I 'spoke' too soon?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by trinogt, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. trinogt

    trinogt New Member

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    Hi. I am a new member, I looked for a forum I could be a part of, and the last one never sent me any response after I attempted to join. So, I found this one!
    My name is Mark, and I bought my first road bike early this month (February). It is a full carbon Kestrel Talon, 105 components, frame size 55cm. I love the bike. I am very impressed with the quality of the build and the components, coming from mountain biking for exercise and recreation. My boys are soon to be 11 and 15 years old, and they hate that they can't keep up with me anymore lol.

    I have my first question to the more experienced riders in this group.

    My bike came with Oval Concepts 524 wheels. I know the company that bought Oval (Advanced Sports Inc) is the same one that bought Fuji bikes, SE bikes, Breezer, Terry bikes, and Kestrel.

    I just hit 100 miles on my bike today, and I felt the symptoms of a loose spoke on my rear wheel. Sure enough, one spoke was very loose. This is the second time now, the last occurrence being a week ago(same wheel). I know I hit a couple sharp points in the road, as I am sure most riders do on a 15-20 mile ride, but is this what typically causes a spoke to get loose? Out of the box, all spokes were tight and the wheels were amazingly true. A few rides later, and I had to true up the back wheel, so I figured I would do the front as well. I am within .25 mm of total play which is well within spec of .5 mm.
    I took out my trusty spoke wrench, and went through the truing process again after tightening the loose spoke. Took maybe 5 minutes, static-mounted on the bike. Went another 15 miles with no troubles.
    My concern is, can this be normal? Or, is this wheel just not all that good for a trainer or anything else? I don't even see the 524 on Oval's web page, only 530 and up. They are 24 spoke in the back, 20 in front. Running 110 psi pressure in Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick tires. My hope is that it is normal after hitting a bump just right, because new wheels are just not in my budget right now.
    Thanks for any input.


    Mark
     
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  2. Eichers

    Eichers New Member

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    Hi trinogt, this is a new wheel that's only done 100 miles ... I would not consider this normal and would contact the company you purchased the bike from and ask them to replace the wheel :)
     
  3. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    The smarter thing to do would be to have the wheel spokes de-tensioned, re-tensioned, and stress relieved such that the spoke tensions are even. What you've experienced so far is symptomatic of a wheel with either uneven spoke tensions or that hasn't been stress relieved. You certainly don't have to return the wheel and demand another one. What I described can be done by any competent bike shop. If you bought the bike at a bike shop, I'd ask them to do what I mentioned above. They should do it for free. If you bought the bike online, then as I said any competent bike shop can do the above mentioned things. Despite claims by others, this is a fairly common symptom of machine built wheels, the kind of wheels that typically are sold on a fully equipped bike. Of course you could send the wheels back, but you'll be without them for a while. A bike shop can accomplish the needed tasks in a matter of a few hours. In both cases, you'll end up with the same kind of wheels, but in the case of having the bike shop stress relieve the wheels and even up the spoke tensions, the wheel will be finished properly. If you exchange the wheels where you made the purchase, you could very well end up with wheels that display the same symptoms. As I said, what you've experienced is not at all uncommon for machine built wheels.
     
  4. trinogt

    trinogt New Member

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    Thanks for the info guys...
    I bought my bike from an online retailer. Just a few days ago, I found out there was a Kestrel dealer within 30 miles of me! Had I known that, I probably would have purchased there, (as long as the price was within $200 of what I paid) even though i had a great experience with the online store...
    I am not going to throw all hope out here, but the suggestion of having a bike shop work the wheel is a good one. I am the kind of person, however, that will buy the tools needed to do the job myself, as long as the cost isn't too prohibitive. I found a link to I think Sheldon Brown's site, mentioning the use of sound to adjust tension, using a 'plucking' method like a stringed instrument. Well, I did try that, even thought i didn't use a tuning fork yet... I just made the spokes on each side sound the same when plucked, taking an 'average' of the sound the spokes made. the drive side of course being of higher tension and therefore pitch. I then had to make adjustments to get the wheel true again. Took me over an hour, but I am finnicky that way! lol. No, I don't want to ship the wheel back; I couldn't fathom the thought of not riding for days on end in such nice Florida weather... It would be fine if I had my upgrade wheels already! lol.
    I wasn't sure how normal this was, but hope it doesn't happen again for a very, very long time.
    I will post if it does!
     
  5. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Just keep in mind that the spokes on the drive side (i.e., side w/ gears) of the rear wheel have a different tension than the spokes on the non-drive side. The spokes on the drive side tend to have higher tensions than those on the non-drive side and will tend to pluck with a higher pitch than the non-drive side spokes.
     
