipped with 32 spoke hubs. You can buy a new rim and spokes and have the shop build on the current hub. Of course an upgraded hub woudl be better but not neccesary.

  4. #4
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    I would hold off until another spoke or 2 break. That will be proof positive that your wheel either wasn't made right, or is too light for you.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  5. #5
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    I've probably got only about 500 or so miles on this bike. The wheels are some sort of cheap Bontrager type but I was hoping they'd last longer, I'm suspecting/hoping that the store I bought them from didn't have it tensioned right to begin with.

    And if I bought a new bike, it'd be because I want a new bike lol The shop did say they could build me a heavier-duty wheel with the hub I've got for ~$100, seems silly since I bought the bike for around $450, but them's the breaks!

  6. #6
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShartRate View Post
    And if I bought a new bike, it'd be because I want a new bike lol
    That's cool but you should word it as so in the OP. That is not the idea you cast among the crowd, so our responses will reflect that.

  7. #7
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShartRate View Post
    ~$100, seems silly since I bought the bike for around $450,
    Once you get 20,000+ miles out of a well built wheel, it wont seem so silly. The better built (durable) equipment is not so silly at all once you start doing serious mileage on a bike. Had I continued to fight with low end low quality wheels on my bikes over my 70,000+ miles, now that would have been silly.

    My wheels are about $250 on a $1000 bike. About the same 4:1 ratio as your bike, figuring the mileage I get out of my wheels, it's not silly at all.

  8. #8
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShartRate View Post
    The shop did say they could build me a heavier-duty wheel with the hub I've got for ~$100, seems silly since I bought the bike for around $450, but them's the breaks!
    I get where you're coming from. We bought my wife a new Cannondale Quick. Not the top of the line, but cost us around $850 if I remember correctly. On the third ride, the breaks started GRINDING. Had to sand the rims and pads to get it to stop. Happened again....and again. We finally had to drop $40 or so on new Cool Stop pads. The grinding is gone, but now they squeal if I don't clean the breaking surface regularly. This is frustrating, but I attribute it to cheap wheels. I guess you get what you pay for.

    Been eyeing these for her:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Shimano-Ulte...-/251095714194
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  9. #9
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
    the breaks started GRINDING.
    Is that like a coffee break? .....

  10. #10
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Is that like a coffee break? .....


    And I'm a member of the closet grammar police, too. I don't comment, but those things drive me nuts!
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  11. #11
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
    I get where you're coming from. We bought my wife a new Cannondale Quick. Not the top of the line, but cost us around $850 if I remember correctly. On the third ride, the breaks started GRINDING. Had to sand the rims and pads to get it to stop. Happened again....and again. We finally had to drop $40 or so on new Cool Stop pads. The grinding is gone, but now they squeal if I don't clean the breaking surface regularly. This is frustrating, but I attribute it to cheap wheels. I guess you get what you pay for.

    Been eyeing these for her:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Shimano-Ulte...-/251095714194
    Had the same problem, & it turned out to be cheap Tektro Brake arms.
    2013 TREK 7.6 FX

  12. #12
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive View Post
    Had the same problem, & it turned out to be cheap Tektro Brake arms.
    I have not mastered the art of bicycle mechanics. Can you elaborate? I'm confused how this can be. NOT saying it isn't, I just don't get it. If I sand the brake surface down, it gets stuff off the surface and the squealing goes away. She has V-Brakes if that helps.
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  13. #13
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    I went through a similar decision with my 2 year old Trek 7000 about 2 years ago. I now have the same in wheels that I paid for the bike (front dyno hub with the new rear wheel). I figured if I replaced it with a newer, fancier bike that I'd still probably need to buy new wheels in a few years, so it was a losing proposition. Plus I was happy with my bike and I didn't want to be wasteful.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    I went through a similar decision with my 2 year old Trek 7000 about 2 years ago. I now have the same in wheels that I paid for the bike (front dyno hub with the new rear wheel). I figured if I replaced it with a newer, fancier bike that I'd still probably need to buy new wheels in a few years, so it was a losing proposition. Plus I was happy with my bike and I didn't want to be wasteful.
    I was moving towards this in my brain until I saw a deal on a Cross Check locally. So now I'm more conflicted about keeping it

  15. #15
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    It's probably worth checking around (bike club, other riders, etc.) to see who around your area knows how to build good wheels. Get them to replace the spoke, then tension, true, and stress-relieve both wheels. The stress-relief process makes the spokes last a long time, but may pop another spoke or two. Few low-end bikes have this done during build-up (and by low end, I mean less than $3,000 or so). Your wheels can probably last for a very long time if you don't grind them down with sand on the brake pads.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Big Pete 1982's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShartRate View Post
    I'd kitted out my Trek 7.2FX with fenders, rack, panniers etc and had been commuting on it. Not really far, about 9 miles round trip, but there are some pretty rough roads on the way. Went to air up the rear tire on Sunday, found a busted spoke!

    Had the spoke repaired and the wheel trued at the bike shop, have no idea how true the wheel was when I bought it. I weigh about 260 right now, am I going to keep breaking spokes? I'm half wondering if I should start saving my pennies for a touring bike to commute on if the little hybrid can't handle both my girth and a few bumps.
    I don't really have any advice other than what has already been said here, I just wanted to say your user name cracks me up!

