Broken Spokes...What Size?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Rob_E_Rob, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. Rob_E_Rob

    Rob_E_Rob Member

    Hello. Before I got all the kinks worked out on my build, I had a heck of a time with the chain tensioner. It got into the spokes a few times and broke 3. I have been riding around with 3 broken spokes for a while, and now 2 more broke, so I am going to have to source some new ones. My question is; how do I know what size I need? It seems that they have them in various different millimeter sizes, and I don't know how to measure them that accurately. What am I missing? Please help!

    Thanks for your time!

  2. Porkchop

    Porkchop Member

    Obviously you're going to have to break down the wheel. Go ahead and take one of the good spokes out of it, take it to a bike shop and let them figure out the mneasurements for you. It can be trickt if you don't have the proper measuring tools.
  3. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Hey Rob,

    Since I just wrote another new member, it's easy to cut/paste, about the J&B catalog found at all bike shops:

    12 g. also corresponds to .105 g.

    zip ties on the spoke connections is the easiest/cheapest way to strengthen the wheels for our speeds and the road conditions.

    extra layers over the spoke ends, on the inside of the wheels, reduces friction causing flats, which is sometimes caused by motorization speeds.
  4. AussieSteve

    AussieSteve Active Member

    Actually, don't expect too much extra strength out of cable ties, (zip ties), at the spoke junctions. It might help a little but there's a better reason for doing it - if you do break a spoke, the cable tie will stop the spoke possibly swinging outwards into the chain.

    Besides that, the thicker and stronger the spokes, the better.
    My HT bike has stainless steel spokes, standard gauge. Don't know if they're stronger for sure, but I assume that they are.
    My electric bike has 0.105", (2.75mm), zinc-plated spokes. (Just measured them, my vernier said exactly 0.105. Thanks bamabikeguy, now I know that I have 12 gauge spokes and that 2.75mm is 12 gauge.) They'll never break, in my opinion.

    If your wheel isn't dead true, it might pay to take the whole wheel to a shop, minus the tyre and get them to fit the spokes and true the wheel. Especially if you're using conventional brakes that grip the rim.

    To avoid spoke-end/tube problems, alloy double-walled rims are best, in my opinion, especially if you tighten spokes with the tyre and tube fitted.
    Not sure what they're like for strength - I guess I'll find out, in time.

    ... Steve
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2010
  5. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    It's a variation of a tip that the BMX downhill racing bikers use, twisted wire and welding/soldering being more elaborate.

    I switched bike shops in '08 when the local one, Werners, got right with his prices, and the bikeshop mechanic, Justin, had never seen nor ordered the $35 steel wheel until I started buying them 3 at a time.

    When I finished the recumbent last winter, using the newer/better $50 12 g. alloy wheel, I was thinking I might make a switch on my red Sun cruiser. It still had that original Denver wheel, probably has 6-7,000 backroad miles.

    It was amazing, true-ing the spokes, only 2 needed very minor adjustment, less than a half-turn. Since he had it up on the stand, Justin decided to look at the bearings, and they were in perfect shape.

    So, I didn't switch it out, and it continues to roll.

    A small $2 bag of zipties on the front and rear is the cheapest preventative measure to keep the spokes true at our speeds and the road shoulder conditions. If you slam into a pothole at the wrong angle, the $2 spent will save maybe $10-15 in spoke repairs.

    When a customer brings a used bike to fit, I'll let Justin true the front wheel. That $5 front spokes checkup gets things rolling on the straight and narrow.