  6. SBDave

    SBDave New Member

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    I have the same issue with a new Fuji road bike that came with Oval 524's. I have broken three different spokes now in about as many months, so I'm looking at replacing these wheels completely. The bike shop that I bought these from has done all the repairs and have been working with me to come to a solution, so I'm hopeful that I can put this behind me -- as the rest of the bike has been awesome.
     
  7. trinogt

    trinogt New Member

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    Wow, the spokes actually broke? Crazy! After some lengthy research I have done through forums and bike shops, Oval Concepts 524 and now 530 wheels seem to be coming back frequently with spokes loosening, one shop I talked to has given a buyer another set of wheels for 'demo' to send the other wheelset back for warranty repair or replacement...
    Advanced Sports Inc. owns Fuji, Kestrel, Breezer, SE, and Terry bikes, and has also picked up Oval Concepts to be their 'high end' supplier of components. I sure hope the problem is corrected soon so that Oval can save face with such a seemingly big 'launch' since starting out relatively recently in 2002. If you want to make a big name for yourself, you have to make good on even your lowest end product.

    Having said all that, I just rode my first 'half' century (by myself lol) yesterday on my new Kestrel Talon, and the wheels both held up fine. I was quite surprised, since it didn't seem to take many miles before that spoke would loosen right up. Maybe it's finally fixed itself? Or maybe , I was just lucky yesterday? ;)
    Either way, someday I hope to have trainers in the form of Mavic Ksyrium SL's. Light and durable, highly recommended everywhere. I picked up a set the other day to see how they felt, and WOW, so light! Can't wait to get some money...
     
  8. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't say the Ksyrium SL's are particularly light weight. A claimed weight of 1485 isn't piggish, but it also doesn't make me think of helium filled weather balloons or Kate Moss. Certainly for what they cost, they should at least weigh less......and bring something else to the table. I've got a custom built 1380g wheel set that is not only lighter but is also significantly less expensive and comes with actual ball bearings in the freehub instead of some delrin bushing. I can't see what makes the Ksyrium SL's worth their price. Something like Campy Neutrons--which can be purchased with a Shimano freehub for those using Shimano or SRAM drivetrains--would be loads better. They can also be found at about the same price or less. Here's the very first link that Google brought up when I searched "Campy neutrons price".
     
  9. trinogt

    trinogt New Member

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    Hey, I will take any advice I can get!
    Why the Ksyriums? Well, I see them mentioned an awful lot online and at bike shops, and I see them everywhere, and I heard that Mavic backs up their wheels...
    Now, if there are lighter wheels that are just as strong and about equally priced, plus have great backing if there is a failure, then I am all for it! I'm sure there are many discussions about the best wheel for the money, but I just wanted something that I know will be better than what I have now. Thanks for the input! I was even considering buying used, so I will add the Campagnolos to my 'watch' list.
     
  10. jbel

    jbel New Member

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    I have the same bike as you and the exact same problem - only mine was the front wheel. Have ridden the bike 7 times for a total of 220 miles and twice I had to "limp" home because a spoke came loose. I took it to the dealer I bought it from and they took both wheels off, de-tensioned all spokes and treated the threads with a lock-tight like substance, and re-tensioned them. I noticed the tension after they were done was significantly stiffer than when the wheels were new. If it happens again, I will definitely feel these wheels are junk and will know why Kestrel can offer these great bikes at such cheap prices. Good luck.
     
  11. trinogt

    trinogt New Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience!
    Well, I am happy to say that after more than 5 or 6 rides later, I haven't had to tighten a single spoke on my wheels. I think the key was the destressing after adjusting all the spokes to true the wheel, and then truing again. No loctite at this point. I spent probably more than an hour doing this a couple weeks ago. I play my spokes like a harp almost every time I ride, just to make sure things are still good lol. I can't wait to feel the weight and inertia difference of an upgrade wheel on my bike. I did find some 2012 Ksyrium SL's for $800 online, same price as those Campy Neutrons alienator gave a link to. I am not opposed to having a set built if they are as light/lighter, and cost less. However, I am not quite there as far as being in a position to buy. I am sure there will be a huge difference when I do!
    By the way jbel, how are you liking your Talon? I love mine more every day! I am sure the choice to go with Oval Concepts wheelsets has everything to do with the fact that Oval is owned by the same company as Kestrel. With the spoke issue seemingly behind me, I can't find a fault with this bicycle... The Shimano 105 5700 setup is fantastic.
     
