Coker Spokes snapping

I have a 2 year old big one, about 6 months ago six of the spokes snapped, same side, in the middle of the spoke. I had never tightend them and i wasn’t riding. The uni has less than 100 miles on it.

I ordered 10 spare, at $5 each. Put six in and immediately another old spoke snapped.

I have built many wheels over the years for bikes, i know how to tension and true a wheel.

I am now relcutant to ride the bike with 41 old steel spokes still on the rim. But I don’t want to spend $200+ to buy more spokes.

Ideas please, anyone know if this is a common problem, it is not me or my riding style.

Usually if spokes break along their length it is caused by some trauma to the spokes. If you ever took a fall and the wheel struck a rock or something hard like that it might explain the spokes breaking. You should be able to see signs like scratches, dents or severe bends if this is the case.

Less often, but certainly a possibility, is faulty spokes breaking from premature fatigue. I have seen wheels like this and they usually break a spoke or two, and then they start going in groups. I haven’t ever seen a wheel with faulty spokes that only broke them on one side though. Even a rear wheel on a friends bike awhile back was breaking them in groups, and so on both sides of the wheel.

If it was because of a hard hit you should be able to tell which spokes are weak, and only replace those ones. If it is calling for a new set of spokes all around it may be cheaper to just buy a new wheelset from Coker for $125.

I vaguely recall something about a bad metal mix which affected all (and I mean ALL) spokes. I think the nickel content was too high, or too low? This happened maybe a couple years ago? Can someone else remember the specifics?

Here it is:

Thanks for the replies.
No trauma, no rocks, nothing like that, this uni was ridden only on flat surfaces.
The spokes are definitely at fault, they are rusting quite badly with spots of rust up and down, and the uni has always been inside.
I think I’ll call Coker again.

The article was from 2006, but who knows how long Coker or their supplier had them sitting on their shelf before they built your Coker. I’d venture a guess that your uni was built with spoke from the bad batch.

Maybe we should contact the Coker “Spokes Man”…sorry, not very helpful

It sounds like it would be a warranty issue, but time may be a factor. If you think it’s a factory problem, if they won’t warranty it maybe they will cut you a break on replacement spokes. $5? Ridiculous.

My first big wheel had spoke issues also. This was due to the type of wire used to make those spokes. But that was a handmade wheel, and the builder warrantied it himself. The redone wheel came with a pile of extra spokes, which I still have, since I’ve never needed more than one or two.

Ask Coker to cut you some slack, and you may get a pleasant surprise. Otherwise I think you can get replacement spokes from another vendor for much cheaper! $2.00 each at UDC

Well played, sir.

$5 a spoke?!?

When I contacted Coker a year and a bit ago they told me $1 a spoke plus shipping, but when I tried ordering some spokes along with a wheel I was told that they would only sell the spokes to previous unicycle or 36" bike customers. I ended up going with connecting two short spokes to make a long one. I got that idea from Max Dingemans and looks like this

cost me about $40 to do the whole wheel

The spokes that UDC sells that are suitable for 36" unicycles are actually made in the UK and are very good. We have seen a dramatic increase in reliability since the change was made a few years ago.


My friend and i got are v2 cokers at the same time both shiped to my house at the same time. His spokes looked differnt than mine. Mine started rusting after a few months his nice and shiny. He rode his uni to work every day rain or shine. After a littel over a year and a half mine got real brittle i could snap them in half. Had a hard time getting the right spokes from coker went back and forth a few times getting the right size (not all 36" spokes are the same)
My next 36er will be a nimbus i miss the one i sold to get the v2

This mirror my problem exactely

I have a Coker wheelset on my Nightrider from around the same time as yours. I will have to watch it to make sure I’m not having the same problems, but as of now the spokes are still shiny so I may have received a good wheel.

Good luck with your wheel.

You’re right, Patrick was sympathetic and is sending a set at a very reasonable cost.

I took some more spokes off. The sign to look for is that they all rusted up and down in spots, when you try and bend them the literally crumble, they wont even bend, the break like dry feta

My Big One is about the same age. So far no rust on the spokes, so hopefully I’m OK. Thanks for the info, I’ll keep an eye on the spokes.