04 September 2008

Fixing A Wheel

How hard can it be to fix a broken spoke. I've done it at least a dozen times. In fact, I've built wheels from scratch. I've got a professional grade truing stand. I've got a wheel dishing tool. I've got a spoke tensionometer. I've got every spoke wrench size. So, like I said, how hard could it be?

Well, it seems that if you've got XTR wheels, it can be quite difficult. Shimano decided that they would put a tiny little part called a Hub Nut. It's a tiny little part, about a half inch long that fits into a hole in the hub and is threaded on the inside. The hub side of the spoke screws into the Hub Nut and then because it's slightly flanged, causes the spoke to stay snug in the hub.

But it seems like none of the shops in San Diego has ever had to replace an XTR M975 spoke. I find it hard to believe that no one in the past year has broken a spoke, but that may be the case. One bike shop touted the strength and stiffness of the wheel and that he's never heard of a spoke breaking without some sort of impact. So, he has heard of a spoke breaking, but still, the shop he worked for didn't have the part available.

Dana had the same thing happen on one of our Nobel Canyon rides a few months ago, and he called the bike shop where he had his repaired (North of the Border) to see if they still had any of the hub nuts available. They said that they did. I'm hoping that it is in deed the same part. I've asked a friend to go to lunch today and will see if she can give me a lift over to the shop to buy the part. In the mean time, I've also ordered a pack of 10 from the Trek store (I suppose I could have ordered it from somewhere closer to me, but they were very helpful on the phone--much moreso than any of the other shops I called.

I certainly hope that I can get this silly wheel fixed by Friday night because I want to ride this weekend.