Monday, September 3, 2012

Wheel Woes

Notice anything?

The above picture should make all but the most unaware cyclist cringe.  You will notice that one spoke is missing (if you look carefully) and that one is going in very much the wrong direction. It is broken. That’s two of 36 spokes broken. This is the second set of spokes that have broken on this wheel since mid-summer.

All of them have broken (predictably) on the hub end. The have all snapped when I was taking off from a dead stop. I often stand on my pedals to start, liking to get some momentum right away. I’ve done this for years…but these are the first spokes I’ve ever broken. I’m not sure exactly why they have broken, but I believe it is not simply because I’m a bit heavier than I ought to be. I’ve ridden a number of bikes at my weight (and heavier by a goodly share), and never had this happen. I haven't taken any serious bumps or attempted daredevil jumps. It seems rather odd, in my experience. All I know is that four times I've heard a rather unpleasant "ping!" when taking off...and this is the reason why. Has it happened to you?

I had the two earlier broken spokes replaced by a local bikes shop, but they warned me that a re-build was likely in my future—and so it is. The wheel is now well out of true, and all the spokes obviously need to be switched out with something stronger.

My main frustration is really with the cost. I believe I’m still under some sort of warranty…I guess I’ll find out about it soon enough. This is new territory for me! My past bikes have either been very old, or have given me no serious trouble. Right now, I’m withholding judgment on Raleigh. My hope is that all can be rectified soon.

One interesting thing I face now is that prime cycling weather is upon us (I adore autumn cycling), and I’m going to be laid up. My old Raleigh Sports is still on the inactive list, so I don’t have another bike to use. It’s back to the car for now…and that means both extending my range and paying some hefty gas prices!

That's two...across from each other.
Perhaps someone can easily tell why?
An update: Well, I'm told that it is "bad wire," together with machine-made wheel building that is at fault, and that I don't have to go on a major diet (at least for this reason). Apparently there have been many such re-builds on bikes made this way in recent years. Perhaps the "industry standard" spokes are all derived from one very narrow set of suppliers? Surprise, surprise.... Now we will see if Raleigh has anything to say about it!


  1. I know that sometimes Santiam Bikes has provided loaner bikes to folks that are having their bike worked on. You might look into that if they are a shop you use.

  2. Thanks F&F! I might take up this idea later in the week...I didn't know about this. That's a great service. Right now I'm doing some pastoral visiting that I can't make on the bike, so its working out. Having a choice about what kind of vehicle to use is, in itself, instructive. Enjoy the sun out there!