"The 33"-Road Bike Racing We set this forum up for our members to discuss their experiences in either pro or amateur racing, whether they are the big races, or even the small backyard races. Don't forget to update all the members with your own race results.

What to do when spokes snap?

Old 04-27-07, 08:55 PM
  #1  
Snicklefritz
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Snicklefritz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: In the middle of horse country, in The Garden State
Posts: 3,159
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
What to do when spokes snap?

I was on a training ride earlier today on my TT rig when a spoke snapped about halfway through my ride.
The wheel is a PT SL hub laced to a Reynolds Alta Race with Sapim spokes. I check the wheels periodically to make sure the wheels don't need truing etc.

Is there anything you can do to ride home on these wheels when a spoke snaps? Since you can't use a spoke wrench on these things is there anything else one can do? The wheel was so badly out of true from one spoke snapping that the wheel was rubbing on the chain stay. I managed to hobble home at 10 mph but it was kind of frustrating.

Another question is why the catastrophic failure? I've never had a problem with a spoke snapping like that. Well actually only one time but it was on a borrowed bike that was 15+ years old and probably should have had its wheels rebuilt.

Could potholes have played a role in this? There are a lot of potholes and cracks on some of the roads I train on and its hard to avoid some of them. (cracks that span the width of the road)
Snicklefritz is offline  
Old 04-27-07, 09:17 PM
  #2  
EventServices
Announcer
 
EventServices's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Detroit's North Side.
Posts: 5,084

Bikes: Many

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Loosen the brakes and ride it home. No worries.
EventServices is offline  
Old 04-27-07, 09:21 PM
  #3  
Snicklefritz
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Snicklefritz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: In the middle of horse country, in The Garden State
Posts: 3,159
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by EventServices
Loosen the brakes and ride it home. No worries.
I tried that. Opened them all the way, but the wheel wobbled so bad that it rubbed on the chainstay...still got home but was wondering if there is some other quick fix for those weird spokes
Snicklefritz is offline  
Old 04-27-07, 09:26 PM
  #4  
Dick Rhee
Shoebomber
 
Dick Rhee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,071

Bikes: 2008 Canyon CF Pro w/ Chorus, 2005 Moots Vamoots w/ Ultegra, 1988 Cannondale commuter

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I would say at that point you whip out the cell you hopefully had with you and call for a ride or taxi to the nearest LBS.
Dick Rhee is offline  
Old 04-27-07, 09:43 PM
  #5  
ken cummings
Senior Member
 
ken cummings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: northern California
Posts: 5,603

Bikes: Bruce Gordon BLT, Cannondale parts bike, Ecodyne recumbent trike, Counterpoint Opus 2, miyata 1000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have heard stories of cyclists taking twisted wheels off, laying them on the ground, standing on one side of the wheel and pushing it just straight enough to keep turning. A chance of making things worse but at that point it can't hurt.

I always carry a cheapo spoke wrench for things like that. My current wheels are so strong I rode a month and a half with a broken spoke before fixing it. Wheel stayed true enough for the brakes to keep working.
ken cummings is offline  
Old 04-27-07, 10:05 PM
  #6  
DrPete 
Dirt-riding heretic
 
DrPete's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Posts: 17,415

Bikes: Lynskey R230/Red, Blue Triad SL/Red, Cannondale Scalpel 3/X9

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ken cummings
I have heard stories of cyclists taking twisted wheels off, laying them on the ground, standing on one side of the wheel and pushing it just straight enough to keep turning. A chance of making things worse but at that point it can't hurt.
I was out mtn biking with a buddy a couple years ago and he taco'd his front wheel, breaking 3-4 spokes. We trued it back up by jamming it between a rock and a tree and bending until it was straight enough to get him home.
__________________
"Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."
DrPete is offline  
Old 04-28-07, 02:15 AM
  #7  
patentcad
Peloton Shelter Dog
 
patentcad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Chester, NY
Posts: 90,393

