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Old 09-15-08, 06:12 PM   #1
ToddDav
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I keep breaking spokes

I am 6'5" and 240-250lbs. Currently riding a Bianchi Volpe. I have a hand built wheel on the back with a 32h dyad rim and 'regular' (2mm?) spokes. It is built on the stock Tiagra hub that came with the bike. I have about 200+ miles on the wheel and I have broken 2 spokes in the last three days. I was riding a Metric over the weekend when the first one popped and the 2nd one went today on the way home from work. I am seriously bummed out.

Anyone have advice on what I should be asking for when I bring the wheel back to the shop that built it. They have a good reputation around town and have been pretty good for me so far, but it seems like they should have steered me toward something stronger. Maybe a higher spoke count and some thicker spokes? I am not sure. What would y'all recommend for a big rider who puts about 100 miles a week on a bike?
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Old 09-15-08, 06:15 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ToddDav View Post
I am 6'5" and 240-250lbs. Currently riding a Bianchi Volpe. I have a hand built wheel on the back with a 32h dyad rim and 'regular' (2mm?) spokes. It is built on the stock Tiagra hub that came with the bike. I have about 200+ miles on the wheel and I have broken 2 spokes in the last three days. I was riding a Metric over the weekend when the first one popped and the 2nd one went today on the way home from work. I am seriously bummed out.

Anyone have advice on what I should be asking for when I bring the wheel back to the shop that built it. They have a good reputation around town and have been pretty good for me so far, but it seems like they should have steered me toward something stronger. Maybe a higher spoke count and some thicker spokes? I am not sure. What would y'all recommend for a big rider who puts about 100 miles a week on a bike?
I have been going thru this all summer. I lost 40 lbs or so before I started busting spokes. I busted probably 10 this summer and just this week bought a new wheel. It got to where I could not make a round trip to work without busting a spoke. Have it rebuilt.
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Old 09-15-08, 06:54 PM   #3
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Insufficient tension may be the cause of the broken spokes, unless you've hit some rough holes or gone over curbs.
What part of the spokes broke and on which wheel, driveside or non-driveside?
If the problem wheel is the rear, a stronger more durable wheel could be built with 36 spokes laced 3-cross with DT Competition spokes, 2.0-1.8-2.0 mm, double butted, or DT Alpine III 2.34-1.8-2.0 double butted. I would suggest something like a 105 or Ultegra hub and a CXP 33 rim.
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Old 09-15-08, 07:03 PM   #4
ToddDav
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What part of the spokes broke and on which wheel, driveside or non-driveside?
Al
Both were the back wheel. It was one on each side. first the driveside then the opposite today. Does which side indicate anything generally?
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Old 09-15-08, 07:39 PM   #5
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I'd have the wheel rebuilt (or a new one as it were), and make sure it's built with the spokes laced. An unlaced wheel is a weaker wheel. With this new paradigm among bike manufacturers toward radial and X2 at best, I'm surprised people haven't marched at night on their headquarters with burning torches.
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Old 09-15-08, 08:02 PM   #6
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Once spokes start to go, you basically need to get the wheel rebuilt. The rest of the spokes in the wheel are very likely already compromised, due to the excess strain placed on them by the busted spokes -- especially if you rode awhile on that first busted spoke before/without fixing it.

Just tell the shop that you've busted multiple spokes, they should know the deal & what to do. Seems to me that it ought to be under warranty.

32 spoke wheels are typical for cross bikes like the Volpe, so it's not necessarily a bad recommendation. If you had told the shop "I'm going to tour on this bike with 70 pounds of gear," then they should've recommended 36+ spoke wheels.

But generally speaking: stuff breaks, c'est la vie, fix it and move on. I wouldn't get too ticked off at the shop unless they fail to fix it the 2nd time.
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Old 09-15-08, 09:14 PM   #7
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I'd recommend the CXP 33 or Open Pro rim laced to an Ultegra or Dura Ace hub, 32 hole. If you want something even stronger, call John at Neuvation and ask for the "Big Mark Special". Those are probably the most bombproof wheels out there.

