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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 08-11-13, 12:55 PM   #1
JB05
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2nd opinion needed - Possible to stop spoke breakage without a new bike

Hi all,

I've owned a Breezer Uptown 8 for about 10 months now. It has an internal, 8-speed rear hub which is very heavy. Both wheels are 36 spokes, and I weigh about 340 lbs + the weight of whatever I'm carrying (groceries, etc). I descend some long, steep drops on twice on a daily basis (~120 ft. drop in altitude), as I need to cross a river valley to get to/from work.

Since upgrading to the Breezer from my old Trek hybrid, things have been much more solid. I was breaking a spoke every other week on my hybrid. I break a spoke about every other month on my Breezer. My spokes always break at the rim, which I've been told suggests they broke due to torsional stress from braking. This bike has rim brakes.

The standard hub is only available in a 36-hole variety, so I can't easily add more spokes. I've inquired about getting a thicker gauge spoke, and my LBS told me that only butted spokes were available. They even checked a BMX spoke provider, but said all the spokes they had would be too short. They strongly recommended I switch to a bike in the ~$1,200 price range that would have disc brakes. They said this would remove the torsional stress issues at the rim.

------

Does this sound right? Has anyone else had similar issues with spoke breakage due to rim braking?

I just spent $800 on my Breezer in January and I'd hate to throw another $1,200 into cycling... especially since I'm doing this to try and be frugal (LOL I wish!)
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Old 08-11-13, 01:39 PM   #2
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Look for mrrabbit in the Mechanics forum. He's a go to guy for spoke/wheel problems!

I looked at the Breezer site and it doesn't specify which spokes are used.

There may be an issue with the quality of spokes, gauge & number of crosses etc.

What's wrong with butted spokes? They are a GOOD thing!
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Old 08-11-13, 02:11 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Look for mrrabbit in the Mechanics forum. He's a go to guy for spoke/wheel problems!

I looked at the Breezer site and it doesn't specify which spokes are used.

There may be an issue with the quality of spokes, gauge & number of crosses etc.

What's wrong with butted spokes? They are a GOOD thing!
Thanks for the reply Bill, I've sent him a PM

There are 2 types of butted spokes the bike shop had available, neither of which would have helped;

1. Spokes butted at the hub side were available, but they were standard thickness at the rim. My spokes always break at the rim, so this would not have helped

2. Spokes butted on both sides were available, but in a longer size.. they would need to be cut down to fit (removing much of the rim-side thickness) and even if they were to do that, they wouldn't have been able to get the rim-side threaded properly due to the remaining tapir.
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Old 08-11-13, 03:09 PM   #4
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......

.... torsional stress from braking. This bike has rim brakes.

------

Does this sound right? Has anyone else had similar issues with spoke breakage due to rim braking?
As a Mechanical Engineer - that is total BS !! The shop just wants your money, not to provide you with a good product.

I am about the same weight as you; and build my own wheels. I would suggest a set of wheels with Velocity Dyad rims and Wheelsmith DH13 spokes, one your present hubs. Peter White is a great wheel builder; and there others. Check out has website.
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Old 08-13-13, 09:43 AM   #5
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Obviously OP's shop doesn't know what they're doing with wheels.

Two options:
First, find another bike shop with a mechanic who knows what proper tensioning and stress relief are. Get that mechanic to fix the wheel.

Second, buy Brandt's "The Bicycle Wheel" and DIY.
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Old 08-13-13, 10:03 AM   #6
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your brake caliper would have to be REALLY offset to cause broken spokes while braking. Or the rim walls are super flexy.
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Old 08-13-13, 10:16 AM   #7
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here is a copy of "The art of wheelbuilding" by Gerd Schraner
http://tri.by/content/files/ArtOfWheelbuilding.pdf

its not the end all be all book about wheel building but spend the little bit of time it takes to read it and you will feel much smarter about wheels.

I have been within a few pounds of you and rode a 29er off road for years... I have NEVER seen a spoke break at the wheel side... sounds to me like crap wheel building of some sort... is it pulling the spoke out of the nipple or really braking the spoke? is this on the driveside or non drive side of the wheel?

either way it sounds like you need to have the wheel rebuilt by someone who knows what they are doing and not just claims they know what they are doing

an off center spoke bed rim may help build a stronger wheel and will help even up the tension between the drive and non drive sides
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Old 08-14-13, 06:29 AM   #8
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I agree that you should find a different wheel builder/LBS. Selling you a whole new bike to solve a spoke issue is just plain wrong...

Butted spokes are arguable stronger than straight-gauge spokes, and they can certainly be bad in a size to properly accommodate your wheel size.
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Old 08-19-13, 01:41 AM   #9
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I appreciate everyone's opinions. I was considering doing this as a DIY, but I ended up taking nfmisso's advice earlier and sent the wheel off to a professional wheelbuilder (Peter White). I had to ship my hub to New Hampshire, and haven't been able to ride for about a month now (mostly due to the first shop's delay). However, if I never have to deal with a broken spoke again I'll consider this time and money well spent.

Obviously I can't do much while my wheel is in New Hampshire, so I'm just trying to clean up the bike and work on smaller upgrades. I got a noseless saddle and new bike trailer to try out, and will be discussing options for a heavier duty spring kit in my saddle stem tomorrow.

With any luck, I should be up and running with a much more comfortable and resilient bike in no time.
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Old 10-05-13, 03:53 PM   #10
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Just wanted to bump this and give a little update. Peter White cycles did re-build my wheel around my existing 36 hole, 8-speed internal hub. It seems very sturdy and I haven't had any spoke breakages since. Again, I thank you for the advice.

I did get a flat rear tire, but that was due to age and wear, not a defect in the wheel itself.

I would also note that the Peter White rebuild necessitated that I get a new tube. I needed a Presta valve + an extender to make the stem fit through the new rim. The new rim is a very thick and deep V. I wasn't crazy about having to use a Presta, but it's no big deal really.
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Old 10-05-13, 07:57 PM   #11
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Which rim & spokes did you end up with?
Just curious.
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Old 10-05-13, 08:44 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JB05 View Post
Just wanted to bump this and give a little update. Peter White cycles did re-build my wheel around my existing 36 hole, 8-speed internal hub. It seems very sturdy and I haven't had any spoke breakages since. Again, I thank you for the advice.

I did get a flat rear tire, but that was due to age and wear, not a defect in the wheel itself.

I would also note that the Peter White rebuild necessitated that I get a new tube. I needed a Presta valve + an extender to make the stem fit through the new rim. The new rim is a very thick and deep V. I wasn't crazy about having to use a Presta, but it's no big deal really.
Peter White makes good wheels, I know this first hand. When I bought my 2009 FUJI Newest 1.0, it came with Alex wheels. The rear wheels kept on breaking spokes. After the 2nd broken spoke, I asked the shop to build me a wheel using a Velocity Deep V rim. That wheel popped a spoke also. So I sent the stock Alex hub to Peter and he sent me a new wheel. No problems for a year; I ended up selling that bike. A few months ago, I bought a 2013 Scott CR1 Pro. At this price range, one would expect decent wheels. Bike came with DT Swiss hoops. They look nice and spin forever; but after a few weeks the front wheel went out of true. And now the rear is a bit wobbly .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFyXxrqWbPA
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Old 10-05-13, 08:49 PM   #13
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Which rim & spokes did you end up with?
Just curious.
Peter White likes to use Velocity Deep V for "huskier" riders.
For spokes, he likes to work with double butted Wheelsmith spokes.
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Old 10-05-13, 08:49 PM   #14
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Which rim & spokes did you end up with?
Just curious.
Rim: Velocity 559 Chukker bright silver 36h MSW 78.99 1 78.99

Spokes: Wheelsmith DB14 stainless

The rim is a VERY deep V! Not only did I need to make adjustments for the valve stem, but I also needed to make an adjustment to the ring lock that comes standard with the bike. I had assumed it would be useless, but on its' widest setting it will still lock around the rim.
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Old 10-05-13, 11:19 PM   #15
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I am about 350 pounds and rarely ever break spokes. My lowest count rear wheel is a 28 spoke Ultegra hub laced to an older Mavic Open Pro rim. When I first got the wheel, it kept on breaking spokes. I finally rebuilt it myself (I build my own wheels) and made sure to tension it highly.

Tension is the key with super clydes like you and I. You need to have a wheel with high tension to prevent broken spokes. The worst wheels are the ones direct from the factory without final tensioning/truing done to them. You will break spokes routinely with low tensioned wheels.

My son got a brand new bike last year with a 32 spoke rear wheel (700c no name deep v rim and a quando freehub). He broke about 5 or 6 spokes soon after getting it. He is a masher and about 300 pounds so he puts tremendous torque on the wheels.

I ended up junking the no-name spokes and rebuilt it with all new spokes and nipples. He never breaks any spokes anymore. The wheel again has been tensioned very high.

When I build wheels for friends, I might not tension them so much.
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Old 10-05-13, 11:22 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by JB05 View Post
Rim: Velocity 559 Chukker bright silver 36h MSW 78.99 1 78.99

Spokes: Wheelsmith DB14 stainless

The rim is a VERY deep V! Not only did I need to make adjustments for the valve stem, but I also needed to make an adjustment to the ring lock that comes standard with the bike. I had assumed it would be useless, but on its' widest setting it will still lock around the rim.
Sounds like a strong set of wheels with great spokes
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Old 06-16-14, 08:22 PM   #17
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I have an uptown 8 that had uptown infinity wheels (with N360 hub) transplanted onto it. I had it for about 2 months and what do you know, spoke snapped at the thread. I'm going to have the the wheel trued and completely re-spoked to avoid any future breaks from all ready fatigued spoke ends. No new rim, just new spokes. I vary between 220 and 235, with a summer end goal of 210, so I'm sure I'll be set once I get it worked on.

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Old 06-17-14, 12:08 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by JB05 View Post
Hi all,

I've owned a Breezer Uptown 8 for about 10 months now. It has an internal, 8-speed rear hub which is very heavy. Both wheels are 36 spokes, and I weigh about 340 lbs + the weight of whatever I'm carrying (groceries, etc). I descend some long, steep drops on twice on a daily basis (~120 ft. drop in altitude), as I need to cross a river valley to get to/from work.
Spoke breakage is normal for you. Have a competent wheel builder replace all the spokes in the failing group (front, rear drive side, rear non-drive side) and you'll be fine.


Quote:
They even checked a BMX spoke provider, but said all the spokes they had would be too short. They strongly recommended I switch to a bike in the ~$1,200 price range that would have disc brakes. They said this would remove the torsional stress issues at the rim.
They're mechanically ignorant. Disc brakes increase torsional stress at the rim.

Quote:
Does this sound right? Has anyone else had similar issues with spoke breakage due to rim braking?
Rim breaking isn't your problem.

Spokes fail due to fatigue, with the number of cycles dependent on average stress (tension plus stresses left over from the elbow forming operation or where there's a bend meeting the nipple) and magnitude of the variation (if they're not tight enough they can flex and break like paper clips, and 340 pounds of weight unloading spokes passing the bottom of the wheel about 750 times a mile that's higher for you than a 150-200 pound rider).

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I just spent $800 on my Breezer in January and I'd hate to throw another $1,200 into cycling... especially since I'm doing this to try and be frugal (LOL I wish!)
Wheel building isn't hard, and you could learn to do it yourself to guarantee the repair is done right.
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Old 06-17-14, 02:05 PM   #19
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Good advice Drew however did you look at the date or read the whole thread?
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Old 06-17-14, 03:19 PM   #20
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Good advice Drew however did you look at the date or read the whole thread?
No, I don't do that. I assume any thread is a new one the way things used to work on Usenet.
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