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Another spoke broke

Old 09-13-22, 04:30 PM
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pepperbelly
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Another spoke broke

I had a broken spoke a while back on the rear wheel of my 2012 Specialized Roubaix. Today another spoke broke. Both breaks were in the middle of the spoke. This time the rim is bent.
The rims are DT Swiss with Axis hubs. The rim measured 20mm outer width. The rear wheel has 30 spokes and the front has 24.
I think the narrow rims and low spoke count are no match for my weight- 270 pounds.
I think I need to replace at least the rear but I don’t have any idea what to look for.
The current tires are 28mm and I don’t think I can go wider.

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Old 09-13-22, 05:27 PM
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First of all two spokes in 10 years isn't that bad at all unless the bike's just been sitting in your garage. FWIW, spoke breakage other than at the elbow is very rare, so I would suspect a corrosion related issue rather than mechanical. If this is true you will see tiny black dots here and there along the length of the spoke, not necessarily many, but each of them is a future break.

If you don't see that pattern of corrosion you might consider replacing the one spoke and and see how it goes. Odds are you can go to a wider tire on that same rim and that will buy you a little more room to accommodate your weight.

If you decide to rebuild fresh, you'll find rim selection for those odd drillings (not divisible by 4) to be limited so start by seeing what's out there and get the widest rim that will work.

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Old 09-13-22, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
First of all two spokes in 10 years isn't that bad at all unless the bike's just been sitting in your garage. FWIW, spoke breakage other than at the elbow is very rare, so I would suspect a corrosion related issue rather than mechanical. If this is true you will see tiny black dots here and there along the length of the spoke, not necessarily many, but each of them is a future break.

If you don't see that pattern of corrosion you might consider replacing the one spoke and and see how it goes. Odds are you can go to a wider tire on that same rim and that will buy you a little more room to accommodate your weight.

If you decide to rebuild fresh, you'll find rim selection for those odd drillings (not divisible by 4) to be limited so start by seeing what's out there and get the widest rim that will work.
I see you are taking the OP at his word that he did not miss count the spokes in the rear wheel but it is entirely possible for a 30 spoke wheel to exist as I’m sure you know.
Some of the Chinese carbon rim manufacturers will custom drill for triplet lacing of any spoke count even for a one off order.
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Old 09-13-22, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
First of all two spokes in 10 years isn't that bad at all unless the bike's just been sitting in your garage. FWIW, spoke breakage other than at the elbow is very rare, so I would suspect a corrosion related issue rather than mechanical. If this is true you will see tiny black dots here and there along the length of the spoke, not necessarily many, but each of them is a future break.

If you don't see that pattern of corrosion you might consider replacing the one spoke and and see how it goes. Odds are you can go to a wider tire on that same rim and that will buy you a little more room to accommodate your weight.

If you decide to rebuild fresh, you'll find rim selection for those odd drillings (not divisible by 4) to be limited so start by seeing what's out there and get the widest rim that will work.
I bought the bike used. I haven’t been riding it as much as I should. I have no idea if the previous owner had any problems.
I will be taking it to a local shop. I just wanted to get opinions here also.

I am going out to count the spokes again.
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Old 09-13-22, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
I see you are taking the OP at his word that he did not miss count the spokes in the rear wheel but it is entirely possible for a 30 spoke wheel to exist as I’m sure you know.
Some of the Chinese carbon rim manufacturers will custom drill for triplet lacing of any spoke count even for a one off order.
Yes, I took him at his count, though at this stage it didn't really matter. I simply wanted to point out that 30 is a rare drilling and that the rim selection would be limited (not non-existent).

However, my main intent was to help the OP decide whether to do the quick repair vs. the total rebuild that "stainless cancer" (chloride inclusions) would demand.
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Old 09-13-22, 06:53 PM
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I counted again twice. There are 30 spokes.
These rims are DT Swiss 3.0 etrto 622x14 rims. The hubs are Axis.

I felt the other spokes and several have what feels like notches near the middle of the spoke.
I am thinking of having all of the rear spokes replaced. Any suggestions on a brand or type of spike? Saving weight isn’t important.
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Old 09-13-22, 07:57 PM
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Spokes flex during a ride. They flex more the heavier the rider so breaking in the middle is the weak point of that particular spoke. It may be that the rim itself is ok and has "warped" because the spoke broke and there are not a lot of spokes to share the load so the rim may warp more than a wheel with more spokes. You can get the wheel rebuilt with a heavier gauge spoke and that may, or may not, work out. Your weight is the culprit.

