Author Topic: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage  (Read 5631 times)

Slammin Sammy

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I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« on: April 24, 2015, 01:47:22 AM »
I'm rebuilding my front wheel after yet another spoke explosion.

Two broke on a ride, and when I deflated and removed the the, two more broke, including one that wasn't covered by rim tape (I had partially removed the tape to repair the 2 broken spokes, which were adjacent) and shot the rim end clear across my garage! I was damn lucky not to have been leaning over the rim, or it could have taken an eye out.

These spokes are NOT overly tensioned (using Park Tools' tensiometer, they are about the same as my wife's Thorn-built wheels). They are black though, and Dave Whittle has previously indicated on this site that their turnover for black spokes is much less than for silver. (Disclosure: I built my wheels from SJS-supplied spokes, whereas my wife's wheels were built by Thorn. However, I'm assured by several wheel builders in my area that my wheels are built properly.)

Thus, my suspicion is that they are old stock from a period several years ago when there was substandard SS wire coming out of China. A friend who manufactures very well specced touring bikes here in Australia was surprised that the problem was with Sapim spokes, but he related that he was aware of the bad wire. He recommended that I switch to DT Swiss straight spokes (non-butted, Champions), which I have ordered.

Some of you may recall that last year, Sapim responded to my complaint by sending me over a full set of Force spokes for each wheel. Upon advice from Dave and the Rohloff and SON websites, I have not installed these as they are slightly larger at the hub end than recommended, but ordered a full set of new Race spokes for each wheel. Some of these have now broken.

I guess I could have gone to silver spokes for better results, as they would presumably come from a fresher batch, but I really want to put the issue to bed once and for all. My bike maker friend insists the problem is not with the finishing process, so I want to stay with black spokes. The added weight from the non-butted spokes is expected to be minimal (less than one spoke on each wheel?), and at a straight 2.0mm, they should be stronger than the Race.

Watch this space!

Danneaux

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2015, 02:53:30 AM »
Quote
Watch this space!
Sure will, Sammy!

I hope this will well and truly signal the end of your wheels' spoke woes. How discouraging to have the second set break as well!

FWIW, I've had good luck with both DT and Wheelsmith/Asahi (silver) spokes, and have yet to break a spoke on wheels I've built. Hoping you'll have the same good luck from here on out.

Very best of luck on Round Three; looking forward to the results and reports.

All the best,

Dan.

mickeg

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2015, 03:46:54 AM »
I used Wheelsmith DB-14 for almost all of my wheels, have not had any breakage.  That includes my Long Haul Trucker, Thorn Sherpa, front wheel on my Nomad.

Peter White speaks highly of Wheelsmith on his website, that is in part why I chose Wheelsmith over other brands.  But I used Sapim nipples on the Wheelsmith spokes on my Nomad which has the Andra 30 rims.

I had trouble finding the spokes I needed for my rear Nomad (Rohloff) wheel due to the very odd length, on that wheel I used Wheelsmith straight gauge (2.0mm) since that was all I could find without paying a fortune for shipping.



Andre Jute

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2015, 04:38:52 AM »
This is very odd. I have Sapim Strong spokes on my Utopia and the after seven years the wheels are drum-tight. However, there's something special about these wheels, because these particular spokes were made for Utopia with heads angled to favour the Rohloff and, presumably, the SON hubs when fitted to very wide wheels (32mm external measurement). That makes it sound like they had breakages before, and asked Sapim to do something about it. These spokes were on Sapim's netsite quite a few years ago; I haven't looked since. They have a downside, though: they are butt-ugly, if y'all will forgive the pun, because the butt is short and fat and inelegant.

Slammin Sammy

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2015, 04:36:43 PM »
Just to be clear: All of these spokes have broken in the middle, not at either end. Several broke while I was removing them from the wheel (replacing each spoke in turn rather than removing all and starting from scratch, so that the new spokes match up in the hub holes properly). They are actually quite brittle and don't take to any sort of bending very well.

I also couldn't find Wheelsmith spokes in the short length (238mm) for my rear wheel. I have ordered the DT Swiss Champions, but have not yet received them.

I guess the good thing is I'm getting lots of wheel-building practice!  :P

jags

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2015, 05:31:22 PM »
sam just curious are the spokes breaking at the hub / rim or the middle.
whem Mark beaumont done his world tour he had major problems with spokes breaking on the rohloff hub . he eventually got it sorted by a polish mechanic who respoked his wheel simpley because the spokes where wrong something to do wih lenght and the way they were threaded.

it must be dodgy spokes you got sure what else could it be  ::)

anto.

mickeg

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2015, 08:34:53 PM »
Breaking in the middle is virtually unheard of.

