WHEN IS IT BEST TO REPLACE YOUR WHEELS AFTER BREAKING TOO MANY SPOKES?

TECH TALK

I broke another spoke and want to replace my wheels because I have been replacing a few lately. Is this recommended and any tips?

If you are having more than one or two spokes break in a short period of time (a month or two), this is probably a good idea. The wheel may look and roll straight, but the tension balance of the wheel could be off and causing the problem.

First and foremost, building, truing and repairing wheels is an art, and I would consider it difficult. This is not a task for someone to experiment with. If you do want to try then I would suggest using a wheel that you would be okay writing off as a complete loss if things don’t work.

Second, remove the cassette (if a rear wheel) and the rotor (if disc brake.) They are terribly hard to get off if you cut the spokes and remove the rim. Third, don’t just cut the spokes; slowly remove tension a little at a time, moving from one spoke to the next. If you just cut the spokes out the load is transferred to another spoke and could cause more damage.

Last, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Head to your local shop and ask if they have an in-house specialist or know of a local wheel builder to recommend. Don’t just trust any shop mechanic. Many times they have not been properly trained for full wheel builds, just quick repairs. If your area has come up dry, there are always companies like WheelBuilder.com that can help.

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