Breaking Spokes

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biohazardman   100 kW

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by biohazardman » Apr 13 2014 12:13am

I broke plenty of the cheap Chinese spokes that came with my pre-laced Golden motor. I think I had six or seven missing by the time I got round to replacing them with some stainless 12 Sapim spokes. DT Swiss makes good spokes too. Replaced the cheap single walled rim as well. I have 10K miles on one set and 4K on another of the same build without breakage. Quality matters in your spokes, rims and overall wheel build. Wheels properly built with quality spokes and rims whether it be 12 or 14ga will end your woes and last a loooong time. http://holmeshobbies.com/Sapim-Stainles ... pokes.html here on the forum has the Sapim brand units and will cut and thread them to your size if needed http://www.danscomp.com/shop-PARTS/grou ... pokes.html has some as well
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PetersReviews   10 W

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by PetersReviews » Apr 13 2014 1:12am

wesnewell wrote:I was talking about measuring the diameter to determine the spoke gauge. My special spoke ruler doesn't have a hole in it. It is just shaved off to the point where measurement starts. and there's a groove in the center of it to lay the spoke in. It's called a plastic ruler. You can buy them anywhere they sell school supplies for goodness sake. I guess if you're in special ed, it's a special ruler.
What? I'm now in special ed? Did I say something to offend you? Sorry if I misunderstood you but I don't see the need for name calling. :(

Edit: Did you think I was being snarky with this reply?
PetersReviews wrote:I didn't know there was a specific tool to measure this but my local bike store measured my spokes as 189mm.
Because what I meant was that I was surprised when they bike tech pulled out a ruler "specially designed" to measure spokes and I had never seen one before. The comment had nothing to do with what you said.

Anyway, I just pulled out my digital calipers and measured my spoke and it's really inconsistent from end to end but my best guess is that it's (according to the conversion on HolmesHobbies.com) 2.3mm or 13g close to the bend tapering to 2.0mm at the threaded end. It looks like 12g should be good, right?

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by TheBeastie » Apr 13 2014 2:02am

PetersReviews wrote:
wesnewell wrote:For those that don't know. Spoke length is measured from the inside of the elbow to the very end of the threads, most usually in millimeters. Spoke hole dia on these motors is 3.0mm. A 12G spoke is 2.6mm.
I didn't know there was a specific tool to measure this but my local bike store measured my spokes as 189mm. For all you spoke experts, are 12g what I should be looking for? Something like this? http://www.ebay.com/itm/Stainless-Steel ... 338b2cf011
I noticed the small size limit on that ebay seller, I searched again and found same seller for longer spokes, I use 240mm for my Bafang.. So just in case any one is interested..
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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by wesnewell » Apr 13 2014 2:21am

PetersReviews wrote:What? I'm now in special ed? Did I say something to offend you? Sorry if I misunderstood you but I don't see the need for name calling. :(
It was not directed at anyone in particular. I just found the whole thought of a special ruler stupid. Like one can't measure the spoke length with a regular ruler. No one appreciates humor any more.
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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by PetersReviews » Apr 13 2014 2:28am

wesnewell wrote:
PetersReviews wrote:What? I'm now in special ed? Did I say something to offend you? Sorry if I misunderstood you but I don't see the need for name calling. :(
It was not directed at anyone in particular. I just found the whole thought of a special ruler stupid. Like one can't measure the spoke length with a regular ruler. No one appreciates humor any more.
Ha, you were just missing the smiley face! :D Yeah, before this, I never knew how to properly measure the spoke length so seeing a ruler designed for just spokes kind of impressed me. Hmm... Maybe you're right about the special ed thing... Anyway, have a good night. 8)

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by ejonesss » Apr 13 2014 7:25am

that wont tell a thing since feedback is mostly to say things like "good seller" or "fast shipper" also the window to leave feedback is very short i think like 90 days or less

the true test of the quality comes with

1. how much weight they have to carry

2. are they carrying a 22 to 30 pound or 10 to 13 kg for you metric users battery so you can get at least 20 miles on a charge.

3. pulling a cart or utility wagon loaded heavily.

4. running high power motor burning donuts and drifting

5. hitting uneven surfaces like going on and off sidewalks, hitting uprooted or even broken sidewalk segments, potholes, degree bike commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPWg2UN2nSU , constant stops and starts with disc brakes.

and if you are able to keep the spokes for hundreds of miles under above conditions then you got good quality spokes.




alsmith wrote:
ejonesss wrote:has anyone tried that ebay seller's spokes?

how is the quality ?
Did you look at his ebay feedback? No negative or neutral for spokes fwiw
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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by alsmith » Apr 13 2014 8:22am

Most steel rules don't have an unused start area like plastic rulers do, so you can just use a standard steel ruler and just rest that inside bend against the end of it. You'd have to do without those holes but you get to keep a chunk of your money .

