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i like whiskey
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
is yet another spoke breaking on my 1 year old set of custom built wheels. And with these being custom wheels that were spec'd after over an hour of conversation with the wheel builder, I'm a little frustrated.

In the past year, I have broken 4 spokes and had to have the wheel trued and tensioned at least two other times. This does not inspire confidence in me as I set out on a long ride. The wheelbuilder at my LBS has suggested a total relace with 14ga straight spokes in silver (because black spokes are weakened by the adonizing process?), which I'm going to try.

The specs on the wheels are 28 front, 32 rear, Velocity Fusion rims, Speecific hubs, 14/15ga double butted spokes. I weigh 225lbs +/- 10 and ride mostly flat roads in Texas. I do try to hit the hills as much as possible, but I wouldn't call it serious climbing. I'm by no means an expert on wheel building, so I took the advice of the builder. But the more these spokes break, and the more I have to spend to get them rolling again, the more frustrated I get. If I break another spoke after the rebuild, they are going up for sale.

Is it me, or do these wheels seem underbuilt? Maybe I'm harder on wheels that I think? Or maybe I ride differently that I described to the builder? I'd love to get this figured out, but I'm at my wits end and am almost ready to cut my losses. Giving the wheel back to the builder is not really an option, as the shipping back and forth would not be cost effective. Emails sent to the builder have gone unanswered, and I'm not much of a phone guy.

(rant over)

Comments? Suggestions? Those 36 hole Velocity Aeroheads with Ultegra hubs are looking better every day.
 

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14g in the rear might not be a bad idea on the rear wheel, drive-side especially. But the fact that you are breaking spokes on such new wheels inicates your problems have more to do with the builder than the components. Too light of spokes in back may have you truing all the time, but breaking indicates something more serious. You could do 14/15 in front no problem, it doesn't bear near the wieght that the rear wheel does.

brewster
 

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i like whiskey
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
brewster said:
14g in the rear might not be a bad idea on the rear wheel, drive-side especially. But the fact that you are breaking spokes on such new wheels inicates your problems have more to do with the builder than the components. Too light of spokes in back may have you truing all the time, but breaking indicates something more serious. You could do 14/15 in front no problem, it doesn't bear near the wieght that the rear wheel does.

brewster
The front wheel has been fine. No issues. It's always the rear wheel. I'm hoping the 14ga relace does the trick.

The builder is well known and highly recommended on this board. Maybe he just had a bad day when he built my set.
 

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#1 Talk to the builder
#2 14/15 spokes will always last longer than straight 14 gauge spokes (unless they are breaking in the middle)
#3 At your weight, a 32 hole wheel might need trueing more often than a 36 hole wheel, but a "well made" wheel shouldn't be breaking spokes this early. (I'm assuming that they are breaking at the "J" bend)
 

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LOOK lover
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You should've gone boutique :D
(sorry, I couldn't resist)
 

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i like whiskey
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
MR_GRUMPY said:
#1 Talk to the builder
#2 14/15 spokes will always last longer than straight 14 gauge spokes (unless they are breaking in the middle)
#3 At your weight, a 32 hole wheel might need trueing more often than a 36 hole wheel, but a "well made" wheel shouldn't be breaking spokes this early. (I'm assuming that they are breaking at the "J" bend)
1. I'd love to talk to the original builder, but he won't return my emails. At this point, my LBS has trued and replaced spokes so many times, they are essentially the builder.

3. Spokes always break at the J bend at the hub. The original builder is well respected and highly recommended on this board. They should be "well made" based on his reputation.
 

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Probable cause

At your weight, I would have gone 36 spoke, but I'm guessing that the wheel was built with too little tension. This causes the spokes to flex with each revolution of the wheel and this causes breakage at the head. Other possibilities are a batch of bad spokes or a hub that has rough edges on the spoke holes. Going with straight gauge spokes would not help one bit - more likely make things worse except that it would represent a complete rebuild, which is what you need at this point. The black anodization likely had nothing to do with the problem, unless it resulted in bad spokes, which it shouldn't.
 