A wheel with a huge amount of riding on it can start to show wear where the spokes rub against each other where they touch.  As you roll and the wheel deforms slightly, where the spokes touch they will actually move slightly against each other causing a small groove to wear into it.  But I have never heard of the wear to be severe enough to cause breakage.  Take a look at the breakage and see if it looks like there was any wear from an adjacent spoke.

If they are as brittle as you cite, it makes me wonder how they got the wheel laced in the first place without breaking them in the lacing process.

Andre Jute

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2015, 09:09:13 PM »
I wonder, George, if the sudden release of tension isn't causing the break. Sam says it's when he takes these spokes out that they break.

Sam, good luck, and I'm looking forward to your success both with the wheelbulding and in civilizing Australian politics.

NZPeterG

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2015, 08:01:10 AM »
Just to be clear: All of these spokes have broken in the middle, not at either end. Several broke while I was removing them from the wheel (replacing each spoke in turn rather than removing all and starting from scratch, so that the new spokes match up in the hub holes properly). They are actually quite brittle and don't take to any sort of bending very well.

I also couldn't find Wheelsmith spokes in the short length (238mm) for my rear wheel. I have ordered the DT Swiss Champions, but have not yet received them.

I guess the good thing is I'm getting lots of wheel-building practice!  :P

Well spokes broken in the middle is all put down to bad spoke wire! a number of spokes makers got this wire a few years ago and all spokes broken in the middle!
Once a few spokes broke you always need to do a full spoke replacement.
Black spokes not not last as long as silver spoke? why? something to do with the colouring??
Shorter spokes can only be got from a Rohloff seller..
Time for me to go riding again  :)

Kiwi Pete
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Far-Oeuf

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2015, 09:59:45 AM »
Breaking in the middle is virtually unheard of.

thats exactly where my Sapim spokes broke with the Rohloff hub, in the middle.   Three of them.

EDIT: brand new wheel, and three spokes broken in the first 150 miles of road riding.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 10:01:36 AM by Far-Oeuf »

NZPeterG

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2015, 10:17:34 AM »
thats exactly where my Sapim spokes broke with the Rohloff hub, in the middle.   Three of them.

EDIT: brand new wheel, and three spokes broken in the first 150 miles of road riding.

Please Read

Well spokes broken in the middle is all put down to bad spoke wire! a number of spokes makers got this wire a few years ago and all spokes broken in the middle!
Once a few spokes broke you always need to do a full spoke replacement.


Kiwi Pete
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mickeg

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2015, 12:10:03 PM »
Please Read

Well spokes broken in the middle is all put down to bad spoke wire! a number of spokes makers got this wire a few years ago and all spokes broken in the middle!
Once a few spokes broke you always need to do a full spoke replacement.


Kiwi Pete

I agree with NZPweterG, if the first 150 miles on a new wheel results in 3 spokes broken, you need a new set of spokes.  Even if they broke at a place other than the middle, you do not need a doctorate degree in statistics to see that the trend is not favorable.

If it was me, I would not only ask the seller of the wheel for a new set of spokes (plus a few spares for travel) but to also pay for someone to build up a new wheel from the hub and rim.  And a new set of nipples, time to unthread a bunch of nipples is not worth the cost savings, it is best to just use a wire cutter to quickly separate the rim from hub.  And if shipping is involved to get a wheel built, the cost of shipping too.

I think it unlikely that whoever sold you the wheel would give you a new wheel, but you could always try.  I would not mind having a second Rohloff wheel for a different set of tires.

Far-Oeuf

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2015, 01:23:44 PM »
I've already rebuilt it with DT Competition spokes, and it's fine now.   The original three spokes broke on the way to Norway, I turned back at Newcastle and took a different bike...

Slammin Sammy

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2015, 09:08:05 PM »
As I mentioned earlier, I did get a new set of Force spokes from Sapim, which are slightly thicker (2.2mm) at the hub than the Race (2.0mm). I was warned off using these because both the Rohloff and the SON are drilled for 2.0mm, and specifically prohibit the larger size. Since they're breaking in the middle, a stronger butted end doesn't help me, so I was a bit miffed. (I had asked for a direct replacement.) They never responded to my request for a swap, so they're out of the will. >:(

While all of this was going on in 2014, I went ahead and ordered a new full set (with spares) of Sapim Race from SJS. (I hoped the intervening time meant that the bad wire had worked its way through the system.) Since my last post, I have been waiting for my LBS to get some DT Champions in. I got impatient and have rebuilt the front wheel using these newer spokes, and with slightly lower tension (100kgf on the money). So far, so good. I will still rebuild (again) if the pitting starts to appear.

While this sounds like a royal PITA, I'm actually enjoying all of the wheel building practice. It's a good thing I have a spare bike!  :D


jags

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Re: I've Had Enough of Sapim Race Spoke Breakage
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2015, 09:19:19 PM »
what u need now sam is a a spare rim,or is it just the rear spokes thats breaking.