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Old 08-12-09, 05:52 PM   #1
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Following up on my busted spoke...

So I left Ruby to have a new spoke put on, and the LBS just called. They've replaced the spoke, but sort of had to "build one" because the replacement spoke wasn't available. Not really sure what that means, but whatever.

Then he started telling me there was a possibility of a "chain reaction" in terms of that rear wheel, once a single spoke breaks, and that I should be prepared for the possibility of further problems.

Is this true?

THEN he said he'd like to talk about some new wheel options when I come in. He said new wheels would make a TREMENDOUS difference on the bike, take off a lot of weight, give much better performance, yada yada yada.

So here's my question: Is he right, or is he looking to sell new wheels? And what am I really looking at in terms of wheel upgrades -- a couple of hundred dollars? Several hundred? And is it worth it? I realize you can't speak for the LBS, I'm just looking for general comments.

Everything else about the bike is fine, he said, including chain, etc. Bike has about 2,500 miles on it.
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Old 08-12-09, 06:20 PM   #2
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It sounds legit to me.

I dropped a chain into the rear wheel once and popped a spoke or two. I took the wheel in to get the spokes repaired and the wrench ended up replacing about half of them because several others were totally mangled.
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Old 08-12-09, 06:42 PM   #3
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Tremendous difference is bogus! A $1500 aero whelset will save you a couple of seconds in 10 mile ride. Better performance, I don't think so!

One thing most rider neglect is taking the wheel back after an initial 200 mile breakin period to have the spokes retensioned after they seat etc. Even if you get fancy wheels, you still need to have then retentioned or you will end up in the same mess.

It's true, the pattern of one breaking, expect more. But if he had tensioned then properly to start with, it wouldn't have ahppened.

Most shops will true the wheel (straighten it) then say all is well. That's bull!
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Old 08-12-09, 06:57 PM   #4
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You could probably still get good service from your wheel by having it retensioned now.
But if you have $300 to $400 to spend on a new set of wheels, you will notice the better feel. The lighter weight and such will make the bike perform a bit better, but the big difference will be in the feel.
Pre-made wheels with low spoke count are all the rage now, but I still like a set custom made by a good builder with good rims and hubs and 32 double butted spokes. Mavic Open Pro/Ultegra/DT Competition is the gold standard.
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Old 08-12-09, 07:47 PM   #5
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Yes DG,

If it's an old wheel and the spoke failed from fatigue, there are more spokes lined up to fail soon. Of course you don't know which ones, that would take all the fun out of it.

Take the advice of the Bluesdawg; a new set of 32 spoke wheels laced and trued by an expert builder and you will have 20,000+ miles of carefree (wheels wise) riding, Barring freak accidents, of course. No not like the George Carlin joke. I mean like a stick flipping up and catching in the wheel, hitting a deep chuck-hole at 45 mph, that sort of thing.

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Old 08-12-09, 07:52 PM   #6
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I just took my fairly new wheel in for retensioning. In a couple of months, this wheel had several spokes actually loose!!

They did it for free, but I was disappointed. I've never had that happen on a wheel before. Live and learn!!

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Old 08-12-09, 07:57 PM   #7
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Keep riding the wheels you have now (unless you have a fair amount of cash burning a hole in your pocket). If no more spokes break fairly soon, then your all good. If spokes keep breaking on a regular basis, then you need to decide: rebuild the wheel you have or buy a new wheel. But there is no real need to make that decision yet.
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Old 08-12-09, 07:59 PM   #8
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I just took my fairly new wheel in for retensioning. In a couple of months, this wheel had several spokes actually loose!!

They did it for free, but I was disappointed. I've never had that happen on w wheel before. Live and learn!!
If they use "spoke prep" when first building the wheel and properly build it, that will not happen.
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Old 08-12-09, 08:22 PM   #9
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DG, Ol' Fuj has suffered a couple of broken spokes on the rear wheel, each separated by several months. Each time, I had someone install the new spoke and true the wheel. The second installation and truing must have been really first rate, becuase I've had no problems since. I've heard the same warning that you've heard, but at this point my experience is counter to what I've heard. I suspect the second installation, done in my Louisiana LBS, included tensioning of all of the spokes on the rear wheel. When I got it back, it was dead nuts on (scientific term for VERY true). The second broken spoke occurred at 6,776 miles on Fuj. Current mileage on Fuj is 8,351.
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Old 08-12-09, 08:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
You could probably still get good service from your wheel by having it retensioned now.
But if you have $300 to $400 to spend on a new set of wheels, you will notice the better feel. The lighter weight and such will make the bike perform a bit better, but the big difference will be in the feel.
Pre-made wheels with low spoke count are all the rage now, but I still like a set custom made by a good builder with good rims and hubs and 32 double butted spokes. Mavic Open Pro/Ultegra/DT Competition is the gold standard.
That is what I did and I haven't touched them in over 4000 miles. Here's the ones I got.



http://www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com...d&productId=47
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Old 08-12-09, 09:11 PM   #11
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Rule of thumb-if one spoke breaks-assume a bad spoke/tension issue. If a 2nd spokes break, you can replace all the spokes-not terribly expensive.

