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Wheel repair problems

rich164hrich164h Posts: 433
In 2011 I did a JOGLE and bought some new wheels for my touring bike for spa cycles. They were excellent and that year I did about 5000 miles including the JOGLE itself (105 hubs and rigida snyper rims for those that are interested). The bike was essentially unused since then as I had a road bike as well, And when I came to use it I found 11 of the spokes on the rear broken and one on the front gone too. It could have been from damaged cause during multiple house moves but I’m really not sure.

So, after working out what spokes I needed (from talking with spa again) I ordered the parts and have tried to replace the spokes. Unfortunately I constantly get more spokes breaking, to the point the extra ones I bound, “just in case” are now all used up. Most of the times they are breaking whilst I’m tensioning up the wheel and trying to get it true, but two now after I’ve got what I thing is a fixed wheel, spokes have broken again on the first ride out.

It’s hard to know if these are old or new spokes unfortunately that are breaking. I should have tagged them somehow, but I suspect the old ones as the nipples looked a little older.

For info, I have tried to follow the rim manufacturers advise about the sort of tension I should use and have a tension meter to measure this. The wheels have been evenly tensioned and true by the time I’ve finished with them.

Any ideas?

Could it just be that the old spokes are fatigued? Whilst nearly 10 years old, 5000miles doesn’t sound very much, but maybe 10 years under tension even if not being used is a lot. I don’t know.

What should I do? Just replace all of them and start over? I’m not expert wheel builder but I’ve read what I can and I’ve been happy to learn how to do this and don’t think that I’ve over tensioned anything, or left things uneven around the wheel.

Thanks in advance



  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 1,839
    You could just replace all the spokes and new nipples etc. Get the tension roughly right but not too tight. Then take it to your LBS for truing and tensioning. It won’t cost a lot.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 27,716
    I have heard of spokes breaking during storage before and it always baffles me, but I have to accept it is a reality.

    Sounds like you need a complete rebuild and it is probably a good time to learn how to do it. There are many videos and tutorials, but I find that the good ole Gerd Schraner's book is the best way to get started
  • rich164hrich164h Posts: 433
    Thanks for the replies guys, and sorry for the terrible English in my post! I was typing quickly into my phone and didn't check it afterwards.

    Yeah I think I might just have to write-off all of the spokes in the rear wheel and start again as I can't tell which are the new vs old spokes now. It's a shame to have to bin perfectly good, new spokes but I just can't think how else I can do it without risking an old one still being present. Oh well.

    I have been using all sorts of online sources to work out what to do and I was actually really pleased with the final result. It took a long time but it was kind of...therapeutic! The first time I did it I realised that the (rear wheel asymmetric) dish was all wrong and I couldn't get the brakes to sit on the brake track properly, that forced me to use a large difference in tension between the two sides, to get the rim back to where it should have been. Perhaps this was the problem and perhaps the tension got too high at that point (especially given old, potentially fatigued spokes). I guess I'll never know.

    Out of interest, what sort of tension difference do you normally see DS vs NDS? I started to wonder if the big difference could be the result of using the wrong spoke lengths on one side, but I only used what SPA told me they'd used originally, so I can only assume they were correct. Maybe there's no easy answer to this given the sheer number of possible permutations of hub, spoke and rims.


  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 27,716
    For a Shimano rear hub, you can expect a tension ratio of roughly 1:2 left to right... so if the NDS is 600N, then the DS is 1200N. Those numbers would be suitable for most riders... if you are very heavy you might need a tad more, provided your rim can take a tad more without cracking
  • rich164hrich164h Posts: 433
    That’s really good to know. Thanks. I had thought the difference would have been smaller than that. I think I had about 1200N DS but definitely more than 600N on the NDS. I assumed that going to 600N would be too low, but now I know better 👍
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