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Broken Spokes

Old 05-17-20, 09:21 AM
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Griff2000
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Broken Spokes

Hi all,

I bought a bike from eBay before Christmas - old Pinarello frame with modern-ish groupset and a load of carbon bits, including the wheels. Itís the first time Iíve had carbon wheels but Iím pretty sure theyíre cheap carbons from eBay/China/both. Novatec hubs with no name rims (see photos attached). Nothing wrong with that necessarily, however Iíve had two spokes snap within 3 weeks of each other. Thing is, Iíve never had a spoke break EVER before on any other bike! The broken spokes were both on the rear non-drive side. And the other funny thing is that they broke in exactly the same place - on a short sharp hill about a mile from home. Weird!

The wheels are carbon rims with 3mm wide flat aero bladed spokes. After the first broken spoke I searched for a direct replacement but struggled to find any the right width so went for a narrower one (2mm I think) and trued the wheel myself. Now, I have no doubt that it could be my poor job of replacing the spoke that could have caused the 2nd one to break (it wasnít the replacement spoke that broke, by the way!) but Iím just wondering if carbon wheels generally cause more broken spokes, or whether flat aero spokes are more prone to breaking, or whether itís the fact theyíre cheap rims, or just a badly built wheel, etc. Should I get the whole wheel replaced with new sturdier spokes? I appreciate itís difficult to answer from a few photos but any experience or help appreciated. Itís making me not want to ride the bike at the moment

I should add that both times the spoke got a bit caught up in the frame and has widened the spoke hole on the hub slightly, but not too much. Think the hub is fine to carry on.

Any help appreciated,

Cheers





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Old 05-17-20, 09:46 AM
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If the spokes are breaking in the J bend, the wheel was likely built with inadequate spoke tension.
Since you've broke 2 now, I'd replace all the NDS spokes, since the others have have the same number of fatigue cycles.
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Old 05-17-20, 09:57 AM
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Good chance the wheel wasn't stressed properly when constructed. Take it to a good wheel builder and have it reworked (maybe you'll even need to replace the spokes) or do it yourself. A Park tension meter may facilitate the "rebuild" if you do it yourself.
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Old 05-17-20, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
If the spokes are breaking in the J bend, the wheel was likely built with inadequate spoke tension.
Since you've broke 2 now, I'd replace all the NDS spokes, since the others have have the same number of fatigue cycles.
OK thanks Bill. No, they didnít break at the J bend. Sorry, probably worded it poorly. They broke up towards the rim end. It was the subsequent cycling for a few metres with the spoke wrapped around the frame that widened the hub hole I think.

Just had another look and thereís nothing actually left in the spoke nipple. And I donít remember removing anything from the nipple the first time it happened. Just removed the spoke as it was all bent out of shape and threw them away. So could the threads be pulling clean out of the nipple? Does that happen?!
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Old 05-17-20, 10:16 AM
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About the only way for a spoke to pull out of a nipple is to have used an oversize nipple, such as a 14 ga. nipple on a 15 ga. spoke.
Unless you have some weird corrosion type problem. Are they aluminum nipples?
IF it happens again, examine the nipple. It's "possible"?
A picture of the actual breakage would be far more useful than an empty hole in the hub where the spoke DIDN'T break.
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Old 05-17-20, 02:14 PM
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Since it's happened more than once, if it was my bike I'd replace the spokes and nipples in both rims before you have the kind of failure that ruins the rims.
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Old 05-17-20, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Since it's happened more than once, if it was my bike I'd replace the spokes and nipples in both rims before you have the kind of failure that ruins the rims.
OK thanks Grouch. Will get it looked at after lock down. Everything else I can do myself but Iíve never tried wheels!
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Old 05-17-20, 05:23 PM
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I wouldn't worry about replacing spokes on the front unless you actually start breaking them there.
Front wheels are much less problematic re: spoke breakage.
Personally, if all the broken spokes are on the same side, I'd only replace that side. (unless S&H costs justify a larger purchase)
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Old 05-17-20, 11:07 PM
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Yeah, almost certainly crap spoke tension. The original spokes are Pillar, which are actually reasonably nice quality, although the large flat blades aren't their highest end product.
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Old 05-18-20, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
Yeah, almost certainly crap spoke tension. The original spokes are Pillar, which are actually reasonably nice quality, although the large flat blades aren't their highest end product.
Thanks cpach, I wasnít sure what the spokes were. Would be good to replace like with like as long as theyíll hold up.
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Old 05-18-20, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
I wouldn't worry about replacing spokes on the front unless you actually start breaking them there.
Front wheels are much less problematic re: spoke breakage.
Personally, if all the broken spokes are on the same side, I'd only replace that side. (unless S&H costs justify a larger purchase)
Thanks, yes no front issues at the moment. If I can just do the one side then thatís good news. But Iíll get a proper wheel builder to look at it.
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Old 05-18-20, 01:29 AM
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Should have put also that Iím around 85kg, so not the lightest. And the bike weighs about 8.5kg.
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Old 05-18-20, 01:37 AM
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I wouldn't fuss about spoke brand whenever you have them replaced--in the US Pillar has poor distribution for example. Whatever bladed, double butted spokes your shop normally uses should be fine. Aesthetically the really flat and wide bladed spokes are a little less common to stock--most high end builds have moved to elliptical spokes like Sapim cxrays, Dt Aerolites, or whatever Pillar's totally identical looking spoke is. Were it me I'd do one of those because they're slightly lighter and and more aerodynamic.
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Old 05-18-20, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
About the only way for a spoke to pull out of a nipple is to have used an oversize nipple, such as a 14 ga. nipple on a 15 ga. spoke.
Unless you have some weird corrosion type problem. Are they aluminum nipples?
IF it happens again, examine the nipple. It's "possible"?
A picture of the actual breakage would be far more useful than an empty hole in the hub where the spoke DIDN'T break.
Spoke can break at the nipple. It doesnít occur often but it is possible. Iíve seen the problem with Specialized OEM wheels because they were using aluminum nipples and spokes that werenít long enough.