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i like whiskey
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Kerry Irons said:
At your weight, I would have gone 36 spoke, but I'm guessing that the wheel was built with too little tension. This causes the spokes to flex with each revolution of the wheel and this causes breakage at the head. Other possibilities are a batch of bad spokes or a hub that has rough edges on the spoke holes. Going with straight gauge spokes would not help one bit - more likely make things worse except that it would represent a complete rebuild, which is what you need at this point. The black anodization likely had nothing to do with the problem, unless it resulted in bad spokes, which it shouldn't.
Just curious why a 14ga straight would make things worse? It seems counter-intuitive to me.
 

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Call me a Fred
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Sounds like a bad build. Before getting a rebuild, check to make sure that the rim has not sustained damage at the holes from the various spoke pressures that the rim has seen.
 

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Similar wheels

innergel said:
is yet another spoke breaking on my 1 year old set of custom built wheels. And with these being custom wheels that were spec'd after over an hour of conversation with the wheel builder, I'm a little frustrated.

In the past year, I have broken 4 spokes and had to have the wheel trued and tensioned at least two other times. This does not inspire confidence in me as I set out on a long ride. The wheelbuilder at my LBS has suggested a total relace with 14ga straight spokes in silver (because black spokes are weakened by the adonizing process?), which I'm going to try.

The specs on the wheels are 28 front, 32 rear, Velocity Fusion rims, Speecific hubs, 14/15ga double butted spokes. I weigh 225lbs +/- 10 and ride mostly flat roads in Texas. I do try to hit the hills as much as possible, but I wouldn't call it serious climbing. I'm by no means an expert on wheel building, so I took the advice of the builder. But the more these spokes break, and the more I have to spend to get them rolling again, the more frustrated I get. If I break another spoke after the rebuild, they are going up for sale.

Is it me, or do these wheels seem underbuilt? Maybe I'm harder on wheels that I think? Or maybe I ride differently that I described to the builder? I'd love to get this figured out, but I'm at my wits end and am almost ready to cut my losses. Giving the wheel back to the builder is not really an option, as the shipping back and forth would not be cost effective. Emails sent to the builder have gone unanswered, and I'm not much of a phone guy.

(rant over)

Comments? Suggestions? Those 36 hole Velocity Aeroheads with Ultegra hubs are looking better every day.
Hey Innergel... I have a very similar wheelbuild:

Front - 28H Velocity Aerohead Rims with Hugi 240 hub laced 2x using AE15 spokes.
Rear - 32H Velociy Fusion Rims with Hugi 240 hub laced 2x NDS with AE15 spokes and 3x DS with 14/15 DB spokes.

I built these myself and have approximately 7K miles with minimal issues (yearly truing). I'm certainly not an expert builder with only 8-10 wheels under my belt. My weight is 190 lb. but I commute on the wheels part of the year thus with pack I'm well over 200 lb. The wheels see weekend duty doing climbs in the mountains around Tahoe. I'd call the builder and discuss with him. The Fusion is a good, strong rim that I have used in cyclocross applications with good results. It should hold up to your weight with no issues.
 

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A 14/15 ga spoke will stretch a little every time it is untensioned. This keeps some of the strain off the "J"bend. A 14 ga spoke will apply the stress to the "J"bend every time around to every spoke. This will cause a shorter life.
 

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i like whiskey
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Steve-O said:
Hey Innergel... I have a very similar wheelbuild:

Front - 28H Velocity Aerohead Rims with Hugi 240 hub laced 2x using AE15 spokes.
Rear - 32H Velociy Fusion Rims with Hugi 240 hub laced 2x NDS with AE15 spokes and 3x DS with 14/15 DB spokes.