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by Punx0r » Apr 13 2014 9:18am

I broke another spoke this morning so it will be time to rebuild this wheel as soon as I get some time. So I can start sourcing parts I'd appreciate any guidance on the following points:

* Spokes: 13 or 14g stainless steel, Sapim, DT Swiss etc?

* If using the original rim (had 12g spokes) I need washers under the heads?

* Washers should be used at the motor end to ensure the bend in the spoke is hard against the motor flange?

* What is stronger: The original double-wall narrow (23mm?) rim or a decent quality single wall rim in a wider size? I'm running 2.25" tyres if it makes any difference.

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cal3thousand   1.21 GW

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by cal3thousand » Apr 13 2014 10:49am

I highly recommend 14/ 15G butted for regular wheels and straight gauge 14G for short spokes like motors.

Sapim from DansComp is my preference.

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by Drunkskunk » Apr 13 2014 11:07am

Punx0r wrote:I broke another spoke this morning so it will be time to rebuild this wheel as soon as I get some time. So I can start sourcing parts I'd appreciate any guidance on the following points:

* Spokes: 13 or 14g stainless steel, Sapim, DT Swiss etc?

* If using the original rim (had 12g spokes) I need washers under the heads?

* Washers should be used at the motor end to ensure the bend in the spoke is hard against the motor flange?

* What is stronger: The original double-wall narrow (23mm?) rim or a decent quality single wall rim in a wider size? I'm running 2.25" tyres if it makes any difference.

JRH is probably the best sorce of spokes. Being a fellow ebiker, he knows what we need. JRH's Holmeshobbies


See if he can get 13-14g single butted spokes. they will be stronger. If not, 14g are perfect for an Ebike. Sapim, DT Swiss and Phill Wood are what I use, I prefer DT Swiss.


Yes. It's either a #8 or a #10 brass washer available from Lowes. I forget which, but it's a perfect fit on 14g spoke nipples.


No..ish. A propperly built wheel should never put tension on the spoke head so the washer's are totaly un needed. But if you go with 14g and you're not an experianced wheel builder then the washers may help you get better results. This is one of those "If you think you need it, then you do" situations. So get some. And if you end up not using them, don't sweat it.


that depends on the brand. I would vote for C, none of the above. get a good double wall wider rim from a reputable company. Alex, SunRingle, Mavic, Velocity, ect. 29mm to 39mm is good for most ebikes, but measure your frame to be sure it will fit.
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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by wesnewell » Apr 13 2014 12:00pm

It's not the size of the spoke that causes them to break. It's the quality of the spoke and installation. If your rim is designed for 12g spokes, just get some decent 12g spokes and install them properly and forget the washers. I'm 270 lbs and haven't broken a single spoke since replacing mine with decent cheap 12g spokes that cost $10 for 100 of them with brass nipples. They were Primo brand off ebay. I laced the motor into a 39mm dh rim.
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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by miuan » Apr 14 2014 8:43am

wesnewell wrote:It's not the size of the spoke that causes them to break. It's the quality of the spoke and installation. If your rim is designed for 12g spokes, just get some decent 12g spokes and install them properly and forget the washers. I'm 270 lbs and haven't broken a single spoke since replacing mine with decent cheap 12g spokes that cost $10 for 100 of them with brass nipples. They were Primo brand off ebay. I laced the motor into a 39mm dh rim.
I used the same brand 14g bmx spokes with probably the same rim (Sun 39mm welded). Holds up great. The strong rim helps equate tension between spokes.

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by Punx0r » Apr 14 2014 9:09am

Aha. I see that single butted spokes are fatter at the head end. Those sound ideal for the larger holes in the motor flange.

If I change the rim I will go for a wider double-wall job.

Thanks :)

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by Chalo » Apr 15 2014 3:24am

PetersReviews wrote:Image
Sorry to check in late on this thread.

I have built, repaired, or serviced thousands of bicycle wheels. Spokes just don't break in the middle, as a rule. They'll break at the site of a deep notch, so if they get notched in the middle they can break there. I have only seen two reasons ever that spokes break in the middle more than once per wheel:

1) Wheels that last long enough to accumulate many tens of thousands of miles can sometimes chafe deeply enough at the crossings to establish a stress riser and break there. Even for super high mileage wheels, this is rare.

2) Wheels that share storage space with pool chemicals or other chlorine bleaches can develop corrosive pitting that causes them to break sometimes even just while sitting. I've seen this curiosity a few times.