The LBS is correct about noticing a lot of difference in acceleration and performance going with lighter wheels and tires. I've picked up some in eBay for $500 but generally they list around $900-$1000.
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Old 08-12-09, 09:59 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
So I left Ruby to have a new spoke put on, and the LBS just called. They've replaced the spoke, but sort of had to "build one" because the replacement spoke wasn't available. Not really sure what that means, but whatever.

Then he started telling me there was a possibility of a "chain reaction" in terms of that rear wheel, once a single spoke breaks, and that I should be prepared for the possibility of further problems.

Is this true?

THEN he said he'd like to talk about some new wheel options when I come in. He said new wheels would make a TREMENDOUS difference on the bike, take off a lot of weight, give much better performance, yada yada yada.

So here's my question: Is he right, or is he looking to sell new wheels? And what am I really looking at in terms of wheel upgrades -- a couple of hundred dollars? Several hundred? And is it worth it? I realize you can't speak for the LBS, I'm just looking for general comments.

Everything else about the bike is fine, he said, including chain, etc. Bike has about 2,500 miles on it.
DG, Can you describe the wheels you have now? I am not sure which version of the Roubaix you have. Some wheels can be adjusted more easily than others. Did you hit something or are they just breaking for "no reason".

However, from the way you describe it it sounds a bit like LBS with emphasis on the BS. Sure, wheels can make a difference but will they really improve your life? Only if you have money that you don't have other priorities for.

The idea that they are going to go "critical" on you is just preposterous. Find a bike mechanic who knows what he is doing and with access to the right spare parts.

Jeez. Now I've heard everything.
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Old 08-13-09, 01:52 PM   #13
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Yes DG,

If it's an old wheel and the spoke failed from fatigue, there are more spokes lined up to fail soon. Of course you don't know which ones, that would take all the fun out of it.

Take the advice of the Bluesdawg; a new set of 32 spoke wheels laced and trued by an expert builder and you will have 20,000+ miles of carefree (wheels wise) riding, Barring freak accidents, of course. No not like the George Carlin joke. I mean like a stick flipping up and catching in the wheel, hitting a deep chuck-hole at 45 mph, that sort of thing.

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+1

I used to have the single- then multiple spokes break on the MTB's and I used to check the rim first of all. Is it worn? have any damage to it? and how good is the hub. Rim and hub good and it was respoke the wheel time. Cheaper than a new wheel and for the type of riding you do- will be completely suitable.

That is the cheap option of course- but cheaper still is to get the One spoke replaced- but have the wheel Detensioned and Retensioned. A Bit more than just replacing the spoke but could save buying a new wheel.
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Old 08-13-09, 02:16 PM   #14
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So I left Ruby to have a new spoke put on, and the LBS just called. They've replaced the spoke, but sort of had to "build one" because the replacement spoke wasn't available. Not really sure what that means, but whatever.

Then he started telling me there was a possibility of a "chain reaction" in terms of that rear wheel, once a single spoke breaks, and that I should be prepared for the possibility of further problems.

Is this true?

THEN he said he'd like to talk about some new wheel options when I come in. He said new wheels would make a TREMENDOUS difference on the bike, take off a lot of weight, give much better performance, yada yada yada.
So here's my question: Is he right, or is he looking to sell new wheels? And what am I really looking at in terms of wheel upgrades -- a couple of hundred dollars? Several hundred? And is it worth it? I realize you can't speak for the LBS, I'm just looking for general comments.

Everything else about the bike is fine, he said, including chain, etc. Bike has about 2,500 miles on it.
It's all about performance.........................
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Old 08-13-09, 02:40 PM   #15
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that is what i did and i haven't touched them in over 4000 miles. Here's the ones i got.



http://www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com...d&productid=47
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Old 08-13-09, 07:29 PM   #16
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It's all about performance.........................
Which is all about legs, lungs, heart and mind. Equipment comes in some time later.
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Old 08-13-09, 07:42 PM   #17
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It's all about performance.........................
Ha! Lance just tweeted the same line...with this link.
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Old 08-13-09, 08:44 PM   #18
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I've probably destroyed more wheels than most and when a spoke breaks I gotta wonder why. What kind of wheels are they? Regular stainless spokes?
My LBS has a machine to cut and thread spoke to any length so that part is no big deal. It's also true that when a spoke breaks others may follow, but with your low miles it's probably just a case of machine built wheels with uneven tension.
It's hard to find a good wheelbuilder but that is the key. Someone who takes the time to properly tension and stress the wheel will make all the difference in a hand built wheel.
Another thing; if you have standard hubs you can replace the rims with higher quality and just have them laced to your old hubs when the time comes.
No need to trash the rim until it is cracked, warped, or has flat spots or a worn brake surface.
I usually get about 10K miles from a rear rim and I am very hard on them.
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Old 08-13-09, 09:00 PM   #19
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I second the advice about staying with 32 or even 36 spokes per wheel. Low spoke counts will reduce air turbulence somewhat, but their necessarily heavier rims will actually slow your acceleration minutely. Unless you are racing, you are better off with reliable, durable, repairable wheels which can even limp home on one broken spoke. John Q. Public has been sold a bill of goods with reduced spoke counts.
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Old 08-13-09, 09:40 PM   #20
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If they use "spoke prep" when first building the wheel and properly build it, that will not happen.
That's not true. I've had pro shops build wheel using spoke prep, loctite and every other magic fairy dust they could think up. Some lasted 2000 miles and other not even the first 40 mile ride. I got tired of wasting my money on shop egos so I built my own.

