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How do wheels / hubs fail exactly?

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How do wheels / hubs fail exactly?

Old 11-04-13, 02:26 PM
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ShortestStraw
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How do wheels / hubs fail exactly?

All:

Just got myself a new Salsa Vaya that I really like. I was speaking to a Salsa dealer who also builds custom wheelsets, and he told me the stock Salsa hubs would not likely hold up because of my size. He recommended a set of wheels with some Chris Kings, which are allegedly bombproof.

While thinking about spending another $7-800 on wheels for my new bike, I started trying to figure out what exactly could possibly happen to these wheels, or their hubs, if they "don't hold up". Is this something that happens catastrophically, and will put me in the hospital? Or is it something I'll notice gradually as things start to break?

At 290 lbs., I just want to be safe, whatever the cost. If that means buying something immediately, I'm okay with it. But if I can ride these until they break, even better.

Thanks!
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Old 11-04-13, 02:31 PM
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IMO you can be just fine on some Ultegra hubs laced to whatever alum rim you want. I like Stans Alpha 400s cuz now I don't worry about flats now. But customs will be $400-800 if you go CK or DT hubs.

Ride them until you start poppin spokes and save some cash on the side for wheels.
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Old 11-04-13, 02:40 PM
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I would ride those 32h wheels for a while and just see how it goes. If you start having problems with spokes breaking, then I would try some XT 36h hubs. I guess I don't know how much Chris Kings cost but unless you are made of money I doubt you need that sort of overkill.
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Old 11-04-13, 03:17 PM
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I would ride it until spokes start breaking ( more than 1 time). Many touring bikes
use this set up as someone else recommended an xt hub, then laced to a Maxic A719 rim 36 hole of course, using 14 guage doublebutted spokes. These can be purchased built by some online wheel builders for less than 200.00. A friend of mine bought one of these and I checked it for tension and true and it was spot on. Probably won't need to do anything with the front wheel.

Allen

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Old 11-04-13, 03:54 PM
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You are not likely to have a catastrophic failure. My setup is a 32 hole velocity deep V with ultegra 6600 rear and 6500 front. DT swiss double butted 14/15 gauge spokes. I weigh about 265, I almost always have about 20 pounds in a pannier in back. never an issue with spokes breaking or going out of true. no bearing issues either. probably 20 k on the rear. The sidewall blew out from brake track wear about a month ago. I built a similar setup using a Tiagra rear hub, no issues with it either. only about 4k on that one though. The most important thing is to have the wheels trued, stress relieved and tensioned after you have about a hundred miles on it.
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Old 11-04-13, 04:34 PM
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I have Chris King wheels on my road and primary mountain bike and they are bomb proof but also very costly. I also ride with Sun Ringle wheels on my back up MTB bike. They costs me around $300/pair on sale but I did break spokes so spent about $100 having them relaced with something stronger. Now they are bomb proof as well. Just do some research - nice thing about the CK wheels, they last forever and you can move them from bike to bike (like I have)...
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Old 11-04-13, 05:15 PM
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If you do ever get new wheels, or custom built wheels, make sure you have a recommended wheel builder do it. Building a wheel isn't difficult. Building a good wheel is an art.. The worst case scenario would be Chris King hubs and Mavic 719 rims built by a jackass. Spokes would break because the wheel was poorly built. Not because you were overweight.
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Old 11-04-13, 05:19 PM
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Sounds like your dealer may be upselling you unnecessarily. The Salsa hubs look to be formula hubs. The hub body should be fine. If anything, you could upgrade the bearing when/if they fail/wear out. Alternatively, there is no need at all to spend so much money on hubs. There's plenty of other much cheaper hubs that will roll just as smoothly and last you as long as you want.

Ride it until it breaks, and in the meantime do some research of your own. You will know in a relatively short time if you really think your wheels are worth upgrading. Find a good build that doesn't have to be so expensive. Chris King is good, but you don't need caviar if you're happy with chips and dip.
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Old 11-04-13, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ShortestStraw View Post
All:

Just got myself a new Salsa Vaya that I really like. I was speaking to a Salsa dealer who also builds custom wheelsets, and he told me the stock Salsa hubs would not likely hold up because of my size. He recommended a set of wheels with some Chris Kings, which are allegedly bombproof.

While thinking about spending another $7-800 on wheels for my new bike, I started trying to figure out what exactly could possibly happen to these wheels, or their hubs, if they "don't hold up". Is this something that happens catastrophically, and will put me in the hospital? Or is it something I'll notice gradually as things start to break?

At 290 lbs., I just want to be safe, whatever the cost. If that means buying something immediately, I'm okay with it. But if I can ride these until they break, even better.

