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Not sure if this is the right place to ask...

I bought new bike about 10 months ago. The past few weeks I've had no end of trouble with the rear wheel (Mavic Aksium) in regards to spokes.

About 4-5 spokes on the non-drive side consistently come loose. I tighten them, then after riding for about 15 meters I hear the "twang" as they work themselves loose. One of them snapped right off at the nipple, looks a bit brittle where the break was.

Questions:

  1. Is this normal for a wheel to wear out so fast? I've done about 2500km on it.
  2. I'm missing 1 spoke, and loose on about 4 now. Is the wheel ready for the bin, or is it worth fixing?
  3. Is this something that is normally covered in bike manufacturer warranties, or is it a case of "sorry mate, its just general wear"
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Unless you're extraordinarily heavy or you've been excessively hard on it, that's too much spoke trouble. If you can't get it replaced under warranty you maybe should have one more go at getting the wheel properly repaired (tuned up at a shop), then it's your choice to get that one respoked or a new wheel. (Is this a standard hub or an internal gear one?) –  Daniel R Hicks Feb 25 at 12:50
    
How heavy are you? Wheels are certainly rated for a maximum weight, and that can be quite low for road bikes (maybe 100kg ish). I know it depends on how you ride the bike, but for most of us 10 months or 2500km is nothing in terms of replacing wheels. –  PeteH Feb 25 at 13:14
    
See related question: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/4460/… –  Benzo Feb 25 at 15:03
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3 Answers 3

1) It's hard to say what's normal - what sort of riding have you been doing on it, as in, have you been going over a lot of curbs and potholes? The more you bounce on it, the more strain it'll have. Have you hit one particular pothole hard recently? How heavy are you? The heavier you are, the more likely you are to damage the wheel.

2) You should take it to your LBS, they'll be able to tell you the answer to this, but most likely they'll be able to repair it and re-true the wheel.

3) Depends on who you got it from.. and what warrantee you have I guess. Probably going to be a general wear though I'd suspect.

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Wheels eventually do simply wear out, but we're usually talking tens of thousands of kilometers or at least several years for the average user.

If it's been less than a year, you shouldn't expect to have to dish out any money for this repair. I believe those wheels typically have a two year warranty.

If you bought the wheels at a shop, the shop should handle the warranty repair or replacement for you ( or else it's about time to find a different shop ). Sometimes they're a little grumpy about it since there's a small possibility you didn't take good care of the wheel, but you shouldn't have too much trouble if you're polite.

tl;dr: Wheels should not wear out this fast, these should be replaced or repaired under warranty.

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I don't know if he shouldn't have to dish out any money for this repair - if you ride off curbs or as a nutcase, then you're probably at fault. –  Batman Feb 24 at 23:47
    
It seems unlikely that he would ride around like a nutcase jumping off curbs, and then come ask us why his wheels are wearing out. It's possible, but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt here. –  hillsons Feb 25 at 0:01
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You've probably permanently deformed the rim by riding it with loose and broken spokes for so long. When you get a wheel, you should check the wheel and make sure the spoke tension is set evenly and the wheel is true.

Did you buy the wheels at a bike shop? If so, they should have taken the wheels out of the box (if not custom built) and checked the spoke tension and trued the wheel before they gave it to you. If you got them off the internet, then that's up to you to do.

Usually, You can replace a single broken spoke. If you notice the wheel go out of true, break spokes, or has loose spokes, you need to STOP riding on the wheel and have it trued before riding on it again, otherwise it will degrade rapidly. Spokes generally break when the spoke tension is not evenly distributed or by a sharp impact. When one spoke breaks, it affects the tension of the spokes near it and on the opposite side of the wheel as well.

If you had addressed the issue when you first noticed the broken spokes, your wheel would have probably been fine and just required some wheel truing. However, not dealing with the issue properly probably killed the rim. I'd probably recommend taking it to a shop and have them assess whether the wheel is worth trying to fix at this point. It may not be able to be trued again, even after replacing the spoke if the rim is warped.

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