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spokes

Kano2010-04-29 00:05:53 +0000 #1
So, we're out riding, and DH has broken yet another spoke. I SWEAR he goes through spokes like I go through innertubes --well, no, more of them!

As we're on the side of the road making adjustments that will get him home, I suggested that MAYBE we should go see if there's a tougher wheel to be had. Or MAYBE there's tougher spokes out there and we could just get enough of them and rebuild the danged wheel with spokes that he couldn't break!

I THINK I've noticed a pattern -- I'm pretty sure they're always on the left side of the wheel, and he's got this nasty habit of twisting his heel IN to clip out. I mentioned it to him, but he CLAIMS that he's unclipping that one when he's in a forward position.

Are there better spokes for big guys than what comes stock on a comfort-beast?

Karen in Boise
Grog2010-04-29 00:15:15 +0000 #2
Often road bike wheels are "guaranteed" for riders up to 170 lbs. That's not even a big guy. I don't know what sort of bike exactly your husband is riding, and what wheels he has, but it's very likely that he would need sturdier wheels. DebW will give us better info, I hope, but I don't think it's only about the spokes. If there's torsion in the wheel, then no wonder that's going to break spokes. Unclipping on the inside shouldn't make that big of a difference.

Or: the wheel hasn't been built properly to begin with. (Not unlikely.) Starting over might be a better idea...
DebW2010-04-29 00:41:08 +0000 #3
Spokes come in different gages. Straight 14g would be the strongest (but you may already have these). However, there are lots of other factors that could be causing the spoke failures. A big guy should have a wheel with at least 36 spokes, laced 3 or 4 cross. If this is a low to moderate-priced comfort bike, it may simply come with poor quality components. Cheap hubs may have flanges that are narrower than the spoke elbow, or spoke holes that allow the spoke ends to move. These and other factors could stress the spokes and cause failure. Rebuilding with washers under the spoke ends could help in some case. Or replacing the wheel may be the better option. I'd suggest taking the wheel to your LBS and discussing the spoke failures to see if they can spot an obvious reason. If spoke tension is poor they could correct that for a moderate price. It is unusual for spokes to fail on the left side.
Kano2010-04-29 00:33:38 +0000 #4
Unusual for them to fail on the left as opposed to the right? You mean he's breaking spokes on the wrong side? The one episode was a definite clip out situation -- and he knows it! Replaced the wheel that time, but I think that's the wheel with HIS tires -- he's using my comfort-beast's wheels now, cuz he likes my tires better!

Yes, it's a fairly low end bike, but if he's having a problem that's particularly unusual, I'll point out to him that the bike gurus have told me it could well be something he's doing. He may not listen to us, but it will get him into the bike shop to be told by guy bike gurus!

Maybe we'll try the washer thing -- it could help for a while, especially if he doesn't want to put a lot into this bike. I'd like to see him get something nicer someday, but it's not cool that he's spending time fixing all the time. He's just not into mechanical fiddling!

Karen in Boise
DebW2010-04-29 01:14:36 +0000 #5
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kano

Unusual for them to fail on the left as opposed to the right? You mean he's breaking spokes on the wrong side?

Yup, he's breaking spokes on the wrong side. The right side gets the torque from the drivetrain, so right spokes are far more likely to break. Tell your DH he must learn to break spokes correctly!
Kano2010-04-29 02:16:32 +0000 #6
So, he put the wheel back together, turns out this one WAS on the drivetrain side, and decided that the reason it broke must have been cuz he left the dork disk off.

Dork disk is back on his wheel.

Somehow, I don't think that will solve things.

He also managed to have his first flat in the process of changing the spoke -- poked the tube with the nut-widget. Looked like it's harder to get the armadillo tires off and back on than my soft, thin "poppy" tires!

Karen in Boise
DebW2010-04-29 02:48:08 +0000 #7
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kano

So, he put the wheel back together, turns out this one WAS on the drivetrain side, and decided that the reason it broke must have been cuz he left the dork disk off.

Dork disk is back on his wheel.

The dork disk prevents the chain from damaging spokes if the derailleur is maladjusted and the chain drops between the cassette and spokes. If he dropped the chain into the spokes, that is probably the reason for the spoke breakage. In that case, be sure and inspect all the spokes near the hub flange on the right side for signs of gouging. If you see any spokes with visible damage, they will break sooner or later so might as well replace them before the do. And check the L limit screw on the RD. Always safer to remove the tire and tube and inspect the rim strip when when changing a spoke.

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