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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My last bike was a Gary Fisher Wahoo, and less than a year ago I got a Gary Fisher Tarpon. Between the 2 bikes, I've broken about 20 spokes. I only ride on paved road, but I weigh 215 which I guess is too heavy for stock spokes.

It's frustrating because every time it happens I have to ride a wobbly wheel back home (sometimes as much as 25 miles), and then pay my local shop $15 to replace and true the wheel.

What can I do about this? I've looked into 26" mag wheels, but I've only found one or two manufacturers and they're hundreds of dollars. Thoughts?
 

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mtnbiker72 said:
Machine built wheels with cheap spokes...not surprising

Go get a set of Hand Built wheels....
good advice as a longterm solution.

having said that, i dont fully understand why you are breaking so many spokes if the lbs is taking care of you at all... which specifically would be re-tensioning them to be sure you have even spoke tension before handing them back to you.

edit: by the way i am 210 and i dont break alot of spokes cause my wheels are built properly... at 215 you shouldnt either.
 

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A wheelist
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This is easy. You're not all that heavy; not too heavy to be breaking normal bike parts anyway, so it's down to one of two other things -

1. You're abusing your equipment. I doubt that this is the issue by the sounds of it.
2. The wheel was never built correctly in the first place. The wheels will be factory built and probably built by machines. You need hand built (or your wheels hand re-built) wheels. If you read the wheelbuilding info in my sig you will then know what it takes to make sure a wheel is built properly. Make sure you digest the "stress relief" part and the "equalized tensions" bit. That's the key part to a great wheel and one that most incompetent "wheelbuilders" miss. Then, you will have wheels that don't break spokes like most of us have. You are far from being too heavy for stock spokes - assuming that your spokes are 14 gauge (2.0mm). Far better yet (for absorbing stress-making shock) are "double butted spokes". You spokes are probably cheap ones too.

Spokes fatigue in wheels that are not built properly. This is why yours keep breaking.

As you won't know a competent wheelbuilder (from the many incompetent ones) you might consider getting some good mailorder ones. At this forum sponsor's site - their ad is at the top of this page - you can chose wheelsets, all correctly built, at many pricepoints from about $100 to $1000.

bhigdon's post is of no help to you at all and "mag" wheels are not your answer either.

And by the way - you need a new LBS as they should have told you already what's wrong with your wheels and fixed it. Unless they like your frequent $15 visits too much.
 

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$15 to take the tyres off I presume, remove the cassette or rotor maybe both, fit a spoke, true and re assemble could take 30mins+ easy so $1 for the spoke, $14 for there time, sounds okay.

I had a stock wheel set which kept breaking spokes, I knew someone else with the same wheel set ( cheap OEM ) which also kept breaking spokes, biting the bullet and buying a new set of wheel.

You haven't got to buy expensive wheels, check around the web you can pickup a rear okay wheel for $100 and a front for $70 area which will do the job just fine.
 

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Mike T. is right, of course. I find that most machine-built wheels are under-tensioned (in my opinion). That, combined with straight gauge spokes, makes it more likely the spokes will de-tension, which leads to greater spoke fatigue, which is likely why your spokes are breaking.

Quality hand-built wheels are your answer.
 

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honkonbobo said:
good advice as a longterm solution...

edit. by the way i am 210 and i dont break alot of spokes cause my wheels are built properly... at 215 you shouldnt either.
Why would you waste anymore money on a short term solution? BTW your edit is the key to my advice..."built properly". Very few OEM machine built wheels are built properly and 99% of the LBS's out there will not take the time to properly tension them even thought they really should. I'm 225lbs and don't break spokes either, and when I get a "OEM" wheelset I properly tension and true them.
 

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I rebuilt my OEM wheels tension wise as I do with all my wheels and haven't really snapped any other spokes ( other than rock hits ) so sadly might not be the solution.
 

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~Disc~Golf~
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Loose spokes cause breakage - not your weight - especially on tarmac...
AND everything MIKE T says - Always ;)
 

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This is weird, I tell ya. I've weighed 220+ and I've ridden hundreds/thousands of miles on cheapo stock machine built wheels on my bikes both on paved and off road. I've never broken a spoke but have bent a couple on rock bashes now and then. All I've done is replaced bent ones and re-tensioned/trued as needed. I ride technical and fast downhill stuff quite often and don't ride real gently. Other than weight, they've performed perfectly.

