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  1. #1
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    My Alex AT400 rear broke yet another spoke...

    Damn thing doesn't even have quite 1K on it yet...it's now breaking spokes about every 25 miles. The LBS will 'do something with it under warranty' but I think I can see the handwriting on the wall. Don't want to mess with it any more. SO...I need to build up a RELIABLE wheelset, ala the thread below.
    My question: I weigh 195lbs, ride 50-100 miles a week. I'm not a real hammerer. The roads out here in New Mexico are GNARLY. Excel Sports will build me up a Mavic CXP 33/Ultegra rear with 14/15 double butted spokes for about $190. I can get a whole wheelset
    of Mavic Open Pro's/Ultegra's from Performancebikes for about that. I want something that is NOT going to go outta true, or bust a spoke 75 miles out. Is the CXP33/Ultegra rear worth the extra bucks over the Open Pro/Ultegra set? What would you do if it were your money? (My current Alex AT400 front is giving me no trouble). Thanks in advance.

    Bike:06 Roubaix 27, 75mm stem, Ultegra 12-27 rear cassette, all else stock.

  2. #2
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    I had the same problem with the AT400. At 1200 miles I broke 4 spokes within the net 100 miles or so on the rear. LBS gave me a new one as warranty. The front has been fine. I just picked up a pair of Easton Circuits for $279 after the Nashbar 20% off.

    good luck

  3. #3
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    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by Doggity
    Damn thing doesn't even have quite 1K on it yet...it's now breaking spokes about every 25 miles. The LBS will 'do something with it under warranty' but I think I can see the handwriting on the wall. Don't want to mess with it any more. SO...I need to build up a RELIABLE wheelset, ala the thread below.
    My question: I weigh 195lbs, ride 50-100 miles a week. I'm not a real hammerer. The roads out here in New Mexico are GNARLY. Excel Sports will build me up a Mavic CXP 33/Ultegra rear with 14/15 double butted spokes for about $190. I can get a whole wheelset
    of Mavic Open Pro's/Ultegra's from Performancebikes for about that. I want something that is NOT going to go outta true, or bust a spoke 75 miles out. Is the CXP33/Ultegra rear worth the extra bucks over the Open Pro/Ultegra set? What would you do if it were your money? (My current Alex AT400 front is giving me no trouble). Thanks in advance.

    Bike:06 Roubaix 27, 75mm stem, Ultegra 12-27 rear cassette, all else stock.
    If I was your weight and I was specing the build for your circumstances. I would have a slightly taller profile rim as the CXP33 or even a Velocity Aerohead with 36 14G DB spokes(DT or Wheelsmith) X3 brass nipples and using brass spokehead washers at the hub. Then you have durable and reasonable weight. The brass spokehead washers are sold by DT for use on wheels where there is too much clearance between the spoke and hub. 14G spokes live best in a 2.3mm hole and Ultegra hubs and every other Shimano hub but D/A use 2.6 mm holes. Refer to Schraner's book "The Art Of Wheelbuilding" for the info about the washers.

  4. #4
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    Have you tried replacing all the spokes on your current wheel? I had much the same problem with a brand new wheel, and after finally having it totally rebuilt, it lasted for years with no more broken spokes. It'd be worth a try, and much less expensive.

    EM

    PS, If not, can I have your wheelset? LOL
    Last edited by Enviro Mental; 07-28-2006 at 10:47 AM.
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
    - Evelyn Beatrice Hall (1868-1919)
    paraphrased of, and attributed to François-Marie Arouet aka. Voltaire (1694-1778)

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the input; these are both great ideas! Heh....already have the wifey convinced I must AT LEAST replace that rear wheel. Well let you know how it turns out.

