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Broken axle. How often do you have them on average?

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Broken axle. How often do you have them on average?

Old 04-15-16, 07:11 PM
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shipwreck
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Broken axle. How often do you have them on average?

Just wondering how often it happens for people running older wheels.
Big problem with breaking an axle on an older wheel is when they are a 125mm. I have had a nice set of 27" Ukia rims with a hooked bead, and decent shimano hubs with a broken axle laying around on the "Gonna fix it pile" for a year or so since it broke.
Today I salvaged a 135mm axle and cut it down to fit. It seems fine, the old axle was keyed, so I filed the tab on the washer down to fit the non keyed one.
I guess that it will be alright.

Ive broken four axles over ten years, two free wheel and two Cassette hubs, one pretty new. But then I am fat and live on roads that make plastic fenders and blinky light brackets break pretty fast.

This is my take it apart without losing any bearings system. Works really well.
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Old 04-15-16, 07:12 PM
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I've never broken a wheel. Or a spoke, either.
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Old 04-15-16, 07:23 PM
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i once bought a bike with a broken axle. after i replaced the axle, i broke a spoke on that wheel. that's my only brush with the subject.

since, all my keepers i ride hard have wheels i built on new sun rims with sapim race spokes and campy record hubs/axles.
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Old 04-15-16, 07:37 PM
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If I told you how often (never) or even how many times (none) I've broken an axle, it could affect my luck. So I'd rather not say.

I bent a Normandy rear axle years ago, but I understand you could bend them just by looking at them hard enough.
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Old 04-15-16, 08:46 PM
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I'd be very surprised if few had experienced this on freewheel hubs. My shop has bins of older axles that were often used to replace bent or broken rear axles back in the day. Very common. If you rode a lot on the typical Normandy, generic, or Japanese freewheel hubs, it wasn't if, but when. Saw lots of bikes come in with a vague description of rear wheel problems, and upon removal of the rear wheel, half the axle fell out on the right, and half on the left. Too much unsupported axle under the freewheel on the right side. Heavy, strong riders dealt with this often. See it today with cheap bikes with very few miles.
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Old 04-15-16, 08:54 PM
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I've broken one axle in my life.
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Old 04-15-16, 09:02 PM
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I have broken one and bent two in personal use - all three issues on basic rear hubs from the 1970's. But I have encountered plenty of this on other people's bikes - echoing exactly what @willie52 posted above, broken or bent axles on really cheap hubs, or just lesser hubs from the freewheel era, seem relatively common.
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Old 04-15-16, 09:04 PM
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I've broken a few after several decades of riding, and I don't weigh a lot, so though rare it does happen with freewheel hubs. The last one was on my commuter. It had been making some awful noises, which I figured was the old 5-speed freewheel dying a slow death, but when I finally got around to pulling that rear wheel, the axle spilled out on either side of the hub (and old Shimano of some sort). It was easily replaced.
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Old 04-15-16, 09:04 PM
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I've had 2 bent axles and 1 broken one in about 17 or so bicycles. The broken one was on a Nishiki Modulous with Shimano 105 throughout. A light bike it's not one I ever abused and it's probably the only one I pampered. I had no idea the axle was broken until I decided to true a slight wobble in the rim. The back wheel, when I took the quick release off all of a sudden the axle ends didn't seem to align in the truing stand. Apparently the quick release had kept the two halves pressed together that whole time. I've had a slight bend on the rear wheel of a Miyata 512 (not the original wheel) and a Schwinn Prelude (original wheel).

I don't think it's common, I think I just buy abused projects in need of my attention =)

