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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For decades I have been building my own wheels without a single broken spoke.
Things have really changed. Last year after 5000 miles I started to break spokes on the Cassette side. I retensioned the wheel, and all was fine for another 1000 miles. Yesterday while cycling, I got a flat and broke a spoke on the non drive side. I replaced the spoke, retentioned the wheel, and went cycling today. I broke another spoke on the non drive side.

Ultegra 36 hole hubs
Mavic MA 2 rims
DT 14 straight gauge spokes


I don't have a clue what is going on.
Could it be a bad batch of spokes.

Any help would be appreciated.

Daniel
 

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Possibilities

Strange to have breaks on both sides, as the causes tend to be different. When you retensioned the wheel, did you tighten or loosen? My (and many others') rule of thumb is that if you have broken 3 spokes, it's time to rebuild. Next time, go with butted spokes, as it makes a better wheel. IME, NDS spoke breakage is most often due to insufficient tension. DS spoke breakage can be bad spokes, poor hub flange construction, spoke damage, etc.
 

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Spokes most often break from fatigue. Make sure you properly stress-relieve the spokes when building the wheel. Failure to do so will result in this type of problem. At this point, I would rebuild the wheel since the other spokes are likely also fatigued. I second Kerry's suggestion to use butted spokes.
 
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Do you unwind the spokes after adjusting tension via the nipples? Sometime it takes a couple of passes to get things right.

There's some good info in the June issue of Cycling Plus - I think the current issue of Road also covers spokes, but I haven't read it.
 

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Almost identical wheels are bulletproof for me at 240#

I have two sets of virtually identical wheels with at least 4000 miles apiece, and one of them goes on gravel roads and fire trails pretty often (it's on an Atlantis). I don't remember that I've ever even had to true them, maybe just a touchup here and there, and I weigh 240. If you figure out what it is, post an answer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Spoke Breakage

Thanks to all for your kind replies.
I am going to rebuild the wheel. I will also buy a new rim.
Perhaps I am weak on the stress relieving. I would appreciate some suggestions on it.
In addition, on an unrelated issue. While pedaling, on very rare occasion, I get a banging noise that lasts perhaps a second. I think it may be the freehub. Any opinions on this.

Thanks

Daniel
 

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daniell said:
While pedaling, on very rare occasion, I get a banging noise that lasts perhaps a second. I think it may be the freehub. Any opinions on this.

Thanks

Daniel
Could be a tight link in the chain. If so it could lead to serious problems. Try working each link with your fingers.

Al
 

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daniell said:
Perhaps I am weak on the stress relieving. I would appreciate some suggestions on it.
The simplest method is to grab two parallel spokes in each hand and squeeze them together. Hard. Some mechanics wear gloves when doing this because if you squeeze them hard enough, it will hurt your hands. Do this with each pair of spokes on the wheel.

The goal is NOT to reverse spoke wind-up. If you hear pinging, that is wind-up being relieved. That might be a beneficial side effect, but not what you are trying to achieve. The goal is to relieve the stress that is built into each spoke during the manufacturing process.
 
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