Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

spokes keep breaking

Old 09-04-06, 10:58 PM
  #1  
Monument Man
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spokes keep breaking

I've got an 02 Lemond Poprad with full Sora components. I don't know off the top of my head what wheels I've got, but they're probably low end. So I've put around 4k miles on the bike in the past two summers, and the wheels will NOT STAY IN TRUE. They rub the rear brakes bad. And now I've blown two spokes in two rides, and I'm starting to think that I'd rather just buy a new bike than keep dealing with this.

I live in a small apartment and do not have the equipment nor knowledge nor physical space to deal with truing wheels.

But, is there any type of preventive maintenance I can do in order to keep the wheel in true? The spokes keep getting kind of loose. Should I be tightening them on a regular basis?

I live in Boston, the roads suck, and I've hit some massive potholes in my day. Every time I go riding, I'm hitting some really, really crappy roads.

Would high end wheels fare better on the crap roads?
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Old 09-04-06, 11:49 PM
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DavisClydesdale
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Originally Posted by Monument Man
and I'm starting to think that I'd rather just buy a new bike than keep dealing with this.
Why not just new wheels?
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Old 09-04-06, 11:58 PM
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I've found that once you start breaking spokes on a wheel you're better off respoking the whole thing. Unless you really have a single defective or damaged spoke the others are probaly well on their way to breaking (as you've started to notice) because the conditions that started the final stage of failure in the last two that broke were also experienced by all the other spokes. I've experienced this myself and known other people as well where one spoke goes, then another, then another, etc, and it just keeps going.

You don't need high end wheels. High end wheels are usually built to be light and sacrafice durability for such. You need well built wheels. Even though they're not bling bling your hubs and rims are probably fine, your best bet is to either respoke them yourself (not too tough but there is a definite learning curve) or take them to a shop and have them do it. Keep it simple and quality (stainless spokes, preferably 14/15 butted, 3 or 4 cross, brass nipples) and your wheels should be fine. If you're really intent on replacing them you might want to look at wheels oriented more to touring bikes or even tandems, they're made to take abuse and are usually less likely to suffer OCP syndrome.

Ray
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Old 09-05-06, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by DavisClydesdale
Why not just new wheels?
Just as a comment a quality respoking of your wheels will probably cost less than a pair of new wheels of equal initial quality. So you can either have a new set of wheels with a probably OK but maybe not factory build or slightly used hubs and rims held together with a top quality spoking. If you're getting fundamentally different wheels (higher spoke count, better components) this equation could change but build (as in spoking) quality is one of the most important parts that determines how a wheel will hold up, and having it done by hand at a decent shop (or do it yourself) is the best way to ensure you get that.

Ray
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Old 09-05-06, 12:23 AM
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holy crap I bought the ****ty wheels off that one site for $80(set) and they are the best wheels I ever owned. They are even better than the old wheels I have on my Univega which I thought were unbreakable.

Get better wheels imo
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Old 09-05-06, 01:00 AM
  #6  
Juha
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Also, as you have already broken several spokes and the rim will not stay true, there's a chance that the rim is shot. Take it to a wheelbuilder and ask their opinion of whether you should get a new wheel or if respoking would do the trick.

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Old 09-05-06, 05:02 AM
  #7  
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What wheels are these? Bontragers with paired spokes? For your area get a set of Velocity Deep V rims laced to the hub of your choice with 32 spokes front and rear and ride on. They wont be light but they will be bomb proof and nice looking.
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Old 09-05-06, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper
What wheels are these? Bontragers with paired spokes? For your area get a set of Velocity Deep V rims laced to the hub of your choice with 32 spokes front and rear and ride on. They wont be light but they will be bomb proof and nice looking.
+1. I had that problem on my first roadie, so I had the LBS build up a cheap rear wheel that would be bombproof. I was able to re-use the Tiagra hub, so it just cost something like $70 to have them lace my hub to a CXP33 rim.
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Old 09-05-06, 07:50 AM
  #9  
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When you have multiple spokes break, its time to rebuild the wheel with new spokes, and a new rim, or buy a new wheel.
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Old 09-05-06, 08:49 AM
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The wheels (I think) are Matrix Aurora (?) which are stock on the bike. I keep the bike locked in a storage unit in the bottom of my big-city apartment and I can't remember exactly off the top of my head. They're the stock 2002 Lemond Poprad wheels.

thanks all for the responses. My bike was bought on the cheap two summers ago, my first one and I didn't want to spend money on it if I wasn't going to use it. Turned out, I LOVED cycling, and now ride with a group, do very well, and basically love my bike. I chose a cross bike because I wanted a commuter, which I used it for extensively, but still I wished I purchased a regular roadie.

