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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I recently broke my first spoke ever on a ride. I'm about 170 lbs and am extremely careful with potholes. In fact, I broke it while getting out of the saddle to get over a hump in the road. It was on the rear wheel in the non-drive side.

I am wondering if it is common for a new set of wheels (with about 500 miles) to break a spoke.
 

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It is not a normal thing, you should contact the LBS or the builder on this. Potholes should just give you pinch flats, not broken spokes.

We want to her the lowdown, what brand of wheels and spokes and who was the builder?
 

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As Hooben says, it's not common and certainly isn't normal but it could indicate a couple of things -

1. A bad spoke. Chitt happens sometimes.
2. A poor wheelbuild. Read my wheelbuilding info in my sig and it will give you some insight into what constitutes a good wheelbuild - regarding spoke tension and the very important stuff of sufficient tension and the equality of tension between all spokes.

I'd like to know more - where did the spoke break, how many spokes does the wheel have and what make is it?
 

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SM-Rider said:
So, I recently broke my first spoke ever on a ride. I'm about 170 lbs and am extremely careful with potholes. In fact, I broke it while getting out of the saddle to get over a hump in the road. It was on the rear wheel in the non-drive side.

I am wondering if it is common for a new set of wheels (with about 500 miles) to break a spoke.
Properly built wheels should last thousands of miles. I have a pair of cheap vuelta wheels with 20 spokes up front and 24 rear and had over 2000 miles on them with no problems. I've had 32 spoke wheels most of my life and put thousands of miles w/o problems. I weigh close to 200lbs. 500 miles is nothing. Your spoke broke because the wheels were probably not stress relieved.

Andres
 

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"Your spoke broke because the wheels were probably not stress relieved."
Can't be positive on that. May have been bad spoke(s). I know this from personal experience with a set of wheels built for me by someone who posts here all the time. I broke two NDS side spokes shortly after getting them, they were built with Sapim CXrays.

When I contacted the builder to order some replacement spokes, he was a bit pizzed.... and said "You shouldn't be breaking spokes on my wheels, why didn't you call me sooner? Send it back, I'll fix it." Turns out Sapim must have had a faulty run of spokes as the builder completely rebuilt my wheel, free of charge, with spokes from a different batch and its been flawless ever since, that was three years ago and I haven't put a spoke wrench on it.

Even a properly built wheel may have a problem if the spokes aren't any good. Sapim CXrays are some of the best you can buy, but even they had a problem. Also helps to work with a quality builder who will stand behind their work.
 

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andresmuro said:
Your spoke broke because the wheels were probably not stress relieved.
My opinion on that statement (FWIW) is this -

A wheel could be dead true and spokes tensioned perfectly and evenly at build time but if the stress-relief isn't done the wheel will stress-relieve itself on the first ride. Those are the pings we hear when we first ride a badly built wheel up the street.

Then what we have is probably a wheel slightly out of true, spokes that are not evenly tensioned (verrry bad) and the possibility that some of the slacker spokes can loosen and due to the fact that their load-unload stress cycle is greater, they will fatigue faster and break.

So yes, you're probably right but now the OP has a greater insight on what might have happened. But then poster cdhbrad could be right too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, the wheel was a Ligero Model 1. The spoke broke at the nipple (I believe at the threads). These are Sapim CX-Rays, so they should be pretty sturdy.

I thought it was odd to have one break so soon. I've ridden several other wheelsets for a lot more miles with no issues. I was just wondering about other people's experience.

So, Troy is sending me replacement spokes and nipples. Does anyone know what it should cost at an LBS (ballpark)? Also, does any one know of a good wheel builder to do this in the Los Angeles area?
 

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Alloy Nipple that "broke at the threads". Did the nipple break or the spoke? I've had that happen too where an alloy nipple will break and leave the spoke intact, but not on any of my current wheels, because all my recently built wheels have been done with Brass nipples. A small weight gain in the wheel, but I've never had a brass nipple break.

If Ligero built your wheel, I'm surprised that he didn't ask you to ship it back to him so he could make the repairs. I would still want to get it back to him and let him assure you that something else isn't going on with it. Shipping both ways to him and back to you will probably be cheaper than having someone near you try and rebuild the wheel.
 

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SM-Rider said:
Well, the wheel was a Ligero Model 1. The spoke broke at the nipple (I believe at the threads). These are Sapim CX-Rays, so they should be pretty sturdy.
Bad spoke. Probably a one-off incident. Here's my rule-o'-thumb on spoke breakage -

One broken spoke is a fluke.
Two is a coincidence.
Three is a trend (re-build the wheel)

Troy is sending me replacement spokes and nipples. Does anyone know what it should cost at an LBS (ballpark)? Also, does any one know of a good wheel builder to do this in the Los Angeles area?
This is just a broken spoke. Replace it yourself. All you need is a spoke wrench and my info below. Replace the spoke and tension it equal to those around it (on the same side) with the pluck/ping test. Now's the time to get into the wheel repair business.
 

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Mike T. said:
A wheel could be dead true and spokes tensioned perfectly and evenly at build time but if the stress-relief isn't done the wheel will stress-relieve itself on the first ride. Those are the pings we hear when we first ride a badly built wheel up the street.
Not true. The pings are from spokes unwinding as they're detensioned at the bottom of the wheel while riding, if any windup was not removed during the building process. The wheel will then need to be re-trued, at a minimum. I wouldn't necessarily say badly built, just unfinished. I find DT Revs tricky in this regard, since they have so little torsional stiffness.

Stress relieving is performed with a large increase in spoke tension (I use the squeezing parallel spokes technique, as hard as I can manage, with gloves), to a level where any points of high stress (mostly at the elbows) yield, which then removes these high stress points. This will never happen while riding, since the rider is supported by a reduction in tension of the lower spokes, balanced by a relatively small increase in tension of the other spokes (the sum of all spoke tensions will remain fairly constant). This process will also help with deforming the softer hub flanges to better match the bend in the spoke elbow.
 
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