General Discussion Triathlon Talk » I broke a spoke! Rss Feed  
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2012-08-08 7:40 PM

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Veteran
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Northeast Ohio
Subject: I broke a spoke!
On my training ride tonight one of the spokes on my rear wheel broke. Thankfully I was only 1.5 miles out from my house. The wheels are the stock rims that came on my Cannondale Slice. I've had it for about a year and this is my first time anything like this has happened. My LBS said they should be able to fix it, but they were closing so I have to wait til tomorrow for them to look at it. Should I be concerned about the other spokes? Is the rim compromised at all?


2012-08-08 7:55 PM
in reply to: #4354013

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Expert
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Louisville, KY
Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!
Spokes will break.  Hopefully, not terribly often.  If the wheel is still spinning halfway true, I typically will wrap the broken spoke around one of the good ones to get it out of the way and keep going.  Likeihood is that nothing is wrong with your rim and fixing the wheel will be as simple as replacing the spoke and a minor truing of the wheel.
2012-08-09 6:32 AM
in reply to: #4354013

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Pro
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Greater Pittsburgh
Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!
More often than not, if you stopped riding after you broke the spoke, the rim will be just fine. Make sure they LBS rebuilds the wheel with the new spoke (of course), but also checks the tension on all the other spokes. Commonly, a broken spoke is an indication that spoke tension is off and uneven.
2012-08-09 6:42 AM
in reply to: #4354013

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Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!
Let me guess; drive side of the wheel (near the cassette) and it broke right at the elbow. The drive side spokes are under greater tension than the non-drive or front wheel spokes. Spokes serve to absorb bumps from the road and dissipate the energy through the wheel. Imagine a force hitting the bottom of the wheel, The spoke goes in the same direction trying to force that vector toward trhe hub. The opposing spoke fights that motion and flexes to absorb it. This eventualy causes the metal to fatigue; usually at the elbow bend where the metal is already weakened.

As audiojan said; have your LBS replace it and true and re-tension the wheel. If you break a second spoke, consider either re-lacing that rim and hub with all new spokes. If it's a very nice hub, consider a new rim and re-lacing the hub only. If both are entry level, buy a new wheel and consider buying one which is hand-built and not a factory wheel. Factory wheels are built en-masse by machines and aren't well tensioned off the assembly line. Even though they're cheaper than the rim, hub, 32 spokes and labor costs for the same parts; they're not nearly as quality built as a hand laced one.

Edited by pitt83 2012-08-09 6:43 AM
2012-08-09 8:25 AM
in reply to: #4354013

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Philly 'burbs
Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!
I broke a spoke over a year ago and took the wheel to a LBS. They didn't have the exact same style spoke so they put on a spoke that would work, but just wouldn't match (all black with one silver). They said they'd order the black spoke and call me when it came in. They never called; silver spoke is still on the rim and working fine.
2012-08-09 8:32 AM
in reply to: #4354013

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Master
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Grand Prairie
Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!

When I worked in a bike store (about 16 years ago), you would buy spokes, rim and hubs seperately.

There was a wide array of hubs and rims.

 

So that is not what you do now-a-days?

Or was and is that a pure MTB specific thing?



2012-08-09 8:44 AM
in reply to: #4354565

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Davenport, IA
Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!
timf79 - 2012-08-09 8:32 AM

When I worked in a bike store (about 16 years ago), you would buy spokes, rim and hubs seperately.

There was a wide array of hubs and rims.

 

So that is not what you do now-a-days?

Or was and is that a pure MTB specific thing?

 

That's still one way to go, but now there are tons of options in pre-built wheels, both hand and machine built, from all of the bigger parts vendors.

