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New wheel needed?

Old 07-11-21, 08:17 PM
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Easyrider1234
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New wheel needed?

Hi. I'm an experienced cyclist but encountered a situation today that I need advice on. I purchased a new Cannondale CAADX 105 bike back in May of 2020. I have ridden about 3500 miles on it so far. Roughly one month after I purchased the bike, a spoke broke and had to be replaced. Roughly 3 months after that, a 2nd spoke broke and was replaced. Roughly 2 months after that, a 3rd spoke broke and had to be replaced. I have not had any other spokes break since then (thankfully). Yesterday I was on a ride and my rear tire started losing air. The tires are road tires, which is all I've ever ridden on, but apparently they can also be ridden on gravel, which I have never attempted. The tires are also tubeless. I dropped my bike off at the bike repair shop yesterday for the tire to be repaired (no punctures were found... just a leaking valve stem and some sealant which was replaced). I picked the bike up today, but when I did so, I noticed that my rear wheel now needs to be trued. Needless to say, I dropped it back off to the bike shop today for that to be done. When I dropped the bike back off today, the mechanic on duty told me that I may want to consider purchasing a new tire rim, because 3 of the spokes had been replaced in the past and the mechanic indicated that if any more spokes have to be replaced, then I won't have any choice but to purchase a new rim. Is this an accurate statement or is the bike mechanic just trying to have me purchase a rim for no reason? I've had the same bike shop perform all of my repairs and maintenance, but this is my first time dealing with this particular mechanic (he's new to the bike shop). Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Last edited by Easyrider1234; 07-11-21 at 09:06 PM. Reason: Addition of details
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Old 07-11-21, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Easyrider1234 View Post
Hi. I'm an experienced cyclist but encountered a situation today that I need advice on. My rear wheel needs to be trued and I dropped it off at the bike shop today for that to be done. The mechanic told me that I may want to consider purchasing a new tire rim, because 3 of the spokes had been replaced in the past and the mechanic indicated that if any more spokes have to be replaced, then I won't have any choice but to purchase a new rim. Is this an accurate statement or is the bike mechanic just trying to have me purchase a rim for no reason? I've had the same bike shop perform all of my repairs and maintenance, but this is my first time dealing with this particular mechanic (he's new to the bike shop). Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Depends on the timing and circumstances. If you provide more details, you will get better advice. When have the spokes broken? What kind of wheel is it? etc.

But generally, if you are now replacing a fourth spoke, the wheel may be nearing the end of its life. If the hub is good and in decent shape, then a new rim and spokes might be a good idea; if it's a cheapie wheel, then simply buying an entire new wheel might be more economical.

If it were me, I would have done something (beyond mere spoke replacement) after replacing a second broken spoke, because broken spokes are a pain in the neck. I have bikes because I like to ride 'em, not because I like limping home on n-1 spokes and then going to a shop.
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Old 07-11-21, 09:01 PM
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Russ Roth
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My rule of thumb working in a shop, for mine and the customers' bikes was third time, replace the wheel. Sometimes with a back wheel if the chain was dropped into the spokes it would be the reason and replacing those spokes, usually 1/4 of the spokes, would be an acceptable repair that would result in a wheel lasting years more. Unless it is a special hub, time to move on. Losing a few days, having an annoying ride and paying 20-30 for a spoke replacement and true, and still having an unreliable wheel is just pointless. This also isn't a money maker for the shop in the way you think. There's more money in consistently fixing your worn wheel every time it breaks a spoke, usually we'd make as much profit on two spoke replacements as we would on a new wheel, 3 or more spoke replacements would put us ahead but leaving you with a patched up bum wheel is just poor customer service.
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Old 07-11-21, 09:27 PM
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The rim is almost certainly just fine.

Breaking spokes are a symptom of a crummy wheel build, with inadequately tensioned and/or non-stress relieved spokes.

