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Tired of breaking spokes

Old 04-12-22, 09:59 AM
  #26  
Fredo76
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I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from building their own wheels - it's a great learning experience. But for people who don't want to do that and don't want to spend a grand on custom wheels either, I've found Wheelmaster machine-built wheels to be sturdy, at an attractive price, like $100 or less, per wheel. I've bought four wheels from them. All mine have DT 14 ga. (2.0 mm) straight-gauge stainless steel spokes - 36 of them, and will probably last me (230 lbs) forever.

They were all semi-true, within 3/32", and I trued them up to within 1/32" easily, mostly by loosening rather than tightening, and in very small increments, 1/8 to 1/4 turn at a time.

I'm running a 35mm tire on one of these (cassette, 135 mm rear spacing): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0033GZIHI/
...and a 28mm tire on one of these (freewheel, 126 mm rear spacing): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0063R24OY

Unless you buy them as a pair, it can be hard to find exactly matching front single wheels though.

The spacing, front or rear, is called Outer Locknut Distance when referring to a wheel, and is often abbreviated as O.L.D.

Last edited by Fredo76; 04-12-22 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 04-12-22, 11:31 AM
  #27  
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If the wheel went out in 50 miles it was built badly, I hope the other shop gets you rolling. Frankly worrying about specs and spoke type/number aren't worth thinking about (in my opinion) unless it is built properly in the first place. Sure you could learn to do it yourself but that sounds hard, id get an expert. If that bike shop cant help you, I know a few shops on the peninsula (redwood city/palo alto) with skilled wheelbuilders. Veloro redwood city, and velotech in palo alto (never been there but some people I trust swear by them.) My experience with some the bigger bike stores is hit or miss, a lot are really busy building backordered fancy bikes and won't want to build you a wheel or won't take the time to do it properly
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Old 04-12-22, 04:00 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I can think of two problems right off the top of my head. First, you may need different spoke wrenches for the old and new spokes. Second, you're going to have problems matching the tension if you've got different body gauges between the spokes. If you use the tone/pluck method, a thicker spoke will sound a lower pitch; and if you're using a tensiometer, the same tension on different spokes will yield different raw measurements.

You can work through these issues. Use the skinnier wrench until it doesn't fit, then switch wrenches. (Try to remember which spoke you were working on and what your flow was, though.) Use a spoke gauge to figure out which size all the spokes are, and flag the ones that are different (I like a 1/4" bit of masking tape). Or when you get a different pitch or reading, double-check the size of that spoke. After some years of dealing with this, I can usually feel the different spoke sizes (actually, where the spoke necks down on a butted spoke). But it slows me down, so I've made sure my spare spokes all match since putting a few mis-matches on.
Thanks for your reply.
At the moment in Australia some spare parts are getting harder to get and spokes appear to be one of those things. I only have a few stores near me and they are holding on to their stock for their own repairs, which is fair, and online places seem to be very low on a lot of things with very few brands available too. I wasn't thinking of rebuilding a wheel with different spokes, but I may not be able to get the same spokes that are on the bike when I need to replace one.
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Old 04-12-22, 06:16 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by bajaking View Post
Oakland, CA

36 spoke touring rim and put a bigger tire on it but reuse my hub and rotor.
.
i thought the original wheels were 32 h

Anyway - a wheel built properly with straight stainless 14g spokes should do the trick. You are a prosperous size but nothing too extreme by todays standards
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Old 04-12-22, 06:51 PM
  #30  
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As a long time road bike rider, I am very careful about what I ride over.

However, I have heard for MTBs, and perhaps road bikes too, if you see a significant bump coming up that you can't avoid, then stand up on the pedals, and use your legs as shocks. Slow down?
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Old 04-12-22, 08:26 PM
  #31  
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So I am 50 lbs heavier than you, and used WBX rims with 28 spokes and while it needed monthly adjustments the only spokes I ever broke were hitting potholes. Are the roads really bad where you live? Do you bunny hop curbs? Really put the hammer down?