  6. #6
    Chili hed & old bike fixr
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    fINALLY

    Forgot to add that the wheel failure was probably due to original build with low spoke tension, which only made the fact that the spoke holes were too big cause spoke breakage way too soon. High spoke tension is your friend, low is not!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggity
    Thanks for the input; these are both great ideas! Heh....already have the wifey convinced I must AT LEAST replace that rear wheel. Well let you know how it turns out.
    Instead of replacing spokes, it'd be one hell of a lot easier to have someone take all the tension off and then retension the spokes, making sure the wheel was stress relieved and had even tension. The problem generally is not the spokes but the build. Machine built wheels are notorious for uneven tensions and incorrect tensions.

  8. #8
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    Pretty sure this was done with last spoke replacement....

    ....as wheel had to be retrued anyway. This wheel has NEVER held a trueing for any time at all, which makes me think it is flawed from the get-go.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggity
    ....as wheel had to be retrued anyway. This wheel has NEVER held a trueing for any time at all, which makes me think it is flawed from the get-go.
    Well, I would double check, because if the tension isn't balanced and high enough, the wheel won't stay true. Are you sure your LBS is up to the job? Not all LBS wrenches know how to appropriately build/tension/service a wheel.

  10. #10
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    Mmmm....you may be right about that. Though this is a high end bike store, that's no guarantee, is it?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggity
    Mmmm....you may be right about that. Though this is a high end bike store, that's no guarantee, is it?
    No, unfortunately it's not. You might check with other cyclists or post question here asking for good wheelbuilders in your area.
    Last edited by alienator; 07-28-2006 at 04:54 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by alienator
    Instead of replacing spokes, it'd be one hell of a lot easier to have someone take all the tension off and then retension the spokes, making sure the wheel was stress relieved and had even tension. The problem generally is not the spokes but the build. Machine built wheels are notorious for uneven tensions and incorrect tensions.
    I totally agree with the last two sentences... but question the first... only because more of the spokes have likely gotten close to fatigue failure. It would be better to get new (good quality butted) spokes and start from scratch. Generally it is best to use heavier spokes on the drive side and the lightest butted spokes on the ND side.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpar
    I had the same problem with the AT400. At 1200 miles I broke 4 spokes within the net 100 miles or so on the rear. LBS gave me a new one as warranty. The front has been fine. I just picked up a pair of Easton Circuits for $279 after the Nashbar 20% off.

    good luck
    I've got some AT400's that came stock on my Allez, so far I've been lucky I haven't broken any spokes. A friend of mine has the same wheels, and has had a lot of problems with his rear wheel. He ended up going with a DT Swiss rim w/ Ultegra hub, he hasn't had any problems with it.

    I'd like to replace my AT400's w/ something racier, and was also looking into some Circuits, how do the Circuits compare in weight to the AT400's?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rruff
    I totally agree with the last two sentences... but question the first... only because more of the spokes have likely gotten close to fatigue failure. It would be better to get new (good quality butted) spokes and start from scratch. Generally it is best to use heavier spokes on the drive side and the lightest butted spokes on the ND side.
    You could be right, there. Maybe.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhfd
    I'd like to replace my AT400's w/ something racier, and was also looking into some Circuits, how do the Circuits compare in weight to the AT400's?
    I'm not sure what the At400's weigh but the Circuits are listed at 1650g. Once the wheelset is set up I'll weighthe two and report the total difference.

  16. #16
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    Smile Well, that's exactly what I'm gonna do.....

    Quote Originally Posted by curlybike
    If I was your weight and I was specing the build for your circumstances. I would have a slightly taller profile rim as the CXP33 or even a Velocity Aerohead with 36 14G DB spokes(DT or Wheelsmith) X3 brass nipples and using brass spokehead washers at the hub. Then you have durable and reasonable weight. The brass spokehead washers are sold by DT for use on wheels where there is too much clearance between the spoke and hub. 14G spokes live best in a 2.3mm hole and Ultegra hubs and every other Shimano hub but D/A use 2.6 mm holes. Refer to Schraner's book "The Art Of Wheelbuilding" for the info about the washers.
    I went to www.oddsandendos.com, and was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by the quality of the wheels that Mike Garcia offers! His wheels are TRUE high end wheels, for LESS than mass produced wheelsets! So, So I ordered a Velocity AeroHead OC 32 spoker as the rear (doesn't come as a 36), black hub, all DB 14/15 silver spokes, and powder blue rim, 3 cross laced. The front will also be 32 spoke, same config, but radial laced. The cost? $389 for the set, including rim strips, skewers, spare spokes and nipple wrench, and s/h. Even fairly loaded, the set comes out to 1653gms. I just don't see how I'm gonna do any better than this, and I will report back once they're on my bike.

