05 December 2009

Death in the Family

After an enjoyable evening with the Team last night, I awoke this morning ready to do some work on the bike. Last week I hit a rut in the road that caused the wheel to become untrue and I decided to fix the problem this morning.

Setting up the wheel rig and making sure that it was all centered correctly, I went about tightening the spokes to remove the buckle and get the wheel nice and stiff again. First, I went about making sure the wheel was actually round and equally tightened across the whole wheel and then finally went about removing the side to side wobble.

After 5 minutes of work I was very happy to have a nice stiff, true wheel again and went about cleaning my rims, especially the breaking surfaces.

At first I noticed what I thought was a deep scratch around one of the nipples. On closer inspection and to my horror I realized that the rim had cracked around the nipple and was being pulled out through the rim. I continued my inspection and discovered 3 more areas on the rim that had cracked around the nipple, sadly the rear rim is dead and must be replaced which is a shame as it was the set that came with the bike.

I will hold a minutes silence to morn a great wheel and hope that possibly it can be reborn with a set of Mavic, Spinergy or Shimano rims or the heart break softened by a new wheel set.


Manfred von Holstein said...

May I offer my condolences.

I ride Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels (http://www.mavic.com/road/products/ksyrium-sl.107973.1.aspx) and am very happy with them. They seem very solid yet still quite light. I have almost 14,000km on them, go over big bumps all the time, and have had no problems whatsoever. The spokes are very solid, and so are the rims.

David L. said...

The story of my Ksyriums:

I always heard that Ksyrium SL's were solid/light -- great wheels and got my set at beginning of 2004.

I had no problems the first year, but broke a spoke on a ride with Jerome in 2005 or 06 (Wachi-san of Wachi Cycling in Oume lent me a replacement wheel I used to finish the ride for 2-3 weeks more until the new Mavic 2004 Ksyrium SL rear drive side spokes he ordered arrived ... from France). He tightened the spoke tension to try and make the wheels stronger ... and after months of trouble free riding at the higher tension I had the same problem as James -- the spoke/spoke nipple pulled through and split the rear rim in a few places. Too high tension.

Nagai-san rebuilt the wheel with a new rim and proper tension, and I rode them may thousand kms more with only the occasional broken spoke (once or twice a year).

Then on a sunny morning in early 2008, heading out on a ride a few minutes from my house, I was taken out by a turning car on a narrow side street bike (I rolled over the hood and hopped up uninjured), but the wheel went into the car and the front rim was bent. Nagai-san rebuilt the front wheel with a new rim -- this time paid for by the driver's insurer.

The wheels were fine for another year, until early 2009 (and the front wheel still is fine). Then I broke two spokes on a single long training ride, came limping home and gave up on using them.

Repaired, they are now on the Gios I built up for my son, who weighs about 60% as much as me and rides about 10% as much. They may be 5+ years old and have seen lots of miles ... but only the hubs are original equipment. Great hubs.

We really SHOULD get a separate "equipment review" forum page for this site ...

Manfred von Holstein said...

OK, I concede defeat. I guess the reason why I have no equipment problems whatsoever (including no punctures) may have to do more with my weight (and maybe my riding style?) than the quality of the equipment.

David L. said...

And the reason why I have so many equipment problems has more to do with my weight and riding style than the quality of the equipment!

I am, however, very hopeful that my new training wheels will be bulletproof (figuratively) -- the 36 spoke rear wheel with DT Swiss competition (larger gauge) spokes, bound together where the spokes cross, Mavic Open Pro rim and Ultegra sealed hubs. The front wheel is the same, but 32 spokes (why pay the weight penalty where not needed?)

TOM said...

Go for Shimano Cheapos...they are sturdy and so very stealthy!

James said...


Actually I had a look at the New Shimano Ultegra SL wheels.... Stealthly called the 8 sixty and use the same rims as the Dura Ace wheels as well as the spokes. The hubs use a different bearing package though but as always ceramic sealed bearing will be purchased and installed.

andy said...

Shame about the rims.

I've had cracks like that a few times. Also cracks in the side of the rim as they wear down over time from braking.

If you are just using the wheels for training, I would recommend mavic open pro ceramics. You get the ocassional squeek (I guess because the braking surface is so hard) but they'll last forever and are good in the rain.


Like David L, I also bind mine up where the spokes cross to reduce the chance of broken spokes.

Dominic Henderson said...

Have you consulted The Oracle (mob) about the appropriate PE-approved method for disposal of dead wheels? Perhaps you need to perform out the same time-honoured ritual as for punctured inner tubes - i.e. burial in the back garden.

James said...

Sod that! Will just by a new rim and rebuild the wheel.... use them for the rollers.