I'd lay odds that the OP's wheel is a case of the latter.
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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by Tench » Apr 15 2014 3:55am

Punxor, as your in the UK have you tried Tiller Cycles for your spokes, I have used them many times, they even do over size nipples which suit moped rims. Just had another set last week, 13g stainless sapim with over size nips £28 delivered.
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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by Punx0r » Apr 15 2014 7:29am

Thanks for the lead, Tench :)

I've already made initial enquiries with my LBS who are a good bunch of lads so I'll see if they fancy a little challenge/something a bit different. If they haven't the necessary equipment I'll order from Tiller Cycles :)

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by friendly1uk » Apr 15 2014 8:07am

Tench wrote:Punxor, as your in the UK have you tried Tiller Cycles for your spokes, I have used them many times, they even do over size nipples which suit moped rims. Just had another set last week, 13g stainless sapim with over size nips £28 delivered.
I paid a similar price for a dt swiss set (72) from ebay. Seller in london who made them to the millimeter.

I could look them up later, but I'm a bit busy and your price might be a couple of quid cheaper anyway. iirc it was £15 a wheel.
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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by ejonesss » Apr 15 2014 9:44am

you know! another idea might be to use inverted nipples with round tops or bottoms (what ever way you look at it) .

the inverted nipple http://www.sapim.be/nipples/brass/inverted sits in the hole and would rock or swivel (what ever way you look at it) when ever the hub tries to flex the nipple connections thereby making breakage at the nipple more difficult.

now if the spokes could have ball heads maybe they could do the same on the head end and resist breaking too.
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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by samsavvas » Apr 16 2014 8:09am

PetersReviews wrote:I have a rear MAC 6T motor and recently I started breaking spokes. Driving it with a 36V Ping battery, it wasn't due to torque but actually happened twice when braking down a hill (caliper brakes not disc). All 3 spokes broke in the center, not by the hub or rim. I have a couple of questions.
  • 1) What gauge spokes do I replace them with so this won't happen again?
    2) Any idea what length spoke I need?
    3) Any suggestions for good places to order a replacement?
    4) If this happened while braking, is there something I'm doing wrong?
Thanks for any help!
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As many others have already said, there's no substitute for good quality spokes properly tensioned! A good spoke, properly tensioned, with lubricated threads and properly stress relieved when built will (in my experience) not break unexpectedly. I'm a strictly amateur wheel builder but I've built maybe 18 wheels following Sheldon Brown's instructions and have not have one single spoke break over several years. His instructions are simple and methodical. Use good spokes - Sapim, DT etc and always put some oil on the threads and stress relieve as you tighten (1 full turn forward, 1/4 or 1/2 turn back) and when you've tightened up around the wheel use the 'spoke levering' technique. It's simple and it works.

Your spokes have broken in the middle because they're probably crap and were possibly still too loose. Good metal under tension and properly de-stressed will not stretch or otherwise move and will not break until it's atoms are torn apart. A human does not have enough strength to do that to a bicycle spoke. However metal under constantly varying tension (which is what happens when a spoke is under-tensioned) will stress and break. Mike Burrows has done amazing experiments in spoke and wheel destruction, emulating 19th C experiments in which the Victorians lifted great cannons with bike spokes without breaking them! Barring external damage, breakages come down to poor materials or poor wheel builds.

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by ejonesss » Apr 19 2014 1:53pm

how is the quality of bontrager wheels and spokes?

most bikes from local bike shops use bontrager wheels and carry bontrager as their replacement wheels.

i suspect that bontrager does not lace their wheels properly because when you buy a wheel the first thing that the shop does is puts it on the truing stand ant tries to true it.


most likely bontrager uses a pre set automated screw gun set to a specific number of turns and they goes zip! zip! zip! puts the wheel together and it is so sloppy that is why they break spokes.

anyone else have experience with bontrager?
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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by cal3thousand » Apr 19 2014 2:07pm

Bontrager is Treks in house brand iirc. There are likely built on machines but I would imagine that they quality may vary across their lines (and even across time)

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by ejonesss » Apr 19 2014 2:39pm

at what level?

is it their entry level?

cal3thousand wrote:Bontrager is Treks in house brand iirc. There are likely built on machines but I would imagine that they quality may vary across their lines (and even across time)
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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by cal3thousand » Apr 19 2014 2:41pm

I see it in their low and middle tier bikes. Could be more, I'm not 100 on that

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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by Drunkskunk » Apr 19 2014 3:32pm

Bontrager is actually a good USA made wheel. The wheels are made in Whitewater Wisconsin. http://www.bikeradar.com/us/road/gear/a ... 9224/#null
I've seen DT (for DT Swiss) on the spoke heads of some of their wheels, but I don't know if that is their only source.

Wheels come rough trued from most factories, since they are going to get bumped around in shipping. Once at the bike shop, they get their final tuning, Along with other things like shifter and brake adjustment. A quality shop is going to need to give a bike a good fine tuning before it leaves their care.
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Re: Breaking Spokes

Post by ejonesss » Apr 19 2014 5:05pm

ok maybe they use chinese made parts or since they dont intend for them to be used with electric they dont use sapim and they leave the spokes looser than a proper laced wheel.
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