The only broken spokes I've suffered was on a brand new no-name rim an LBS installed when it replaced a rim with a wobble. I didn't know what rim truing was then and I paid nearly 100 bucks for the wheel. After that horrible experience I found a bicycle co-op and started learning to do it all myself. I guess I should thank that horrible place, haha.
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Old 04-15-16, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
I've broken one axle in my life.
Same here, a Campy NR.
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Old 04-15-16, 09:40 PM
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I've never broken an axle myself, but have replaced plenty for other people over the years. 7-speed freewheel hubs are especially prone to axle breakage. 6-speed less so, and 5-speed almost never. If possible, suggest that people desiring 6 or more cogs on the rear wheel convert to a freehub wheel rather than a freewheel.
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Old 04-15-16, 10:50 PM
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I've broken about 5 over about 40 years of cycling. Most of those were broken while doing loaded long-distance touring with 30 lbs of camping gear over the back wheel. I broke one recently and attribute it to the dropouts not being parallel after being spread. From what I've read, amateur spreading of the rear triangle without realigning of the dropouts to parallel is a major cause of axle breakage.
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Old 04-15-16, 11:17 PM
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I've bent a few on cheap Normandy hubs, but never broken one. My 7-speed freewheel hubs by Campagnolo, Shimano, and Zeus have never given me problems, but I don't ride with loads and I maintain them carefully. And the dropouts are square.

In the shop, however, I see more than a few every year, nearly always on commuters with 7-speed freewheels. First, the cone locknut (always on the drive side) loosens. This causes the cone to loosen, and this causes the balls bearings to cut a new race in the soft axle, where it eventually breaks.
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Old 04-15-16, 11:48 PM
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I replaced the rear axle in my DuraAce 7400 7 speed freewheel hub 6 times. It was on my only bike for 17 years and I estimate I put about 90,000 miles on it during that time. Probably replaced about half the spokes over that time also.

The axle always broke on the freewheel side just outside the cone as a classic fatigue crack from the threads.
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Old 04-15-16, 11:53 PM
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I broke one last year (in the pouring rain at 10 pm, go figure). Also got a wheelset dirt cheap off craigslist with a broken axle because the guy didn't know what was wrong.
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Old 04-16-16, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
... nearly always on commuters with 7-speed freewheels. First, the cone locknut (always on the drive side) loosens. This causes the cone to loosen, and this causes the balls bearings to cut a new race in the soft axle, where it eventually breaks.
interesting.

can all that be avoided with a properly adjusted hub and functioning skewer? or will this happen anyway from some other cause?
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Old 04-16-16, 02:30 AM
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I have found some broken axles on old freewheel hubs, and many bent axles on freewheel hubs, especially 126mm six or seven speeds. Many riders also start out from a stop in a high gear and that is likely to bend and eventually break the axle.

The design is inherently weak, which is why freehub cassette hubs are better.

Wheels Mfg makes replacement axles in many sizes.
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Old 04-16-16, 05:24 AM
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I've had one broken axle in the years since I learned to ride a bike, so that's an average of one every 56 years.
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Old 04-16-16, 06:38 AM
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Dude, like never.
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Old 04-16-16, 07:15 AM
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Broken or bent: none. I feel left out.
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Old 04-16-16, 07:16 AM
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As a mechanic I replaced a number. Way back six speed spacing was considered a contributor. As stated earlier, aligned dropouts help much.
Riding with a large load, rider or cargo increases the chances.
There was one guy who broke them constantly, to help we marked the lock nut ends with an "UP" mark, orienting the axle slot to the rear. It helped much. Or might have been the ride coaching to lift his mass off the saddle when approaching bumps in the road, driveway aprons, etc.
If one is breaking free hub axles then be very sure the dropouts are well aligned.
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Old 04-16-16, 07:44 AM
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I've broken a couple of spokes on some rims that the word "true" can be somehow applied to them... if you stretch it into "relatively true" or "sorta round."
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Old 04-16-16, 07:59 AM
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I rarely see 6 speed freewheel breakage maybe one or two in ten years. 7 speed freewheel hubs IMHO, is like asking for a broken axle. That extra few millimeters, provides just enough leverage.,,,,BD
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Old 04-16-16, 08:12 AM
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If you look carefully the axle is broken clean through on the RH side. Off a 1982 or so Trek 520.............
~ I got a real good deal on the bike. I also picked up a practically new never ridden 1984 Raleigh that had a jammed back wheel. The axle on that Raleigh was bent pretty bad.
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Old 04-16-16, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by eschlwc View Post
interesting.

can all that be avoided with a properly adjusted hub and functioning skewer? or will this happen anyway from some other cause?
No, it's not about adjustment at all. The drive-side bearing is too far from the dropout.
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