spoke breakages... time for new wheels?

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by FREDBLACK, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. FREDBLACK

    FREDBLACK New Member

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    Hello all

    I have had two spoke breakages since June and I am starrting to think my wheels are not suitable for me.

    I am 6 foot, 92kb clydsedale, and my bike is equipped with an Alex ALX 220 wheelset. Am I right in thinking that these wheels are not suitable for a heavier rider?

    If yes, I am starting to consider a new set of wheels. requirements are: Bullet proof, do not break the bank.

    I have heard a lot of good stuff about the Mavic Open Pros/Shimano ultegras, but have not been able to find any of those online around Australia or at internet retailers who ship to Australia. I woud like to check out some LBS's, including my good old trusted LBS for some advice on this wheelset, but would like to check out their price around the internet first, if only to know what to expect.

    So the Questions:
    Am i right in thinking this wheelset is good quality? or is there anything better at this price (or less [​IMG])?
    are these wheels not available, and need to be built upon request? or are they around pre-built?
    if they are around, anyone know where i can find them? both online and at the local's?

    sorry for the long post and thanks for your assistance.
    F
     
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  2. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    You won't find these wheels pre-built in this country, I think, but that's not a problem - anyone can build you one.
    The main thing is to get 36 spokes on your rear wheel. The hub you use is not such a big deal, 105 would be almost as good as Ultegra. Opinion on whether double-butted spokes are better is divided, but the majority belief is that the DB spokes spread the load a little better. Velocity Aerohead rim is the locally made equivalent of the Open Pro; it is cheaper than and probably as good as the Mavic rim. Some advocate a deep rim (>30mm) as stronger; ie Velocity Deep V, Mavic CXP-33 or DT RR 1.2
    Make sure a reputable builder builds the wheel; get them to offer you some kind of warranty.
    You can keep your front wheel; it'll be strong enough. I can't work out why they often make front wheels as strong as the rear.
     
  3. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    The problem isn't with the rims ... or, the hubs.

    If you are having a "custom" wheel laced up, then consider 36 spokes ... Open Pro or C33 or even another Alex rim (if a cosmetic "match" to the front wheel matters).

    Even a hand-laced wheel can be deficient if the wheel builder isn't up to snuff ... the key is to ensure that the spokes are as close as possible to being equally tensioned on each side of the wheel ... and, that is where you either need a very artful wheelbuilder OR a wheelbuilder who knows how to use a tensiometer ...

    ... OR, you can buy a tensiometer and tweak the spoke tension on the wheel, yourself.

    FWIW. I'm in the apparently-minority camp that thinks straight gauge spokes result in a stronger wheel, BTW; but, that is only because I haven't read a convincing argument for double-butted spokes being stronger other than what sounds like an urban-myth-like pronouncment which seems to continue to float around.

    BTW/IMO. ALL Shimano hubs are good ... the more expensive hubs have better bearings and slightly nicer cups & cones.
     
  4. 62vette

    62vette Well-Known Member

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    My own experience with Alex wheels was not the best, I had to get the rear rebuilt with some better quality DT Swiss spokes.

    32 or 36 hole rims laced to Shimano hubs using DT Competition spokes would give you a bullet proof set of wheels.
     
  5. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    Sapim spokes are equally good.
     
  6. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    My most recent attempt at a strong rear wheel has used non-butted 14g spokes, but it is too early to give you a durability report. Certainly, the same hub and rim with 14/15 DB spokes didn't last long, but I suspect that the builder wasn't up to it.
    I think that it is certainly fair to say that more opinions on this forum recommend DB over non-butted spokes than vice versa (for wheel durability), but I'd be the first to say that I was expressing my opinion of the forum consensus rather than speaking from a position of expert knowledge.
    Definitely think about supporting Australian industry instead of the dominant French one - quality is effectively equivalent, and Velocity is cheaper!
     
