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  1. #1
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    Trek - broke my first spoke(s)

    I had hoped that I wouldn't have to worry about breaking spokes on that monster rear wheel but snapped one this morning. I had no choice but to continue to work; it rode fine but I took it pretty easy. When I got to work I found that another one was loose from the rim. I'm not sure if that came off first or the other one broke first.

    I'll take it into the shop today. I sure hope they have replacements for those spokes. I'm not really happy about this.

    ----------------
    Edit as of 12/22/2010

    I'm editing this because I want to make sure that anyone reading this thread later doesn't get too upset about the broken spokes and decide not to buy this line of bikes. After breaking spokes almost monthly, my bike shop fired the wheel builder and my wheel was rebuilt by someone else. It has now been several months and even without Trek's new spokes, I have not broken any. I have been biking in pretty nasty conditions; it's been very cold, 23-30F mostly during the past few weeks and windy almost every day. I've been taking a route with a fair amount of crappy paving and the bike has been handling it all like a champ. I'm probably cursing it by posting that all is fine, but it sure looks like all is fine. I love this bike and I would not have been riding through this windy period on my non-electric Trek.
    Last edited by dgk02; 12-23-10 at 07:24 AM. Reason: Major update

  2. #2
    Lost? No, seeing America.
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    Yeah. I had the same type of issue about 5 weeks ago. Amped kit. Over the course of the winter I had noticed a wobble, trued it up. Wobble again in the spring. Nipples were seized up so couldn't adjust it at all, but noticed some stress fractures along the rim. Rode to work the next day (not much choice), ripped one spoke out on the way in, another on the way home. Been riding my road bike since then. I contacted Amped, talked to LBS. LBS at first agreed to do a build, but needed spokes. I asked Amped for spokes, they sent me a link to some at Electric Rider, so I ordered them. After they arrived, I went back to LBS, apparently after having given them enough time to think about it. The guy I spoke to said that his manager had told him he shouldn't do the build because of liability, etc. Send an email back to Amped, asking what to do about it. No response after the first email. I send a second email a couple weeks later, offering various things... I'm not looking for them to refund my kit, or do a free build for me. I just want my spokes refunded, including shipping costs at the least. Better would be for me to send the kit and have them do the build, since they claim the spoke tension has to be just right. No response from that second email. It took only a few hours to send me the link the first time around for the (incorrect) spokes.
    Word of caution out there.... watch your spokes and make sure you have someone you can count on to do the build.
    My question... where can I buy spokes?! 12 gauge. I'll have to determine my length. Maybe Electric Rider carries the right length...
    '02 Fuji Finest AL
    '97 Trek Multitrack w/Amped rear 500w 36v15ah Ping
    13 mile roundtrip commute, 150 days/school year

  3. #3
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    That's one of the reasons I bought the Trek. I wanted one company I could work with if something went wrong. So I brought it to the Trek dealer, they didn't have the spokes. They called Trek and Trek wants the bike back. I've only been riding it for two months and a mere 880 miles; no way any spokes should break yet. They're going to rebuild the wheel, which is what needs to be done. I didn't even get an estimate yet, but it has to go to Wisconsin (I'm in NYC) so it will be at least a week or two. Ah, back to manual riding. It is under warranty of course.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    I can feel your pain. I broke a spoke on my motorized rear wheel today going up a moderate hill on a paved road. (On the ride previous to this one, I was on a dirt forest road and hit a deep rut that I didn't see until too late to veer out of the way. I checked at the time and didn't find any broken spokes, but I think the one that broke today was damaged when the rear wheel hit the rut.) I installed the Currie conversion kit on my mountain bike last summer. I've got an e-mail into them asking what size spokes they use. There's no real LBS in the nearby town, just a sporting goods store that sells bikes during warm weather. I'm not sure whether they have spokes and, if so, whether they have a good variety of sizes. In addition to worrying about what gauge (now listed in mm) and length, you need to know if they're single butted, double butted or triple butted. I have a strong suspicion that I may end up having to do this as a DIY repair (and I never really wanted to learn to true a wheel, but necessity is the mother of invention). Thank goodness there's a fairly broad range of sources for replacement spokes on the Internet. Once I find out from Currie what size spokes they use, I'm going to get spares to keep on hand, even if it's to take to the local shop (if they're will to work on the motorized wheel).