I now use cliffhanger rims with 35 tires and never even get a pinch flat. They have 28 spokes because I used the old hubs (because I am cheap a$$ that way.) highly recommend them.
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Old 04-13-22, 09:28 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
i thought the original wheels were 32 h
Anyway - a wheel built properly with straight stainless 14g spokes should do the trick. You are a prosperous size but nothing too extreme by todays standards
"Prosperous", lol, that's a new one - I'm going to use it in my dating profile.
Yep, 32, 36...considering I haven't heard back from the shop guy after a week, I'm guessing he's still scratching his head on that one himself.
Meanwhile, I'm just gonna pick up a cheap old rigid mtb or hybrid from craigslist to keep me rolling and use that as a basis for wheel building experiments.
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Old 04-13-22, 09:33 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by starkmojo View Post
So I am 50 lbs heavier than you, and used WBX rims with 28 spokes and while it needed monthly adjustments the only spokes I ever broke were hitting potholes. Are the roads really bad where you live? Do you bunny hop curbs? Really put the hammer down?
No bunny hops and I avoid problems when I can see them (at night that's not always possible), so I don't think I'm especially tough on the wheels except for weight.
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Old 04-13-22, 03:26 PM
  #34  
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Broke another spoke this morning. Bitumen, a few speed humps, a few lumps in the road, but nothing hard and the majority of my ride just cruising at about 20kph on relatively flat roads.
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Old 04-14-22, 02:28 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by bajaking View Post
Wow, thank you folks! So much info. I admit I was secretly hoping "build it yourself!" would be a strong suggestion, and now that I see how active these forums are, I'll poke around for wisdom on doing exactly that. And tracking down a copy of The Wheel Book.
A hypothetical, though: is there any factor which can override build quality to some extent? For example, can a 40 spoke, all carbon, double wall mountain bike wheel with fat tires on it built by an unlucky ham-fisted knuckledragger actually be stronger than say a 24 spoke Velocity something-or-other built by a true wheel professional?

Meantime, I'll have to shop for a prebuilt incorporating some of the features/specs/brands mentioned above. To be sure I get something that actually fits on the bike - design and quality aside - my first guess at the crucial overall specs is:

1. wheel diameter (I know this one! 700c)
2. width - actually I have no idea about this. Can a wheel designed for 32mm tires accommodate a wider tire, if it'll fit in the frame?
3. dropout width (distance between dropouts, whatever that is called)
4. disc (vs non-disc. Another easy one!)
5. hub that accommodates Shimano 7 (or 8, I'll have to check) speed gear set cassette.

I have no idea about these things yet, especially #5, so go easy on me...
Late to the game here but I thought I would add my 2 cents as I had a similar problem.

I can only echo many of the posts that say your wheel builder or LBS did not know what they were doing. I had a rear wheel going out often. Bought a new set of wheels and the rear kept going out of true. I finally looked around and found a real wheel builder and when to him. He made some recommendations and built me an entirely new rear wheel. That was 6 years ago and about 15k miles. It has remained true this whole time.

Now, what I do recommend is that if you find a builder, make sure they do a wheel plot or graph of your spokes and the tension. My builder did my old wheel and then the new wheel and the spoke tension plot showing all the spokes was a rear eye opener. He got all the tension almost equal and the plot of the tension looks very round. If you have one or two spokes over or under, that can cause a problem, so best to graph it.

Anyways, this was a 32 spoke rear too. Same Shimano hub, only changed the rim and then used different spokes. Cost me around 250 but like I said, it has never went out of round since the initial build. Ohh, I am strictly road and not MTB. Good luck. Find a builder though, a good builder.

john
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Old 04-14-22, 05:12 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by bajaking View Post
A hypothetical, though: is there any factor which can override build quality to some extent? For example, can a 40 spoke, all carbon, double wall mountain bike wheel with fat tires on it built by an unlucky ham-fisted knuckledragger actually be stronger than say a 24 spoke Velocity something-or-other built by a true wheel professional?
100% a well built wheel trumps a poorly built overbuilt wheel, but there is a limit to the materials used that shouldn’t be ignored. But a good builder will take that into account. The builder of your wheel isn’t worth a grain of salt and I would be asking for my money back.

Originally Posted by rutan74 View Post
Now, what I do recommend is that if you find a builder, make sure they do a wheel plot or graph of your spokes and the tension. My builder did my old wheel and then the new wheel and the spoke tension plot showing all the spokes was a rear eye opener. He got all the tension almost equal and the plot of the tension looks very round. If you have one or two spokes over or under, that can cause a problem, so best to graph it.
Park Tools has a tension tool on their website. It’s free, it’s handy AF so there is zero excuse not to be using it. The best thing I ever did as a big guy was jump in the deep end on building my own wheels. A wheels stand and a tension meter and a spoke key and some time on YouTube and you’re off. You could ditch the wheel stand, some are expensive, but some are cheap. Or you can even do the spoke tensioning and alignment in your existing frame. Sourcing my parts from OS which are waaaaay cheaper than here in Oz and doing my own build paid for my stand, meter and tools in one wheelset vs getting a custom wheelset here.