Originally Posted by Griff2000 View Post
Hi all,

I bought a bike from eBay before Christmas - old Pinarello frame with modern-ish groupset and a load of carbon bits, including the wheels. Itís the first time Iíve had carbon wheels but Iím pretty sure theyíre cheap carbons from eBay/China/both. Novatec hubs with no name rims (see photos attached). Nothing wrong with that necessarily, however Iíve had two spokes snap within 3 weeks of each other. Thing is, Iíve never had a spoke break EVER before on any other bike! The broken spokes were both on the rear non-drive side. And the other funny thing is that they broke in exactly the same place - on a short sharp hill about a mile from home. Weird!

The wheels are carbon rims with 3mm wide flat aero bladed spokes. After the first broken spoke I searched for a direct replacement but struggled to find any the right width so went for a narrower one (2mm I think) and trued the wheel myself. Now, I have no doubt that it could be my poor job of replacing the spoke that could have caused the 2nd one to break (it wasnít the replacement spoke that broke, by the way!) but Iím just wondering if carbon wheels generally cause more broken spokes, or whether flat aero spokes are more prone to breaking, or whether itís the fact theyíre cheap rims, or just a badly built wheel, etc. Should I get the whole wheel replaced with new sturdier spokes? I appreciate itís difficult to answer from a few photos but any experience or help appreciated. Itís making me not want to ride the bike at the moment

I should add that both times the spoke got a bit caught up in the frame and has widened the spoke hole on the hub slightly, but not too much. Think the hub is fine to carry on.

Any help appreciated,

Cheers

You donít need a replacement spoke nor do you need to response the wheel. You need to replace the whole wheel! Itís toast, busted, trash, suitable for recycle, etc. The broken spoke hogged out too much material at the flange for it to be strong enough to stand up to the tension needed. Additionally, that ďVĒ shaped damage below the hole is a stress riser. The hub is likely to crack at that point.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but do yourself a favor and replace the wheel.
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Old 05-18-20, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Spoke can break at the nipple. It doesnít occur often but it is possible. Iíve seen the problem with Specialized OEM wheels because they were using aluminum nipples and spokes that werenít long enough.



You donít need a replacement spoke nor do you need to response the wheel. You need to replace the whole wheel! Itís toast, busted, trash, suitable for recycle, etc. The broken spoke hogged out too much material at the flange for it to be strong enough to stand up to the tension needed. Additionally, that ďVĒ shaped damage below the hole is a stress riser. The hub is likely to crack at that point.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but do yourself a favor and replace the wheel.
No. The V shape at the bottom of the hole is not damage. The hub was made that way to accommodate the wide bladed spokes. Check out the daylight visible in one of the other spoke holes in his photo.
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Old 05-18-20, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
No. The V shape at the bottom of the hole is not damage. The hub was made that way to accommodate the wide bladed spokes. Check out the daylight visible in one of the other spoke holes in his photo.
The shape of the V is very irregular. Griff2000 has already stated that the spoke hole was damaged. Any damage to the hub should not be taken lightly.
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Old 05-18-20, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The shape of the V is very irregular. Griff2000 has already stated that the spoke hole was damaged. Any damage to the hub should not be taken lightly.
I'm not ready to declare categorically that the hub is safe to rebuild. That would require a close up, hands on examination, but what I'm seeing here is not cause for concern. Builders have been slotting spoke holes forever to accommodate those bladed spokes, Novatech makes them ready to go.
Here is a used one I just happen to have on hand. I have built hundreds of these hubs with the elongated spoke holes, and while they are unnecessary for CX Ray spokes which most of them were built with, they were never a problem.
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Old 05-19-20, 01:14 AM
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Thanks for all of the useful info guys. Iíll get this looked at properly when the lock down is lifted here in the UK. I wonít try to fix this myself
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