The fix is to re-tension and stress relieve the spokes. If your shop canít do this, look for one that can.
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Old 07-11-21, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Easyrider1234 View Post
...tires are also tubeless.
I am not experienced with tubeless tires. Your bike shop advisor may be right. Do note that the last two wheel sets I bought for regular tubed tires were machine built. It was a cost saving measure. Still, when I got them I noted that although true the spoke tensioning was all over the place. The dish on the rear wheel although within specs was just barely in spec. For me it was an easy fix. I loosened all the spokes and re-tensioned them. It was well worth the time and not hard. Plus I saved allot of money. Now can you do that reliably and use tubeless tires? I don't know.
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Old 07-12-21, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Easyrider1234 View Post
Ö., the mechanic on duty told me that I may want to consider purchasing a new tire rim, because 3 of the spokes had been replaced in the past and the mechanic indicated that if any more spokes have to be replaced, then I won't have any choice but to purchase a new rim.
Iím not entirely certain what you/the mechanic are actually talking about here.
Usually when you get a sequence of spokes breaking like that, what you have is a bad build. Spoke tension not high enough and/or not even enough.
The consequences of that on the spokes is kinda contagious, so a loose rule-of-thumb is that once a wheel has had three spokes broken w/o apparent cause, itís time to fix them all.
One way of doing that is of course to get a new wheel.
However, if that wheel is in the same price range, thereís no guarantee that the spoke tension would be any better. For a better chance of a reliable ride, ask the shop to go over the wheel BEFORE you start riding on it.
What did he mean by Ētire rimĒ?
No need to say that. Thereís only one kind of rims on a bike.
Did he mean you need a new tire too?
If so, why?
While I suppose itís possible to remove and remount a tubeless tire so many times that it becomes a loose fit and stop sealing up, I havenít seen any guidelines on max number of remounts.
And thereís no reason to assume that the rim is afflicted either, if the root cause is a bad build.
From only having your post to go on, what Iíd have done is rebuilt the wheel with new spokes. Kept the hub, rim and tire. Might not save much money compared to buying a wheel, but that way Iíd know Iíd gotten the parts causing the trouble sorted out.

Now, maybe the mechanic has spotted something else that makes a rim/wheel replacement a sensible thing. Maybe youíd be better off with a wheel thatís stronger overall. Maybe there is other damage. But generally there is no need to replace a rim for a build quality issue.
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Old 07-12-21, 07:06 AM
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This thread is interesting to me because I am lucky I guess. I guess I don't race, don't ride in adverse conditions (anymore), but I haven't broken a spoke in a long time.

I had a set of wheels built by Excel Sports with DA hubs, Mavic Open pro, and good spokes. Have been riding them for about 20 years. No issues at all.

If it were me, I'd go with new wheels. Preferably"hand built."

Hopefully I didn't jinx my wheels.
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Old 07-12-21, 07:17 AM
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OP, are you by chance XL? Maybe the shop is saying you have the wrong wheel for your weight.

Last edited by shelbyfv; 07-12-21 at 07:26 AM. Reason: clarify
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Old 07-12-21, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Are you by chance XL? Maybe the shop is saying you have the wrong wheel for your weight
You bring up a good point. Although I am not as heavy as some, I am an honest #200. Light weight doesn't cut it for me. Which is why I avoid my Cervelo with WCS with miniml spoke count...and double butted at that. That was when I was #160ish.
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Old 07-12-21, 07:26 AM
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Some shops have a wheel builder that knows how to build wheels. Other shops have a person that can replace spokes but may or may not know much about wheels. So find out which one is your shop.

If they don't have a wheel builder it doesn't make them a bad shop. It just means the solution they offer you is the only solution they can do. So check around and get some other opinions from persons that can actually see your wheel and bike and also talk to you about how you ride.
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Old 07-12-21, 08:52 AM
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Remember, we donít know what kind of wheel the OP is talking about. If itís a cheapie OEM wheel, then buying an entire new wheel might be more economical than rebuilding an old one.
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Old 07-12-21, 01:11 PM
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If you break another spoke, you should probably have the wheel re-spoked. But the rim? Unless there are cracks somewhere it's not the rim's fault.
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