Go to this page and scroll down until you get to the part about Mark Blaubach destroying gear.
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Old 09-15-08, 10:31 PM   #8
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Second the stronger wheelset with a suggestion that you go for 36 hole rather than 32.
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Old 09-15-08, 11:25 PM   #9
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Third that - at least the rear wheel should be 36. Or both. 36 cross-4 laced. Stainless spokes. Golden!
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Old 09-16-08, 12:46 AM   #10
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You might look into the Wheelsmith DH13 spokes. No kill like overkill.
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Old 09-16-08, 02:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddDav View Post
I am 6'5" and 240-250lbs... I have about 200+ miles on the wheel and I have broken 2 spokes in the last three days. ..Anyone have advice on what I should be asking for when I bring the wheel back to the shop that built it. They have a good reputation ...but it seems like they should have steered me toward something stronger. Maybe a higher spoke count and some thicker spokes?
I take it that durability is more important to you than stiffness.

A higher spoke count would indeed be beneficial, thicker spokes not necessarily so. With the exception of the DT Alpine III they're pretty much all equally thick by the bend, and that's where they break.
Breaking spokes by overloading them while JRA(just riding along) is quite rare, it's far more common for them to break through fatigue, and you get fatigue when a spoke goes from highly loaded to almost slack over and over again.
For a given load a thinner spoke is stretchier than a thicker, and this extra stretch makes it easier for that spoke to remain at tension instead of going slack, as a thicker, less stretchy spoke would have done.

Hubs are a so-so issue when it comes to spoke life.
The main improvement another hub can offer you is a more symmetric dishing, but there's not much difference from one shimano hub to another in that perspective.

Many Shimano hubs do well in a 1.8 DS/1.5 NDS configuration, which allows for a very even spoke tension on DS/NDS.

So:
- a radially stiffer rim(higher, more aero) will distribute the load over more spokes, making each spoke see smaller changes in tension, thus reducing risk for fatigue.
- a higher spoke count will put more spokes in the load affected zone, cutting down on individual changes even more
- a 1.8 DS/1.5 NDS configuration on a shimano hub would let you run a nicely high and even spoke tension on both sides, also helping to reduce the fatigue risk.

Most importantly: it needs to be properly built, spokes seated well in the hub flanges(maybe using spoke head washers if required), evenly tensioned and all that.
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Old 09-16-08, 02:30 AM   #12
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I second the comment by al1943 about spoke tension. That's the most important factor necessary to build a strong and durable wheel. It's of no significance to the fact that it is 'hand built' without knowing what standards those hands built to. There is good and bad hand built. Pick a strong rim (usually stronger means heavier), maybe even the one you have is OK don't really know but there seems to be many suggestions. Use a good name brand double butted 2.0/1.8 spoke and have them build by someone who will properly true and tension the wheel. High tension is particularly important with your weight. The tension used should be equal or very nearly so to the highest the rim manufacturer recommends for that rim. Most spoke failures are caused by metal fatigue and occurs at the spoke ends and is caused by too low of spoke tension. There are three things you need to insist on:
1. High sopke tension
2. High sopke tension
3. High sopke tension
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Old 09-16-08, 10:22 AM   #13
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I'm surprised people haven't marched at night on their headquarters with burning torches.
I managed to misread this as "I'm surprised people haven't marched at night on their hindquarters with burning torches."

Which made for the weirdest mental image ever
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Old 09-16-08, 02:18 PM   #14
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I had this problem for several years on a new Specialized Cirrus. I'm 210 pounds and ride an easy but fairly high mileage commute of about 80 miles a week.

I went through several wheel respokings, and several rims where the spokes pulled the rim apart, but the bike shop where I bought it had no idea why it was happenning and couldn't fix it.

Finally I bought a handmade wheel from another bike shop, and haven't broken a spoke for about 3 years now.

What I'm pretty sure was happening was that some spokes were working loose, until the remaining spokes couldn't take the additional tension and broke.

So now I check my spokes tension every week or so by gently tapping each spoke with a screwdriver and listen for any dull thumps instead of a healthy twang, and fix any that have worked loose.

I have been occasionally finding and tightening loose spokes, but as long as I keep them in tune, like I said, I haven't broken a spoke for a few years now.
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Old 09-16-08, 02:54 PM   #15
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I am 6'4", 220 lbs and I had this happen when I first bought my Offroad 352 cross bike that had 32 hole wheels. Two spokes on the rear wheel broke each time it happened. The spokes that broke were directly across from each other. It happened when I would go over a small bump or something like that it did not take much. I finally had two new 36 hole wheels made. I had no problems after that.
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