Breaking Spoke Blues

Discussion in 'Rack Mounted Engines' started by Roy Carpenter, Aug 26, 2007.

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  1. Howdy all!

    I just purchased the Golden Eagle Robin Suburu 35cc kit just over a month ago. Before I go any further, I'll be honest with you-I weigh in at over 300 lbs. I have ridden my Schwinn Alloy Seven cruiser for over 2 years, and quite a lot before getting the Golden Eagle kit. Here's the bottom line: The Suburu engine is excellent, I move at 30 mph with the street gear on level ground. The Golden Eagle mounting system is well designed, and made, BUT the drive ring causes spokes to break on the rear wheel. Needless to say, that gets old very quickly!! I've had four spokes break within the last 5 weeks, and all four spokes were driven spokes which were attached to the drive ring. After breaking 3 spokes, and 3 trips to the truing stand, I replaced my stock rear wheel with a good triple V rim, with 14 guage wheelsmith stainless steel straight spokes, and also took plastic ties, and laced the "driven" spokes to the 18 "non-driven" spokes so that when torque is applied to the drive ring, 36 spokes "give" instead of 18, still thinking that my weight was the real issue. I broke another spoke today. I have to ask myself this: If it's my 310 lbs that is causing this, why is it always a "driven" spoke that breaks on the rear wheel? And now that "driven", and "undriven" spokes have been laced together right where the "driven" spokes attach to the drive ring, then my weight would theoreticly be cut in half, (as far as torque on the "driven" spokes, when throttle is applied are concerned), and it would be the same as a 170 lb rider WITHOUT tie wrapping the spokes together so that all 36 spokes are "driven". The folks at Golden Eagle wanted to sell me a heavy duty back wheel with 12 guage spokes, (which they said they couldn't order replacement spokes if a spoke breaks, so I'd have to buy a whole new wheel). They were also very quick to say that my weight was the issue, but said nothing of it when I was talking to them about ordering the kit. (I explained my weight to them at that time as well). As long as the drive ring slightly bends the spoke forward at the nipple, and releases the spoke to it's original position, when you let off the gas, then eventually the spoke will break, regardless of it's guage. I don't think it is too much to say that the drive ring should be designed so that it engages all 36 spokes, and should mount much closer to the spoke nipple, and rim, instead of practically mid spoke where the spokes are more vulnerable to being pushed forward, then backward, then forward, then backward, and so on. That's pretty obvious!
    I don't even know what to do at this point...maybe loose 150 lbs, but I'll bet ya those spokes will keep breaking anyways. I feel like I wasted $630.oo. Anybody have any suggestions? Does anybody know where to buy, or order 12 guage stainless steel spokes? (If that will even solve the problem)
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015

  2. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    :cool:Roy, no offense, but before i gained another 125lbs, i'd be using at least 12g spokes. then again, i'm not a GEBE guy.

    i'll probably use 12g spokes on my twin-engine project, if i can't find 10g-11g wires.
  3. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    If you can't get the wheel locally, Peddler will ship

    The steel WheelMasters can be ordered from J&B Importers via any bike shop. Offhand I don't have the item number, maybe searching "WheelMaster" will bring up the # for 7 speeds, I think I've posted it 3 times in other threads.

    I have 2 brand new wheels (7 speed) in my shop for next weeks builds, get a small discount from The Peddler since I buy so many parts and bikes.

    If you can't get them locally, my bike shop can ship the wheel for $40+upsground, calculate 5 pounds from Decatur AL to your location for UPS shipping charges, and you can have them in a few days.

    I have 2 heavyweight customers who both started riding at over 275 pounds, no wheel problems with the steel and heavy duty tubes.
  4. larymor

    larymor Guest

    Dont give up yet !

