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I'm on a Spoke Beaking Spree

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I'm on a Spoke Beaking Spree

Old 07-29-19, 12:28 PM
  #1  
starchase
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I'm on a Spoke Beaking Spree

I bought a KHS bike in May, 2012, new, the TC-150, which I really like. I use it for pleasure around Wilmington Island Georgia, biking for fun, exercise, and heart health. I bike averaging 15.25 miles 3 or 4 days a week on residential streets and sidewalks, so it now has 5,088 of these kind of miles on it. I weight 160 lbs and don't do wild and crazy things on the bike to put undo stress on the bike, so no rough riding, or super large curbs to traverse. The rims are Weinmann XTB allot doublewall 26x32H.


So when I take it back to my LBS for this 3rd broken rear spoke (they are were all different spokes) I'm thinking I should replace the wheel and make sure I get heavy duty spokes. The owner of the LBS told me last that he also replaced a few spokes he thought I may have some issue with and made sure the wheel was trued and the correct spoke tension was applied to all. I imagine just replacing all the spokes with more sturdy spokes isn't wise on this old of a wheel, eh? Is it unusual to have a series of spoke break like this? They break closer the hub rather than in the middle or near the tire.


John
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Old 07-29-19, 12:55 PM
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I would just keep replacing the spokes that broke myself. Not that hard.

Depending on what's available to you, might be less expensive to just re-lace the wheel. My LBS charges $65 + cost of spokes. Then you can order whatever spokes you like.
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Old 07-29-19, 12:59 PM
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You don't need "sturdier" spokes, you just need to have them replaced, tensioned, and stress-relieved properly. Your bike came with cheap wheels that KHS didn't expect to see 5000 miles.
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Old 07-29-19, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
You don't need "sturdier" spokes, you just need to have them replaced, tensioned, and stress-relieved properly. Your bike came with cheap wheels that KHS didn't expect to see 5000 miles.

Pretty much this. Inspect the rims very carefully for signs of cracks around the spoke holes. If the rims check out ok, rebuild the wheel with double butted spokes. Do both wheels. You'll be good for another 15k easy.


-Kedosto
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Old 07-29-19, 02:55 PM
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Replace the broken spokes and keep an eye out of a nicer set of used 26in wheels. They are cheap as not many people want 26in.
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Old 07-29-19, 03:12 PM
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One broken spoke is a data point, two might be a coincidence but 3 is a definite trend. You need a do-over.

If it was my personal bike, and the rim is in good condition (quite questionable), I'd replace all of the spokes using the existing hub and rim mostly because I enjoy the process of building wheels.

Unfortunately, one of the dirty little secrets of the bicycle industry is that it's much cheaper to buy a pre built wheel than it is to buy the components separately and pay someone to build the wheel for you. In fact, when I had the ability to buy components wholesale, the cost of the components alone almost perfectly matched the price I'd have to pay for the same components assembled into a wheel. People on Bike Forums frequently mock factory built wheels. The truth is, however, that the huge majority of bikes sold today come with factory built wheels and most work out okay. A new factory built wheelset is definitely your most cost effective solution.
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Old 07-29-19, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
One broken spoke is a data point, two might be a coincidence but 3 is a definite trend. You need a do-over.

If it was my personal bike, and the rim is in good condition (quite questionable), I'd replace all of the spokes using the existing hub and rim mostly because I enjoy the process of building wheels.

