Thirty-two spokes good, twenty spokes bad

Jul 17, 2005

There's nothing more annoying than fatal equipment failures while out cycling.

This morning, just outside Smørumovre, I broke a spoke in the rear-wheel. I tried riding home slowly, but with one out of only 20 spokes gone and a neither very deep nor stiff rim it got rapidly worse. Fortunately it was only about 1 km from the Vilmann residence, and I had my phone with me. Kristian came and drove me and my bike to Ballerup station, and I took the train from there. Thank you very much.

I've been very happy with my wheels until now, but a broken spoke highlights a critical problem in wheels with few spokes and high tension. There's no doubt I could have ridden home if it had been a well-built standard type 32-spoke wheel, but on my rear-wheel it got rapidly worse when I tried riding it, and I gave up hope after 500 m or so.

Next time I buy a set of training wheels I'll have them built with tried and true standard components carefully chosen to be reliable. Not all that new-fangled integrated aerodynamic crap.

I'm just disappointed, I was really enjoying the ride when the spoke broke.

Perhaps I should add that I'm a very heavy rider, 96–97 kg right now, so I guess more average 75 kg riders probably won't break a wheel as easy as I did. On the other hand I've only broken a wheel twice, ever, the first time was a spoke being pulled through the rim in my Cosmic Carbon wheel. It took Mavic 4 months to replace the wheel, I had to borrow an old Spinergy 4-spoke rear wheel for that years Ironman Nationals, which sucked. The wheel that is. I actually didn't do too well in the race either, but that was for other reasons.


Last edited: May 1, 2016


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