If you read Sheldon Brown's site, he says todays spokes are machined so precise that spoke prep isn't needed. I did everything he suggested. No prep, lacing the spokes with the trailing spokes inside the hub flange and the leading spokes on the outside of he flange. Label through the valve hole even if only to show attention to detail. 3X and 32 spoke wheels.

I rode my wheels 200 miles then retensioned them. Much easier without spokeprep or loctite. I now have over 20,000 miles on them and no sweat under my 230 lb body. The attention to detail does far more than the spoke prep.
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Old 08-14-09, 07:06 AM   #21
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Ain't got no fancy boy low spoke count wheels at the Grouch household. All of my wheels (except for the tandem) are 32 spoke cross 3's mostly built by me.

Around $250 to $300 will score you a set of Open Pro rims laced to Ultegra hubs. They're not the lightest nor the most high tech nor the most anything. What they are is a basic, good quality wheelset that has survived the test of time. You'll never have to apologize to anybody for riding on Open Pros.
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Old 08-14-09, 09:52 AM   #22
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I will be picking up the bike today. I looked up the specs because I have the original equipment on the bike, and this is what I have:

RIMS Mavic Open Sport, double wall rim, machined sidewalls w/ eyelets

FRONT HUB Specialized forged alloy, 24 hole, double sealed ball bearings, straight pull spokes, QR

REAR HUB Specialized forged alloy, 28 hole, double sealed ball bearings, straight pull spokes, cassette, QR

SPOKES Stainless 14g, straight-pull

I vaguely remember having a problem maybe eight, nine months ago and I took the bike to a different LBS, and they said the rear wheel was out of true. As I remember it (and my memory is NOT trustworthy) they trued up the wheel, retightened up all the spokes, and I was good to go. I don't remember if I had a busted spoke at that time, but I think I did.

Anyway, I'll see what they say today. Probably take it home as-is, with the new spoke, and see if I continue to have problems. If so, then I'll check into new wheels.

Thanks for all the input!
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Old 08-14-09, 09:56 AM   #23
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rims sound OK, dunno about the spokes

i invested in a Park TM-1:

http://www.parktool.com/products/det...t=16&item=TM-1

and i check, tension, and true my own wheels...

it's not hard to do, really...

OTOH, replacing a spoke on the drive side of a rear wheel....



p.s. i'm pretty beefy, so my choice is Mavic OP rims w/105 hubs 32H or 36H
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Old 08-14-09, 01:52 PM   #24
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I will be picking up the bike today. I looked up the specs because I have the original equipment on the bike, and this is what I have:

RIMS Mavic Open Sport, double wall rim, machined sidewalls w/ eyelets

FRONT HUB Specialized forged alloy, 24 hole, double sealed ball bearings, straight pull spokes, QR

REAR HUB Specialized forged alloy, 28 hole, double sealed ball bearings, straight pull spokes, cassette, QR

SPOKES Stainless 14g, straight-pull

I vaguely remember having a problem maybe eight, nine months ago and I took the bike to a different LBS, and they said the rear wheel was out of true. As I remember it (and my memory is NOT trustworthy) they trued up the wheel, retightened up all the spokes, and I was good to go. I don't remember if I had a busted spoke at that time, but I think I did.

Anyway, I'll see what they say today. Probably take it home as-is, with the new spoke, and see if I continue to have problems. If so, then I'll check into new wheels.

Thanks for all the input!
From what you have said- Just replace the one spoke but get the wheel detensioned and retensioned. Mark the spoke that is replaced NOW. Then if you do have any more spokes go- You will know it is not the new one. 28 spokes on those rims will be OK. You don't race- you don't bunny hop- you don't ride kerbs. I should the spoke was damaged by an outside factor and that was what led to the failure.

But if you do have to replace the wheel- go for a good components and a good builder. No need to go for a pair though.
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Old 08-14-09, 07:00 PM   #25
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Picked up the bike. As some of you suspected, they replaced the spoke but did not detension and retention the others. They did say, however, that they trued the wheel. Didn't have time for a ride so I'll have to see how it goes.

As I sort of suspected, they were quite interested in showing me a $700 pair of wheels. But to their credit, they are willing to lace 'em up and let me try them on the bike before I would buy them.

Given my finances right now, I politely declined. They said it would remain an "open offer" if I changed my mind. I do think that's a good idea to see if I really experience big differences in the wheels.

For now, though, I'll use what I've got and see how it goes.
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