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I bought a new 2017 Kestrel RT1000 from Performance Bike, putting about 2K miles annually on roads. Both Oval wheels failed consistently with spokes breaking one after another. Eventually I badgered Performance to send the front wheel back to Oval for replacement and I had a new rear wheel built for me. The bottom bracket loosens and creaks. I wonder if the quality of this product is generally bad or perhaps I just got unlucky?

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    Calling your wheel company "Oval" is asking for trouble... – David Richerby Jan 18 at 19:26
  • Machine built wheels can have quite a lot of residual stress, meaning that when one spoke breaks the rest are loaded much more than they should be and are prone to failing soon (e.g. one failed, 10km later a second failed, a few hundred metres after that several more - we had the wheel rebuilt with new spokes and it was fine ever since). BB creaks are also a common complaint. But I can't definitely say you're just unlucky – Chris H Jan 18 at 19:44
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    2,000 miles (3200 km) is more than many bikes will do in their entire life. Creaky bottom brackets are par for the course for press-fit sadly, which is why various threaded formats are still about. Sounds like the main problem here is wheels - are you near the weight limit for those wheels? – Criggie Jan 18 at 21:07
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    You could have a bike with a good frame and good components that was poorly assembled. If you don't want to do the work yourself, find a local bike shop you can trust, and ask them to tear the bike down and reassemble it, and point out any problems that need fixing along the way. – Adam Rice Jan 19 at 1:30
  • You know, wheels are supposed to be round.* Did you or the bike shop re-tension the spokes after the first few hundred kilometres/miles? Often spoke tension on machine built wheels is somewhat low and spokes get even slacker as the wheels settle. If that is not fixed it may cause premature failure (and horrible ride quality). *I tried hard, but i couldn't resist. In my defense: didn't realise before looking at the photo of the bike the third time that Oval is a brand. – gschenk Jan 20 at 21:01
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A 24-spoke rear wheel shouldn't be failing that soon unless you're much to heavy for it. I weigh 72.6 kg (160 lbs) and am still running a 20-spoke rear with ~8k commuting and touring miles on it. However, as mentioned above, 32-spoke wheels, properly built, should last a lot longer (until you wear out the braking tracks, hopefully). They might weigh a couple hundred grams more, of course. IMO, a small price to pay.

As for the bottom bracket, if it's the bike linked above, it should have a shimano threaded / BB30 adapter already (says so in the specs anyway). Without seeing it, I'd do this if it were my creaking bottom bracket. First, make sure it's installed correctly. (Instructions here: https://wheelsmfg.com/tech/PDF/BB30-OUT-SHIMANO-INSTRUCTIONS-WEB.pdf)

If it loosens, it will always creak. If you can get it properly installed, it should stop creaking. If not:

  1. pull it,
  2. clean mating surfaces (adapter, threads, BB shell.
  3. If possible, remove bearings, pop seals of cartridge bearings, soak them in turpentine for 10 minutes, rinse, dry, pack in more grease, replace seals. (Alternately, pop seals, verify that they've got grease and aren't rusted. Pack in more grease if they look low.)
  4. Drink beer.

If that still doesn't stop it, I don't know. Drink more beer?

  • The bike probably has a bottom bracket more like this: shop.fullspeedahead.com/en/type/bottom-brackets-spares/… Which is why it creaks - the bearings are just press-fit into the frame, with nothing other than friction holding them tight, and nothing substantial keeping them aligned. – Andrew Henle Jan 19 at 14:09
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    "I go 160" means "I weigh 160lbs"? – David Richerby Jan 19 at 16:25
  • Yeah. I'm more of a runner, and tall, but weigh 160-165 pounds, normally. Those spindly wheels have lasted me a long time, though these days I ride touring bikes that are more bomb-proof (and comfortable). To, not having to worry about whether or not I'm going to bust a wheel is worth the extra weight of 32 spokes! – WPNoviceCoder Jan 19 at 17:48
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Is this your bike: https://archive.kestrelbicycles.com/2017/Kestrel/rt-1000-shimano-1056 ?

If that is your bike, you got a bike with 18 spokes on the front wheel and 24 spokes on the rear wheel. 18 front spokes is OK for a road bike unless you're really heavy, but the wheel has to be built properly. In my opinion 24 spokes on the rear wheel is NOT OK unless you're really light and your riding style is really easy on the wheels. I'd venture to say that any cyclist over about 180 lbs or so will cause a 24-spoke rear wheel to fail in a few thousand miles - much less if you're heavier or really strong, and much less if the wheel isn't built well.

Oh, and wheels are wear items - they wear out. Especially ones with rim brakes.

You got 2,000 (or more) miles out of a 24-spoke rear wheel. That's not too bad unless you're a 120lb lightweight.

If you're much above 180 lbs or so I'd say you never should have been riding that rear wheel in the first place.

If you want a pair of wheels that last, get a built-up set with hubs that have a steel freehub, (steel freehub lasts a lot longer than aluminum, and you probably don't want to pay for a titanium freehub), 24 spokes front, 32 spokes rear, on decently heavy rims.

You can find such wheels on many internet sites and they're not that expensive, and they will last a long time. You may have difficulty getting that much of a spoke disparity between front and rear wheels as most such wheelsets seem to be sold with matching front and rear spoke counts. Since the rear wheel on rim-brake bicycles takes much more of a load than the front wheel, that means either the front wheel is overbuilt or the rear wheel is underbuilt.

As far as creaks from the bottom bracket? Assuming you have press-fit adapters into the BB30 frame as listed in the link above, that's par for the course for BB30 and other press-fit bottom brackets. There are threaded adapters that avoid this, such as this one, but you may have to replace your entire crankset (although per the link above your bike has a standard Shimano crankset with 24mm spindle, so you might not have to replace the crankset).

  • Regarding wear items, wheels last at least a magnitude longer than other things considered wear items. Yes, you can destroy brake surfaces faster but you are not required to do that. – ojs Jan 20 at 18:25
  • I think you're pessimistic about wheels. I weigh about 160lbs and am just shy of 3000 miles on my 20-spoke rear wheel and have had zero issues with it; the other answerer says they're also about 160lbs and have done 8000 miles on their 20-spoke wheels. – David Richerby Jan 20 at 19:08

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