Thanks!
The hubs or the rims that make a wheel strong. The spokes make a strong wheel. The hubs and rims are just a convenient places to attach the spokes. Chris King hubs are nice. They are pretty and they roll well but, when push comes to shove, a set of Formula hubs at a 10th the price of Kings would do as good a job...if build correctly.

Start with the spokes. For your weight, you should probably be riding a 36 hole wheel in a 700C. With 26" wheels, you could ride a 32 hole wheel for years and never have a problem but 700C needs more spokes to spread out the load better. Don't go with straight gauge 2.0mm spokes like many people will tell you to use. Don't use double butted 2.0/1.8/2.0mm. Go to a 2.3mm/1.8/2.0mm triple butted spoke. Pillar spokes out of China has a good website that lists the breaking strength of spokes. Look under the product tab. They have graphs for the various spokes and the breaking strengths of those spokes. A good example of what that little 0.3mm of steel does for you can be seen in the "single butted" spokes. The PSB45 spoke has a 2.0mm head and a breaking strength of 280 kgf. The PSB34 has a 2.3mm head and the breaking strength jumps to about 420 kgf. That a 45% increase in strength for a tiny bit of metal.

You can get Pillar spokes with the 2.3mm head (kind of hard to find but BDop Cycling carries some of the 2.2mm head spokes which still have a pretty good strength. They also ship overnight but don't come with nipples.

DT Alpine III, Wheelsmith DH13 and Sapim Strong are all very good choices as well. I use the Alpine III in a lot of my builds but finding them in less than box quantities (~$80 per box) can be difficult and you are stuck with black. SJS sells them out of England in packs of 6 for a reasonable price and reasonable shipping. They are silver which is nice for some builds. Star Bikes https://www.starbike.com/p/DT-Swiss-A...FRGi4AodKCMA_Q, another British company, sells them individually.

I've used the Alpines since around 2000. My first wheel with them was a mountain bike wheel that I rode hard for 10 years without any issues. The only reason that the wheel didn't last longer was because I loaned the bike to someone who managed to shift the chain into the spokes. I'd never been able to do that so I don't know how he did but he killed that wheel. It would still be going strong if that hadn't happened.
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Old 11-04-13, 06:48 PM
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outside of some very exotic wheels I've never seen a wheelset ridden on the road fail catastrophically... it's usually the spoke that goes and that is on the rear wheel drive side... MTB trail riding is another story and those tend to be failures because of landing on a wheel at to high of an angle, wheels are strong vertically but not nearly as strong torsionaly (which is one reason you can bend the rim back and forth by adjusting one spoke).

next... the spoke failure is VERY VERY VERY rarely anywhere but at the J end on the hub... bend a hanger back and forth and it work hardens, becomes brittle and eventually snaps, a similar thing happens when there isn't enough tension on the spoke, the J bend ever so slightly bends ever time it is brought into tension and then released, eventually this will fail... on much rarer ocasions a spoke can pull out of the rim, the rim cracks around the nipple area, or the hub flange itself will brake... all of these tend to be either bad materials, poor design, or overzealous wheel building tension


I'm heavier then you (slightly)... a few years back on my metric century I broke a spoke about 10-15 miles in in the 45-55 mile range I broke another two and still managed to finish the ride... had I fixed the first spoke right away the others prob wouldn't have been an issue but the point is finished on a 32h 29er (700c) wheel 3 spokes down (discs and MTB frame with 38c tire meant I didn't have rub issues and could still stop)... even after all that I was able to replace the three broken spokes and rode the wheel for a few hundred more miles before I sold the bike.

all this being said... I'd have the shop re tension the wheel (actually have them use the tension meter) and ride it until you have issues, at that point (or before if you have some spare cash) have them build you up a nice wheel and even then reasonable stuff, as mentioned above hubs don't matter a huge amount, 105 is good stuff, a strong rim and good spokes is where I'd spend the $$$ (along with the good builder)... the front wheel will likely never be an issue (unless you have to have a matching wheelset or just want something better/lighter)

if you have some time to kill and want to learn a good bit sit down and read though this.
https://tri.by/content/files/ArtOfWheelbuilding.pdf (or you can buy it here)

it's not the end all be all but it's full of good information

this is also another good reference https://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html


so in short... have the shop tension the wheels... ride and smile
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Old 11-04-13, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by donalson View Post
outside of some very exotic wheels I've never seen a wheelset ridden on the road fail catastrophically... it's usually the spoke that goes and that is on the rear wheel drive side... MTB trail riding is another story and those tend to be failures because of landing on a wheel at to high of an angle, wheels are strong vertically but not nearly as strong torsionaly (which is one reason you can bend the rim back and forth by adjusting one spoke).