I built these myself and have approximately 7K miles with minimal issues (yearly truing). I'm certainly not an expert builder with only 8-10 wheels under my belt. My weight is 190 lb. but I commute on the wheels part of the year thus with pack I'm well over 200 lb. The wheels see weekend duty doing climbs in the mountains around Tahoe. I'd call the builder and discuss with him. The Fusion is a good, strong rim that I have used in cyclocross applications with good results. It should hold up to your weight with no issues.
I like Velocity rims and have always read good things about them. And the rim on this wheel appears to be fine. When the spokes are not breaking, the wheels run really well. Hopefully this next incarnation takes care of it. Otherwise someone might get a good deal on a set of slightly used wheels.

Grumpy, thanks for the explanation. Makes perfect sense.
 

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Some thoughts

You don't say (or I just missed it) which side of the rear wheel you are breaking spokes. If non-drive side repeatedly it is most likely a tension issue. For larger riders, the extreme dish on a 9-10 speed wheel makes it hard to get enough tension on the non drive side. This loose-ness as Kerry indicates leads to spoke breakage.

A couple of suggestions:

Silver spokes (Although Kerry is technically correct that a black anodized spoke should be as strong as a silver spoke, I have never had as good a luck with black anodized spokes)

On the rebuild issue, I would use Wheelsmith AE15 (this is a 15 gauge bladed spoke) on the non-drive side radial laced (if the hub will handle that) and Wheelsmith XE14 (14 gauge bladed spoke) spoke laced 3 cross on the drive side. This lighter spoke on the non drive side will help add additional tension to the non-drive side. Use brass nipples not alloy, and have your wheel builder overdish the wheel to tighten the drive side spokes and then tighten the non-drive side to achieve proper dish (this will allow a higher final drive side tension, and consequently greater tension in the whole wheel)

While you are at it you should rebuild the front wheel with AE15 spokes so it doesn't look weird when compared to the rear (aesthetics are important).

Almost all wheel issues are bad build issues rather than parts issues. Straight gauge spokes are never really stronger in actual usage, they are just cheaper and heavier.

jhr
 

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I had the same wheels built by the same builder.

Even used the black spokes. 32 spoke, 3x rear needed truing twice in the first 500 miles. There won't be a second 500. I'm back on my boteekies.
 

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i like whiskey
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
jhr said:
You don't say (or I just missed it) which side of the rear wheel you are breaking spokes. If non-drive side repeatedly it is most likely a tension issue. For larger riders, the extreme dish on a 9-10 speed wheel makes it hard to get enough tension on the non drive side. This loose-ness as Kerry indicates leads to spoke breakage.

A couple of suggestions:

Silver spokes (Although Kerry is technically correct that a black anodized spoke should be as strong as a silver spoke, I have never had as good a luck with black anodized spokes)

On the rebuild issue, I would use Wheelsmith AE15 (this is a 15 gauge bladed spoke) on the non-drive side radial laced (if the hub will handle that) and Wheelsmith XE14 (14 gauge bladed spoke) spoke laced 3 cross on the drive side. This lighter spoke on the non drive side will help add additional tension to the non-drive side. Use brass nipples not alloy, and have your wheel builder overdish the wheel to tighten the drive side spokes and then tighten the non-drive side to achieve proper dish (this will allow a higher final drive side tension, and consequently greater tension in the whole wheel)

While you are at it you should rebuild the front wheel with AE15 spokes so it doesn't look weird when compared to the rear (aesthetics are important).

Almost all wheel issues are bad build issues rather than parts issues. Straight gauge spokes are never really stronger in actual usage, they are just cheaper and heavier.

jhr
Breaks are always on the non-drive side. They may even be in the same spoke hole, but I'm not sure about this one. Just a vague recollection. I'm usually too disgusted to pay much attention to the exact position.

Hopefully this rebuild does the job. If so, then I'll get the front done to match. I asked the LBS about the different color spokes on front and back and they said jokingly "just ride fast and no one will notice". I told them I could ride a lot faster if I wasn't breaking spokes every two or three months :)

I'm pretty much convinced that this wheel was underbuilt. The parts are all high quality, so I'll hope the original builder was just having a bad day when he built my set.
 
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