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Old 03-03-20, 03:02 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
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Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

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Agree that 7 years isn't bad for the typical machine-built wheel. What to do now?

Jobst Brandt told the story of replacing a broken spoke, re-tensioning it, and then, enraged, squeezing the he** out of all the spokes -- after which he had no problems for the remaining life of the wheel. It turns out that's not a bad approach. If any more spokes are near failure, there's a good chance you'll pop them during the squeezing operation, replace them while you've got the wheel on the bench or stand, and then fuggedaboutit. Replace one, and there's a chance more are near their fatigue limit. That's why you'll often see a recommendation to replace one or two spokes, but at the third broken spoke, it's time to rebuild the wheel.

If you do buy a new, machine-built wheel, it's worth taking some time to prepare it for a long life. First make sure the wheel's adequately tensioned; either the plucking-tone method or a tensiometer will work. Then make sure all the spokes are stress relieved. Check true one more time, adjust if it's shifted, re-tension, and re-stress relieve until nothing changes. If you don't want to do all that yourself, find a good wheel builder to do it for you -- ask around for recommendations, but keep in mind not all recommended mechanics really know what they're doing. Then go ride.
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