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Replace 1 spoke or all of them?

Old 08-04-15, 07:50 PM
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Spld cyclist
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Replace 1 spoke or all of them?

I have a rear wheel with about 5,200 miles on it. Used for commuting and recreational riding. Me + bike + maximum commuting gear/crap probably never exceeded 225 lb or so.

It has 36 2.0 mm spokes, with an Alex ACE-19 eyeletted rim laced to a Tiagra hub. Rim appears to have a ton of life left, and the hub looked great internally at last rebuild.

It was originally on a Bianchi Volpe. Bike shop did a crappy job with the tensioning. It never stayed true for long. I broke 2 spokes over time, both a DS and NDS. After 4,000 miles or so, I got a tension gauge and learned how to tension and stress-relieve the wheel properly. The tension was all over the place before I did so. It ran beautifully and stayed true until I broke a third spoke, this time a DS spoke.

Obviously, at this point it would be easiest to replace the one broken spoke and move on. However, I'm wondering if this is going to happen again and again due to the damage caused by running the wheel with such uneven tension.

So should I replace all the spokes at once and (hopefully) be done with it?
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Old 08-04-15, 09:58 PM
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Try one or two more before you give up. If you need to replace them go with double-butted spokes.
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Old 08-04-15, 10:03 PM
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Spoke breakage is like making popcorn. First one, then later another, then a 3rd. You'll notice that after the few early outliers, things get faster as you hit the main stream, and soon it's as if they're all going at once.

The key is the length of time between breaks. If you notice the interval is getting shorter, then that trend will continue and common sense will say they've had it. From your description, I'd give it another chance, but note the interval, and watch for a trend.
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Old 08-04-15, 10:37 PM
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Is the "popcorn" effect because the spokes are deteriorating, or because the rim gradually going out of whack?
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Old 08-04-15, 10:50 PM
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Typically, the "pop corn effect" is because all the spokes have been through the same amount of fatigue cycles. (if that's what's causing the breaks)
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Old 08-05-15, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Typically, the "pop corn effect" is because all the spokes have been through the same amount of fatigue cycles. (if that's what's causing the breaks)
Yes, its' related to fatigue and the classic bell curve distribution of things like that. Most of the spokes will fail close to the average life expectancy, but there are always outliers, with some failing much sooner than average, and some much later. The time to rebuild the wheel is when you sense you're coming past the outliers and into the steep part of the curve.
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Old 08-05-15, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Spoke breakage is like making popcorn. First one, then later another, then a 3rd. You'll notice that after the few early outliers, things get faster as you hit the main stream, and soon it's as if they're all going at once.

The key is the length of time between breaks. If you notice the interval is getting shorter, then that trend will continue and common sense will say they've had it. From your description, I'd give it another chance, but note the interval, and watch for a trend.
Good analogy.... does one butter them then?

36H at your weight level and breaking DS's sure does point to a large variance in tension-ing as noted.. the spokes with the high tensions showing fatigue as noted and giving up. Could also be head slap on the lesser tensioned spokes.. elbow fatigue. Smells too like a china made spoke from lesser grade wire... sans the butter.

I'd suggest doing them all.. saving time and grief in the future.

Sapim Stainless Double Butted Spoke at Dan's Comp
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Old 08-05-15, 09:23 AM
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The time to replace them all is when you're fed up and ready to replace them all.

That said, I'm with Frank. If you're only breaking one every 1,000-2,000 miles, I'd replace another one or two. Might be time to buy a couple boxes of 20 spokes, one DS and one NDS, and when you've replaced one of each, rebuild the wheel and have a spare left.
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Old 08-05-15, 04:03 PM
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Yeah, go ahead & replace 'em all. Rebuilding an entire wheel is a fun way to pass
the time, and it develops manual dexterity.
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Old 08-05-15, 05:18 PM
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WWJD?(jobst)
Anybody know if he addresses this in his book?
__________________
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Old 08-05-15, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Aladin View Post
Good analogy.... does one butter them then?

36H at your weight level and breaking DS's sure does point to a large variance in tension-ing as noted.. the spokes with the high tensions showing fatigue as noted and giving up. Could also be head slap on the lesser tensioned spokes.. elbow fatigue. Smells too like a china made spoke from lesser grade wire... sans the butter.

I'd suggest doing them all.. saving time and grief in the future.

Sapim Stainless Double Butted Spoke at Dan's Comp
The most recent spoke broke off at the head, and IIRC, the other two did as well.

Does Dan's Comp have 700C spoke sizes even though it's a BMX shop? $0.40 each seems like a really good price....
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