  7. c00kiemonster

    c00kiemonster New Member

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    Im 96Kg i was finding that i was breaking spoke quite frequently and got some Velocity DeepV's built.

    a) they look cool
    b) aus built so you are supporting local industry
    c) never had any hassell , straight as die and i ride 250+km a week love em
     
  8. 11ring

    11ring New Member

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    We do Shimano R-560's for $285.00. R-600 are $465.00

    See www.cellbikes.com.au



    I have heard a lot of good stuff about the Mavic Open Pros/Shimano ultegras, but have not been able to find any of those online around Australia or at internet retailers who ship to Australia.
     
  9. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    Opinion, and my own experience, suggest that the R-550/560 rear wheel is not particularly strong in the context of a large rider.
    Open Pro rims and Ultegra hubs are both readily obtained in Australia; I don't think that the absence of prebuilt wheels is a problem. At least, if you buy the bits separately, you can choose your builder.
     
  10. FREDBLACK

    FREDBLACK New Member

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    which hubs did you use?
    where did you get them built

    thanks mate


     
  11. jock.c

    jock.c New Member

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    I've never had much luck with double butted spokes. Massively disappointing break-fest. Dunno whether I just got lumped with bad spoke batches, bad builds, or what but they were terrible for mine.

    Straight guage DT Swiss haven't let me down in the past. For training wheels recommend 32/36 spokes of the heaviest guage available unless you're a sook and only ride on pristine roads.

    Helps to use a rim that can take a pounding too. Most builders will rec mid-V form factor rims to provide better strength without being too harsh (like deep-V). Personally had no problem abusing box section rims when the wheels were built properly.

    Main thing to aim for is to have a wheelset that is tough and reliable, stays true, and can be serviced easily on the roadside if you ever do get into problems. So try to avoid exotics (eg. shimano 540's which are dreadful if you break a spoke or have them go out of true)
     
  12. 11ring

    11ring New Member

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    The straight pull radial drive side lacing is quite durable in my experience. The mark up on aftermarket wheels parts is so high that factory builds seem to be very good value, unless you already have the parts lying around.

     
  13. thomas_cho

    thomas_cho New Member

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    I think I outweigh you lot, I am 96kg at the latest weigh-in.

    I built myself a 32 spoked wheelset using Ambrosio rims, 105 hubs and DT competition spokes (purchased from 11ring), and they are still true after abt 400km.

    I also have a set of R550 wheels, and nothing has broken on them in about 1500km (I was >100kg when i started riding). I have had to true them slightly, but thats about it. They are pretty strong. Then again when you search on these forums, many have complained abt them spokes breaking. I think it helps a lot if the wheels were factory tensioned properly to begin with.

    I'd still go with 32/36 spoked wheelsets, simply becos it just easier to maintain than the exotic designed wheelsets.
     
  14. c00kiemonster

    c00kiemonster New Member

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    hi ,
    Bike is a Giant Perrigee ( Al hybrid )
    Running 105
    If you are in Melbourne , have a chat to Sean at lygoncycles
    http://www.lygoncycles.com.au/ 9387 0412 ( luckily had a repair docket next to my desk )
    really happy with them , bear in mind i tend to not jump gutters ect but im a big bugger and use my bike for everything and had no probs , only hassell you may have is that you need long stem valves , can use littlies but its a bit fiddly getting the pump on.
    I now velocity have a website so they be able to supply a dealer close to home
    good luck
     
  15. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    I know that it would be very rude to mention parker-international.co.uk or similar in the presence of someone who works in a bike shop....
     
  16. sabretech2001

    sabretech2001 New Member

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    Here's a synopsis of my experience as a fellow 6-foot, 90-something-kg clydesdale:
    32/36 not that important. I use 36 on the track bike and 32's on the road. More a case that 36 hole Nuovo Record hubs are easier to find for track than any other drilling. I have a set of 32's that are waiting the right rims to come along.

