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Old 09-11-13, 08:02 AM   #1
blue_cheese
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What the....why would this happen

Yesterday while zipping along a smooth road (albeit, I was mashing through some hiking trails just the day before), I heard a "pzzziiiiing, click click..." didn't think much of it... thought it was a pebble off the tire until the clicking didn't go away, got off and noticed a spoke completely snapped on the back wheel, about 2" from the hub. The spoke has no bends or anything, just snapped like something cut it.

My bike is just over a year old (a 2012 DS8.4) and I am not all that heavy... 100lbs below the maximum 300lbs stated for the bike. Curious what causes this to happen, is it just cheap spokes or just a fluke/luck? I have never seen this on anyone's bike before. I rode the bike pretty hard a short distance, about 4km, before I realized what the problem was, then I rode back home gently, I am not sure if I damaged anything, but the wheel seems slightly out of true.

Since I am getting at least one spoke replaced and needs the cassette removed and wheel trued, should I have them all swapped out for better, it seems that the labor between one and all is mostly the same.
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Old 09-11-13, 08:10 AM   #2
Bill Kapaun
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One broken spoke is a fluke.
Two is a trend.
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Old 09-11-13, 08:39 AM   #3
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A 200lb cyclist riding on hiking trails occasionally... a broken spoke is not surprising, nor is the fact that your wheel is slightly out of true while missing a spoke.

My first MTB had a place to mount three extra spokes along the drive side chainstay, like a chainstay protector. I used to break spokes all the time. With modern, excellent wheelsets it is less common, but still considered a normal event, IMO.
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Old 09-11-13, 08:43 AM   #4
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You may not need anything new, if the shop does a careful job truing the wheel and tensioning the spokes you'll be good to go. Pretty normal maintenance.

Be sure you check your pressure and air up before each ride. Get a pump with a gauge on it. I didn't used to years ago and I'm surprised that my tires drop a few pounds easily given just a few days rest, it makes a difference to air them up each ride.

The tire pressure app for Android is pretty neat, you enter your tire width, rider weight and type of bike and it will give you the pressures to try for front and back. I was over inflating by a bit both front and rear and following that app, my ride is smoother now.
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Old 09-11-13, 11:37 AM   #5
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That IS weird. Sure, I've broken spokes on my old MTB/hybrid, but it's always been at the 90-degree bend, where the spoke enters the hub.

Over time, a wheel can loosen up. If all the spokes loosen up evenly, the wheel stays true, but every time a spoke is dead vertical, the looseness allows the spoke to bend just a bit at that 90-degree bend. Do this a 10,000 times or so and a spoke will fatigue and crack. That's why the saying "two is a trend" is so true: if one finally went, others are sure to follow.

But to snap a spoke two inches from the hub? I've never seen anything like that. I've got to suspect it was a bad spoke, either with a flaw from new, or maybe with some unseen damage from something having hit it. A small nick is all it takes to make a weak spot. But since that part of the spoke is in tension, and never bends, it's highly weird.

I'd chalk it up as a freak one-off, get it fixed, and carry on.
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Old 09-11-13, 01:29 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, dropping the wheel off at the LBS to have it fixed. The spoke was probably faulty to begin with or may have taken a hit from something while I was off road.
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