  5. #5
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    I'm going to lay in a stock of spokes as well, but I'd greatly prefer if I don't have to use them. I paid a lot for this bike and spokes should not break. I'll see what Trek says.

  6. #6
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    Well, it's now 18 days. The store keeps telling me that Trek has sent out the spokes so they can rebuild the wheel, but no spokes show up. I just sent a very nice nastygram to Trek customer service. In the meantime I've been using the old manual method. Oh, the pain, the pain.

  7. #7
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgk02 View Post
    Well, it's now 18 days. The store keeps telling me that Trek has sent out the spokes so they can rebuild the wheel, but no spokes show up. I just sent a very nice nastygram to Trek customer service. In the meantime I've been using the old manual method. Oh, the pain, the pain.
    It's lame that a Trek dealer doesn't buy spokes to have on hand. I was able to get my broken spokes replaced and my wheel re-trued by the bike guy at the sporting goods store in the nearby town the day after my spokes broke. (Turns out I had 2 broken spokes, not one.) This thread has convinced me that the Currie non-hub motor design has yet another advantage. Remove the motor plate from the wheel and your wheel is just a regular bicycle wheel that happens to have a small freewheel on the left. So even shops concerned about liability wouldn't realize that they're repairing a wheel for an e-bike. Currie uses 2.0 258mm spokes on the right, drive (gear freewheel) side and 2.0 260mm spokes on the left side. Most bicycle shops carry that size.
    Last edited by nwmtnbkr; 06-08-10 at 08:32 PM.

  8. #8
    Pedal faster not harder.
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    Hello dgk02. Sorry to hear about the spoke issue. Spoke breakage is a known issue on the BionX wheel. Trek uses the BionX system for their ebike. I have a BionX system on my ebike. Spoke breakage has been a problem for me.

    I'm not heavy 150lbs or so, but I ride my bike hard. Rough paved roads and plenty of speed bumps and jumping off curbs at full speed during my commute. No different than how I ride my other non-electric bikes.

    Since I got my system I have broken 1 or 2 spokes every single month. BionX asked that the wheel be sent back to them for a rebuild, but I didn't want to be without the bike. My shop convinced them to let them rebuild the wheel. I trust the wheel builder their, he knows his stuff. The wheel was rebuilt with Sapim spokes under warranty. Didn't solve the issues. One or 2 spokes broke every month. My dealer would replace them no charge. I'm lucky my LBS is just a short walk from my job. I would just drop it off at lunch and pick it up after work and ride home.

    Happily, my wheel shorted out riding it in -25C weather this past Dec. It was sent back and BionX replaced it with a brand new wheel. Mind you it took 6 months to get it back. I only just started riding it again this month. So far I haven't broken a spoke, hopefully the problem won't return.

    I don't know what to tell you and not sure where I'm going with this....lol. It may end up being a constant issue. I would ask Trek for a brand new wheel. Tell them you got a lemon.

    No ebike is without their quirks and problem. You're going to have more issues with an ebike than a regular ole human powered ride.

    Good luck.

  9. #9
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    wow, that's really disappointing to hear! Good luck with getting it fixed & Keep us other Trek electric owners in the loop about how long it takes to get resolved.

  10. #10
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgk02 View Post
    Well, it's now 18 days. The store keeps telling me that Trek has sent out the spokes so they can rebuild the wheel, but no spokes show up. I just sent a very nice nastygram to Trek customer service. In the meantime I've been using the old manual method. Oh, the pain, the pain.
    Maybe if Trek and your dealer realized that other bicycle enthusiasts who might be future customers were following your plight, they'd get their acts together and get this fixed. It's inexcusable to make you wait so long. In fact, I'd say it's inexcusable that your dealer doesn't keep spokes in stock since they sell the Trek e-bikes. If I were Trek, I'd want distributors who sell the e-bikes to keep spokes or even some extra laced wheels in stock so that they could get customers riding again quickly. In fact, I'd make it a requirement for any dealer wanting to sell the e-Treks. In this new era of reduced consumer spending, brand reputation is going to be more critical for corporate survival and a healthy bottom line.

