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Old 08-20-10, 12:44 AM   #1
kmac27
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How many miles until a wheel dies?

I've had 3 broken spokes in the past month and I now truly believe that my wheel has died. I have replaced all the spokes that have broken, but I continue to break them time and time again. How many miles is it usually until a tire dies? I think I've put somewhere around 7000-10,000 miles on it in since 2007 and my weight in 2007 was 160 and in 2008 175 and 2009 and on 187.
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Old 08-20-10, 12:49 AM   #2
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You mean wheel, not tire.

It's not a matter of miles. Your wheel was not properly built. And replacing all the spokes, one by one, will not solve the problem. Your spokes are fatigued and are weaker than they were originally. Get a new wheel, properly built and designed for your purpose.
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Old 08-20-10, 02:09 AM   #3
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I broke four spokes over the course of a month or two (Roval wheels on a Specialized Tri-Cross.) That was enough. I recycled a set of Bontrager wheels from a hybrid I don't ride any more. I don't think that Roval wheel was built right in the first place, and just replacing spokes was a losing proposition.
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Old 08-20-10, 03:18 AM   #4
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There must be an issue with the wheel itself (get a new wheel).

The only time I had spokes breaking like that was on my super cheap basket bike here in Japan when I would give all my effort up this small hill.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:47 AM   #5
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I agree, the wheel was bad to start with.

My $300 Giant bike came with a crappy wheelset. The rear broke spokes a lot, and I replaced them one by one. The breakage never stopped. When I finally gave up and rebuilt it, I paid about $50 for a new (good) rim and spokes. At that point the factory rim had about 1200 or so miles on it and had probably broken 18 spokes. I built the new wheel (same hub, new rim+spokes) having never done it before, using Sheldon's wheel building page. That wheel never broke a spoke and was still dead true 14,000 miles later when the axle finally broke, and I bought a new wheel, after finding that I could buy the wheel already built by a wheel specialist cheaper than the parts to build my own (in that case). That one is still running dead true having never broken a spoke at 22,300 miles as of this morning.

A properly built wheel should last tens of thousands of miles. A crappy wheel will start breaking spokes almost immediately. Most cheap wheels are in between the two.
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Old 08-20-10, 09:11 AM   #6
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At your weight, even the higher end, you shouldn't be breaking spokes like that. And once they start going in a serial fashion like that, it's time to rebuild w/ new spokes or get a whole new wheel (hub, spokes, and rim).

Not sure what you ride, what width tires you like to use, etc., but if you run wider 700c tires (at least 28mm) like me, then I'd highly recommend the Velocity Dyad rim. I've got this 36h Dyad rear wheel with Deore LX hub on my bike now. It's run over 2,000 miles with my nearly 300 pounds in the saddle since the beginning of the year when I installed it and only needed truing/retensioning once. No broken spokes. $115 very well spent.
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Old 08-20-10, 03:49 PM   #7
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I had similar experience, broke 4 or 5 spokes early on, replaced them as they broke and have now ridden several thousand miles without issue. Maybe I was lucky and got them all.
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Old 08-20-10, 06:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
I agree, the wheel was bad to start with.

My $300 Giant bike came with a crappy wheelset. The rear broke spokes a lot, and I replaced them one by one. The breakage never stopped. When I finally gave up and rebuilt it, I paid about $50 for a new (good) rim and spokes. At that point the factory rim had about 1200 or so miles on it and had probably broken 18 spokes. I built the new wheel (same hub, new rim+spokes) having never done it before, using Sheldon's wheel building page. That wheel never broke a spoke and was still dead true 14,000 miles later when the axle finally broke, and I bought a new wheel, after finding that I could buy the wheel already built by a wheel specialist cheaper than the parts to build my own (in that case). That one is still running dead true having never broken a spoke at 22,300 miles as of this morning.

A properly built wheel should last tens of thousands of miles. A crappy wheel will start breaking spokes almost immediately. Most cheap wheels are in between the two.
Same story here. But I will add that you can live with some reasonably priced wheels by paying close attention to truing and proper tension. Many factory wheels seem to be a little under-tensioned. And you can easily fix this.

One thing you should do with any wheelset is retrue and retension after 100 miles. You can either do it yourself or get the LBS to look at it. Doesn't cost much, but keeps the wheel alive much longer.
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Old 08-20-10, 06:42 PM   #9
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The rear wheel that came on my Cannondale mountain bike had this issue - after a couple thousand miles, I suddenly started breaking two or three spokes a week. After the second week of this, I bought new spokes, relaced the original hub and rim with the new spokes (and new nipples), tensioned it pretty high, and thousands of miles later I haven't broken another spoke.

It's not just an issue with cheap wheelsets, and it shouldn't demand replacing the entire wheel unless you're looking to upgrade anyway. Lacing a wheel isn't hard - I followed Sheldon Brown's instructions and didn't have much trouble, after a couple of false starts. It was a pleasant way to spend an evening. If you don't feel comfortable tensioning and truing your own wheel, you can always take the laced wheel to a shop and let them do that part - it should be cheaper than having them lace it, and there's a nice feeling in being able to say, "I built that wheel."
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Old 08-20-10, 07:43 PM   #10
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I agree with the advice above to maintain or rebuild the wheel. The rear wheel on my Motobecane had been through the wars and started to have spokes break one after the other. I finally just went ahead and put the wheel on a trueing stand, and replaced all the remaining old spokes, one at a time. It wasn't that hard to do.
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Old 08-20-10, 09:07 PM   #11
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I figured since the wheel will take 100 bucks to replace that I might as well get an upgrade. I have had my trek soho 1.0 since christmas of 2007 and never had a spoke break until I had crashed about 300-400 miles back. Maybe 6 months ago.

I'm just frustrated with how many flats and how many broken spokes I've had in the past 2 months. Cost me around 150-200 bucks.
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