Rim/Spoke failure

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The fat commuter
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Rim/Spoke failure

Postby The fat commuter » 15 Feb 2015, 1:20pm

Just popped out on my bike for a little spin. Waited at the bottom of our road for cars to go past, saw a gap, pedalled off when there was a 'crack' noise from behind me. kept on for about ten metres and looked back to see the brakes wobbling. Got off the bike to see that the wheel had a severe buckle in it.

These are some photos:

Image

Image


Anyone else ever had something like that happen? Looks like two spoke nipples have snapped clean off.

The wheel is relatively new - purchased about May/June time last year and has covered about 1400 commuting miles, albeit in all weathers. It was purchased off a reputable bike shop renowned for building decent touring bike wheels. I also mentioned to them that I was quite a heavy bloke (17 st plus laptop, etc) .

Bit disappointed, apart from anything else, my bike is out of action for a few days.

The fat commuter
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Joined: 12 May 2014, 7:54pm
Location: The hilly side of Sheffield

Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby The fat commuter » 15 Feb 2015, 1:40pm

Obviously I need to get the wheel repaired and trued. Anyone know the best place in or close to Sheffield to get this done?

The shops I can think of are Evans, Edinburgh bicycle Cooperative, JE James. JE James also have a much larger store in Chesterfield.

There's also Recycle Bikes who I've been on a bike maintenance course with. Not sure what they're like at wheel truing though.

MikeF
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Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby MikeF » 15 Feb 2015, 2:14pm

On the broken nipple in the last picture it looks as though there are threads showing. If so has the nipple unscrewed since the failure, or are the good ones showing spoke threads as well, or am I just mistaken?
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

D363
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Location: Sheffield

Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby D363 » 15 Feb 2015, 2:22pm

I've found Butterworth's on Abbeydale Rd have always done a decent job, bit of a throwback and not high end but a nice place to use. Also the cycles in motion workshop near bramhall lane is worth considering. I think they also do mobile repairs. If you're in town often the shop at the station might be worth a look, not used it myself though.

The fat commuter
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Location: The hilly side of Sheffield

Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby The fat commuter » 15 Feb 2015, 2:31pm

Just checked all the other spokes and there are no threads showing on them. I think that if that photo does show threads then it may be because it's unscrewed as I cycled the hundred yards home. I've removed one of the nipples now so can't see whether it was unscrewed or not. I've just zoomed in on the photo as much as I can but it doesn't seem to be unscrewed.

I'll take a look at Butterworths. I remember the shop from when I moved down to Sheffield a few years back as it had a Penny Farthing hung on its wall. Mind you, I think that the front wheel on that had a massive buckle in it.

mercalia
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Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby mercalia » 15 Feb 2015, 2:37pm

The second picture seems to show the rim is cracked, or is it just mud lines? clean off all the mud to see better

The fat commuter
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Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby The fat commuter » 15 Feb 2015, 2:51pm

That's just where the spoke's dragged through muck on the rim. Just given it a wipe down now and there's no crack.

Two_Trooper
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Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby Two_Trooper » 15 Feb 2015, 4:59pm

You will need to remove the tyre, tube and tape. Check the holes both sides, hard to say just by looking. Ifs its not cracked, brass washers (incase of damage from the inner hole) two new spoke nipples should be fine. But, you may want to consider why they went, I don't think your wight has to do with it. If two just went, then you may have a couple of more. It looks like from the large picture oxidisation, thats speculation.

Two_Trooper

Brucey
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Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby Brucey » 15 Feb 2015, 5:39pm

nipples do fail like that and they are more likely to do so when there is lots of salt on the roads.

One of the other things that helps this kind of failure along is if the spokes are a little too short. IMHO the 'gold standard' for spoke length is if they finish almost flush with the top of the nipple, so that the end of the spoke is within the depth of the nipple slot. If the spokes are this length then nipple failures are almost unheard of.

BTW another thing that I have seen is bad nipples. When you unscrew the broken nipple, it is often clear that the hole is not central in the nipple, and the nipple is accordingly weakened.

