Why Do Spokes Break?

Unless something getting jammed into it a wheel should not break spokes.  It’s the wheelbuilder’s job, that’s us, to use the right components, the right build processes and the right tools to ensure that your new wheels arrive perfectly straight and perfectly tensioned, but importantly that they stay that way without breaking spokes, for their life.

This video takes a look at the main reasons that spokes and nipples break and what we do to pre-empt and mitigate them.  Before we started on this video I asked on our Instagram and Facebook channels what questions people had about broken spokes so we made sure to answer those as well.

Over the past 16 years of running Wheelworks I’ve seen a lot of broken spokes which has given me a chance to analyse and understand these problems.  From day-1 I’ve wanted to build durable, reliable wheels so understanding unexplained failures is critical.  It’s incredibly rare that our wheels break spokes but it does happen and we continue to incorporate what we learn into the finer points of our components and processes.  Repairing and servicing other brands of wheels gives us a broader perspective and allows us to see how we stack up against the competition.

If a spokes breaks at it’s head or thread it’s 100% the wheelbuilders fault because it’s either incorrectly built or it uses poor quality components. We’re so confident in our wheelbuilding quality that we have a lifetime guarantee against spoke breaking at the head or the thread on all our wheels.

If one of our wheels breaks a spoke in it’s center section it can only be because something was jammed into it.  We don’t have any control over this so we can’t treat it as a warranty, however we do promise to replace one or two spokes free of charge.  Because the wheel was well-built we know the repair will be straightforward and the wheel’s strength won’t be compromised.

As far as I know we’re the only company in the world to offer this promise (just like we were the first company in the world to have a lifetime guarantee on carbon rims, but that’s another story)

Enjoy the video! If you have any questions about broken spokes please ask away on the Youtube comments, and feel free to share this email with any of your cycling-geek friends.

If you would like a pair of wheels which doesn’t break spokes then myself, Andrew and Carl are ready to help you.

-Tristan