Unfortunately, one of the dirty little secrets of the bicycle industry is that it's much cheaper to buy a pre built wheel than it is to buy the components separately and pay someone to build the wheel for you. In fact, when I had the ability to buy components wholesale, the cost of the components alone almost perfectly matched the price I'd have to pay for the same components assembled into a wheel. People on Bike Forums frequently mock factory built wheels. The truth is, however, that the huge majority of bikes sold today come with factory built wheels and most work out okay. A new factory built wheelset is definitely your most cost effective solution.
This. If the broken spokes are all on the drive side you'd have been better off to go to Performance and buy another wheel. Their basic wheels have served my needs for years, just like they have for many others.
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Old 07-29-19, 04:48 PM
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I think the smartest thing to do from the point of safety and financially is to replace the wheels entirely. As said above, your wheels likely weren’t expected to do as many miles as you put on them. If you really like the bike, then a wheel upgrade is the best bang for your buck anyway. I don’t know which bike shop you’re going to or what they’re charging you, but if you’ve been there more than twice, you’ve likely already paid more to them than the wheels were worth brand new. And hello neighbour
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Old 07-29-19, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
A new factory built wheelset is definitely your most cost effective solution.
The typical problem that factory-built wheels have out of the box is poor adjustment. The spokes tensions are usually erratic, and if the hub uses adjustable bearings, they're usually too tight.

These are solvable problems, though.
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Old 07-29-19, 05:42 PM
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I agree with Retro. As long as you keep replacing spokes in onesies and twosies, they will continue to break. When you break a spoke it stresses its neighbors, which will be the next ones to go. You'll never catch up. Have the shop replace ALL the spokes at once, even the recent replacements. Then it'll last.
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Old 07-29-19, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
You don't need "sturdier" spokes, you just need to have them replaced, tensioned, and stress-relieved properly. Your bike came with cheap wheels that KHS didn't expect to see 5000 miles.
To this point, I have a pair of wheels going to ProWheelBuilder this week for service. He will not just true the wheel but will release every spoke, tension and stress relieve the wheels. It only take him a few minutes to do and the few dollars it costs is worth it to have it done right.

Another thought is that whomever is working on the wheel might be twisting the spokes. Inexperienced guys can sometimes twist the spokes without knowing it and it often leads to breaking. I get that everyone has to learn but I could actually see the twist in a bladed spoke on one wheel when I picked it up from the LBS and over the years I've had several spokes break right after having them trued. This is why I only use very experience wheelbuilders.


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 07-29-19 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 07-29-19, 08:53 PM
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I've been building my own wheels for some time, without claiming to be an expert at it. But spoke breakage on my earliest builds was correlated to insufficient spoke tension. This is consistent with the widespread view that loose spokes flex more during riding, especially near the bend, and break due to metal fatigue at that location.

My riding is like yours, nothing heroic or athletic, though I go on some longer rides where the roads can be rather bumpy. Since I learned to pay proper attention to spoke tension, I haven't broken a spoke in many thousands of miles of riding.

A new wheel may be cheaper than a rebuild, but a new factory-made wheel will still need to have its spoke tension checked and possibly brought up to spec. On the other hand it's possible that years of riding on the wheel with broken spokes has resulted in a warped rim that will be hard to wring back into shape.
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Old 07-30-19, 04:52 AM
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I went through this a number of years ago on 2 different bikes. I would first have the wheel rebuilt - all new spokes, hand tensioned, etc. But, it has to be done by someone who is good at wheel building! Assuming you trust your LBS guy, start there.

If you still break spokes, then you wasted that money but since you aren't all that heavy there is a good chance the first wheel just wasn't built well and over time all the spokes were stressed and weakened. But if you still break spokes, then buy a new sturdier wheel, probably one with more spokes than your current wheel.

The first time I had your problem, I weighed about 250 and tried the rebuilding route and ended up having to put on a new wheel and went with a 32 spoke, triple cross pattern wheel that lasted another 20 years and never broke a spoke.

