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How often do you break a spoke?(14 posts)

How often do you break a spoke?fixedgearnut
May 19, 2002 1:08 PM
Just a question-I broke a spoke in my front wheel about a month ago & broke one in my rear wheel yesterday. I've put about 1500 miles on this wheelset(Shimano hub with Mavic MA3 rim in the front & Suzue track hub with Mavic MA3 in back). I weigh 180 lbs. Is this common?
My last broken spoke was two tandems ago.Spoke Wrench
May 19, 2002 2:21 PM
After I rebuilt the rear wheel, that bike never broke any more at least until I sold it. My wife and I are not a lightweight team, but then we don't hit pot holes at 50mph either.

Honestly, breaking spokes on a properly designed and assembled wheel should be very rare.
I used to ride deep dish FIRs with campy hubsLazywriter
May 19, 2002 2:41 PM
and I broke 3 spokes within a month. The reason was that the campy chorus hub holes were not recessed enough and smooth. This caused a "sharp" edge and the spokes where breaking at the hub. The FIRs were very stiff rims. I swithced to Dura Ace and Open pros and never looked back. That was 4 years ago. Not that Campy is a problem but the combo of them with the FIRs were no good when I was breaking spokes far away from home.
My LBS guys are awesome so I couldn't blame them. I love the Open Pros so much I put them on my 2002 Vortex. Some say my bike deserves a "better" rim, but I say there are more expensive rims, but not necessarily better.
Often? -- the "n" word, but I"m not going to say it. (nm)DougSloan
May 19, 2002 2:53 PM
Often? -- the "n" word, but I"m not going to say it. (nm)jtolleson
May 19, 2002 3:03 PM
Yo tambien. Or should that be "ni yo tampoco. nunca."
one or two per decadeKerry
May 19, 2002 4:06 PM
Let's see, I built a rear wheel in 1988, and in 1997 a spoke pulled through the rim after 45K miles under my 180-190 lb. But the spoke didn't actually break, so I guess that doesn't count. I think we broke one tandem spoke in about a decade (two tandems, a total of about 30K miles between them). Then there was the time that somebody decided to turn left unannounced, while I was drafting on their left. QR in the front wheel = two broken spokes. And one broken spoke (at the nipple) at about mile 70 on my current wheels (Campy Electrons). Repaired by the factory and since put 20K plus miles on them. Clearly a defective spoke.

Good components, built well = no broken spokes outside of accidents.
I'll agree other than touring.dzrider
May 20, 2002 6:02 AM
I've had next to no broken spokes in unloaded riding. Those that I've had came on the drive side of OEM wheels with panniers, tent and sleeping bags. I'm not certain what effect the load has on the spokes, but it appears to me to have some.
Hmmm... poor wheelbuilding or wrong spec on wheelsPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
May 19, 2002 4:22 PM
I'd blame it on one of two things:
1) A poorly built wheel. Meaning it isn't properly tensioned, etc.
2) A wheel that doesn't have the right parts spec. Whenever I used to buy Cannondales they build the wheels well but make them to light. And for a guy who weighs about the same as you the butted spokes just went. Which was only amplified after one spoke broke. I think I broke 3 in the space of a couple weeks. Not fun. Then a wheel being poorly built not by a master wheel builder doesn't help wither.

The only solution as much as it sucks is to really relace the hubs with thicker spokes cus I've put 10,000 km on my Mavic Ksyriums (came on my Cannondale)... not one problem. But then again you expect that from a high end wheelset.

May 19, 2002 5:42 PM
perhaps I am lucky but I've never broken a spoke in over 22,000 miles. On the other hand I've cracked 3 rims at the eyelets and destroyed a few others in "mishaps", but the spokes always held. (I also weigh 180)
you said the "n" word; you are so jinxed (nm)DougSloan
May 19, 2002 7:37 PM
re: How often do you break a spoke?kyvdh
May 19, 2002 6:19 PM
On my first road bike the LBS did not retension the wheel after assembly and I went on my merry way with my new bike (late 1970's). The spokes popped and pinged while I rode it and being new to biking I didn't think anything of it. Well, turns out that the popping and pinging was the spokes moving around and eventually fatiguing and breaking. I read about rebuilding the wheels and then realized that the spokes were really loose, even to an untrained plucking finger. I was no pro at rebuilding wheels but the wheel I rebuilt is still going strong without a broken spoke over 20 years later. Recently on my new Giant OCR-1 I had a similar noise so I took it back to my LBS and had them retension the spokes. Much less popping (particularly on hills) so hopefully we have avoided the problem. Some popping might be expected on new wheels but it should settle in after a hundred miles, maybe less if you do many hills or sprints that put good torque loads on the wheels.
Ditto here, kyvdh,guido
May 19, 2002 9:44 PM
That popping sound you hear is the spokes twisting to take their sets in the rim holes initially. If they keep doing it, they're loose and will break eventually, like you said.

Standard wisdom from wheelbuilders is to stress the wheel when you've got it trued and the spokes tensioned, by laying it on the floor on its side, and pressing down on the rim, all the way around, then flipping it over and pressing down again from the other side. Amazing how much force can be exerted without so much as flexing a nice tight wheel. Stressing will also tell you how true the wheel really is, and whether you're done or have to touch up with the spoke wrench.

Maybe not with very small spoke count wheels, but with 32 and 36 spoked wheels, once tensioned and stressed, that'll be it. You won't hear any pings or pops riding, even climbing or sprinting. Only a fall or crash will throw one out of true.
Last time I broke a spoke was 7 years agoelviento
May 20, 2002 6:37 AM
And it was a on a $70 bike with my 6'3" 200lb buddy on the cargo rack. Ouch. Broke 3 spokes in about 4 miles.

Over 15,000 miles since then, used Spinergies, 6500s, Rolf Pros, no spoke broken yet.
Depends almost entirely on build qualitycory
May 20, 2002 8:03 AM
I broke several in a season when my Allez had the original wheels (I hear this is a Specialized trait). A local shop built me some good wheels, and I went three or four years without a break. When I bought my Atlantis, I got the Grant-recommended Bontrager/Deore wheels for it (machine built, allegedly hand-trued, although not very well), and they're apparently bulletproof--not THAT heavy, and really strong.
FWIW, I used to believe in replacing spokes and truing wheels forever, rather than rebuilding or replacing. Seems like once I break ONE, though, others are going to follow. Could be because I'm a terrible wheelbuilder and don't get the tension right when I replace spokes, but if I break more than about two, I lose faith in the wheel.