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Will 39 spokes work for 20 miles?

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Will 39 spokes work for 20 miles?

Old 04-03-09, 07:54 PM
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Monoborracho
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Will 39 spokes work for 20 miles?

Tomorrow morning Mrs. Mono and I are driving to the big city to do Tour Dallas. Its a two hour drive but we do it every year. We plan to take our Burley Rock-n-Roll tandem with 26" wheels. Tonight we get back from a short ride and find we have a broken spoke. Its on the drive side, rear wheel. I pulled the cassette and had a replacement, but I couldn't get the new spoke in from the outside of the hub and then up to the rim without taking other spokes loose, and I'm no wheelbuilder.

The late Sheldon Brown said 36 spokes would do on a 26 incher. So first I tweaked all the spokes till they "felt" about equal in torque, including loosening a couple of offside spokes, working only a quarter turn at a time. Then I tweaked the wheel till it was as true as I could make it, with no tire on. Then I remounted the tire, took it for a spin, and all feels good.

We plan to take a fiberflex spoke (I keep one for touring) and go ahead and do the 20 or 30 mile ride. So, will we make it without further problems?

What else could I do at 8PM when we leave in 8 hours (and there is no LBS within 70 miles of the house)?
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Old 04-03-09, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Monoborracho View Post
What else could I do at 8PM when we leave in 8 hours (and there is no LBS within 70 miles of the house)?
Pray?
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Old 04-03-09, 08:25 PM
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It should be ok
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Old 04-03-09, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by leweee View Post
Pray?
Well, we do that regularly. I guess the good part is that I have two sons in the Metroplex who will certainly come and fetch their mother.
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Old 04-03-09, 08:58 PM
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I expect it'll be fine. (We once continued a ride after a misadjusted rear derailleur resulted in the chain coming off and shearing 12 spokes in our wheel - figured we still had 36 so that should be enough, and it was.)

But why not install the fiberflex spoke in place of the broken one?
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Old 04-03-09, 09:17 PM
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Well, DUH!!! (me, not you)

Like the poor mechanic I am, I had pulled the wheel changed the rim tape to put a new tire and tube on and then realized the broken spoke. I pulled the broken part and went about my business, thought about using the fiberflex and then realized it requires the nipple end of the broken spoke to be in place, I think. I did bend the broken spoke into a U-shape and put in the rack pack to be used, if necessary, tomorrow.
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Old 04-03-09, 09:19 PM
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35 of 36 spokes were okay for me once during a century. Mile 46 of 100, broke a rear spoke, trued the wheel the best I could on the bike, rode the final 54 miles one spoke short of a load. Not recommended, but I made it to the start/finish line
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Old 04-04-09, 10:35 AM
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If you have the kevlar spoke, maybe you should put it on to help even the tension? (Just guessing here.)
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Old 04-04-09, 10:42 AM
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You should not have ****ed with that wheel if you knew you had a fiberfix spoke. If the wheel was built properly to begin with, at correct tension and true, all you have now done is reduced it to a big question mark.

It is extremely difficult to get consistent and accurate tension measurements via nipple torque. The proper way to have done it would have been to throw the fiber fix spoke on and then bring up to proper torque where the wheel is radially and laterally true. This would've preserved the original condition of the wheel.

Assuming, it was good to go to begin with. If you can't figure out why the spoke on the drive side broke, then you should have a big question mark floating in your midn for that 30 mile ride. Bring extra fiberfix spokes.

You're playing russian roulette with the rest of your drive side spokes now, with nuclear bombs instead of .357 fmj's.
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Old 04-04-09, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by operator View Post
You should not have ****ed with that wheel if you knew you had a fiberfix spoke. If the wheel was built properly to begin with, at correct tension and true, all you have now done is reduced it to a big question mark.
Kinda ditto on what he said.

And you should work up the nerve to bend twist and mangle a replacement drive side spoke in whatever way necessary to thread it through the hub and other spokes to reach its destination at the rim.

Just don't put any sharp bends in it. Usually, I put kind of a U shape on to thread through the hub, then it has to pass between a pair of crossing spokes. You just mash on them until you kind slide the replacement through. It'll straighten out once some tension is on it.
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Old 04-04-09, 05:08 PM
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Finished. Done. No wheel problems.
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Old 04-04-09, 05:50 PM
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Wen you try to replace a spoke it is not uncommon to have to bend it quite a bit to get it the proper position. It won't hurt it it unless you kink it.
Your temp repair will most likely be ok for the short term.
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Old 04-04-09, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Monoborracho View Post
Finished. Done. No wheel problems.
As expected. I broke a spoke on tour last summer (not a tandem, but 26" 36h wheel with ~90lb of gear plus me) and the nearest bike shop that "might" have a spoke was 50kms in the wrong direction. I trued it up as best I could using the brake pads as a guide and finished the last 4 days of my tour... and although my touring bike is also my commuter bike I didn't end up replacing the broken spoke for over a month after I got home 'cause it wasn't causing trouble.
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