Last edited by brawlo; 04-14-22 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 04-14-22, 06:11 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by brawlo View Post
100% a well built wheel trumps an overbuilt wheel, but there is a limit to the materials used that shouldn’t be ignored. But a good builder will take that into account. The builder of your wheel isn’t worth a grain of salt and I would be asking for my money back.
Why does everyone seem to think that an “overbuilt” wheel is going to be a poorly built wheel? Using heavier gauge spokes and having a well built wheel trumps just a well built wheel. To use a well worn phrase “all things being equal”, a good build can be greatly improved by a 50% increase in spoke strength.
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Old 04-14-22, 06:28 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Why does everyone seem to think that an “overbuilt” wheel is going to be a poorly built wheel? Using heavier gauge spokes and having a well built wheel trumps just a well built wheel. To use a well worn phrase “all things being equal”, a good build can be greatly improved by a 50% increase in spoke strength.
Fixed it. A well built wheel trumps a poorly built overbuilt wheel.
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Old 04-14-22, 06:38 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by brawlo View Post
The best thing I ever did as a big guy was jump in the deep end on building my own wheels. A wheels stand and a tension meter and a spoke key and some time on YouTube and you’re off.
Just ordered a cheap-o wheel stand and tension meter on Amazon (will save the Park tools versions for a future attempt). Might as well give it a whirl, especially now that I'm getting back into cycling and have fantasies of touring -- which means my already too-prosperous ass, plus gear, killing more spokes.
And since I'm in learning mode, I'm going to try building up from a frame so I can get a handle on what's what and stop waiting on mediocre shops to do mediocre repairs on my mediocre bikes. But that's another topic for another forum.
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Old 04-16-22, 03:08 PM
  #40  
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I had a thought during this morning's ride, (yes it hurt! )
Would constantly turning the same direction load up a wheel too much and be a possible reason for broken spokes?
I doubt there is a definitive answer that says only turn left 12 times before turning right 3 times. However if you went around a residential block 20 times, all right hand turns all fairly close to each other the right hand spokes would be working harder. Same would apply to a velodrome although I don't know how many spoked bikes hit those these days. But would that be outside of the limits spoke and wheel manufacturers would build for?
I didn't say it was a great thought
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Old 04-17-22, 12:53 AM
  #41  
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Just the most minor OP update: Stay True Cycles didn't get back to me after a week and a half. Not surprised, they left me hanging once before on a request for info. I'm not in the habit of name-checking small businesses, especially LBSs, but just a head's up in case someone is looking for a bike shop in the San Francisco east bay area.
Blue Heron, on the other hand, had me out the door with custom cut spokes to get my current busted wheel rolling for the few days it will take them to procure an inexpensive, pre-built 36h touring wheel. The return call on that came 30 minutes after I left the shop. They also quoted a hand-built 40h Velocity Dyad but the mechanic and my wallet agreed that $ would be better put toward my next bike.

And I picked up a $100 20th century Trek MTB to tune up for future wheel outages on the Cannondale Quick. Never had a broken spoke on my old 26" MTBs before, and was always at least 230lbs, so it'll be interesting to see if these unknown, probably stolen, wheels hold up.
To be continued...
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Old 04-17-22, 08:11 AM
  #42  
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Myself I am 290,6'1". I have been this weight for some years now. Plan on retiring the end of May and focus on riding and getting rid of the stress of work. I have been a clydesdale since I first started riding 30+ years ago. The lightest was in the mid 90's when I was 230. When I started breaking spoke I opted for hand built 36 spoke rear wheels. I built my latest set, 36 spoke 105 hubs laced to Velocity Atlas rims. I am not easy on them often riding rough gravel roads. They stay true. Good luck stay away from what the industry tells you, carbon this carbon that. I ride a steel Gunnar Crosshairs. One bike that is going on 10 years old and is tough as nails is my Karate Monkey now sporting drop bars.
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Old 04-18-22, 11:27 AM
  #43  
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Thanks, wvridgerider, sounds like we're of similar build and history.
I made my first attempt at tensioning and truing the (about to be replaced) wheel yesterday after replacing a couple spokes. Had no idea what I was doing, and have yet to test it beyond a quick parking lot loop. Before tensioning and truing, the drive-side spokes that seemed "good" were at 25 on the gauge (for 2mm round steel spokes, that should be 120kg per the the table that came with the knock-off Park gauge), and the "good" spokes on the disc side were around 20, so I tensioned all spokes to match that, more or less: 24-26 on the drive side, about 21-22 on the disc side. I have zero concept of how good/bad that is.

