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I ordered and received a shimano lx / mavic 221 wheelset from Blue Sky Cycling in Feb. I have had a couple of issues with the spokes.

The first issue that I noticed was that the black paint chips off the spokes. This is not too big of a deal to me, but I thought I should put the observation out there. At first I thought the black spokes looked sort of cool, by the time they started chipping I was just wishing they were silver.

The second issue is a little more concerning. I had a couple of spokes break on the rear wheel drive side. The spokes broke near the flange. Looking at the other spokes, it is apparent there is a slight bend at that location on more than half the spokes. The location is just outside the hub flange. The spoke should be straight at this point between the hub flange and the spoke crossing. It's as if they were bent during assembly or something. I attached some pictures of these bends.

Here are some notes about how the wheels have been used: I have been riding the wheels daily to work on a mt bike used only for commuting. The wheels have around 600 miles on them. I have a single pannier on the rear rack, but it's fairly light with only clothes. I weight about 175 lbs. The roads I take are fairly smooth. There is no off roading or curbs involved in the commute route. The tires are road tread 1.25" panaracer paselas at 95 psi.

I contacted Blue Sky about the issues. In a polite way they were not very helpful. Apparently, wheel warranties are hard for them to quantify because they are not able to determine what sort of use the wheels have experienced. I also asked for a discount on some spokes, but they don't carry spokes, just wheels.

I put off writing this up to mtbr for a while while I stewed on it. Today, I finally went ahead and ordered a new set of dt db spokes from a different place. I have a friend who has built a few wheels and has agreed to walk me through the process. This seemed like a good time to put the info out here.
 

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A wheelist
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I'd have no idea what bent those spokes. The spokes are probably breaking (I'll bet it's at the elbow and not the weird bend) because they were never tensioned properly. I'd just rebuild the damn things and for a set of spokes you're back in business. Help is in my sig................
 

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I know I ride in desert mountains of AZ with very little spoke grabbing branches and such, but I have the same wheelset from Bluesky with 700+ miles on them and really hadn't had much of a problem like your experiencing. I have had to true the back rim once about 200 miles ago due to some rock abuse, but that's about it. I guess I either got the lucky set or you got the unlucky set.

Good Luck!
 

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soreyes said:
Looking at the other spokes, it is apparent there is a slight bend at that location on more than half the spokes. The location is just outside the hub flange. The spoke should be straight at this point between the hub flange and the spoke crossing. It's as if they were bent during assembly or something. I attached some pictures of these bends.
I've seen this bent spoke condition before. The wheels were pre laced and given to me to "just finish off". Part of the building procedure is to straighten out the bows on the spokes near to the hub by pushing down on the spoke elbows close to the hub flange and this is normally done once the spokes have been tensioned to remove the slack. In the wheel I had the guy who laced it tried to remove the bows too early and did in incorrectly by pulling the spoke onto the edge of the hub flange and kinking it similar to your photos.

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Roger
 
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