    My standard build is cross 3, asymnetrical inside pulling. 15/16/15 front and off-side rear, 14/15/14 drive side rear. Track, road, same lacing pattern and spoke guages. My experience is that the double butted spokes are a tiny bit lighter, which is mainly a psychological boost, but nevertheless lessens the rotating weight. The main benefit is that the skinny center section of the spokes make the wheel a bit 'springier', that is able to absorb some of the road shock with no ill effect, either in loosening/breaking a spoke, or transmitting that shock impulse into your already suffering palms.
    Hub flanges are important, but not important enough to justify replacing the hubset for their own sake.
    Rims: Aero rims are stiffer but are heavy. All that weight at the edge of the rim :eek: ! Anodized or not? Anodized usually, but not always, means heat treated, which makes the aluminum much harder and stiffer. It makes the wheel a lot easier to lace up, but discrepancies in spoke tension are harder to pick up on, and out on the road an anodized rim will literally break when a plain alu rim will bend. Perhaps the difference between nursing the bike home and walking. All other things being equal, go with the rims that are made in Oz: support your domestic bike bits manufacturers!
    Price: getting the wheels already built up costs more than just the pieces, because you're paying for the labor involved in building them up. If you can, find somebody you know who rolls their own, and ply him/her with beer. In almost every instance, the separate components plus a six of good quality suds will cost less than the wheel already prebuilt (not to mention the no beer part!). Or, you can learn to do it yourself, which is really hard (nerve racking) the first time (but gets very much easier with the second and subsequent wheelsets), and you will have the very great satisfaction of mastering another facet of cycling, lessen your dependence on the LBS, and best of all lets you keep all the beer for yourself.
     
  17. WrxAnt

    WrxAnt New Member

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    Currently running SHimano R550s.

    I've been 95kgs+ and have put 1500km+ on them with no issues.

    I do cringe every time I hit a bump on the road, but so far... no broken spokes YMMV.

    My friend who is 75kgs has constant issues with Spokes and his low end spec Alex rim which has many more spokes than my R550 *shrug*

    Cheers
    Ant
     
  18. jock.c

    jock.c New Member

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    Apparently the build quality of Alex wheels isn't consistent. I have Alex built wheels (105 hubs, unknown brand mild steel spokes (36), and Alex DA22 rims) on my training bike. They've done just shy of 40,000km over some of the crappiest roads you could imagine with just two broken spokes on the rear (drive side).

    Rode them for 200km to bed them in, then took them back to the LBS for a tweak. Only ever needed very minor truing since then. Even when I creased the front rim on a pothole at high speed the only thing necessary was a little truing.

    I hate breaking spokes and swore blind I replace the lot with DT Swiss if I broke two on these wheels. Well by the time that happened I'd already done 35,000km and makes more sense to just shell out for new custom built training wheels now.
     
  19. HughMann

    HughMann New Member

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    SNIP

    My experience with Alex rims is not good. 95kg rider and ride lots of crap shared paths and reasonable roads.
    After 15 months pulled 6 spokes out of rear rim. Wheels required constant truing/spoke replacement. All work done by LBS and mechanic has top reputation as wheel builder.

    Managed to get rear rim replaced under warranty. They offered Mavic A119. I paid to upgrade to Open Pro.
    Had wheel built at LBS and was so impressed that I took front wheel in to get Mavic Open Pro rim too.

    Thoroughly recomment Mavic Open Pro rim, 36 hole, heavier spokes ( not sure here, 14/15 or something like that used in touring wheels) and 3 cross interlaced lacing.

    Not a problem in 10,000k since and the leg power really gets to the road.

    Keep on hearing people who are long time serious/ competitive cyclists say that the wheel described above is the best training wheel ever and some on a budget do race them.

    cheers

    Hugh
     
  20. when eddy ruled

    when eddy ruled New Member

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    for hand built wheels find the best wheelbuilder you can. been running open pro's on record hubs with sapim spokes for 6 years with only the occasional true and no spoke breakages, doing 10 to 15 thousand km a year.

    if the wheel ever gets out of true, get it straightened right away as once a rim is "sprung"`its buggered, plus it screws up your braking.

    and like most things on a bike, the rims and spokes will need replacing over time, especially f you're doing loads of kms
     
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