Feel free to start placing bets on if, how many, which side, and how quickly spokes break when I go for a casual ride tonight...
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Old 04-18-22, 04:12 PM
  #44  
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No bets but I'll be watching intently

I had a tension gauge ordered from Amazon US last week but it's suddenly become undeliverable and they are in the process of refunding me
I'm not convinced I have to have the most expensive brand named tension gauge, but in Australia at the moment all I could get for under about $80 was either Chinese brand or unbranded ones for anything between $5 and $80. Guess the hunt continues.
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Old 04-18-22, 05:35 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by DeadSlow View Post
Chinese brand or unbranded ones for anything between $5 and $80. Guess the hunt continues.
Yup, I got one of the many red+black $20USD knock-offs, which I'm sure was made in the same factory as all the other knock-offs. I've bought plenty of other Park Tools stuff, so I like to think I've supported them sufficiently -- especially Calvin Jones and more importantly, his moustache -- but for this experiment, $80+ felt steep. I'm already in for probably $500 on this wheel situation, on a bicycle which originally cost me $380.
Off to ride, stand by...
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Old 04-18-22, 06:39 PM
  #46  
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I think it's like pressure gauges, especially for a non professional. It's not as important what pressure you run, your butt will soon tell you if it's too soft or to hard, it's about being consistent. If my tyre gauge says 40psi and it feels good, I pump the tyres to 40 all the time. Do I know that it's actually 40? Of course I don't. I checked it a few times when it was new and it returned similar readings to my analogue gauges, but beyond that it's not really worth making sure it's dead accurate just that the tyre ends up the same each time I use it.
Use the same pressure gauge on all tyres all the time, use the same spoke tension meter on the spokes all the time and it's the consistency more than the accuracy that matters.


....and good luck!
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Old 04-18-22, 09:17 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by bajaking View Post
I forgot to mention the guy thought clydesdale was a brand when I asked him if he could build clydesdale wheels. I figured even a never-been-over-8%-bodyfat shop guy would have spent enough time with internet bike lingo and forums to at least come across the term.
Little late to respond to this, but after 15 years in a shop, the whole time of which I qualified for the term, if someone had used it I'd have had no clue what they were saying. Personally I think its a 5h1t term which is why I avoid this forum.
A decent shop shouldn't have trouble rebuilding your current hub into a velocity dyad rim, which is more than strong enough, with thick spoke heads for a reasonable price, and it will, in my experience, more than suffice. I've had a 32h dyad with wheelsmith HD spokes built 3x with (gasp) alloy nipples that I've used fairly regularly for the last 4 years. In that time they've been loaded down with panniers, and different gravel bike setups and have toured across NY, Prince Edward Island on nicely done rail trail, the awful potholed streets of Long Island, and loaded toured the Catskills on trails that were closer to MTB trails than gravel. Even without the load, I weight what you do, loaded with my stuff and usually things for the kids as well, I often well exceed your weight. Haven't even had to true them yet. Get a good shop to build them, right and you won't have to worry.
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Old 04-18-22, 11:33 PM
  #48  
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Well that was anticlimactic. Only a 75 minute ride covering at best 10 miles on mostly flats to run errands -- so an additional 15 lbs or so in rear panniers was accrued along the way -- and no broken spoke! I didn't baby it, either. Kept looking down to admire my inaugural truing attempt, I must admit. I did neglect to mention that I added a confounding variable along with the spokes I just replaced: a slightly bigger tire, bumped from 32mm to 35.
I'm pretty sure it's just that because there's a new wheel on the way, this one decided to start behaving.


Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Personally I think its a 5h1t term which is why I avoid this forum.
... built 3x with (gasp) alloy nipples that I've used fairly regularly for the last 4 years. I
Agreed, just another way for the world to sublimate fat-shaming.

I'm curious, why would a wheel need to be built 3x in 4 years?
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Old 04-19-22, 12:12 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by bajaking View Post
I'm curious, why would a wheel need to be built 3x in 4 years?
3 cross. It’s the lacing pattern.

If you do decide to try wheel building I like Musson’s book. No BS
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Old 04-19-22, 08:36 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
3 cross. It’s the lacing pattern.

If you do decide to try wheel building I like Musson’s book. No BS
Excellent book, covers most aspects of building which includes plans for a diy truing stand, I don't think there is a better book for the novice wheelbuilder.
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