    Hang in there Roy! Follow BAMAS advice closely and you will have success. I have the same engine mounted on a $100 aluminum Mountain bike with full suspension and stock wheels which are 14gauge spokes and no problems yet at 125 miles on it, and I have hit some pretty nasty potholes here in Fargo ND. I tied the spokes at the beginning of the installation....I hid in the bush's here and read everything I could b4 the kit was ordered. I had to frame mount my engine as the little bolt that holds the rear derailer on was in the way...I am glad I did cause down the road when i need to remove the wheel for any future problems it will be easy to do. BTW...I weigh in at light weight guy..perhaps the full suspension has helped stop the spoke breaking problem..I dont know....I am going to replace the tube with a puncture proof one with slime and mr tuffy liners as soon as I have my first flat...and if the spokes break I will get a wheel with 12gauge spokes to replace it. Dont give up Roy!
  5. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    :cool:bama's referral, WHEELMASTER, has 9gauge and 10gauge spoked rims!

    must contact them when my project time is right.
  6. Heavy Duty Wheel

    Well, Bamabikeguy, it sounds like your course of action is about the only one I could logically take. I sure hate to take this Sun Rynolite wheel off my bike, but it appears that 12 guage spokes can't be ordered. Only complete wheel assemblies, and lord help ya if you break a spoke. If one doesn't break a spoke, however, then "problem solved"....that's the good news.:grin:
    Does that $40.00 include the 7 speed gear casette, or free wheel? Is the wheel round, true, and tensioned, and ready to mount? I have "V" type rim brakes on the machine...are the wheels fashioned for rim brakes? If so, then it sounds like one heck of a deal to me.
  7. Options

    The thought of 9 or 10 guage spokes on my back wheel sounds good too. Spokes that thick couldn't break under hardly any circumstances. I'm gonna E-mail the Wheelmaster, and see if he can either put 10 guage spokes on the wheel that I have, or build me one. If not, then I'll go with the 12 guage wheel, but that scares me, because I've been breaking 14 guage spokes right and left, and the 12's aren't that much thicker. A couple of options to weigh now! That's a heck of a lot better than's for sure.:grin:
    Thanks Guys!
  8. Wheelmaster

    Bama, (if i may), lol, (you can call me "BIG RUH", Thanks for letting me know about those wheels. I'd like to take a rain check on those, until I hear something from Wheelmaster. I think he offers a wheel with 9 guage spokes...I e-mailed him, and waiting for a reply. I explained exactly what I needed, and what I needed it for, so let's see what he has to say. The 12 guage worries me, because it's so close to the same guage I've been breaking a lot of.
  9. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    imho, 9 gauge is waaaaaaay overkill, a few of the MB.commers have experiences with Worksman's 10 gauge, which is MORE than adequate.

    The 10 gauge will still take a bit of finesse, you have to ream out the bottom of all the notches a tad, (I think there's a pic in my Worksman trike thread).

    If you zip tie these things where there is no "flex", I guarantee you can't bend or break them. If you do the "superdupering" on the rear wheel like I've been stressing, no flats might be the secondary result.

    Nobody has used 9 gauge on a GEBE, (here on anyway) but like I said, 10's are gonna surprise you with the weight.

    Glad you are finding the wheel locally or on-line, me helping shipping is kind of a last resort for folks in the Siberian wilderness or Gobi desert, where a bikeshop is farther than the 30 miles mine is from my driveway.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2007
  10. 9 guage spokes

    Yeah, Bama, I'm sure you're right about those 9 guagers being too thick. Those are the ones that go on an old Harley Electra-Glide or something like I was thinking about the 10 guage spokes as well. Let me ask you this though; The Wheelmaster dude mentioned his "four cross" spoke lacing pattern. Will that still allow the spokes to line up with the GEBE drivering?
  11. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Sorry Roy, only familiar with the WhMaster 12's, and that one experience with the Worksman 10's, (which lined up seemingly normally, after spinning the ring around and finding the best fit).

    If it has 36 spokes, then I'm GUESSING the pattern would fit, there seems to be a standard.

    Wait around a bit, and a spoke expert will chime in here for the reality check.
  12. four cross lacing

    Yeah..I'm sure the spokes will line up ok, it's just that going by "my luck" in the past, I'm suspicious of
  13. Jim H

    Jim H Guest

    The wheels that gebe sells state they are a four cross pattern so it sounds like a yes, though I'm not the expert referred to...
  14. Thanks all