Based on what I can see in the photos I would expect further nipples to fail in this wheel.

cheers
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foxyrider
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Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby foxyrider » 15 Feb 2015, 5:55pm

I have Paul in the JE James workshop in Sheffield do my wheel building, never had an issue regardless of the crap I've given him to work with :roll: - they might be able to turn your repair round in a day.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

The fat commuter
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Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby The fat commuter » 15 Feb 2015, 6:18pm

Brucey wrote:nipples do fail like that and they are more likely to do so when there is lots of salt on the roads.

...

Based on what I can see in the photos I would expect further nipples to fail in this wheel.

cheers

The wheels have been used over the winter and have had some serious hammer in the snow and slush and salt grit that is on the road. When I gave my bike a wash down last week it was white in places with salt.

I do regularly wash my wheels down - this was to preserve the braking surface of the rims. However, 30 miles and two days of commute does this to the back wheel:
Image

The front wheel looks clean.

The threaded part of the spoke is about 9.5mm long and this appears to be threaded all the way into the nipple. The broken part of the nipple is 9mm long. On the broken bit still on the bike, a bit (about 1mm) of spoke can be seen sticking out of the bottom.

I can't be sure but I think that the nipples may be brass - they have a slight brass tinge to them on the break.

My worry is that if I get these nipples replaced then, as you mention, others will go too.

As I see it, we have another month or two of salt on the roads. These have broken at rim or within rim level - so I'm not sure whether washing the salt off as I get to work and as I get home from work would do (and I'm not sure I'd be able to do it anyhow - wash the wheels at work). Are there corrosion resistant nipples? I would have thought that brass would resist salt better than aluminium.

Brucey
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Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby Brucey » 15 Feb 2015, 7:19pm

you can get steel, brass or aluminium nipples. For winter use brass is favourite. Your nipples are probably brass.

Nipples are commonly 12mm or 14 mm long; if you have ~9.5mm of spoke in a 14mm brass nipple then to my mind the spokes are about 4mm too short.

If your rear wheel is getting that dirty then I'd suggest that you could maybe use a longer front mudflap.

I have built and prepped wheels for hard winter use and one of the things that I do is I impregnate the rim eyelets and spoke nipples with waxoyl. I usually run it in with a hairdryer. This helps to keep everything in good shape. It might well be too late for this wheel of yours; maybe the next one, eh?

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The fat commuter
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Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby The fat commuter » 15 Feb 2015, 8:40pm

As mentioned, the wheels were built by a reputable bike shop, recommended one off here so I'm assuming that the build quality is good.

This is a photo of the nipple from the inside of the rim. Difficult to get a decent focus but you can just see the end of the spoke flush with the top of the nipple. More worrying is the rust on the inside of the nipple hole. This isn't apparent on all the holes - probably about a third of them.
Image

I may get a couple of nipples and repair this myself (bit of practice) and, in the meantime, order a new wheel and waxoyl the nipples (thanks for the tip).

Brucey
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Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby Brucey » 15 Feb 2015, 9:22pm

this is rear wheel, right? It could be that the spoke lengths seem OK on one side but are a bit short on the other.

BTW if you want to do the waxoyl treatment properly, it is best if it is run inside the hollow section of the rim as well.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JohnW
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Re: Rim/Spoke failure

Postby JohnW » 15 Feb 2015, 11:35pm

Brucey wrote:nipples do fail like that and they are more likely to do so when there is lots of salt on the roads.......................


That's the thought that occurred to me - the flanges on the nipples appear to have corroded, weakened and sheared off - I've had it happen to me. If you can find an old wheel, take the spokes out and keep the nipples............and then you have some spares to repair your wheel with when this happens. That's what I do. The rim doesn't true up perfectly every time, and eventually you'll take it to a wheelbuilder for truing up.

When I was commuting, 20 miles each way - every day (I've never had a car) - in winter, on wet days, the bike would go into the cellar at work and still be wet at home-time. ln the salty time of winter I found that such breakages were not unusual - perhaps one or two each winter. There are remedies, but nothing is perfect. I didn't use my best bike for commuting - I had a work bike.