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breaking spokes - advice please!(11 posts)

breaking spokes - advice please!Stan_B
Jul 30, 2001 7:01 AM
I have Mavic CXP 23 rims. They came with 15 gauge spokes. After the rear wheel started breaking spokes at 700 miles, I had it rebuilt with 14 gauge spokes. Now, 1500 miles later, it's happening again (every couple weeks). Is this normal? What should I do? I just got stuck far from home and had to hitch a ride.

Do higher priced wheels provide more than just lighter weight? Do they also not cause as many broken spokes?

Thanks for any much appreciated advice!
Need more info .............Live Steam
Jul 30, 2001 8:23 AM
like your weight, road conditions, any bunny hopping lately!???? Who built the wheels? And, are they properly tensioned? I ask these questions because I know someone that can help will need this info first. I have been breaking spokes lately too. Mavic Open Pro that came stock on one of my bikes.I am not sure of the gauge off hand so I'll not guess on them.
Jul 30, 2001 8:27 AM
front or rear wheel? 3x or radial laced? does your chain ever come off the top of your cassette? how much do you weigh? What sorts of things are you riding over (RR tracks, curbs, pot-holes, rough roads)? Do you start in an easy gear and shift when you start moving, or do you start in a hard gear and struggle until you're moving fast?

without knowing the answers to these questions, my advise would be to go find a better wheel-builder who will build you a NEW 4x wheel with better spokes.

Yes, in general the more expensive wheels are also stronger, but you should use your head too, there are some obvious exceptions to this general rule.

If you respond with answers, my advise gets more specific.
re: breaking spokes - advice please!_BLT_
Jul 30, 2001 8:28 AM
Not normal. I had the same problem with "stock" wheels that came on a Schwinn. In fact, I think I had the same rims as you. Broke 3 spokes on both wheels within the 1st 1000 miles. They just weren't a good hand build, and I think the spokes may have been cheap. Since then I've been riding hand-built wheels with DT 14/15 butted spokes and they last a lot longer. Many thousands of miles. You don't need to get $700 wheels to keep from breaking spokes, but I would recommend good quality rims and spokes, as well as a trustworthy builder.

Now if you already did that,I'm not sure what advice to give. Are you a real big strong guy? Maybe stick with sturdy rims and use 32 or 36 spoke patterns?

good luck.
bad buildColnagoFE
Jul 30, 2001 8:43 AM
i'd have the LBS replace the wheel if possible. this should not be happening on a properly built wheel.
thanks and more infoStan_B
Jul 30, 2001 10:27 AM
I stated in my original message that it is the rear wheel. I'd imagine rear wheels are almost always the problem.

I only weigh 165. I avoid potholes whereever possible, never ride down curbs. Some of the back roads I go on aren't in the best of condition but I obviously try to avoid the major bumps.

I don't start in a high gear. I spin a lot. My chain never comes off.

I plan on going to my LBS today and asking for help. I know what the owner is going to say. Just like he said when it first started happening, he's going to say it's "normal".

My own feeling and that of others here indicates it's not "normal" but I'm not sure what to do about it. I bought the bike last August so I'm still under 1 year warranty but if the owner doesn't think this qualifies, there's not much I can do. The wheelsmith at this shop is supposedly a good one but if I have to pay to have it rebuilt, I think I'll go elsewhere.

I'm not sure what 3x means. They are just regular 14 gauge spokes.
Not normal, should be rebuilt under warrantyRich Clark
Jul 30, 2001 7:15 PM
A properly built wheel uses quality spokes that are evenly tensioned, *highly* tensioned, and then pre-stressed and re-tensioned and trued. Pre-stressing is important, and if your wheelbuilder doesn't agree, go elsewhere.

I broke four spokes on the driveside rear of a Novara Randonee in the course of 3500 miles since last August. The REI store rebuilt the wheel under warranty, replacing the no-name spokes with Wheelsmith spokes while they were at it. They didn't bat an eyelash and there was no quibbling.

If an REI store understands that it's not normal to break spokes, a good LBS should likewise, IMO.

Absolutely positively NOT normaljtolleson
Jul 30, 2001 11:10 AM
I've gone thousands of miles with no broken spokes, as have most of my riding partners (some of whom have your exact same rims). Here is Co we get our share of potholes and rumble strips, and despite noble efforts to avoid I've certain abused my rims from time-to-time.

I'd ask for new wheels, period.
re: breaking spokes - advice please!AustinTexasRider
Jul 30, 2001 11:30 AM
After first reading your message, I figured you were probably like me weighing about 245+ lbs. At what you weigh, your wheels must not be built right. You want to have even spoke tension all around the wheel. On the rear wheel, you should have higher tension on the drive side than the non-drive side. Too little, uneven or too much tension could cause them to break. Not stress relieving (done by the builder) them or tisted spokes can also cause premature breakage. I built my own Mavic CXP-33 36 spoke rear wheel which has stayed true and hasn't been breaking spokes for over a year. I read a good (probably the best) book "The Bicycle Wheel" by Jobst Brandt. Probably the best thing is to get a different (better) wheel builder.
A common problem but not normal.Spoke Wrench
Jul 30, 2001 11:58 AM
I think that I answer this question every couple of weeks. I think that I've thought up a new solution:

Go to your favorite bike shop. Ask who specifically builds their wheels. Ask to see his tensiometer. If he doesn't have one, try a different shop.

It is entirely possible to build a wheel that is both round and true but which has wildly varying spoke tension. I just reworked one Friday night that had that problem. If you don't get the spoke tension pretty close to even, you are doomed to constant spoke breakage.
3x vs Radial vs 4xak
Jul 31, 2001 7:29 AM
3x stands for three-cross, it is a lacing pattern and it can be different on each side of the wheel. The wheel has a drive-side and a non-drive-side. (the drive-side is the one with the gears on it)
to determine what type of lacing pattern your wheel uses, start at the spoke head (the part that goes through the hub) and count how many spokes (from that side of the wheel) it crosses over. If it crosses over three spokes, it is three cross; if the spokes go straight out, it is radial. Be sure to count all the spokes it crosses, most people miss the first one as it is VERY close to the hub flange. Although it is possible to build a wheel 2x, it is very rare, so if you only count two spokes you probably missed the first one.
If the spokes are breaking on the non-drive-side and it is not radial laced, then you Definitely need to get a new wheel-builder and start from scratch (get your money back from the first one if you can)
If the spokes are breaking on the drive side and it is 3x (or 4x but I doubt it would be) then it may be a little more common (not good or normal), but I'd look into finding someone else anyway.
If the drive side is anything but 3x or 4x (and the spokes are not huge bladed black things that say Mavic on two of them) then get your money back and get a new builder.
when I build custom wheels I give a 100 mile garuntee (I true them for free for 100 miles and if anything breaks in the first 100 miles that is not attributed to extreme user error I replace it free) and a 1000 mile garuntee (if anything breaks in the first 1000 miles: come and see me first and we'll work something out) I don't expect all wheel builders to stand behind their work like this, but I know that I'm not the only one who does. good luck with it