You could also go the route of a 36 spoke wheel...you could use a heavier duty rim with heavy gauge spokes and get a stronger wheel. You should be able to find a built wheel with the needed sturdiness but perhaps you will have to go the custom build. At least you can specify the hub, rim and spokes that will suit your needs.

Good luck and keep us informed.
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Old 09-13-22, 08:03 PM
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I used to have a 30-spoke rear wheel. The drive side was 20 spokes laced 3-cross, the non-drive side was ten spokes laced radial.

Sorry, I have no experience with that mode of spoke breakage.
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Old 09-13-22, 08:05 PM
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DT, Sapim and other established brands are all of comparable quality. The longest service life will be with 14g double butted spokes. What matters more is a quality build by someone skilled at this.

Your problem will be the limited rim options dictated by the unusual spoke count. In many cases it might be more cost effective, and get you closer to your needs to go with a new prebuilt wheel.

This is a tough call, and my bias is to custom hand builds by a skilled builder, with spoke and rim selection based on the rider's individual needs. So, IMO, step one is to see if you can get a rim that will serve well, and let that drive the decision.

Also, going to wider tires will probably help, so choosing a rim accordingly is smart. BUT before making any decision based on wider tires check whether there's adequate clearance in your frame (usually at the chainstays). IMO 5mm side clearance is a rough minimum for general purposes (less is OK for racing). You'll want that to accommodate the wheel going out of true on the road, keeping in mind that compost happens, and long walks are no fun. Lastly, given the circumstances, it might be feasible to rebuild the wheel using the same rim (especially if you can't use a wider one anyway.

BTW - Just for kicks, wait until you've lined up the rebuild or replacement, then grab 2 spokes at a convenient place and squeeze hard. Don't be surprised if they snap as easily as if they were uncooked spaghetti. FWIW - some time back I came back to my bike that had been in Cozumel for 6 months and found that half the spokes had broken just sitting in the garage. (no fun)
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Old 09-13-22, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
DT, Sapim and other established brands are all of comparable quality. The longest service life will be with 14g double butted spokes. What matters more is a quality build by someone skilled at this.

Your problem will be the limited rim options dictated by the unusual spoke count. In many cases it might be more cost effective, and get you closer to your needs to go with a new prebuilt wheel.

This is a tough call, and my bias is to custom hand builds by a skilled builder, with spoke and rim selection based on the rider's individual needs. So, IMO, step one is to see if you can get a rim that will serve well, and let that drive the decision.

Also, going to wider tires will probably help, so choosing a rim accordingly is smart. BUT before making any decision based on wider tires check whether there's adequate clearance in your frame (usually at the chainstays). IMO 5mm side clearance is a rough minimum for general purposes (less is OK for racing). You'll want that to accommodate the wheel going out of true on the road, keeping in mind that compost happens, and long walks are no fun. Lastly, given the circumstances, it might be feasible to rebuild the wheel using the same rim (especially if you can't use a wider one anyway.

BTW - Just for kicks, wait until you've lined up the rebuild or replacement, then grab 2 spokes at a convenient place and squeeze hard. Don't be surprised if they snap as easily as if they were uncooked spaghetti. FWIW - some time back I came back to my bike that had been in Cozumel for 6 months and found that half the spokes had broken just sitting in the garage. (no fun)

it already has wide tires
The guy at the shop is an old hand. If I get a build I feel he will do a good job. I will have him look at it tomorrow. I want opinions here too.
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Old 09-14-22, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly View Post
it already has wide tires
The guy at the shop is an old hand. If I get a build I feel he will do a good job. I will have him look at it tomorrow. I want opinions here too.
I would agree with the above that if the rim is salvageable the best way forward is to rebuild with quality double butted spokes. If it turns out the rim has a terminal warp, you will need to assess how special the hub is before you begin the quest for a rim that might be the closest thing to a unicorn where custom drilling maybe your only option.
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Old 09-14-22, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly View Post
...breaks were in the middle of the spoke.
I have never had a spoke break in the middle. But then I'm a heavy guy. Mine have snapped at the neck.

