broken spokes

I have a problem with my wheel. I seem to be breaking spokes at
the rate of one every two weeks. I ride my unicycle fairly hard,
about 6 miles every day, lots of hopping etc. But I only occasionally do drops over two feet. Is this an acceptable rate of loss as far as spokes are concerned?

I’ve done my best to replace each spoke properly, trying to get equal tension throughout the wheel. The wheel itself runs reasonably true in the frame, only being out by a couple of millimetres. The spokes seem to fail at different positions around the wheel, but always at the hub. The last one went just as I was hopping up a few inches onto a kerb, which suggests the damage builds up gradually.

The man in my local bike shop suggests rebuilding the wheel completely. Would this help? I think he’s tired of cutting and threading awkward size spokes for me. :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance.

My unicycle:-

Rim: Halo Combat
Hub: Suzue
Frame: Nimbus II


Height: 5’11’
Weight: 170 lbs
Emotional Wellbeing: Under threat if further breakages occur.

you’re spokes are horribly mis-tensioned (is that a word?)

spokes shouldn’t ever break (unless under alot tougher circumstances than 2 foot drops)

go get your whel properly built, and it’ll last a long time

I rode a set of Sun rims with Nukeproof hubs for 6 years without breaking a single spoke.
I rode my Monty/Profile setup off of many 4-5 foot drops without breaking a single spoke.

Get it rebuilt with good quality spokes (DT) and and a decent rim and will be much stronger.

the rim runs true in the frame

it’s not the rim causing spoke failure

of course, we all like new stuff :slight_smile:

These are fatigue failures, which are due to undertensioning, mistensioning, or misfit between the spokes and hub.

  1. You will need to have the wheel completely rebuilt, since all the spokes are now suspect.

  2. Ensure that this time it is carefully built to proper tension, by use of a tensiometer if at all possible.

  3. Have the builder place brass washers between the head of each spoke and the hub.

  4. Riding so aggressively, you may want to retrue/retension every few days. So you may want to invest in a tensiometer. But a properly built wheel should stay true and tensioned without that kind of attention.

We would be glad to rebuild your wheel at our bike shop in the USA; contact me if you’re interested.

Singing Nimbus 2 spokes.

Hi UN,
I am new too,to the unicycling only. I have the some bike as U do. After some 6 months of very moderate use its spokes started pinging. It happens mainly when I attempt to idle.The local bike people advised putting vaseline where the spokes cross - did not help. I decided to put small pieces of car tubing into the some location - no improvement.
I suspect the problem is close to the rim.
With my biking nothing will ,probably ,happen - it was just cosmetics which I ventured to perform.
May You ,very kindly ,tell me at what level your spokes give?

                                                    Kind regards

after 6 months of moderate use, on a new wheel, the spokes ‘bed in’ and loosen up. they need to be retightened after breaking in, and wil stay true for a long time.

the pinging is the loose spokes

going only on that vaseline idea, that is the worst bike store in the world, and I would never go back. Well, I’d go back once…to tell them they are morons

(if by bike people you meant bike shop employees. if they were just your friends, or something, then they wouldn’t need to have known that)

Thanks for advice.

Hi Sofa,
Thanks.The advice will be put into practice.
The advicers were bike shop emploees.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call them morons. Some bike shops just don’t take wheel building seriously. They may know the basics to true a wheel, but they don’t have the desire, expertise, or whatever to really study wheel building.

This just points out that when getting a wheel built at a local shop it is important to shop around and find a shop that really knows their wheel building. Ask local freeriders, DH racers, or tandem riders where they get their wheels built. That will give you a good start. In the Seattle area there are two bike shops that I trust to build a really good muni wheel. There are two others that have a good reputation, but I haven’t checked them out yet. That’s two to four shops (plus maybe a few more) in all of Seattle, that means there are many many more shops that frankly are not the best place to take a wheel to be built.

not wheel building…wheel truing. that’s a basic maintenance technique that every one who works in a bike shop should know.

I think they are morons - who get the stuff I want at cost :angry:

My favorite quote from Gerd Schraner’s book, “The Art of Wheelbuilding”:

The wheelbuilder should be absolutely satisfied with his work - the final product, his wheel, must “stand”. In other words, once it leaves his workshop, it should never need re-truing and it will never break a spoke. He should be confident enough to guarantee the wheel for the rim’s lifetime.

To me, that about sums it up.

Hi Sofa,T U !.Your advice have cured my singing spokes! I have tightened them to the equal level of pain in my fingers , tensiometer for the spokes costs around £ 180.
The wheel is centered OK.
All the best

No problem, a tensiometre is alot more for actually building the wheel ( I think)

just making sure your spokes are roughly even, the finger plucking works just fine.

Glad it’s fixed :slight_smile:

HEY!!! That’s Me TOO!!! Shakes head

Tensiometers are for whenever you need to determine the absolute tension in a spoke or set of spokes. The plucking technique is really only good for relative tension, unless you build a lot of wheels of the same type, or if you have an identical known-to-be-properly-built wheel as a reference. Uniwitold undoubtedly improved his wheel’s state of health. But he doesn’t know if that’s the strongest it can be, because he doesn’t know it’s absolute tension. He also may have spokes that have fatigue problems from the previous lack of tension, so that despite his improvements he may still continue to have spoke breakage. Except for extreme damage to the rim, spokes should not break if the wheel is built well with quality components.

Damn. Now I ‘need’ a tesiometre :frowning: