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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 04-28-09, 01:25 PM   #1
rumrunn6
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Check your spokes!

Last night on my way home I looked at my wheels as I always do and I noticed the back wheel had a wobble I didn't recognize. I finished the 13 mile ride home and stopped at the LBS. Turns out I had a broken spoke, some loose ones and the wheel was no longer true. The estimate is $18-$25.

The mechanic asked me if I had a 30 day checkup after buying the bike ... umm ... well I bought it 3 years ago and never had a check up - how's that? I mean I check the bike when I ride it, duh, but now I will keep better tabs of my spokes, their tension, and if any are broken.

Fortunately I brought it in shortly after the wheel lost it's true, so hopefully he can make the fix easily. I'm picking it up today and plan to ride tomorrow. Due to work demands and ex-wife's Drs' appts for her broken knee-cap - my first full week has been pushed off till later in the month of May, June for sure
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Old 04-28-09, 01:33 PM   #2
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As a clyde I an subject to frequent spoke issues with my rear wheel. Last week I felt a wobble on my way in to work, so when I was locking up, I checked... sure enough about 1/3 of the spokes on the non-drive side of the rear wheel were loose. At lunch I brought the bike into my lab, flipped her upside down and tightened/ trued the wheel good enough to get me home. Then I was able to get the wheel up on the work stand and fix it up right.
If you have the time and inclination, learning skills like wheel truing can save you $$$ in the long run.
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Old 04-28-09, 01:47 PM   #3
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As a clyde I an subject to frequent spoke issues with my rear wheel. Last week I felt a wobble on my way in to work, so when I was locking up, I checked... sure enough about 1/3 of the spokes on the non-drive side of the rear wheel were loose. At lunch I brought the bike into my lab, flipped her upside down and tightened/ trued the wheel good enough to get me home. Then I was able to get the wheel up on the work stand and fix it up right.
If you have the time and inclination, learning skills like wheel truing can save you $$$ in the long run.


+1 on buying a spoke wrench and learning. Its easy and a spoke wrench is like 5 bux.
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Old 04-28-09, 06:07 PM   #4
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Until I learned otherwise, I had assumed (without justification) that a broken spoke would somehow announce its arrival (different sound?). One ride I just happened to check and found a very clean break in a front aero spoke not attributable to pothole encounter, bunny-hopping or curb jump.
(Now I check when adding air, and removing wheels.)
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Old 04-28-09, 06:39 PM   #5
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got the wheel, left/right it is flawless, up/down (out of round) has a visually noticeable tiny rise once per revolution but not noticeable while test riding and everything is adjusted for the morning. shoulda wore rubber gloves
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Old 04-28-09, 07:21 PM   #6
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I just broke a spoke recently, and I noticed that several others are loose. I have no money right now, but I suspect my wheels are so old I might be better off buying a new set completely.
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Old 04-28-09, 07:40 PM   #7
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Part of the reason for the 30 day checkup is that most wheels are machine built and they need to be retensioned after a hundred miles or so. I hand built my wheels, put them on my bike, and they never move a millimeter.
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Old 04-29-09, 12:36 AM   #8
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Part of the reason for the 30 day checkup is that most wheels are machine built and they need to be retensioned after a hundred miles or so. I hand built my wheels, put them on my bike, and they never move a millimeter.
I have watched the mechanics at my LBS stress relieve and retrue the wheels on every new bike as part of the assembly. In there today and watched, and heard, a new Specialized bike wheel being stress relieved prior to starting trueing. LOTS of pings from the spokes as they stress relieved under side pressure on the rim.

IMO this should be part of the shop assembly of any new bike. If not then the wheels will not stay true. Still should go back for an initial check after enough riding for things to bed in thoroughly.
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Old 04-29-09, 12:41 AM   #9
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I had my first broken spoke the other day, and I managed to replace it and true the wheel well enough. The spoke + nipple was $2.50 at the bike shop, how does that price sound?
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Old 04-29-09, 12:52 AM   #10
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I don't ride on any wheels that I haven't built myself or have serviced by checking the trueness, tension, and ensuring they have been properly stress relieved.

Machine built wheels can be great as long as they get checked before you use them and after that they should be trouble free...it is worth it to bring them to a decent wheelbuilder / technician to check them over.

I have worked on a lot of bikes (and these are nice $$$ bikes) where this has not been done and in some cases the wheel had to be completely rebuilt after they de-tensioned under load.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:48 AM   #11
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Ditto. I ride my own handbuilts. Only spoke I ever broke was when I got my back wheel caught in some recessed railroad tracks...the wheel twisted as I stepped on the pedals to free it, and one of the spokes popped.
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Old 04-29-09, 11:42 AM   #12
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I broke a spoke recently on my rear wheel, drive side. Yeah, I'm pretty strong :-) LBS fixed me up for free (in the warranty period).
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Old 04-29-09, 07:36 PM   #13
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I broke a spoke Monday night on my group ride on my CAAD9, never heard it until the nipple dropped inside the rim and rattled the whole way back, talk about annoying, was $9 to have the shop fix it. Dropped it off in the AM, picked it up on my way home, went riding that night.
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