  11. #11
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    Spokes arrived yesterday and the bike is now back home. They have a supply of spokes.

    Unlike my old bike, breaking a spoke on this did not induce any realy wobble in the wheel so it was easily rideable, but if I do break a spoke every month r two that is going to be very annoying. My dealer is not on my commute path, although several other bike shops are.

  12. #12
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgk02 View Post
    Spokes arrived yesterday and the bike is now back home. They have a supply of spokes.

    Unlike my old bike, breaking a spoke on this did not induce any realy wobble in the wheel so it was easily rideable, but if I do break a spoke every month r two that is going to be very annoying. My dealer is not on my commute path, although several other bike shops are.
    Glad to hear that you finally have your bike back. Hopefully, you won't have anymore broken spokes.

  13. #13
    Jerry the Spinner
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    Just broke a spoke on my trek FX + this Friday. Brought it to my local LBS the same day and replaced it on the spot at no charge. It seems the spokes are standard bicycle spokes.
    Bicycle Commuter from New York City.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgk02 View Post
    Spokes arrived yesterday and the bike is now back home. They have a supply of spokes.

    Unlike my old bike, breaking a spoke on this did not induce any realy wobble in the wheel so it was easily rideable, but if I do break a spoke every month r two that is going to be very annoying. My dealer is not on my commute path, although several other bike shops are.
    So, by the date of your post it's been another 2 months since your spokes were fixed, and I would assume you've put another 500-900 miles on it. Have you had any other problems with that rear wheel breaking spokes?

  15. #15
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    Dang it. I saw this post & checked my bike & sure enough 2 broken spokes. Off to the LBS tomorrow.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptym View Post
    So, by the date of your post it's been another 2 months since your spokes were fixed, and I would assume you've put another 500-900 miles on it. Have you had any other problems with that rear wheel breaking spokes?
    Yes, I broke another spoke around 7/23. I took it to my shop and found out that they had not rebuilt the wheel as they were supposed to last time. Since I was going away for a week I left it with the wheel builder for a rebuild. He did the rebuild and said that the problem is likely that the hub holes are too wide and so he inserted something (like washers) into the holes. That way there will be less loose area for the spokes to vibrate and it should prevent breakage. Time will tell.

    He also said that the nipples had turned so much that they were sort of welded to the spoke. Of course, I'm not a wheel builder so I'm not quite sure what that was about but it sounded bad.

  17. #17
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    Sorry to hear that. My story is almost exactly the same as yours. 5 weeks, 900 miles, broken spokes on the rear wheel. Trek's response has been very slow, and I've been without my bike since 7/26 (18 days).

  18. #18
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Hi everyone, but breaking spokes on rear hub motor, especially if it's high torque.. isn't that kind of expected? what gauge are these spokes? That motor you're referring to, it's a direct drive motor, isn't it?



    for my part i have a double walled machined and welded rim , very strong, and this so that i may put the spoke at maximum tension.. i still break spokes but not as much as before.. i use 14/13 gauge butted spokes (Wheelsmith DH13, 13-14 gauge
    220 grams


    from http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/spokes.asp).

    i got a 5304 crystalyte motor with 72 volt / 35 amps setup.. insane i know but i'm thinking anything that powerful is going to snap spokes eventually (especially if they are regular bike spokes). So once every two weeks a spoke snaps, at the nipple.

    I wish they woud break a the flange, that way i can replace them easily.

    When they break at the nipple, I have to deflate the tire, take out the old nipple, put back new nipple, take out broken spoke though the flange, insert new one and screw it in.. then reinfalte tire.. off i go (5 minutes tops).

    What i'm thinking is going lower gauge, around 12 gauge, (http://www.huskybicycles.com/Merchan...Store_Code=hbs)

    Dunno yet.. but when i find the magic fix i'll let yall know.
    Another thing.. I built my own wheel.. so maybe there lies the problem . but in any case, for me, a change of one or two spokes once every two weeks is little discomfort in return for a sweet ride.

