Frequently Asked Questions

Where and when does a spoke break?

Normally just before the bend (this is fairly standard after many years use)

  • The rim has been damaged - even the smallest dent can be the cause;
  • The use of non-compatible components; 
    Irregular tension on the spokes;
  • A gap exists in the spoke-nipple alignment;

Is it possible to replace 1 or 2 spokes or do you have to replace all the spokes and re-spoke the wheel?

If you do not re-spoke the wheel, the replaced spokes will have to be very tightly tensioned if the wheel is to be round and true.
Do not forget when the first spoke breaks, all the other spokes suddenly have a different tension pattern! Also the rim structure goes out of line.

If you only replace 1 or 2 spokes, you can expect these or the spokes next to them to break again. It is best to re-spoke the entire wheel and to replace the hub just in case the hub holes are damaged. It is possible to re-use the hub by mounting the spokes in the opposite direction (i.e. not in the direction of the ovalisation of the hub holes).

Can the spoke head breaks off as well?

This is unusual; however this may happen due to one of the following reasons:

  • Bad positioning of the head in the hub (e.g. a slant position puts all the pressure on one side of the bottom of the spoke head. As a result the head snaps off, the so-called "bottle cap effect").
  • The hub flange is too thick and is not suited to the length of the spoke bend (i.e. all the pressure is on the head, which will be excessively stressed and rip off).
  • If the wrong cross pattern is chosen, e.g. cross 4 on large flange hubs, the spoke bend can rub against the adjacent spoke head. This should be avoided.

Can the spoke thread break in the nipple?

This often occurs as a result of nipple/rim and spoke miss-alignment.
If spokes are too long, new threads in the nipple will be made. Under heavy pressure the spoke threads will be stressed too much.
Spokes which are too short may also break at the spoke thread.

Can the thinner middle section of a spoke break (on single or double butted spokes)?

Any object striking a moving wheel causes damage (sometimes only visible with a magnifying glass or microscope).
Top quality manufacture will prevent any damage. Lower standard processes will produce an inferior quality. Sapim draws wire in such way that no change in molecular material structure occurs.

The spoke does not twist much when it is built into a wheel.
Aerodynamic, elliptical spokes, such as the Sapim CX-Ray spoke, are best fitted with a special CX-Ray key.  This will prevent the spokes from twisting during lacing and centring.

What about wheels with a Sapim sticker?

Sapim does not produce complete wheels. Sapim manufactures only spokes and nipples.
But these products only have 'life' if mounted with other wheel parts. Therefor we use a variety of rims /hubs of different brands for testing and presenting our products.
The sticker on the rim is only an indication that Sapim spokes were used.