UK supplier for better spokes?

Lukejolyon

New Member
HI all. Like many eBikers, I have a rear hub driven bike (Orbea Gain F40) of which the only design flaw in an otherwise brilliant machine appears to be the spokes on the rear motor-driven wheel, which break quite regularly especially if I have a heavy load in my panniers due to the increased forces they are under. All of which we know - so after the latest breakages (I've had about 6 in total) I took it to my LBS and asked for a complete rebuild/relace of the wheel, with better, stronger spokes. LBS is very good/friendly/reliable and happy to take on.

My problem is that due to supply problems happening everywhere, my bike has been with them for over a month as they just can't source the right spokes from anywhere. I think they are trying to get them from abroad. So my question to this forum is whether anyone knows of a good UK-based (or event better, London-based) supplier who could provide custom-made spokes for an Orbea Gain F40?

Thank you very much for any help!

Luke
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Luke, these guys are stateside, but very good at getting spoke orders out very quickly. I just gave them an order and they took 2 days to ship, which is similar to other recent orders. I don't know how they do it, but I doubt many others can beat that kind of service.

I'm a big guy at something just over 300lbs, so pretty familiar with the issue you are speaking of. Here's a link to the company I use (I taught myself to re-spoke my own), and the spokes I use in particular. Note these are rated for use with e-bikes, and the area where they nearly always break is heavier than the rest of the spoke-

 

Lukejolyon

New Member
Hey - thanks A - much appreciated. I will get in touch with Wheelbuilder and see what they think about shipping to UK. I know there are problems there too - I'm trying to get a guitar amp from USA too and there's just none available 'until next year'.

BTW I happen to be a very lightweight guy (c.145lbs) so not sure it's just to do with the weight of the rider - don't be too hard on yourself! Notably some of mine happened when I was carrying extra weight in my rear-rack mounted panniers, and also when I got a puncture and then hit a bump.

Luke
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I've been a pretty big guy most of my life. At 6'2" and 70 now, active and still healthy, I ride daily. Point being, my weight has never held me back. The idea of "being hard on myself" good for a grin....

Best of luck! -Al
 

Haystacks

Well-Known Member
 

Gordon71

Well-Known Member
Curious about what makes a spoke break? I'm a bit under 200 and 5'11" and have not broken any yet. I'm not hard on my bikes. I ride roads and groomed trails and ride much slower on the trails than the roads. What else other than weight affects spokes? Too much or too little tire pressure? My bikes are Rad Rover and Mini.
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
spokes break usually because of poor wheel building. or cheap parts. good spokes are expensive and hand built wheels are too. double or tripple butted spokes are the best but cost even more.
 

Gordon71

Well-Known Member
spokes break usually because of poor wheel building. or cheap parts. good spokes are expensive and hand built wheels are too. double or tripple butted spokes are the best but cost even more.
Thanks,all that makes sense. Which leads to another question. Almost all bikes use standard spoke wheels. Is that just a cost issue? Here's a bike that does not (chosen only because it's the first one I found). Is there any other reason other than cost not to use wheels like this on bikes?
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
My experience/opinion regarding broken spokes would be improper tension and any extra weight doesn't help a thing. There were a few of us X-Large type guys that bought Espin bikes, and we all had rear spoke issues. Pretty sure that points to part of the issue at least.

I'm not sure of the need, but the single butted spokes (thicker on the end that always breaks), while maybe not absolutely necessary, make a LOT of sense if you're going to the trouble of re-spoking a wheel.

While learning still (rookie level), one of the biggest things I've learned so far is that there is a lot to wheel building. WAY more than meets the eye. And if that's not a big enough issue for you, there's a LOT of different opinions/approaches/lines of logic involved. Maybe some vodoo and smoke and mirrors, but if you just wade in pretending the water isn't THAT cold, you'll get the job done....