  17. #17
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    I'm slightly heavier (than the OP) and often commute with panniers with gear. And I've had most factory 36 spoke rear wheels break spokes in the first 1000 miles. I guess it's just the nature of the materials. What I've noticed with most of those factory wheels, even if they are good gruppos and have nice overall finishes, is that the wheels are built using spokes with too long a radius on the elbows and these inevitably fail at that location. I do build my own wheels, so when I get a bike, one of the first things I do besides the standard overhaul, is unwind all the spoke nipples, lube all the spoke threads, re-lace, and re-tension all the wheels. But I add an extra small copper washer onto each spoke before inserting it into the hub. Then re-lacing and re-tensioning, this seems to do the trick at least for a few thousand miles.

    Optionally, I've removed the drive side spokes and replaced them with either DT or Wheelsmith spokes and these have shorter radius bends at their heads and so they fit snug into the hub. No washer needed. Only, if I get lazy and don't to the non-drive side and don't even insert small washers, I've still had spokes break - on the NON-drive side! So being big isn't always great for rear-wheels. We can't shirk our duty to ourselves and get stronger wheels. Funny thing in all this is that with stock wheels, the front wheel never seems to breaks a spoke due to load.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  18. #18
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    I have a set of Easton EA70s that broke a spoke on the front wheel last weekend. I was riding on flat, level, smooth pavement and it just popped. Knocked the wheel far enough out of true that it wasn't rideable. I weigh about 260 and have about 2000 miles on the wheels (have been trued twice in that time). The rear wheel of the set started breaking spokes after about one year and 700 miles. Easton rebuilt it free of charge and I later read that they seem to have gotten a batch of bad spokes on those wheels a few years ago (when I bought them). So now I don't trust the front wheel at all, because I assume now that one has gone, others will start breaking too (that is what happened with the rear). I am just going to get it totally rebuilt with new spokes before I use it again.

  19. #19
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    I wrecked my rear wheel (the stock Alex ACE-19 that came with the bike) after I'd put somewhere around 5000 miles on it (on top of whatever the first owner put on it) as a result of hitting a pothole at about 35mph. Until then all that had ever happened to it was a single spoke broke, although this break is terminal (the rim is cracked either side of the eyelet, and on both sides slightly closer to the edge than the eyelet, as if the spoke tried to rip itself out of the rim).

    I figured it's as good an opportunity as any to learn wheel building so I can build myself a new wheel that's as close to indestructible as it's sensible to get. Then at some point I may build a new front wheel, maybe some lighter wheels for more performance, or whatever else takes my fancy.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  20. #20
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    I taught myself to build wheels because I am cheap, and did not like paying the LBS to replace spokes and true the wheels. Since building my own, I have had one spoke fail - rear non drive side - I had missed a burr on the hub which created a stress concentration right at the bend. Burrs on aluminum hubs are almost pure aluminum-oxide which is much harder than stainless steel. I learned my lesson, and very carefully inspect the hub before starting, and stone any burrs. I have thousands of miles on wheels that I built with no re-trueing. I use Wheelsmith SS14 and DH13 spokes, 36H or 40H hubs, Sun CR18, Alex DM18 and Velocity Dyad rims - the Dyads are the nicest, though more expensive. The build is everything, the parts are secondary.
    Nigel
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  21. #21
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    Well in only 2 weeks and maybe 60 miles tops I popped another spoke! I suspect it has something to do with the weight I've put over the rear wheel with my new rack and panniers (as compared to how I went through last fall without any failures).

    Bit the bullet this time and had my LBS order up a 36 spoke wheel for me. At first I didn't feel too great spending so much for a wheel on a relatively inexpensive bike, but I'd rather lose the hassle of the failures and gain some peace of mind for my money

    BTW, anybody have any suggestions for what to do with the cheapo wheel with the busted spoke? Doesn't seem to make sense to repair it unless in the future I decide to sell the bike and want to keep my 36h wheel.

  22. #22
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShartRate View Post
    Well in only 2 weeks and maybe 60 miles tops I popped another spoke! I suspect it has something to do with the weight I've put over the rear wheel with my new rack and panniers (as compared to how I went through last fall without any failures).

    Bit the bullet this time and had my LBS order up a 36 spoke wheel for me. At first I didn't feel too great spending so much for a wheel on a relatively inexpensive bike, but I'd rather lose the hassle of the failures and gain some peace of mind for my money

    BTW, anybody have any suggestions for what to do with the cheapo wheel with the busted spoke? Doesn't seem to make sense to repair it unless in the future I decide to sell the bike and want to keep my 36h wheel.
    Keep hold of it if you've got space to store it. Then if you want to play with building/truing wheels you've got a wheel to play with, and if you sell the bike you put the old wheel on it and just tell the buyer it's got a broken spoke that they'll need to fix. Or get it fixed and put it back on when you sell the bike.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  23. #23
    Just Keep Pedaling Beachgrad05's Avatar
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    Busted my first spoke

    I broke my first spoke yesterday on the Great Western Bike Rally Metric at about mile 18. Hit a short steep hill and stood up to power up and POP.
    Move along....nothing to see here....anymore.

  24. #24
    Senior Member ka0use's Avatar
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    if they start popping like popcorn i'd say you had a problem. shoot, now i'm hungry.
    first star on the right and straight on 'til morning
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  25. #25
    Just Keep Pedaling Beachgrad05's Avatar
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    Here is my rear wheel out of true after riding 40+ miles with the busted spoke

    Move along....nothing to see here....anymore.

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