I think you are dealing with under-tensioned wheels or may have some rough habits or techniques or all the above.
 

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highdelll said:
Loose spokes cause breakage - not your weight - especially on tarmac...
AND everything MIKE T says - Always ;)
everything mike T says causes spoke breakage? Weird.

It's worth noting that if the wheels came on the bike you don't really know if the assembler went through and tensioned the wheels or not, and some bikes come with wheels from the factory significantly better tensioned than others. If you have a new bike, pop off the front wheel and see if the hub feels gritty. If it does, you can be sure that the wheel hasn't been hand finished either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Malibu412 said:
I think you are dealing with under-tensioned wheels or may have some rough habits or techniques or all the above.
My daily ride is a 15 mile paved loop. It's fairly flat and perfectly straight. Sometimes I don't hit the lowest part of the curb when crossing an intersection.

How's that for rough?

Thanks for all the responses. I don't have the skill to tension my spokes myself, and I don't have the balls to walk into my LBS and tell them they suck. . . I also don't want to buy a set of $300 wheels for a $400 bike.

*sigh*
 

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scottzg said:
...pop off the front wheel and see if the hub feels gritty. If it does, you can be sure that the wheel hasn't been hand finished either.
You mean hand finished like a microbrew? See, thee you go all jargony on us when we were talking about broken spokes. :D

8805, sorry man. Just giving you the usual causes for your problem. Sounds like your ride is not a rough one and you're not hard on the bike. Most likely a tensioning issue and it seems your shop may not be getting it right. Highdelll and others are correct- even on hard surfaces the wheels have to be set up right. If you have another shop near you, you might consider taking it to them for the work since you're paying your shop anyway. You shouldn't need mags - plenty of guys your size are getting by on $400 bikes. Or, look up a video online and learn the technique. It's not too tough.
 

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Malibu412 said:
You mean hand finished like a microbrew? See, thee you go all jargony on us when we were talking about broken spokes. :D
...
Jargony?
C'Mon man:rolleyes: ;)

what scott said had no 'jargon' and was certainly reasonable
A 'Gritty" wheel certainly did not come from any wheel builder worth their salt.
 

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Malibu412 said:
You mean hand finished like a microbrew? See, thee you go all jargony on us when we were talking about broken spokes. :D
The shop gets the bikes assembled, but not really set up properly. Anything with bearings isn't adjusted, cables aren't properly tensioned, nothing is greased, and wheels are not completely trued and had the spoke tension checked. It takes an hour or two to go from bike-in-a-box to something that can be sold. The builder can adjust the hub in about 10 seconds, if he didn't do that you can be sure he didn't spend the necessary 10 minutes or so to tension and stress the spokes in the stand. Good initial bike assembly is pretty critical to the life and function of the bike, and it's totally dependent on the guy at the shop.

They put some really cheesy parts on bikes in the 400$ range so they can afford to wow the customer with a deore rear derailleur. It's possible to end up with wheels that just aren't up to the task. Some cheap rims seem to true up and hold together a lot better than others. Shrug.
 

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A wheelist
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8805 said:
I don't have the skill to tension my spokes myself
Your spokes are fatigued from being under-tensioned. The "load-unload" cycle on them as the wheel rotates is greater the slacker they are and the metal fatigues faster. This is why they KEEP breaking. Theoretically you'll replace every one of them in the end. But if the wheel is NEVER tensioned correctly then the new ones are fatiguing too. So it never ends.
You need to re-build the wheel with all new spokes. All the info you'll ever need is in my sig and especially the links at the end of the info. Or, it's all in the Wheelbuilding stickie at the top of this forum. You can do it yourself. Then it will just cost you $0.75 x the number of spokes in your wheel plus the price of a good spoke wrench and a thimble-full of cheap oil.

I also don't want to buy a set of $300 wheels for a $400 bike.
BWW has wheelsets with name-brand parts starting at about $100 that will be fine for your bike. They will be tensioned correctly. Any other wheels - from ebay, other mailorder sites or lying around at the LBS - will be a crap-shoot.
 
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