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My LBS won't sell me spokes??.....

Old 08-13-22, 02:16 PM
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Chombi1 
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My LBS won't sell me spokes??.....

I'm needing spokes to build up a wheelset for my latest build (A1983 Gitane Pro). So I called my LBS (American Cyclery in SF). To find out how much it might cost for the 64 double butted SS DT spokes that I will need. I was surprised to hear from the store salesman that they do cut spokes to size for customers, but they will not sell spokes anymore unless they build the wheels.
He said they just changed their policy on this recently.
This really sucks cause I relied on them in the past when I built wheelsets for my projects and they sold me spokes with no problems. Now I do not have a shop near me where I can buy spokes and coordinate properly for properly for spoke legnths (I used to bring into their shop the hubs and rims I'll be using the spokes on and they would even calculate the lengths needed for me).
I'm wondering why they changed their sales policy on spokes after selling them so many years with seeminly no problems ( unless we don't know about them)

Last edited by Chombi1; 08-13-22 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 08-13-22, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
I'm needing spokes to build up a wheelset for my latest build ( A1983 Gitane Pro). So I called my LBS (American Cyclery in SF). To find out how much it might cost for the 64 double butted SS DT spokes that I will need. I was surprised to hear from the store salesman that they do cut spokes to size for customers, but the will not sell spokes anymore unless they build the wheels.
He said they just changed their policy on this recently.
This really sucks cause I relied on them in the past when I built wheelsets for my projects and they sold me spokes with no problems. Now I do net have a shop near me where I can buy spokes and coordinate properly for properly for spoke legnths (I used to bring into their shop the hubs and rims I'll be using the spokes on and they would even calculate the lengths needed for me).
I'm wondering why they changed their sales policy on spokes after selling them so many years with seeminly no problems ( unless we don't know about them)
I had a similar thing with REI. I need a single spoke to fix my bike. They let me waited for 10 - 15 mins to runaround to find out what to do. Gave me these excuses:
We need to keep for our customers (WTH i'm not a customer??),
You can bring you wheel in a we'll fix it
We have to sell a whole set ... WTH???

Needless to say, i thought that was pretty lame, I called a buddy up and we were able to find a spke my size.

Last edited by tmnguuyen; 08-13-22 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 08-13-22, 02:32 PM
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I think the shops have trouble making money on spokes but it sure is nice when they are available!
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Old 08-13-22, 02:40 PM
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CYA, L I A B I L I T Y

Spineless sales and service, they could just have some boiler plate for you to sign.

Probably some of the other BS as well.
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Old 08-13-22, 02:56 PM
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It's all about discouraging DIY. One of my favorite local shops just morphed into repairs-only, no more parts sales. My local Pep Boys automotive did the same.
I feel less guilty about buying on the Internet every day.
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Old 08-13-22, 03:00 PM
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If you know what size you need and can live with using used (but used little) spokes, send me a PM indicating required lengths and numbers needed. I just might be able to help.

Some time ago, I bought stainless steel butted spokes from my local bike shop for my Rabeneick 120d. Front and rear set me back $151.00 + 15% sales tax (ouch and pooey stinko). That said, when ever I run across a wheel set that does little to blow my kilt up and that has been fitted with stainless steel spokes (butted, double butter or unbutted), I harvest and tuck them away. I have a box full and have built many wheel sets from that box.

Anyway, send me a PM, if that ruffles your kilt:-)
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Old 08-13-22, 03:13 PM
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If selling the odd number of spokes totally goofs up the inventory so that building a wheel won't happen for lack of the last few needed and uncertain replenishment of stock, kinda , sorta understand. Kinda.
On really more modern straight pull or weird materials, configurations ... not worth the effort. In the short run.

Shops I have noticed are closing up, selling off to the brands in a very noticeable way this year.
Next year will really be different.

The shop I used to work at from 1974-1979 sold off in the 80's and my guess the long term lease ran out.
Renewal may not have been available or viable..
A few others sold off to the Big Boys.

I am not sure the big brands can really make it work profitably.
exchange a tube? $20-25 labor won't fly well. if desperate, they can catch a few customers.
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Old 08-13-22, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
I used to bring the hubs and rims, and they would calculate the lengths.
Sorta ballsy. Sorta crazy.

Here's my go-to page for hub calcs:

https://leonard.io/edd/howtomeasure
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Old 08-13-22, 04:05 PM
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This is where I get my spokes on-line. Looks like they have plenty of inventory between their various locations.

https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...p?category=198
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Old 08-13-22, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
This is where I get my spokes on-line. Looks like they have plenty of inventory between their various locations.

https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...p?category=198
You can get a lot things from these guys at some of the best prices, BTD is also a very good resource albeit far more limited.

Last edited by merziac; 08-13-22 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 08-13-22, 04:22 PM
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Someone posted this source for spokes a few months ago. I have used them twice and found them reliable...

https://www.bikehubstore.com/
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Old 08-13-22, 04:35 PM
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I tried to pay for a $3 item with a twenty and the kid told me he “needed to save his change” and couldn’t complete the transaction. I asked him if they were running a business and he pointed to a years-old sign about a “national coin shortage”. I politely reminded him that we were dealing with folding money and not coins. He then told me his manager “wouldn’t let him” give me change. Spent my money elsewhere.

Try Yojimbo’s Garage for spokes - don’t know if they can make change 🤑
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Old 08-13-22, 04:40 PM
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Porkchop BMX has custom length USA made stainless steel 14ga spokes for 38 cents a pop.

I just ordered from them to build up a 20" 48h wheelset for a BMX build I'm working on.

They just added custom length 14ga colored spokes, they run anywhere from 32 cents to 65 cents each.

