Thursday, December 24, 2009

An open letter to Gary Fisher (Trek)

So, I went to the basement last night and discovered the bizarrest thing! It was as if I owned some R-Sys wheels.

Hello there,
A few years ago I bought a second hand Tassajara. I think it was probably a 2005 model. I haven't used the bike in a bit, but I put some studded Nokians on the wheelset to use for winter riding on a different bike. It's not the greatest wheelset: Bontrager Camino rims, Deore hubs and no name black-painted spokes. Winter time has returned to Connecticut and I was about to put the studded wheels on my bike last night and I noticed that many of the spokes had popped, like 1/2 of them on each wheel. I was totally confused, it appeared as if someone had cut them of the wheels had been run over or something, but my basement is pretty safe. I went to bend one of the broke spokes and it just broke, no flex at all. Apparently it was totally corroded, although you couldn't tell because of the black paint. The corroded spokes were popping because of the spoke tension. Has this even happened before? I thought most spokes were stainless. If I ride on salted roads, I do clean the bike off, because I guess you can't clean under the paint on the spokes.

Regards and happy holidays,

Anyway, merry xmas and such from the beat bike blog!

This might be my last post for awhile unless I bring a laptop on my minivacation. Although, I might have some interesting beach cruiser tales upon my return.


Salem said...

Years back, a friend's bike was in my basement in the days following his EXTREME tightening of the rear suspension pivot bolts. While hammering out a headset race on another bike, I heard "ting" and discovered the head of one bolt popped off my buddy's bike. The vibration from the pounding was the proverbial straw. Maybe a basement thing?

Brendan said...

I forgot, my basement is haunted. Is yours?

Anonymous said...

Some spokes are carbon (not stainless) steel. Heat treatment is employed to obtain desired mechanical properties. Heat treatment schedule for 1095 steel (common spoke alloy) is heat to about 1500 degrees, quench in oil which causes maximum hardness and brittleness. Tempering at anywhere from 350 to 900 degrees moderates the hardness and brittleness. Spokes should be at a spring temper; tough yet ductile. It is quite possible that your spokes were not properly tempered, leaving them too hard and therefore brittle.


Anonymous said...

Hey Brendan,

Sounds like you have a wheel that was laced with a bad batch of Taiwanese spokes. This phenomenon is not unheard of and affected just about every company in the bike industry a few years back. I've seen just about every brand of bike come into the shop every once in a while looking like this with an owner just as confused and frustrated as you, including Trek, Fisher, Specialized, Giant, cannondale, Diamond Back, etc. Your local bike shop will probably know what you are talking about if you ask them. The symptoms of these bad spokes are just what you describe, breaking in the middle rather than at the hub or rim, and being able to snap the with your fingers.

You could try warranting the wheel at your local Fisher dealer, but because you are not the first owner of the bike (you said you bought it used) and it is at least five years old, technically the bike and it's components are no longer under warranty.

chillwill said...

don't eat the brown spokes!

Brendan said...

I'm not looking to get new wheels out of it. They served me well.

I didn't realize that the problem was so wide spread. Thanks, anonymous contributor.