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Old 10-12-12, 10:47 AM   #1
con
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“Ping”, ah, that noise was nothing… “BANG!”.

I was enjoying a beautiful climb on my backup road bike about 20 miles from home on a secluded small two lane mountain road and I heard a “ping”. I thought it was nothing; one of the small twigs I just ran over must have hit one of my spokes. Ya, that’s it, what more could it be?

Wrong!

About, 50’ later there was a loud “bang/crunch” as my rear wheel instantly locked. I was just able to unclip and catch myself on the steep climb before I fell over.

I don’t know the exact mechanical system failure sequence, all I know is that the “ping” was a spoke breaking and then the spoke decided it would be fun to reach out and grab its drive train buddies and have them join it for a party in my wheel. My derailleur hanger snapped in half allowing my derailleur and chain to join my broken spoke inside my wheel. The party ended a split second later as my wheel taco’d and locked up.

Damage:
Derailleur Hanger toast
Derailleur unfixable, including even the pulleys damaged beyond repair
Spokes broken and bent

Ya know, ya gotta love cell phones. Brother in law was there in about 20 minutes. Even better, he had an identical, old well scratched up Ultegra 6500 short Cage derailleur buried in his garage he let me have! Perfect for my back up bike.

The wheel is being rebuilt. I picked up a new hanger and threw on an old wheel with the “new” derailleur and she is working great.

After I pulled the chain out of my wheel while waiting for my ride.



The Hanger
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Old 10-12-12, 11:13 AM   #2
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I haven't broken a spoke in a while, but I'm pretty sure it's ingrained in my mind what that sound/feel is. You can ride with a broken spoke, but you can't really power through stuff (which I found out similar to your experience, although it was just more spokes and not the whole drive train). Good to hear you had a backup plan for the RD. Hopefully the wheel won't be too expensive.
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Old 10-12-12, 11:23 AM   #3
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It's a good thing the "Ping", and "BANG" wasn't followed by "CRASH!" Glad to hear you're okay and the bike repaired.

Ride On!
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Old 10-12-12, 11:28 AM   #4
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I haven't broken a spoke in a while, but I'm pretty sure it's ingrained in my mind what that sound/feel is. You can ride with a broken spoke, but you can't really power through stuff (which I found out similar to your experience, although it was just more spokes and not the whole drive train). Good to hear you had a backup plan for the RD. Hopefully the wheel won't be too expensive.
Yup, it had been about 4 years for me since the last broken spoke. In that time i rode newer wheels that were in good shape. This was an older used wheel I picked up and have used for only a few hundred miles. I guess I did not check it well enough.
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Old 10-12-12, 11:49 AM   #5
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I have had spokes break. However my spokes never felt inclined to take other bike components down with them. At least, they did not manage to include you in the mix. It must have been upsetting to have an enterprising spoke cost so much in $$$ though.
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Old 10-12-12, 12:18 PM   #6
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That was one nasty spoke problem. I have never had one like that and had no ideal that kind of escalation (of a simple problem) could happen.
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Old 10-12-12, 12:51 PM   #7
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That was one nasty spoke problem. I have never had one like that and had no ideal that kind of escalation (of a simple problem) could happen.
Wild butt guessing here: I was in a large cassette cog which places the derailleur body very close to the spokes. I think when the spoke broke it got caught in the chain at the derailleur pulleys and it sucked everything up into the wheel.

As for expense, the derailleur was going to be the big ticket item and I scored a free one.
The freebee was massive road rash, but an hour or so with some good files, emery cloth and steel wool she turned out presentable enough.



I’m hoping a couple of spokes and wheel truing won’t cost that much; whatever a “that” is. I guess I will find out in a week or so, the spokes had to be ordered for the Fulcrum wheel.
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Old 10-12-12, 01:08 PM   #8
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However did you fix it? It sounds to me like you had parts that are supposed to move that didn't, and parts that weren't supposed to move but did.

