/ Spoke replacing - Length? OK, I give up!

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JohnnyW - on 25 Nov 2012
I get through a prodigious amount of spokes whilst commuting on my hybrid through the horrendous quality roads of Stirlingshire and West Lothian.

I get fed-up of taking my wheels to my not-so-local shop for replacement and truing, so decided to get some spokes and do it myself.

Jesus! How complicated?!

I have AlexrimsDH19 rims which I found the spec for, but Shimano FH-RM65 hub, for which I can only find the OLN dimension. If I really need to measure all the other dimensions, it is impossible with the wheel intact I would say. None of the on-line calculators seem to have my hub.

Is it really this involved ffs? The wee chap in Whitburn that does 'em for me (near work you see) doesn't seem that, er, detailed.

Any advice?
Talius Brute - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to JohnnyW: get some new wheels, you shouldn't be breaking spokes on a normal commute.
JohnnyW - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:

You want to see the roads - 25m there and back of potholed hell :o(
JohnnyW - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:

And yesterday's was on a 30m hack in the ice to be fair.....
Talius Brute - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to JohnnyW:

You could try fitting some Marathon Plus and running them a tiny bit soft,as well.
Glen - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to JohnnyW:

Broken spokes are usually due to metal fatigue or badly built wheels....
johnj on 25 Nov 2012 - 94.196.185.246.threembb.co.uk
In reply to JohnnyW:


I don't think you need to reinvent the wheel so to speak just take a good spoke out of the side you need to replace straighten it and then measure its length with something suitable such as

http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=16786&gclid=CLWtsdOS6rMCFU3HtAod2kUAbQ

JohnnyW - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to johnj:

You're right. Bit stupid of me really, of course that's what to do.

To the other posters suggesting that my wheel is u/s or fatigued, are we saying that Ridgeback will have sent out a substandard wheel? Possible I accept, but it did a reasonable season training for the Trossachs Ton last year, as well as the ride, with just one breakage on the shocking Stronachlachar to Aberfoyle road.

Since then, I have upped my speed and distances, but still carry a fair bit of weight (95kg), so I think it's that set against modern bikes having fewer spokes (32 rather than 40 on the rear according to Sheldon Brown) and the crappy state of the roads.

Bloody hope I don't need a new wheel, as funds are tight, and the damn thing cost me enough.
johnj on 25 Nov 2012 - 94.197.241.184.threembb.co.uk
In reply to JohnnyW:

No probs sometimes when you look at things you sometimes get a bit close and fail to see the obvious, I've done similar many times.

The spokes in the wheel could have been damaged from new, there's quite a few reasons for spoke breakage and whilst you may have to replace a few more, when on average you can buy spokes for 50p to a quid it does seem rather extravagant to replace a whole wheel.

whilst been a bit of a faff, i'd just get a few in advance and carry the tools required so i could replace on ride.

Hope this helps :+)
JLS on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to johnj:

Bear in mind you are likely to need three different lengths - rear gear side, rear off side & front.

I have had wheels built with iffy spokes that after numerous breakages I had rebuilt but if you are hitting holes with 95kg on top you can't expect not to have problems. Might be worth getting something a bit more bomb proof built by a good builder like wheelcraft or wheelsmith. Perhaps rear only?
Dave B on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to JohnnyW:

Could be any number of things. Rustless or stainless spokes? All on the drive side, or on the off-side as well (possible chain rubbing against spokes when in lowest sprokets). Dodgy batch of spokes?

Rims tend to go before spokes do in my experience on bad roads.

a lakeland climber on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to JohnnyW:

I'm 90Kg and my road bike has 20 spokes front and 24 rear. Not had a spoke break in around 7000Km of riding on typical N of England rural roads. I'm not the world's best bike handler either. (Cue at least three broken spokes per weekend for the next two months)

It's worth working out the lengths of spokes you need for your bike(s) and buying in a handful of each, marking each length carefully. There are on-line spoke length calculators: simply enter your hub and rim model and the lacing pattern, probably 3-cross, and you'll get the length returned.

ALC
johnj on 25 Nov 2012 - 188.29.184.172.threembb.co.uk
In reply to JLS:

You're maybe right about getting the wheel relaced. Using a good quality plain gauge spoke like DT champion would make a strong wheel, I'm not sure if chaining spokes at the side of the road would make for a pleasant riding experience.
Alun - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to JohnnyW:
I agree with what the others say: if your spokes are breaking so frequently, then it may be worth investing in a wheel which is more suited to the job.

That said, taking an existing spoke out and measuring it is the way to go if you don't want to change the wheel.
Bloodfire - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to JohnnyW: I agree with the above. I thrash a rigid bike off road a lot and it has 32 double butted spokes that have never failed. I'm close to 80kg. Either the wheels are sub standard in materials or build (both make a big difference) or you have truly found the worst road in the land.

Interestingly, heavier gauge spokes do not always make for the toughest wheel. Some lighter, twangier spokes may have more give and thus be less susceptible to breaking.

Find a good wheel builder.
Leonard Tedd - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Bloodfire:

There is a good dedicated wheelbuilder in Clachan of Campsie (a pleasant ride or a direct bus from Glasgow centre). Alistair Gow. http://www.wheelcraft.net/
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JohnnyW - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to JohnnyW:

Thanks for the advice guys.

I'll persevere for the moment, and see what happens. I know of the guy on the Kilsyth road, so I may pop along to him.

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