Bikes: 2017 Scott Foil, 2016 Scott Addict SL, 2018 Santa Cruz Blur CC MTB

Mentioned: 68 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1013 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It's at moments like that you realize that much of what you believed to be true in the world is true no longer.
patentcad is offline  
Old 04-28-07, 04:01 AM
  #8  
roadwarrior
Senior Member
 
roadwarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Someplace trying to figure it out
Posts: 10,636

Bikes: Cannondale EVO, CAAD9, Giant cross bike.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 59 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
I was on a training ride earlier today on my TT rig when a spoke snapped about halfway through my ride.
The wheel is a PT SL hub laced to a Reynolds Alta Race with Sapim spokes. I check the wheels periodically to make sure the wheels don't need truing etc.

Is there anything you can do to ride home on these wheels when a spoke snaps? Since you can't use a spoke wrench on these things is there anything else one can do? The wheel was so badly out of true from one spoke snapping that the wheel was rubbing on the chain stay. I managed to hobble home at 10 mph but it was kind of frustrating.

Another question is why the catastrophic failure? I've never had a problem with a spoke snapping like that. Well actually only one time but it was on a borrowed bike that was 15+ years old and probably should have had its wheels rebuilt.

Could potholes have played a role in this? There are a lot of potholes and cracks on some of the roads I train on and its hard to avoid some of them. (cracks that span the width of the road)
My guess is it was on the drive side.

Spokes wear out. Pretty simple. They are flexing all the time and the drive side takes a beating. Presto.

I had one break a couple of years ago on a SSC Mavic and it jammed the wheel into the chainstay, and there's no way it could be ridden. Just wore out. Called my wife on my cell to come get me. 20 miles from home. These lighter wheels run a lot more spoke tension and as a result the rest of the spokes pull on the wheel when the countertension goes away. Conversely, I broke a one on an Open Pro that has 32 spokes and rode home no sweat.

S##t happens.
roadwarrior is offline  
Old 04-28-07, 07:48 AM
  #9  
slvoid
2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM
 
slvoid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: NYC
Posts: 15,762

Bikes: 04' Specialized Hardrock Sport, 03' Giant OCR2 (SOLD!), 04' Litespeed Firenze, 04' Giant OCR Touring, 07' Specialized Langster Comp

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
How few spokes did you have that 1 broken spoke killed it?

You can always tighten the spokes around that one to pull it back into shape then limp home.
slvoid is offline  
Old 04-28-07, 08:08 AM
  #10  
simplify
ride, paint, ride
 
simplify's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 1,204

Bikes: Cannondale R300 Caad2

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The OP said that a spoke wrench couldn't be used on these spokes (maybe there would have been some other way to adjust spoke tension on the road?). And, if it was a drive side rear spoke, it's easy to imagine that the tension would have been high enough for one broken spoke to severely change the true--especially if it was a low-spoke-count wheel.
simplify is offline  
Old 04-28-07, 08:14 AM
  #11  
Lithuania
Oh The Huge Manatee
 
Lithuania's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: mabra
Posts: 4,528
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I believe with the particular rim you have to take the tire off and remove the rim tape to true the wheel. Thats why the spoke wrench wouldnt work.
Lithuania is offline  
Old 04-28-07, 12:59 PM
  #12  
Frunkin
nom nom nom
 
Frunkin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 2,096

Bikes: Lemond Tete de Course, Slingshot DDX, Fuji Track Pro, Surly Steamroller

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ken cummings
I have heard stories of cyclists taking twisted wheels off, laying them on the ground, standing on one side of the wheel and pushing it just straight enough to keep turning. A chance of making things worse but at that point it can't hurt.
I did this when my friend got hit by a car on a wally world bike, he rode it home fine
Frunkin is offline  
Old 04-28-07, 02:05 PM
  #13  
nitropowered
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Athens, Ohio
Posts: 5,104

Bikes: Custom Custom Custom

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by slvoid
How few spokes did you have that 1 broken spoke killed it?

You can always tighten the spokes around that one to pull it back into shape then limp home.
Its better to loosen the two opposite side spokes.