Is a spoke breaking in the middle common?
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Old 09-14-22, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post

Is a spoke breaking in the middle common?
Breaking in the middle is rare, even very rare. It happens only when there's a nick or defect within the spoke.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Breaking in the middle is rare, even very rare. It happens only when there's a nick or defect within the spoke.
I have found nicks on some of the other spokes.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:24 PM
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Since you looked, did your spoke break at a nick?

In any case nicks need to be fairly significant to cause breakage and will require many miles before causing failure. OTOH - the chloride inclusion I described earlier is purely a time related issue, and as I mentioned earlier can destroy spokes sitting on shelf.

An easy way to determine if chlorides caused the break is to look at the break itself. Normally the broken spoke end will be the same color as the rest of the spoke. If it's at an inclusion, it'll be black.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
I would agree with the above that if the rim is salvageable the best way forward is to rebuild with quality double butted spokes. If it turns out the rim has a terminal warp, you will need to assess how special the hub is before you begin the quest for a rim that might be the closest thing to a unicorn where custom drilling maybe your only option.
When I say I have wide tires I mean they are 28mm. They are wider than the tires on my wife’s Cannondale.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Since you looked, did your spoke break at a nick?

In any case nicks need to be fairly significant to cause breakage and will require many miles before causing failure. OTOH - the chloride inclusion I described earlier is purely a time related issue, and as I mentioned earlier can destroy spokes sitting on shelf.

An easy way to determine if chlorides caused the break is to look at the break itself. Normally the broken spoke end will be the same color as the rest of the spoke. If it's at an inclusion, it'll be black.
As best as I can tell the metal didn’t have inclusions. The metal is shiny at the break.
The nicks aren’t very deep but are noticeable to my fingernail. I couldn’t find a nick at the break.
I just may be too heavy for a 30 spoke wheel.
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Old 09-14-22, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly View Post
I just may be too heavy for a 30 spoke wheel.
I doubt it. A 2 to 1 (triplet) wheel has two thirds of its spokes on the drive side which carries most of the weight. You have 20 spokes on that side so it should be plenty strong.
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Old 09-14-22, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Breaking in the middle is rare, even very rare. It happens only when there's a nick or defect within the spoke.
Even when I've shifted into the spokes, it takes weeks to years to break all the affected spokes. After the first break in the middle, it's a good idea to replace all the affected spokes -- saves time in the long run.
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Old 09-14-22, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Even when I've shifted into the spokes, it takes weeks to years to break all the affected spokes. After the first break in the middle, it's a good idea to replace all the affected spokes -- saves time in the long run.
When the first one broke last year I only had that one replaced. I don’t have many miles on it since so I agree I should have had them all replaced.
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Old 09-14-22, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
DT, Sapim and other established brands are all of comparable quality. The longest service life will be with 14g double butted spokes. What matters more is a quality build by someone skilled at this.
Agreed. I would recommend a brand new build with something like the DT Swiss 511 rim (521 if disc brakes) and 32 spokes laced 3 cross.
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Old 09-14-22, 09:10 PM
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My wife offered her bike for me to use until I get mine sorted out.
It’s an about 10 year old Cannondale Synapse carbon frame bike. I went out to count her spokes and that one only has 20 spokes per wheel. They are flat spokes.
i was afraid to even look at it hard.
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Old 09-15-22, 10:45 AM
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I helped a guy repair his mountain bike that had a bent derailleur hanger. The derailleur actually was slammed into the spokes momentarily. Checking the spokes I noticed shallow indentations and abrasions where the derailleur got hung. They were about 1/3 of the distance to the rim from the hub on the drive side. He did not replace the spokes and as far as I know he has not had any problems. But he was running 36 14ga Sipams. I wonder if the same type accident could have precipitated your current problem...

Further note: Having a back up wheel set for your favorite bike has been a real luxury for me...
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Old 09-15-22, 11:41 AM
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I was quoted $250 for a new build with a good tough rim and Shimano hub. Is that a decent price?
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Old 09-15-22, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly View Post
I was quoted $250 for a new build with a good tough rim and Shimano hub. Is that a decent price?
Handbuilt by a competent builder? That sounds good to me, although hard to tell without specific models. As others have mentioned, the biggest importance is that they are tensioned correctly and evenly.
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