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Greetings from Washington State:

By way of introductions:
Greg, 41, WA native(east side), active, athletic, novice cyclist, reasonably mechanically inclined. Glad to find his forum hope to eventually give as much as I take from here.

I would like to restate that I’m a novice cyclist; and no nearly nothing about the intricate mechanics of bikes. I am, however, quite mechanically inclined and will pick it up quickly.
I love to ride and do so nearly daily(though not far) I have a vintage Raleigh 66cm road bike and a Dawes Haymaker 2900 29er mtb. I really love them both but am afraid to ride something else for fear of finding out how deficient they are! Hah. I broke a spoke on the front wheel of my 29er. I have the distinct pleasure of riding my bike at/for work and I’ve been riding it with a broken spoke for quite some time. Time to get a new wheel as I want to do some other kinds of riding outside work this spring/summer.


Now to my question:

I am looking for a new front wheel for my Dawes Haymaker 2900. The wheel is described by the manufacturer as follows:

Dawes FORMULA disc Hubs, ALLOY BLACK W/QR

Stainless Steel 14 ga spokes
700cx36h Aluminium DA-17 Double Wall

Experience has taught me the value of these forums. I have NO IDEA what I’m looking at when shopping for a wheel. I’m on a budget and would even be interested in a used wheel should it fit the bill.

Any suggestions about where to locate a good wheel at an affordable price? Eg. $100 or so. Any links to used cycling equipment?

Thank you in advance to those who take the time to read and respond. Y’all rock!!
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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You can fix your existing front wheel for $4-$60. The spoke costs about a buck, you'll want new rim tape for about three, and the labor will run a bit more depending on whether you do it yourself or pay someone and how significant a service you go for if you pay. Replacing a spoke is not that hard but you will have to true your wheel. That's also not that hard, but takes some patience.

Single wheels can be harder than complete sets, funny enough. For a set, my first stop would be bicyclewheelwarehouse.com. You can buy one wheel there, but I don't think they knock enough off the price to stay competitive.

Also check out pricepoint.com, jensonusa.com, nashbar.com, and your local shop.

For a daily-use wheel, I like a pretty traditional wheel build. Stick with at least 32 spokes in a 3-cross pattern. That's what you're used to seeing, as opposed to a wheel with much fewer spokes or one where they go straight out from the hub.

The hub doesn't need to be all that. It should be quick release compatible and have six bolt holes for attaching a brake rotor. I'd spend a little more than a Formula adjustable bearing or Shimano RM60 hub. For me, the Shimano RM475 was fine. Anything more expensive, as long as it meets the other things, is fine too.

Rim should be double-wall. That's all but the cheapest. I think 17 mm or wider (internal width, between the bead seats - that's sometimes a hard spec to find, sometimes not) is better. That's most rims marketed for MTB. Again, only the cheapest or a rim for another purpose will be really wrong.

What else? The skill and attention of the wheel builder are important. A wheel made with nice components, by a machine, will typically kinda suck. But if you or your shop spend a little extra time on tensioning and truing, it'll be fine.

I think secondhand wheels can be a false economy. They can be damaged by abuse and do wear out over time. If you can afford to buy new, for components, I think it's worth it. I guess I've done okay with wheels I've bought secondhand on their own, but I've also thrashed wheels that came on bikes I bought secondhand. It's a gamble.

See if you have a bike co-op in your area. They're hugely helpful in learning to work on bikes, which is, in turn, hugely helpful in maintaining a bike well for less.

Good luck!
 

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If the wheel is fairly straight and has no other issues besides the spoke, I would just bring it along to a shop, get a spoke wrench, a spoke of the correct length and a nipple (grab a couple spares of each of these while you're at it) and change it yourself. Tons of videos, etc out there if you need details, but it's pretty straightforward. Something that happens on a somewhat regular basis riding trails, so it doesn't hurt to know how to do it. If it's just one spoke and the rest of the wheel is still in decent true, you really don't have to re-true the entire thing. Install the one spoke so it feels about as tight as the rest, give it a spin, and if it's pretty straight and none of the spokes feel loose, you should be good to go.

You can put on new rim tape if you want, but you can also get away with just lifting the existing tape up at the spot where you need to replace the nipple, then sticking it back down afterward. I've done this countless times.

I've also just taken the broken spoke(s) and bent them around a couple of adjacent ones to keep from flopping around and continued to put miles on the wheel afterward with no issues to speak of. 31...32...whatever it takes.
 
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