  12. jbel

    jbel New Member

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    Glad to hear your problems seem to have gone away. I'm going on a 50 miler this weekend on the "fixed" wheels and keeping my fingers crossed! Like you, I love the bike otherwise. It shifts very smoothly and absorbs shock noticeably better than the aluminum bike I replaced. I think Kestrel makes a superior product, I just worry about ASI now owning the company and forcing Kestrel to use cheaper Oval Concepts parts to keep pricing down. I'll use 2012 as the test year for the wheels - any more issues and like you, I'll be looking for a new set of Mavics, Eastons, Fulcrum, etc. Good luck and have fun on it!
     
  13. trinogt

    trinogt New Member

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    I have to say, I don't know if the upper end Oval Concepts wheels are good or bad, as I haven't heard much yet. However, Oval's brakes look expensive, and feel great, and the handlebars and stem look and feel like quality parts as well. I should have also mentioned, I bought a Park Tools 'red' spoke wrench and carry it with me at all times, just like my tire levers, patch kit, 3 hex keys, CO2 kit, and a couple zip ties. The spoke wrench came in handy my first few rides! Lol Let us know how the wheels hold up.
     
  14. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Oval parts in the past have been pretty good stuff. They're in no way "cheaper". Oval is owned by Kestrel.....who is owned now by someone else......who now owns Oval. Oval wouldn't be my first stop for wheels, but that's mostly because I'm picky: I'll take handbuilts, and I'll have 'em with my choice of parts..........buy I'll live happily with Zipp or Enve wheels in the future. If the wheels were stress relieved and tensioned properly, there's no reason to expect them to go out of true. The only things that might make them go out of true are mondo impacts, spokes too wimpy for the job, or rims too wimpy for the job. Note that the "too wimpy" requirement can also be satisfied by someone being too heavy for a good set of wheels.
     
  15. jbel

    jbel New Member

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    No arguments here - the Oval brakes work perfectly and look really cool! I emailed Kestrel about my wheel problem and they told me "we found that our assembler did not tighten the wheelsets to our spec. Once a dealer does this, the problem should be fixed". It kind of makes me wonder why Kestrel would not put out a service bulletin to their dealers letting them know this. Or - maybe they did and I have a beef with my dealer! Oh well, I love the bike and hope everything is good going forward with Trinogt's and mine.
     
  16. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Because it's not their dealers that are supposed to tension wheel spokes. That should be happening at the wheel factory. A dealer shouldn't have to assume that the tensions in a wheel need to be checked to be sure they're proper and even.
     
  17. trinogt

    trinogt New Member

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    Yeah, I check periodically with the local Kestrel dealer's website for recall info. Nothing. (Can be a good thing!)
    I have only had the problem with the non-drive side spokes. Drive side seems quite tight in tension, but I went up on all the non drive spokes and still, have no problems. I'm happy!
    alienator, you are right about Oval Concepts having good stuff. I compared weight from some of my parts to other big names, and many parts are actually lighter, if advertised correctly...
    I have never seen specs on weight of the 524 wheels, however. Using my digital bathroom scale, removing the weight by calculator of advertised numbers for tires, tubes, cassette, etc, I come up with 1627 grams, checking and triple checking. Doesn't sound bad for entry level wheels, does it?
    How stupid is that, using a bathroom scale? LOL Boy I am anal and cheap, apparently haha
     
  18. tnawara

    tnawara New Member

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    I had the same thing (recurring loose spokes) happen on the Oval 524s on my Fuji Altamira. This started happening only two weeks after I bought the bike and, even after two tunings/truings by my bike shop, it continued to happen. I've only had the bike for 3.5 months, but it had become unrideable for more than 10-15 miles at a time, and I had started carrying (and using) my spoke wrench on rides of all lengths. Good times. Because of this history, my shop just replaced the wheels today. Hope the replacements work well, I'm riding 50 tomorrow...
     
  19. jbel

    jbel New Member

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    I emailed Kestrel after my second problem and they promptly replied and said they would replace the wheels if necessary. A couple weeks later I broke a spoke and went back to my dealer again. They got authorization from Kestrel to replace the wheels with Mavic Aksiums. Since then, I have ridden 1500 miles on the Mavics with no issues. In a nutshell, the Oval 524 wheel set is pure junk. get rid of them any way you can!
     
  20. Wirebender

    Wirebender New Member

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    Hi

    I bought a new Fuji with 524 wheelset and after 700 miles I started breaking spokes also. After three times to the bike shop they replaced the rear wheel. About 60 miles later the new rear wheel went out of true! The shop called the company and they sent me
    a new wheelset Oval 327 which I can't find by searching on the net! Then new wheels are 17 mm wide instead of 14 and have bladed
    spokes.. I have 0 miles on them but they sure look good! If anyone knows anything about this new number please let me know!
     
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