Generally I spray things in the first group with WD40 and wrap things in the second group with duck tape.
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Old 10-12-12, 01:15 PM   #9
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Never had that happen, but 2 weeks after I bought a Bianchi Eros, one spoke snapped and the entire wheel tacoed instantly. I ended up having to get a new rim and the entire wheel rebuilt.
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Old 10-12-12, 01:28 PM   #10
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I was riding my MTB one fine day, I had just left the trees into a park. I ran over a small piece of well rotted stick. The next thing I knew, was the same as you experienced, wheel locked so fast it skipped instead of skidding. Barely able to unclip. The stick had jumped up and jammed the read derailer. Which went into the spokes, which made the wheel lock. The derailer looked like somebody had tried to wring it dry. The frame is steel so the hanger didn't break, but the dropout was bent in every plane possible. I had a couple mile walk home in my bike shoes, that hurt.
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Old 10-12-12, 07:02 PM   #11
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I've had almost the same thing happen on my Trek 5200. I broke the spoke on the rear wheel and kept riding and finished a 10 mile climb. As I was getting up to speed after the climb the spoke dropped into the RD. I pushed pretty hard on the pedals and the drive train locked up amd pulled the RD out away from the frame. I was not able to get unclipped and over I went. Much to my chagrin the frame was toast as well. I loved how that bike rode but the LBS couldn't fix the bent hanger. They sent it back to Trek sent me the first Madone series. I liked the ride of the 5200 a lot better.......

Now all my frames have the replaceable hanger bracket---check that. The 5900 might not.......
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Old 10-12-12, 07:48 PM   #12
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WOW, I had two spokes break on the same wheel, same side within a month, but NOTHING like that happend. Yes, I now, KNOW, the sound of a spoke poping by heart and I just get off the bike and walk. Last had to walk the bike 3 miles to the LBS. I had all the spokes on that side, (cassette side) replaced and then gave the wheel set to my wife who's 100 lbs lighter and she's had NO problems with the wheelset at all. Luckly I had a spare set of a bit more HD wheels so I put them on, no problems in 500 miles.
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Old 10-12-12, 08:01 PM   #13
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How many spokes does that wheel have? There is a reason for the tried-and-true 32, 36, or 40 spoke counts.
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Old 10-12-12, 09:09 PM   #14
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On my 50th birthday, I jumped on my 2002 Felt-85 and decided to ride a 50 mile solo ride. Hadn't done one of those in decades, just getting back into cycling. So, 23 miles out, I hear this chucka chucka CHUCKA CHUCKA and the back end starts shaking.....Broken spoke....So I sat in a shady spot, backed off the brakes so they wouldn't rub, adjusted a bunch of spokes so the wheel straightened up a bit, and wrapped a band-aid around the broken spoke to keep in place so it WOULDN'T do more damage. It was drive side, so removing it was not an option. 27 miles home, I rode slower and more carefully, did NOT want to have to MAKE that CALL!
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Old 10-13-12, 02:18 AM   #15
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How many spokes does that wheel have? There is a reason for the tried-and-true 32, 36, or 40 spoke counts.
Bingo! It wasn't the broken spoke that pulled anything into the wheel. When the spoke broken, the wheel went out of true badly, and as a result, another spoke caught the bottom on the derailleur which was in the big cog, and dragged the lot into the wheel. The clue was riding another 50 yards down the road after the first breaking sound. Plus the pictures...

Backing off the brakes also might not be the best solution, either, if the spoke count in a rear wheel is 28 or lower.

During the repair process, it might also be a good idea to investigate having a spacer put on the freehub before the cassette goes on. It requires a readjustment of the derailleur, but moves it further away from the spokes when in the big cog.

As John says, high spoke counts... count for a lot.
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Old 10-13-12, 04:58 AM   #16
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It's a good thing the "Ping", and "BANG" wasn't followed by "CRASH!" Glad to hear you're okay and the bike repaired.

Ride On!
-Spoke
+1

I had this happen to me several years ago with the back wheel actually coming off. It was an "interesting" four to five meters before I hit pavement.
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Old 10-15-12, 10:33 AM   #17
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OP - which Fulcrums are you rolling?
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Old 10-15-12, 12:31 PM   #18
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OP - which Fulcrums are you rolling?
Fulcrum 6 is the one that failed. I have Fulcrum 4 's on my other bike and they have been perfect for about 5,000 miles.