next... the spoke failure is VERY VERY VERY rarely anywhere but at the J end on the hub... bend a hanger back and forth and it work hardens, becomes brittle and eventually snaps, a similar thing happens when there isn't enough tension on the spoke, the J bend ever so slightly bends ever time it is brought into tension and then released, eventually this will fail... on much rarer ocasions a spoke can pull out of the rim, the rim cracks around the nipple area, or the hub flange itself will brake... all of these tend to be either bad materials, poor design, or overzealous wheel building tension
A spoke that breaks is a catastrophic failure of the spoke. Since the spoke is a the most important part of the wheel, that's also a catastrophic failure of the wheel. True the wheel probably won't fold in half but a single broken spoke has a dramatic impact on the rest of the spokes of the wheel. The fewer spokes, the worse the impact of the a single broken spoke.

Spokes do fail because of fatigue. How the fatigue develops at the bend can be due to a number of factors that aren't all related to the spoke tension. A wheel is a very dynamic thing. As you rotate a spoked wheel with weight applied to it, the rim deforms a little at the bottom of the cycle. While it is true that the rest of the wheel takes responds to the deformation, the spokes that are at the bottom of the wheel can detension enough to move slightly in the hub. If you are using a spoke that is 2.0mm to fit in a 2.3mm (and a little bit) hole at the hub, each spoke can move that 0.3mm. That puts a lot of strain on the j-bend. If you use a spoke with a thicker head, the spoke is more resistant to breaking and it fits tighter in the hole so the spoke can't move much on each cycle of the wheel.

Rim cracking and spoke pull out can be have two causes. If the spoke has too high a tension, the rim can crack. However, if the spoke has too low a tension, the spoke moves in the rim as well which can lead to spoke cracking and pull out. It analogous to your bending of the hanger except you are bending aluminum (usually) which won't tolerate nearly as many cycles before it breaks.
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Old 11-04-13, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
A spoke that breaks is a catastrophic failure of the spoke. Since the spoke is a the most important part of the wheel, that's also a catastrophic failure of the wheel. True the wheel probably won't fold in half but a single broken spoke has a dramatic impact on the rest of the spokes of the wheel. The fewer spokes, the worse the impact of the a single broken spoke.
I suppose I think of catastrophic failure as more along the lines of something that is unridable...


granted you are correct a single broken spoke will quickly cause the wheel to completely fail (as I demonstrated to myself by riding another 40 miles before 2 more spokes decided to snap within a mile of each other before I hit that 100k mark... but I was able to finish... then again with that logic I could also prob have finished with a slightly cracked rim, frame, or hub...

that being said... I've been reading over your threads on wheels for the past few weeks and have learned a lot and am planning to splurge on spokes for the rear wheel of my touring bike because of you lol
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Old 11-05-13, 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by brawlo View Post
A) Sounds like your dealer may be upselling you unnecessarily. The Salsa hubs look to be formula hubs. The hub body should be fine. If anything, you could upgrade the bearing when/if they fail/wear out.

B) Alternatively, there is no need at all to spend so much money on hubs. There's plenty of other much cheaper hubs that will roll just as smoothly and last you as long as you want.

C) Ride it until it breaks, and in the meantime do some research of your own. You will know in a relatively short time if you really think your wheels are worth upgrading. Find a good build that doesn't have to be so expensive. Chris King is good, but you don't need caviar if you're happy with chips and dip.
A) I'm thinking this, although he may just have been trying to save you some heartache down the road, having seen Clydes kill similar wheels in the past. In the long run you may want to/need to go that way but there's no need to go there immediately if it is a complete bike with wheels. Give them a chance, you might be surprised. I'm ~280 and ride loaded over rough roads, ~100 miles a week most weeks, and I've yet to have a hub fail. Snapped spokes? Sure, until I got decent hand-built wheels. FWIW, my front wheel is a 32H too and that's where I carry most of my cargo, including a lot of heavy school books. In fact, if you want to get the most life out of the wheelset that comes with your bike have a good shop or wheelbuilder give the wheels a thorough going over after you've put the first 200 miles on them. If they stress relieve and balance them you'll likely get a lot of use out of them.

B) More good advice here. For me, Sun Rino Lytes and Shimano hubs have been a winning combination. If money weren't an object and I wanted to bling out a bike with some forever hubs then Chris Kings would be a nice way to go, but I'd be more inclined to get Phil Woods if I were going this route. Shimano's are a fraction of the cost of Chris Kings and quite durable, even LX units.