2012-08-09 9:25 AM
in reply to: #4354013

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Northeast Ohio
Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!
Pitt83- It was on the non drive side and it broke at the nipple that goes into the rim itself.  I took the bike in this morning and they said they had a spoke that "should" work.  It is about a mm shorter than the others, but they are going to replace it.  I asked them to recheck the other spokes, and now I guess I am just a bit worried that it would happen again.
2012-08-09 9:44 AM
in reply to: #4354592

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Master
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Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!
Sprint_DA - 2012-08-09 8:44 AM

That's still one way to go, but now there are tons of options in pre-built wheels, both hand and machine built, from all of the bigger parts vendors.

So is there still that debate on which patern to spoke a wheel?

Back then it was straight, double, tripple crossed...

2012-08-09 10:09 AM
in reply to: #4354013

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Master
3382
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Overland Park, KS
Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!

That happened to me last year.  I wrapped the spoke around the one next to it and rode a bit more until I could be driven home.  Wheel was too wobbly and losing one more spoke could have been disasterous.  LBS should be able to repair it and true up the wheel. 

I ride hard, go through RR tracks at 20+ mph,  run through potholes etc., weigh 195 lbs and I'm sold on Mavic Aksium and Neuvation M28X Aero wheels (both bladed spokes).

I just have a better peace of mind with these wheels over typical stock spoked wheels you get with most new bikes.  Just FYI if you're considering an upgrade.

2012-08-09 3:14 PM
in reply to: #4354689

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Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!
roywidget - 2012-08-09 10:25 AM

Pitt83- It was on the non drive side and it broke at the nipple that goes into the rim itself.  I took the bike in this morning and they said they had a spoke that "should" work.  It is about a mm shorter than the others, but they are going to replace it.  I asked them to recheck the other spokes, and now I guess I am just a bit worried that it would happen again.


To me, that sounds like an installation issue and not a fatigue issue. Spokes can also get twisted as you tighten them and that too can cause a weakness in the metal. That's why when you build wheels you tighten each nipple 3-4 turns, then stress relieve by pushing on the rim while the hub rests on the floor. The spokes unwind, relieve the tension which isn't holding them in the nipple and then you go again.

Freaky one time event I would imagine. But wheels do age and spoke breakage is a sign that they need rebuilt. I'd say 3 total then you need to find the expensive fix.


2012-08-09 5:09 PM
in reply to: #4354013

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Bellingham, WA
Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!

Broke my first spoke a couple of months ago and went through the same debate.  They are wheels built by prowheelbuilders (Flashpoint 80's with sapim cx-ray spokes) and about 5,000 miles on them.  I called them and talked to them about my concerns.  I decided to be on the safe side and just relace them completely.  It was about $150 with new spokes,nipples, and tape.  If the wheels had less mileage I would have just replaced the one spoke.



Edited by popsracer 2012-08-09 5:10 PM
2012-08-10 6:25 AM
in reply to: #4355949

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Pro
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Greater Pittsburgh
Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!
5000 miles on a set of wheels is not that much... you should get much more than that out of set of wheels. A few things can happen, causing broken spokes; mechanical damage (crashes etc.), but more often than not, it's one spoke nipple losing up so you lose tension on a spoke that causes another spoke to snap (due to over tension on the opposite side of the lose spoke). If you're concerned about this happening again, drop off your wheels to a wheel builder (could very well be that your LBS does have a good wheel builder, most do) and have them check the tension of all spokes. End of season is a great time for this.
2012-08-10 8:02 AM
in reply to: #4354013

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Master
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Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!
The spokes in my rear wheel began to break rather often starting last year, when I started to push bigger gears (I'm 200 lbs.) The LBS said that the stock wheels came with spokes that were slightly smaller than the holes they fit through, causing the problem. Since three spokes had broken on a fairly small stretch of rides, I decided to by a new wheel set, fix the one wheel and use it for the trainer in winter.
2012-08-10 8:06 AM
in reply to: #4356559

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Pro
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Greater Pittsburgh
Subject: RE: I broke a spoke!
Could be that the wheels you had just didn't hold up to the torque you could generate... at 200lbs. you're not that heavy, but you're in the area where you would need to think about the limits of the wheels, especially if you're 200lbs and can generate some higher peak watts.
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