Nipples sold separately.
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Old 08-13-22, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by RandolphCarter View Post
Porkchop BMX has custom length USA made stainless steel 14ga spokes for 38 cents a pop.

I just ordered from them to build up a 20" 48h wheelset for a BMX build I'm working on.

They just added custom length 14ga colored spokes, they run anywhere from 32 cents to 65 cents each.

Nipples sold separately.
for a road bike other than drive side rear, 2.0 is pretty beefy
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Old 08-13-22, 04:54 PM
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Things get weirder when the spokes are proprietary.

A few years back, I was out for a ride one morning when I heard a snap and a zing, followed by a complete loss of power. My chain had snapped and had broken straight through one of the spokes on my Campy Neutron rear wheel.

Thought it would be simple to buy one spoke for the system. Nope. Proprietary spoke and screw, there was no aftermarket equivalent.

Then discovered that buying a single spoke for a Neutron was impossible. Most places wanted to sell a complete set, and back then, a complete set ran something like $150. I finally found - after much searching - a mini-kit of six spokes and the needed associated hardware for something like $60.

Easily the most expensive single spoke I've ever replaced. I've bought entire sets of "normal" spokes for less.
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Old 08-13-22, 05:09 PM
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I suspect the supply chain also plays into this. We used to sell stuff to contractors to expedite their private jobs but stopped when we started having issues getting stuff for our own work.
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Old 08-13-22, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
for a road bike other than drive side rear, 2.0 is pretty beefy
I weigh over 250. I need beefy.
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Old 08-13-22, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by RandolphCarter View Post
I weigh over 250. I need beefy.
Beefy is good. Anyone who can tell the difference between a 1.8 wheel and a 2.0 wheel must be something special. The difference between brands of tires' weights is just way bigger and can actually be felt. I.mean, people slap on 25mm or 28mm tires without a care and someone worries about 2.0 spokes?

Might just be me, but, seriously ...
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Old 08-13-22, 07:05 PM
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Possibly the shop ran into a problem selling spokes to a customer that went badly and due to a likely a hole customer all customer's pay the price.
My shop has no problem selling 1 or more spokes. We don't make a fortune replacing one spoke. Often the wheel owner loosens too many spokes, etc. and we basically have to retention and true the wheel...that can be a pain in the ass especially when usually the rim itself has a nice little warping to make trueing a real pain in the ass.
Most shops have boxes and boxes of spokes and sell so few of them. It sucks to have to buy a box of 100 spokes to replace one or several. We don't make a profit buying like that. Consider also how many types, lengths, colors, etc. of spokes are in normal use...it is insanity. But it has to be done and a good shop will do it one way or another...We just got a brand new spoke thread cutting tool...can't wait to use it.
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Old 08-13-22, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Kai Winters View Post
Possibly the shop ran into a problem selling spokes to a customer that went badly and due to a likely a hole customer all customer's pay the price.
You are closer than you know, despite being 3000 miles away. I have lived and known American Cyclery since before most of you were born.

I GEY RON TEE that American Cyclery would love to sell spokes, but some SOMA techie measured his spokes wrong (because he thought he was smarter than the internet) and made American Cyclery refund him. Probably went on Yelp and left them a bad review too.
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Old 08-13-22, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie View Post
Beefy is good. Anyone who can tell the difference between a 1.8 wheel and a 2.0 wheel must be something special. The difference between brands of tires' weights is just way bigger and can actually be felt. I.mean, people slap on 25mm or 28mm tires without a care and someone worries about 2.0 spokes?

Might just be me, but, seriously ...
steel cottered cranks work too... just why go overkill ? I guess it comes down to less than a fist full of dollars.
the difference in price between 2.0 spokes and 2.0/1.8 butted or 2.0/1.5 is not that much. My time is worth much more.
I admit long ago I won a box of DT 2.0 spokes, built up high flange ( Tipo hubs, also won in a race ) built up a solid set of training wheels.

I would not want to have to race with them.

the perception of speed perhaps.

for a rider at or near 250#... yes 2.0 spokes, and Phil hubs like what I built for Kareem decades ago.
no bending of axles for him.
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Old 08-13-22, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
This really sucks cause I relied on them in the past when I built wheelsets for my projects and they sold me spokes with no problems. Now I do not have a shop near me where I can buy spokes and coordinate properly for properly for spoke legnths (I used to bring into their shop the hubs and rims I'll be using the spokes on and they would even calculate the lengths needed for me).
Did you use to build the wheels yourself or buy the spokes from them and have them build the wheel for you? there is many sellers online that sell custom lenth spokes. I had to order few times when I couldn't find spokes locally.
There is shortage going on for many parts and products not only in the bikes industry, probably the local bike shop wants to keep the spokes for customers who are willing to pay for labor cost to build the wheel, since they can't make profit by just selling spokes without service fee.
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Old 08-13-22, 07:48 PM
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My favorite is when they offer to order something for you, and you can come back in a week to pick it up. Yeah thanks... nah.
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Old 08-13-22, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
I'm wondering why they changed their sales policy on spokes after selling them so many years with seeminly no problems...
Sounds like you're a regular customer. Did you ask them?
I'm lucky in that Universal Cycles has a location 5 miles from me in Beaverton, but I order spokes on the internet from places posted here already.
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Old 08-13-22, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds 531 View Post
You are closer than you know, despite being 3000 miles away. I have lived and known American Cyclery since before most of you were born.

I GEY RON TEE that American Cyclery would love to sell spokes, but some SOMA techie measured his spokes wrong (because he thought he was smarter than the internet) and made American Cyclery refund him. Probably went on Yelp and left them a bad review too.
Maybe so, still should be able to muster some boilerplate instead of cowering to the whims of a few whiny MO RONS.
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