Wheelworks.co.nz, Handbuilt wheels by Tristan Thomas » Wheel repairs

By: Wheelworks  05-Apr-2012

Bryce sent his wheel back for a repair – a branch jumped out at him, pushed the rear derailleur over the top of the cassette and pushed the chain into the spokes.  It happens.

One spoke was badly damaged, and two others were scratched.  I opted to only replace the one spoke as the scratches on the other two were very small and shouldn’t pose a problem.

It’s worth noting that the lacing pattern I use lays the ‘pulling’ spokes on the outside of the crossing which does two things: When under increased tension from pedaling this pattern pushes the spoke crossing away from the derailleur.  Secondly, if the chain does catch (like in this instance) the direction of the spokes helps to push the chain outwards and away from further damage the rider continues to pedal.

I used a scalpel (a beautiful 60 year old English made tool with a permanent blade) to cut a hole in the tubeless tape.

Obviously with the new spoke under no tension the wheel will go out of true.  I set the dial-gauge to zero on the section of rim directly opposite from the replaced spoke – this section will be unaffected by the loss of tension.  I then rotate the wheel so the new spoke is at the dial-gauge and simply tighten the nipple until the gauge reads zero and the wheel is true.  A quick check with the spoke tension meter shows the tension on the new spoke is the same as the surrounding spokes – it should be since the wheel was well built to begin with.

Other than tightening the one replaced spoke and nipple the wheel required no other truing and after the repair was still true to less than one-tenth of a millimeter like it was when I built it.

I then taped a small section of tubeless tape to patch the spoke nipple’s hole and the wheel is ready to go.

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Wheelworks.co.nz, Handbuilt wheels by Tristan Thomas » Mountain Bike Wheels

I stand behind my work 100% and guarantee no broken spokes for 3 years so if you’re a larger fella and you want your wheel problems to go away give me a call. DT Swiss Competition spokes and brass nipples tie everything together and will keep the wheel running true and broken-spoke-free for many years to come.


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I suggested the DT Swiss 240s hubs as they’re the lowest-maintenance hubset I’ve come across and they’re a great center for a wheelset. The front wheel uses 28 spokes which are laced two-cross, and the rear uses 32 spokes laced three-cross on both sides. Paddy was looking for a pair of year-round training wheels which would stand up to bad roads and inclement weather.


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At 218 grams they’re essentially the same weight as a DT Swiss 240s, but the wider flange spacing means they build into a stiffer wheel which is great for larger, more powerful riders. I use the standard Enve nipples on the front and rear-driveside, and a custom counter-bored nylock internal nipple on the rear non-drive.