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Advice needed--What to do about cheap wheels(9 posts)

Advice needed--What to do about cheap wheelsContinental
Jul 6, 2003 4:43 PM
Last fall I bought a Fuji Finest $500 roadbike. After about 1000 miles 2 spokes broke on the rear wheel, opposite of the cassette. Wheel is 32 spoke 3 cross. LBS says this is not unusual, especially since I'm "big" at 180 lbs. I've been riding nearly 30 years and haven't broken a spoke, except for a crash, but I had 36 spoke wheels with 14 guage spokes. I don't have confidence in these cheap wheels. Are these wheels worth salvaging? LBS will replace broken spokes under warrenty. I could relace the wheels with 14 guage DT spokes, or I could buy a better wheelset. I'm a cheapskate, but I'll do what's necessary for a reliable worry-free bike.
Ultegra/Open pro's for $200Dave Hickey
Jul 6, 2003 4:57 PM
Supergo sells Ultegra Open Pros for $200. Bullet proof wheeleset. If you shop around you can get Dura Ace/OP for about $280.
Just got a pair.KG 361
Jul 6, 2003 5:01 PM
They use Wheelsmith butted spokes. Good stuff. Can't beat it for $199.
re: Just replacing spokes.........Rusty Coggs
Jul 6, 2003 5:51 PM
....isn't the cure for a poorly built wheel. It ain't necessarily the cheap wheel,but the build. My first broken spokes ever were on OEM open pros and chorus hubs,and I am only about 150 pounds. Also just got some of the Wheelsmith built open pros with ultegra hubs from supergo.
Build, not wheelsgeeker
Jul 6, 2003 6:18 PM
Spokes likely broke due to bad wheel build. Specifically, the LBS should have stress-relieved and retensioned the wheels before you took delivery of the bike. I bet they didn't, particularly since they say broken spokes "are not unusual". I honestly don't know if the wheels are salvageable. You could try to have the LBS retension them at the same time they replace spokes.
agree 100%off roadie
Jul 7, 2003 5:40 AM
Wheels on inexpensive bikes are a gamble. On most inexpensive American market road bikes, they are built with parts that will suit heavier riders, but not as well specked or assmbled as they could be.

Spokes breaking on the left rear is often the first indication you get of a poor wheel build. In addition to impropper stress relief, the spokes are probably all somewhat below ideal tension. For a heavier rider, spokes at low tension will actually go slack at the bottom of the wheel, allowing the spoke head to move in the hole and flex as it returns to tnesion. This hugely accelerates spoke fatigue.
I wouldn't be suprised if you could snap another spoke or two just bringing the tension up to its propper level per a tensiometer.

Another factor to consider is spoke quality. You probably have straight gauge spokes. Most any wheelbuilder will tell you that butted spokes are less prone to fatigue, even with a heavy rider. That's because the "stretch cycles" mostly happen along the thinner middle length of the spoke, sparing the elbow. Even some good bike shop mechs don;t see this. It drives a bike mech I ride with nuts when I build using butted spokes, since I weigh 50 lbs more than him and he insists on straight 14 gauge for his own stuff. Then again, I weigh 50 lbs more than him...
Exchange policypitt83
Jul 7, 2003 4:14 AM
Sounds too familiar. I bought a mountain bike and kept shreeding spokes every ride. Really got frustrating. After the third one, the shop took the wheels for full retail value on store credit toward a new set. Thought that was appropriate. We specd out velocity on XT hubs w/ 14ga straights. I have a similar set-up for my road bike and love these wheels. If you want durable, Velocity on Ultegra or DA with straights and brass nipples will serve you well. Same weight as Open Pro. I weigh 220-240lbs and have no trouble with these wheels on either bike.

See if they'll give you store credit. To continue to re-build these wheels will be service vist after service visit until you are completely dissatisfied. Even if they don't give you credit for them, consider these wheels. $200 from colorado cyclist.

Problem is (IMHO): A $500 Fuji doesn't leave much profit / price room for the shop. Hard to leverage "high level" service unless you're a known, repeat and loyal customer.
Jul 7, 2003 5:56 AM
Take them back - they should be up to the job.

Cheap wheels should be heavy, but not unreliable, that's just poor build quality.

Get 'em mended, ride them till you trash them in the knowledge that you are getting good training out of them.

Don't settle for inadequacy just cos you "only" paid $500 - you still have a right to the minimum effective standard.
Jul 7, 2003 9:06 AM
I think I'll buy a good set of wheels. Ultegra with Open Pro or Velocity, 36 spokes. They'll outlast my Fuji and be good to have when I put together a better bike, shich I hope to do next spring.