I've had to replace the front hub, front wheel, rebuild bottom bracket, front/rear brake pads, rear spokes, front derailer, and have the wheels trued more times than I can remember. The rear wheel typically can not spin one full rotation on its own without being stopped by the friction of the brakes - its that out of true - yet I'm still averaging 19-20 on my solo rides.

I am unsatisfied with the cross geometry, Sora componentry, the weight of the bike (23lbs), and most importantly the wheels. Overall the bike has treated me very, very well. The components performed exactly as promised and they provided me with an easy entry point into the sport, and allowed me to keep up with my team. But at this point something is breaking every time I ride. I do not want to spend money to repair, I'm thinking that I'd simply like to buy a new bike. Rebuilding a wheelset sounds pricey - I won't be able to do it myself - and I'd rather put that money towards something I really want/need!

I'm thinking in the $2k price range:
Specialized Allez Expert Double
Cannondale R1000
Orbea Mitis
Cervelo Soloist Team
Felt Carbon
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Old 09-05-06, 09:02 AM
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I'm starting to think that I'd rather just buy a new bike than keep dealing with this.
Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Whatever that means.

Also, it sounds like your bike is a bit of a Lemon(d). It amazes me that you had to replace and rebuild all of those parts in just 4k miles. Heck some people are just getting warmed up at 4k miles. Maybe you should throw that baby out.
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Old 09-05-06, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Monument Man
Rebuilding a wheelset sounds pricey - I won't be able to do it myself - and I'd rather put that money towards something I really want/need!
FYI, rebuilding a wheel is not expensive at all. Even if you're still going to buy a new bike, it's nice to have a backup - so you should probably get that rear wheel rebuilt. Even if you just have someone rebuild your current wheel with new spokes, you're looking at $35-40. I don't know what kind of hubs you have, but if you could lace those to a Deep V, Open Pro, etc. then you're probably looking at $80-100 for a rebuilt rear wheel which should be bulletproof.
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Old 09-05-06, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Whatever that means.

Also, it sounds like your bike is a bit of a Lemon(d). It amazes me that you had to replace and rebuild all of those parts in just 4k miles. Heck some people are just getting warmed up at 4k miles. Maybe you should throw that baby out.
It's the Boston roads, not the bike. I live in the city. There is no such thing as smooth pavement. Not just the potholes (which are horrible and god forbid you hit one), but they cut up the roads and they turn into these patchy grids of tar/blacktop/pavement, kind of like this. Most of the time you don't have a chance to avoid the biggest holes due to traffic.

We've got horrible and crumbling infrastructure, really bad potholes, and nasty frost heaves. They kill my bike. The bike paths are the worst of all because of the tree roots growing under the paths which create these HUGE speedbumps!



by the way this is not a pic of Boston....but it gives you an idea of the blacktop situation with the patches.
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Old 09-05-06, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by badkarma
FYI, rebuilding a wheel is not expensive at all. Even if you're still going to buy a new bike, it's nice to have a backup - so you should probably get that rear wheel rebuilt. Even if you just have someone rebuild your current wheel with new spokes, you're looking at $35-40. I don't know what kind of hubs you have, but if you could lace those to a Deep V, Open Pro, etc. then you're probably looking at $80-100 for a rebuilt rear wheel which should be bulletproof.
Thanks for the info. I'll definitely check it out. I typically go to Wheelworks and they've always been helpful although this last wheel situation has me a bit upset since I'm now going in there the third time for essentially the same situation.

But of course I'm just LOOKING for an excuse to buy a new bike

Anyway even if I buy a new one, I'll fix up the old one to sell it. I've only got space enough for one bike, unfortunately. With my quiver of skis, snowboards, and bike, I've got more than my fair share of toys clogging up my space.
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