    If you know a magic trick to stop spokes from breaking, please give me a shout.
    Last edited by alfonsopilato; 08-13-10 at 04:29 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by alfonsopilato View Post
    Hi everyone, but breaking spokes on rear hub motor, especially if it's high torque.. isn't that kind of expected? what gauge are these spokes? That motor you're referring to, it's a direct drive motor, isn't it?
    Expected? I guess for me I would have thought that Trek/Bionx would have found an engineering solution to that problem. In my opinion, if they're going to be viable bikes for serious commuters, you just can't have a spoke break every month, especially if the bike is going to be in the shop a couple weeks, for whatever reason, every time one breaks.

    I'm not sure what the gauge is. I'll ask when I pick up my bike this weekend.

    Yes, it is a direct drive motor.

  20. #20
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    gauge, alternate spelling for gage

    and i quote: "spokes are gauged in numbers.. the higher the number eg. (12G, 13G, 14G (most common)) the thinner the spoke, and the lower the number is much thicker.. hope that helps"

    Although there is a whole science behind spokes and wheel building, my gut feeling tells me i'm using too thin a spoke for the application.

  21. #21
    Jerry the Spinner
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptym View Post
    In my opinion, if they're going to be viable bikes for serious commuters, you just can't have a spoke break every month, especially if the bike is going to be in the shop a couple weeks, for whatever reason, every time one breaks.

    Yes, it is a direct drive motor.

    I broke 6 spokes in 6 weeks. My LBS had a spoke cutter so they replaced it on the spot. Trek sent my LBS replacement spokes to redo the entire wheel. However they were the same gage as the original ones. My LBS was nice enough to order a heavy gage spoke and installed it at no charge. Unfortunately at this point I am having other issues with my FX+ and can not test the new spokes out for durability.
    Bicycle Commuter from New York City.

  22. #22
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    I took mine in last Thursday to the LBS & they were going to call me if it was going to be longer than a week. 8 days later & no phone call, I called them, their response was "It's gonna be a while" When I pressed the guy, he said "Well, we called around to order the spokes but no one called us back" as if that explained the whole thing. I asked them for a call back when they hear back from the spoke people & his reply was "OK, but if you don't hear from us by Wednesday, give us a call"

  23. #23
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    And that's why i prefer to do everything myself.

    So I get a little dirty, a little handy, women love me for it and I get to brag that I did it all by m'self.

    ... i stop at a red light, look at the woman to my left and yell over the roaring engine of her Vespa "I REPLACED MY OWN SPOKES, HOW YOU DOING?" to which she replies by speeding off ....

  24. #24
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    I broke another one on Thursday (8/19) and brought it in Friday. That, almost, was good. It seems really easy to replace the spoke on this wheel, partly because the hub is bigger than the freewheel so you don't even need to remove the cassette assembly. Since all of my spokes have broken at the hub, that's easier than breaking at the nipple because you don't need to remove the tire.

    I'm not sure how well I can do it without a truing stand though - the Valencia has disk brakes so you can't use the brakes like a truing stand. Still, get the tension pretty close to the ones near it and it should work ok.

    I did learn how to remove the rear wheel on this beastie - the only trick to that is that there are two wire connections that you need to separate and replace - no great trick to that except to match up the white spot on both sides (on one of the connectors, the other is obvious). Plus, there is a tab of metal on the axle that needs to line up with the dropout. The axle goes in first and the tab must follow, then the wheel goes in fine.

    So you unscrew the broken spoke from the nipple, run the new spoke through the hub, hold the nipple with a plier and turn the nipple to get the spoke to grab. Then use the proper size spoke wrench to get it to proper tension.

    There are two spoke sizes, one for the non-drive side of the wheel and a very slightly longer one for the drive side. Or do I have that backwards? Well, I have two of each size spoke so the next time one breaks I'll check the size against the broken one.

    Hmm, I seen Nashbar has a truing stand for $70. Maybe I should just get it.

  25. #25
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    Got my bike back almost two weeks ago, but I broke another spoke today. Kind of getting annoyed at this point. I hope they can use some stronger spokes on this thing. Back to the shop tomorrow.

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