I lost weight, bought another bike (Trek 520 touring bike back in 1997 or so) and after two rides a spoke broke and all the spokes loosened up. The LBS apologized - said the factory machine built wheels often had that happen and they usually retensioned them before selling but since they were busy at the time they hadn't done that. They replaced the one spoke and retensioned both wheels and I've never broken another spoke on that bike.
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Old 07-30-19, 08:10 AM
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Thanks for all the replies, I have the info needed to go back to my LBS, Perry Rubber in this case. I'll discuss with them a new more sturdy wheel.
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Old 07-30-19, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by starchase View Post
Thanks for all the replies, I have the info needed to go back to my LBS, Perry Rubber in this case. I'll discuss with them a new more sturdy wheel.
they are a great shop, but for your case I would recommend you visit another shop, such as Quality Bicycle on 1127 East Montgomery Cross Roads. Perry Rubber focuses much more on racing bicycles. They are less likely to have what you need at a decent price. Not saying they can’t help you, I just think you’d be better served and possibly save some money at another shop. Cheers.
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Old 07-30-19, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by seamuis View Post
I would recommend you visit another shop, such as Quality Bicycle on 1127 East Montgomery Cross Roads. Perry Rubber focuses much more on racing bicycles..
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll give them a try. Perry or even Sekka were also good for me as they were close enough where I could walk to them at lunch from my part-time job at the Hilton Garden Inn. But since I really need to drive there that reason is out. I bought the bike from Star Bike Shop, a 50th B'Day present from my wife, as my old Giant Farrago bit the dust.
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Old 07-30-19, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by starchase View Post
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll give them a try. Perry or even Sekka were also good for me as they were close enough where I could walk to them at lunch from my part-time job at the Hilton Garden Inn. But since I really need to drive there that reason is out. I bought the bike from Star Bike Shop, a 50th B'Day present from my wife, as my old Giant Farrago bit the dust.
no doubt that Quality is well out of the way for most people in the city, but they deal more in your type of bicycle. I visit Perry often, they are an excellent shop, but they are performance oriented and often more expensive, especially for things like wheel truing. They are also often overloaded because of the number of SCAD students bringing their bikes in, because of their location, so you end up having to wait several days for stuff like this. They’re both great shops, as well as Star, which is in the same area as Quality. Just a friendly suggestion for a fellow Savannahian. Cheers.
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Old 07-30-19, 07:40 PM
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You could also check out the Bicycle Wheel Warehouse. L.A.-based, they build the wheels themselves.
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Old 08-01-19, 07:34 AM
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Got a New Wheel

Had a very nice visit to Quality Bike Shop yesterday. Bought a new Alexrims Ace17 for less than I was expecting. $55 for the wheel and $15 for the labor to transfer the cassette to the new wheel. And they did it immediately while I waited. AS you said, Perry would have had me come back in a day or so. The new one has 36 spokes, my original has 32, so I'm anticipating a much longer lasting life for the Alexrims. Thanks for the suggestion!

I wish I could edit the Subject line, ever since I noticed that "Beaking" instead of my intended "Breaking"!! Sheesh!

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Old 08-01-19, 08:29 AM
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I only skimmed the responses, so I apologize if this has already been suggested.

If you enjoy the bike and plan to keep riding it, buy a new wheelset. Your bike shop can get a pre-built set from QBP that will cost you only a couple hundred bucks and will both perform better and be much more reliable. As others have noted, your bike came with cheapie wheels, so it's not surprising that they are failing after 5k+ miles.

When I wear out some bike part, it feels great! It means that I have used it heavily, and I like that. You should feel proud to have ridden this bike more than the manufacturer expected.

Edited: Sheesh, in the post immediately before mine, OP explained that he/she already bought a new wheel. Perfect solution!

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Old 08-01-19, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by starchase View Post
Had a very nice visit to Quality Bike Shop yesterday. Bought a new Alexrims Ace17 for less than I was expecting. $55 for the wheel and $15 for the labor to transfer the cassette to the new wheel. And they did it immediately while I waited. AS you said, Perry would have had me come back in a day or so. The new one has 36 spokes, my original has 32, so I'm anticipating a much longer lasting life for the Alexrims. Thanks for the suggestion!

I wish I could edit the Subject line, ever since I noticed that "Beaking" instead of my intended "Breaking"!! Sheesh!
glad you had a positive experience. Happy riding, cheers.
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Old 08-01-19, 03:07 PM
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I've used cheap rims (single-wall Arayas) made with anonymous spokes (not SS) until brake wear caused the rim to split without having this problem. I occasionally broke a spoke and replaced it myself; a cascade of failure of nearby spokes didn't happen. I build my wheels, which means about once every 5 years, so I'm not an expert. I used to ride 5K/year.
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