Well since you have internal nipples, you're pretty much out of luck if that happens. Same with if you have wheels with proprietary nipples like mavic wheels (unless you carry that mavic spoke tool.
nitropowered is offline  
Old 05-01-07, 11:45 AM
  #14  
carpediemracing
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tariffville, CT
Posts: 15,087

Bikes: Tsunami Bikes

Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 260 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I broke a spoke on a Reynolds DV (16 spoke) front wheel. The spoke made a lot of racket hitting my fork, but since I was about 10 miles into a 35 mile race, I just kept going. I hung at the back for a while to make sure that if the wheel collapsed I'd take only myself out (esp on the 45 mph downhill). Once I realized the wheel was fine, I moved up and raced the race (rode normally, i.e. normal efforts out of saddle, field sprint). Got 6th or 8th or something in the race.

Spokes are elastic like rubber bands. They have finite strength (three measures - stretch and recover, stretch and stay stretched, and stretch and break) related to their material and thickness. A light spoke has less material and over time will break quicker than a heavy spoke given similar spoke tension. Since light wheels have less spokes, each spoke typically has more tension on it.

It took a year and a half to break my first light spoke on the Reynolds. I found that 1.8mm ended normal spokes break after about 18-24 months - so I used to rebuild all my light wheels yearly as preventative maintenance. I rebuilt my Reynolds using DT Revolutions (thicker spoke, heavier) since I rarely if ever break spokes with 2.0 normal ends.

Also - if you check the wheel occasionally and tend to tighten a spoke here and there, you'll end up inadvertently increasing the tension on the spokes over a period of time. Just something to look out for.

Morale of the story - a broken spoke on a well built wheel with strong rims will probably not kill you. Ride it home and fix it (if it were me, I'd replace all the spokes).

hope this helps,
cdr
carpediemracing is offline  
Old 05-01-07, 11:58 AM
  #15  
merlinextraligh
pan y agua
 
merlinextraligh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Jacksonville
Posts: 30,331

Bikes: Wilier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Co-Motion Robusta; Schwinn Paramount; Motobecane Phantom Cross; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Calfee Dragonfly Tandem

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 868 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
.

Is there anything you can do to ride home on these wheels when a spoke snaps? Since you can't use a spoke wrench on these things is there anything else one can do? The wheel was so badly out of true from one spoke snapping that the wheel was rubbing on the chain stay. I managed to hobble home at 10 mph but it was kind of frustrating.
Definite advantage to wheels with conventional spoke nipples. Assuming you value the rim enough to rule out beating it against the ground, then the options are take the tire and rim strip off, and true it as best you can (assumming you have a screw driver) or get on the cellphone.
merlinextraligh is offline  
Old 05-01-07, 12:30 PM
  #16  
waterrockets 
Making a kilometer blurry
 
waterrockets's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Austin (near TX)
Posts: 26,130

Bikes: rkwaki's porn collection

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Usually, the rim is going much further in one direction than the other, and you can set it crooked in the dropouts so it won't rub. That's not usually much help with vertical dropouts and close chainstays though.

I was commuting in twilight and kicked a big hunk of metal into my 36h 3x rear Deep V. On the way home that night, a drive-side spoke broke. It wasn't even far enough out of true to have to loosen the brakes

I originally built the wheel, so I just tossed a new spoke in there and it's been fine for a year of hard riding now.

One thing you can do to prevent this is to pluck spokes regularly to ensure even tension. If it starts to go whacky, even the tension out. If even tension leads to way-out-of-true -- it's time to start wheel shopping.
waterrockets is offline  
Old 05-01-07, 12:33 PM
  #17  
Phantoj
Certifiable Bike "Expert"
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,647
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
Another question is why the catastrophic failure? I've never had a problem with a spoke snapping like that. Well actually only one time but it was on a borrowed bike that was 15+ years old and probably should have had its wheels rebuilt.
Have you ever dropped a chain off the big cog and onto the spokes? That can damage the spokes and hasten failure.
Phantoj is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.