My daily coomuter bike is an SE Lager, to which I have added a rear rack and milk crate.
The bike is not necessarily heavy (spec says 21.5 pounds) and I have added a few other
things to add a little weight (front fender, pump, etc.).
Over the course of the last 6 months (the bike is less than 2 years old btw) I have broken
at least 8-10 spokes (all on the rear) and frankly I am getting tired of replacing them and having the keep trueing the wheel.
The bike has the stock rims (Alex R500, 32 hole, double wall 14gauge spokes))
One shop suggested a wider tire - so I replaced the rear tire with a 700X32; and
that seemed to work well for a while; but I guess transporting grocieries (and beer, etc)
in the milk crate is too much weight combines with chicago's famous potholes; so I
am constantly breaking spokes.
I am looking for advice on what course of action is recommended -
get a new (stronger) wheel ? Find a (good/used) wheel or hub/rim combination and
buid it up (maybe lace the spokes so it will be stronger) ? lose the mik crate ? quit buying groceries or beer ? HELP.
thanks in advance
I went through this routine about 7-8 years back. I'm over 6 1 and tip the scales at over 200 lbs, plus 30-40 pounds of stuff (lock, groceries, clothing for commuting) so that's quite a load on the rear wheel.
Replacing a stock rim with a custom built wheel (Mavic rim, 40 spokes) that had a tandem rear hub put a stop to that. I ran that wheel for about 6 years with several thousand commuting miles and lots of groceries and never broke a spoke (just an occasional trueing job here and there). I have since replaced it with a newer custom built sun rim with 48 spokes (also 32) and a tandem hub. I've broken 2 spokes on the new wheel, but I'm not sure if that was because I built it and didn't tension it right or its due to stress from a minor accident.
You will find that rear wheels break spokes most of the time (unless you are carrying some serious weight on the front wheel or get into an accident involving the front wheel).
If you go the custom built route, consider double butted spokes by DT or Sapim. DTs are pricey, but if the wheel lasts as long as mine did, they pay for themselves many times over.
The English knew what they were doing when they made bike their roadster wheels with 40-rear/32-front spokings. This 36/36 thing is just marketing BS of the post bike-boom mass-produced era. 28 and fewer spokes is just plain silly, IMHO, outside of racing.
A 40-spoke rear wheel can do just about anything a regular person can throw at it outside of serious hauling or a tandem. A well-built 36-spoke rear wheel can do a decent job with 2mm straight-gauge spokes.
If you've gone through that many spokes, you need to either completely rebuild the wheel or replace it. In your case, the spokes are terrible and/or the rim is so far out of true that it's putting incredible tension on some spokes (probably a little or a lot of both). If it's just bad spokes, most good shops should be able to re-lace the wheel for about $100. If it's a bad rim, no shop wizardry can fix it.
I'm just under 200# and ride on a 24-spoke wheel with no issues. I've done a giant messenger bag full of beer and a trail-a-bike (at the same time). 28 or 32 spokes should be fine for you unless you plan on carrying massive amounts of gear (trailer, passengers, a yak).
You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a decent wheelset. Less than $200 can get you wheels at pricepoint.com, then take them to your LBS to ensure they are tensioned properly. My local shop does it for a few beers.
I am totally surprized noone suggested having the wheel rebuilt with better, heavier guage spokes. A track bike designed for speedwill not have durable load bearing spokes. Spokes come in a variety of styles and gauges for a reason. The wheel should be built for the purpose it is being used for not for a manufacturer's concept of what the bike will to be used for.
If you wouldn't put Lances Tour bike on the streets to get groceries then fix the bike to handle the job.
Bumping this thread.
So I broke a spoke this morning, and had it replaced at a shop. They trued the wheel, but I had to bring it right back in because one of the other spokes loosened up and almost broke. Yikes.
Shop owner says that since one broke, the others will follow. How true is this? Also, he said I should probably spring for a brand new wheel, which sounds ridiculous. I know that my rims, for all intents and purposes, suck. (Alex ID-19) ...but, I don't weight much (165) and I try to take care by not bunny hopping curbs and such.
If I end up breaking more spokes, can't I just get some high quality spokes/hardware and have the wheel rebuilt in a quality manner? The shop owner made it sound like it wasn't even worth it. Frankly, wheels were the last thing on my mind when I considered things on my bike that may break.
Seeing this bumped and then reading the thread makes me ask the question...
Dan, what DID you do and how is your "broke spoke" situation now?
You might consider putting a low rider front rack on to reduce the amount of stuff you put on the rear. PLUS. It looks like you should switch to a lower speed set of gears to reduce the amount of stress your wheel is absorbing. A smaller front chainring would lessen the spoke breakage a bit....
Hand build your rear wheel with triple or double butted spokes. If you keep the same gearing, triple butted is probably the best. Read Jobst Brandt's books first. Check your spoke tension as needed. Make sure your new rim has eyelets or you might have problems with cracks in the rim. If you don't have eyelets in your old rim and you are going to continue using it, consider nipple washers to spread the load on to a wider area around your spoke holes.
You could rebuild on your current rim but it's cheap rim and the cost of just a decent set of spokes through an LBS is probably going to run you more than a new rim would cost. If the rim goes blooey then you just ruined a bunch of spokes and wasted the shop labor in the build.
Personally I'd just re-spoke myself if it were my bike and the rim was still true. But I have a source for good cheap straight-gauge spokes. But if I were doubtful on the rim I'd probably go with a Sun CR-18 as they are bombproof and I don't care about a few extra grams. That's what I built with for my road bike with butted spokes. I went with a 32-spoke build but with the rugged CR-18 rim and butted spokes I'm not worried about it even though I tip the scales at a hair over 200#.
If I were paying shop prices for spokes and shop prices for labor I wouldn't chance it on a build with new spokes on an iffy used non-eyelet cheap Alex rim. A good new rim is insurance since you are already putting good money into spokes and labor. It's a gamble to throw good money after bad. Your hub is probably OK.
I had a look at the CR-18 reviews on REI's site. The few reviews there say it's junk?
If heavy = junk then they are junk.