C) This.
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Old 11-05-13, 03:23 AM
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Get your current spokes tensioned and your bearings serviced, since they often have too little lube.
Ride away! You should be good for years.
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Old 11-05-13, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by donalson View Post
I suppose I think of catastrophic failure as more along the lines of something that is unridable...


granted you are correct a single broken spoke will quickly cause the wheel to completely fail (as I demonstrated to myself by riding another 40 miles before 2 more spokes decided to snap within a mile of each other before I hit that 100k mark... but I was able to finish... then again with that logic I could also prob have finished with a slightly cracked rim, frame, or hub...

that being said... I've been reading over your threads on wheels for the past few weeks and have learned a lot and am planning to splurge on spokes for the rear wheel of my touring bike because of you lol
Failure has to start somewhere

Glad to have helped. You won't regret it.
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Old 11-05-13, 08:27 AM
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I think of catastrophic failure as one that is going to cause some road rash.

Thanks to all you guys. You've been a huge help!!! I'm going to ensure the hubs are properly lubed, and have these tensioned. Hopefully I'll be lighter by the time I need to replace them.
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Old 11-05-13, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ShortestStraw View Post
I think of catastrophic failure as one that is going to cause some road rash.
Catastrophic covers a wide range of failures. If the wheel folds in half that's one kind. But another way to think about it is if the part fails in such a manner as to be unusable and the failure is usually sudden. A broke spoke can't be reused and is a sudden event. A wheel cracking or a frame cracking is a failure that makes the part unusable but it isn't (usually) sudden. It's more of a slow motion failure.
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Old 11-05-13, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by donalson View Post
I suppose I think of catastrophic failure as more along the lines of something that is unridable...

this looks more like rider failure not wheel failure
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Old 11-05-13, 05:53 PM
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Mine failed like this:


A few too many miles, and I wore the brake track out on them. No fault of the rim, though. I had these for 3 seasons of harsh abuse.
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Old 11-05-13, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post

A few too many miles, and I wore the brake track out on them. No fault of the rim, though. I had these for 3 seasons of harsh abuse.
You use your brakes too much After 3 seasons my rims are just getting the shine rubbed off.
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Old 11-06-13, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You use your brakes too much After 3 seasons my rims are just getting the shine rubbed off.
Seattle winter roads full of sand and cinders are hell on rims.
Now that I'm in Atlanta, I'm expecting much longer rim lifespans.
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Old 11-06-13, 02:39 PM
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A derailleur rear wheel is weaker than a IGH rear wheel.. because ..
1) of the dish to get all those stacks of sprockets on the right end,
and the resultant spoke tension imbalance.. R tighter L looser

And the flanges are closer together.. spoke bracing triangle is tall and narrow based.

the IGH will have 1 cog the dish is nil. the spacing is wider and hub shell often bigger flange diameter.


and 36 spokes is better than 24 0r 28 (unless rim is small diameter)
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Old 11-06-13, 04:52 PM
  #23  
Medic Zero
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
Seattle winter roads full of sand and cinders are hell on rims.
Now that I'm in Atlanta, I'm expecting much longer rim lifespans.
Seconded. Just retired a Sun Rino Lyte after about a year and half of service. I was completely remiss in almost never cleaning the brake track though, and I picked it up used, so I have no idea how many miles it had on it before I killed it. Hopefully I'll be able to maintain the newfound motivation to keep the rims clean!

I had stopped in at Half Link cycle in Whidbey while out on a short tour and they were the ones who pointed out that my front wheels rim was nearing the end of the brake tracks life. They commented that they were somewhere chatting with a bike shop owner from Arizona and he just couldn't believe that wheels were consummables for this reason. Evidently, down there, wheels are forever!
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Old 11-06-13, 08:34 PM
  #24  
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First off, there is no such thing as "bullet proof" anything. I've broken Cris King hubs and Phil Wood hubs as well as others. I have a Topolino wheel boxed and ready to be sent back to get hub fixed. I do ride a lot though and I would still say they are very good stuff. I have a randonneuring wheel set with CK hubs.

As far as broken spokes goes. I'm in the broken spoke does not constitute a catastrophic wheel failure. It's certainly catastrophic to the spoke but not the wheel.
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Old 11-06-13, 08:40 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Medic Zero View Post
Seconded. Just retired a Sun Rino Lyte after about a year and half of service. I was completely remiss in almost never cleaning the brake track though, and I picked it up used, so I have no idea how many miles it had on it before I killed it. Hopefully I'll be able to maintain the newfound motivation to keep the rims clean! ...
I remember seeing that happen to a wheel back in the 90's. I was riding behind him when it came apart. That was quite the surprise. Since then I seen/heard of it every once in a while, almost all from the Seattle area. I think if you ride a lot up in that area it's worth while to keep an eye on how thick your brake tracks are!
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