  17. #17
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Doggity
    I went to www.oddsandendos.com, and was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by the quality of the wheels that Mike Garcia offers! His wheels are TRUE high end wheels, for LESS than mass produced wheelsets! So, So I ordered a Velocity AeroHead OC 32 spoker as the rear (doesn't come as a 36), black hub, all DB 14/15 silver spokes, and powder blue rim, 3 cross laced. The front will also be 32 spoke, same config, but radial laced. The cost? $389 for the set, including rim strips, skewers, spare spokes and nipple wrench, and s/h. Even fairly loaded, the set comes out to 1653gms. I just don't see how I'm gonna do any better than this, and I will report back once they're on my bike.
    36 hole is made, he might not offer it. http://velocityusa.com/rims/road-rims.php

    Ask about the brass washers, or spoke hole sizing on the hubs. Are you using the hubs that he has? Brand? Brass nipples??

  18. #18
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    New bike, Alex R500 wheels, 11 broken spokes in 950 miles. Initially I was breaking a spoke every 50-75 miles. They were 1.8/15 gauge straight. I probably should have had 14/15 or straight 2.0/14 gauge. I wrote a letter to the manufacturer and they replaced the two wheels with Mavic. They said the entire industry was plagued with broken spokes. The new wheels had 2.0/14 gauge spokes.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by curlybike
    36 hole is made, he might not offer it. http://velocityusa.com/rims/road-rims.php

    Ask about the brass washers, or spoke hole sizing on the hubs. Are you using the hubs that he has? Brand? Brass nipples??
    Hi Ya Curly: I'm waiting to hear back from Mike about exactly that issue. I'm using the hubs he has...I disremember the Brand name right now, but they're a bit lighter, and seem a lot simpler and heavier built internally than Shimanos (uses 4-5 cartridge bearings; takes 5 minutes to disassemble and repack 'em-chromoly axles). I'll see if he can make me a 36 in the rear.

  20. #20
    Chili hed & old bike fixr
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawrence
    New bike, Alex R500 wheels, 11 broken spokes in 950 miles. Initially I was breaking a spoke every 50-75 miles. They were 1.8/15 gauge straight. I probably should have had 14/15 or straight 2.0/14 gauge. I wrote a letter to the manufacturer and they replaced the two wheels with Mavic. They said the entire industry was plagued with broken spokes. The new wheels had 2.0/14 gauge spokes.
    Actually the average wheel build on built bikes is plagued by poor workmanship. Caused by pressure to build cheaper wheelsets faster and not pay for quality control. Let the consumer pay for the testing and repair. Many consumers buy the bike and foget to ride it much, so the bike company gets a pass on that set of wheels.

  21. #21
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    Sometimes it's impossible to build a good wheel when you are using cheap poorly designed rims or bad spokes. Spoke tensions are hard to keep consistent when manufacturers use lower quality aluminum, have weak joints, or are extruding bad rims and then machining away the flaws.

    With the advent of machined sidewalls, even respectable companies sometimes produce inconsistent products. If you weigh open pro's they vary in weight from 420 to 500+ grams. They still build up nicely, but the claimed weights really vary from rim to rim depending on when you get the rim in the production run.

    P.S. I wouldn't go radial on the front. I'm not going to get into the merits of a radial vs. crossing, but IMO high spoke count radials are aesthetically challenged. Unless anodized parts and spinners are your thing.

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