As for spoke count, I don't have the wheel with me, I think it is a 24 count.
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Old 10-15-12, 02:37 PM   #19
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The lesson here is when you hear a ping, it's probably a spoke, you should stop immediately and find it, if you can remove the pieces, that is the best action, otherwise bend them around a neighbouring spoke and true up the wheel best you can, get one of those mini triangle shaped spoke wrenches, and throw it in with your tire levers. If you can safely continue on, then do so, but go slow, if you can't call for a ride, mechanical breakdowns are a legitimate reason for a SAG. If you like to go on long rides, low spoke count wheels are for the track, high spoke count wheels are for long hauls, where you don't want to be stuck just because of a broken spoke.
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Old 10-15-12, 03:42 PM   #20
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I've been lucky and have never broken a spoke. But my wife broke one during a minor accident and was able to ride, tacoed wheel and all, for the last 7 miles of the ride.
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Old 10-15-12, 04:28 PM   #21
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Yes, an informal spoke count of the wheel in your photos shows about 24, definitely an LSC wheel. And now you see the problem with LSC's as opposed to the basic 32-spoke wheel: there is no real redundancy. If you break a spoke in a 32, you may have to open the brake quick release to have the bobble in the rim clear the pads. But when you get down to 24, 18, 16 spokes, you break one spoke and the wheel is pretty much toast. They assume you're racing on it, and that your mechanic in the car behind the peleton is going to replace the wheel right away, no worries.

I build my own wheels, and I normally use 28 front, 32 rear (I weigh 80 kilos - about 175 lbs), but I'll go down to 24 on the front on a 32-hole hub, but I still haven't been happy with any 28-spoke rear wheels I've built, so I stick with 32, especially when out training. I use a factory-built 16-spoke rear wheel on big rides, but I trust Shimano's wheels. So far. But I know that if any of those 16 spokes breaks, my ride is pretty much over. So I only use them on events with sags.

Luis
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Old 10-15-12, 08:56 PM   #22
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I understand the spoke count logic. I will say that I have run higher spoke count wheels and had them throw spokes far to often. I have also run low spoke count rear wheels for many thousand miles and never tossed a spoke.

I trust wheel and build quality more than spoke count.
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Old 10-16-12, 11:02 AM   #23
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I understand the spoke count logic. I will say that I have run higher spoke count wheels and had them throw spokes far to often. I have also run low spoke count rear wheels for many thousand miles and never tossed a spoke.

I trust wheel and build quality more than spoke count.
Yet the low-spoke-count breakage did catastrophic damage.... hmmm... I'll have to remember that logict.

The reason many low-spoke-count wheels appear to be as strong as higher-count ones is because of the profile of the rim, which is beefier to cope with the additional load. The trade-off for lower weight in spokes is a heavier weight in the rims.

Unless you are racing and have budgeted for more than the occasional wheel failure with low-spoke-count wheels, you don't need them.

But I will agree that a properly built wheel will outlast a badly built one. That's why I learned to build my own. Which, because I don't race, but do a lot of centuries and randonnees, all range between 32 and 36 hole configuration with quality rims and quality spokes.
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Old 10-16-12, 04:56 PM   #24
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Yet the low-spoke-count breakage did catastrophic damage.... hmmm... I'll have to remember that logict..
Other than the sarcasm, I consider that a fair statement.

However, I consider the damage done to be my fault, not the wheels fault. I failed to make sure a new to me wheel was in good condition prior to riding it, and I failed to stop when I first heard the spoke break.

There is no question that if this wheel, once repaired, fails to keep its spokes, it will join a couple of others in the rafters of my garage.

I'm not in any way saying folks should go out and ride low spoke count wheels. I have just found that good quality well-built wheels with high or low spoke count can hold up well.

I also ride a carbon frame, it will not hold up like a steel frame. I also ride a saddle with titanium rails, once again, it has more chance of failing.

Ya pays yur money and ya takes yur chances.....After all, it’s just bicycles.....It's all good
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