    Wanted to say thanks to all you fellas for helping me out. I think I'm pointed in the right direction. Thanks Bama, Larymore, and 5-7 for hookin' me up with The Wheelmaster. Now I just gotta save my nickles, and dimes to get that back wheel I guess I'll go with 10 guage. I hope that will hold up for awhile. And that is correct....The wheels that GEBE sell also have the "4 cross" lacing. I remember seeing that myself now. I am waiting for return mail from the Wheelmaster though - I'm still a little unclear if he builds the entire back wheel, including 7 spd cassette, or if I send him my hub and/or wheel for him to lace. Once I have that all cleared up, my work is cut out....he he he.
  15.'s confirmed..$190.00, I send him my back wheel, and he'll drill out my rim holes, and hub holes for larger spokes, and lace it up. I'm sure that includes rounding, truing, and proper tensioning. Looking forward to getting that wheel back, with my ryno lite rim, my hub, and those 10 guage spokes. That outta do it.
  16. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Hold on !!!!


    I dunno what Wheel Master you are talking about!

    I'm talking about the brand, Made in USA, CHEAP!!

    Where you get a steel wheel for 30-40 bucks, hang that fancy Rhinothing on the wall in case you change bikes later.

    Switching the sprocket cassette can be done at the bikeshop, takes a fancy deep socket, 2 minutes tops.

    Any person spending $200 on a rear wheel better NOT thank me !!! I am the king of inexpensive fixes !!

    Thank Myron !:confused:
  17. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    $190, thats a lot of cheeseburgers Roy !!

    You are going to never be satisfied if you sink the price of a good used cruiser bike in the back wheel !!

    I looked in my J&B Catalog (2005), WheelMaster has a 10 gauge steel wheel, and you put the industrial tube in it, the liners etc. and ride that bike like you stole it !
  18. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    :cool:Hey guys, don't thank me. i just offer info i find on the 'net. if i research and find WHEELMASTER company instead of WHEELMASTER brand, don't thank me.
    i supply information. Brother Roy is a mature person of free will, and has a mind of his own. if he chooses a certain product,agrees to pay their price and do business with whomever he wishes to...

    don't thank me...Bama:rolleyes:

  19. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Thanks to the ethanol biz, those Indiana corn folks are rolling in dough, I understand that....just making the point that I just don't think rear wheel performance can be enhanced "that much" by re-stringing a high dollar wheel.

    Maybe at 10 miles per hour a person could feel some sort of difference, but at 25 mph road conditions take over, hold on to your hat.

    If a person wants to avoid the rust that eventually gets on a steel wheel, there is an aluminum one (ultegra??? xtr?? durn ecclipse is even affecting my rabbit ears this morn)...some aluminum brands that have packed bearings, for around $75-80, with heavy duty spokes.

    Sure, Roy can do as he pleases, just want to clear up the confusion of "brand names" in the cycling business, how Wheel Master the wheel maker is not the same as Wheel Master the "modifier", equiv. of a shoe cobbler or tennis racket repairman.

    Sometimes searching a name brings up thousands of results, and anytime I'm mentioning Wheel Master, I'm referring to the brand sold to bikeshops by J & B Importers.

    This WM guy may do excellent work, but I'll wait till Roy gets it reinstalled, it's his bike and his thread.

    You are very correct Myron, & Roy is doing his research based on all of our mutual input, but I'm just thinking the $190 solution will scare others thinking about the exercise/transportation combo.

    Casual thread readers should just know there are different priced solutions, and in my humble opinion, a rear wheel/tire/tube upgrade of $50-60 will get you rolling without worries.
  20. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    :cool:hey, in everyday transactions ya win some and ya lose some. every time i think i might have overspent on an item i bought for my bike, house or daily driver car, i reminisce about $$ i "invested" in Las Vegas over the years. one unlucky day/night in "tinsel town" could have easily financed all my entire bike projects, or my books and tuition at the local community college for 2 years.

    "hey Myron, how'd ya do at Vegas this time?"

    sheepishly answered "well...i had fun!"

    i don't gamble anymore, so i can afford to make overkill decisions, especially in the interest of safety. i might not overspend on spokes, but i might do so for an engine/shipping charges/etc.

    right now, i'm involved in a twin-engine bicycle project, so i know i'll be spending $$ in research and development. read that as miscues, parts that won't work for my needs, ridiculous machinist charges,etc.

    but hey...i'm having fun, and the $$ is leaving my pockets at a MUCH slower rate!