Grin has a guy that has built a LOT of hub wheels for them, not only is he very helpful with his youtube video, he's great to speak with. One of the good guys.... -Al
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
Thanks,all that makes sense. Which leads to another question. Almost all bikes use standard spoke wheels. Is that just a cost issue? Here's a bike that does not (chosen only because it's the first one I found). Is there any other reason other than cost not to use wheels like this on bikes?
even higher end bikes dont always have good wheels. it always comes down to cost but it doe not always make a difference for people depending on so many factors. but machine wheels seems to always use the straight gaqe spokes. the mag wheels are not really stronger and make the ride harsher. plus on those bikes the hubs are really crappy but your stuck with it. they are a giimick rally. but if you want a wheel that will stay true with little or no work at all a decent hand built will will do that. my robust wheelset was 680.00 with triple butted sapim sokes and dt swiss hub and rims made for a e bike. the hubs dont need tools to take them apart and service them.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
Better bike shops have spoke cutters. Just find someone who builds wheels in the London area.
 

Lukejolyon

New Member
I agree with Al that there's certainly a lot more to a bike wheel than I thought - I'd personally never even considered that spokes might need attention, having ridden a Specialised Globe Expert for many many years without ever needing to pay them any attention. I think one spoke went, perhaps, over about 10 years.

However to answer Gordon's point, all I can say is that, apart from an unusual problem with the freehub on the motor-driven rear wheel, the onyl other thing that's ever gone wrong on my Orbea Gain F40, bought in 2019, is the spokes on the rear wheel popping. At first I thought it was a one-off. Then it happened a couple more times, and most recently again when I was carrying particularly full panniers of stuff on my 18-mile round trip commute.

It seems entirely plausible to me that a combination of a motor in the middle of the wheel, plus extra weight on the top, faster hitting of bumps, and, possibly, not very robust components (or at least, components not up to the job) - is where the problem lies.
 

Lukejolyon

New Member
Better bike shops have spoke cutters. Just find someone who builds wheels in the London area.
Thanks - but my LBS builds wheels and is 1 mile away. That's where my problem started - he cannot get the spokes. He's been waiting over a month for them to be shipped from somewhere.
 

Lukejolyon

New Member
even higher end bikes dont always have good wheels. it always comes down to cost but it doe not always make a difference for people depending on so many factors. but machine wheels seems to always use the straight gaqe spokes. the mag wheels are not really stronger and make the ride harsher. plus on those bikes the hubs are really crappy but your stuck with it. they are a giimick rally. but if you want a wheel that will stay true with little or no work at all a decent hand built will will do that. my robust wheelset was 680.00 with triple butted sapim sokes and dt swiss hub and rims made for a e bike. the hubs dont need tools to take them apart and service them.
Thanks....I *think* I understood most of that reply....! Sounds like I need someone to build me whatever a 680 is, with triple butted Sapim spokes, a Swiss hub, and rims made for an ebike....

Now, if only I knew someone who could do that, and - crucially - had the appropriate spokes in stock.....
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Butted spokes, extra thick, double butted, triple butted blah blah blah blah. They need to make spokes out of steel, not aluminum/copper/lead/zinc you get out of your average scrap melt. Ebike makers & power wheel vendors save on the spokes because nobody cares. Except the people that post the problems on brand forum. One supplier of real steel spokes made in USA is DTSwiss. Those don't have to go through the port of LosAngeles with all the holiday tschotskies people buy. Other people swear by sapim. I have 14 ga spokes (thin) else, but Yuba found somebody in China that assayed their metal batch before drawing spokes out of it. Zero stretch, zero adjustments on the bodaboda wheel. The power wheel in the front, with thicker spokes, yes I've had to adjust those. Not with the one I bought from luna, but I did on the power wheels from amazon & ebikeling. The luna wheel cost $740; he had better use real steel spokes. The ebikeling wheel was $221, I didn't expect much therre. When I built a wheel out of dtswiss spokes, (a IGH hub) the performance was trouble free. That went on the rear wheel where I carry the 80 lb ag supplies and the repair kit. I got the DTSwiss spokes from thebikeshopstore.com .
 

Lukejolyon

New Member
Butted spokes, extra thick, double butted, triple butted blah blah blah blah. They need to make spokes out of steel, not aluminum/copper/lead/zinc you get out of your average scrap melt. Ebike makers & power wheel vendors save on the spokes because nobody cares. Except the people that post the problems on brand forum. One supplier of real steel spokes made in USA is DTSwiss. Other people swear by sapim. I have 14 ga spokes (thin)erything else, but Yuba found somebody that assays their metal batch before drawing spokes out of it. Zero stretch, zero adjustments on the bodaboda wheel. The power wheel in the front, with thicker spokes, yes I've had to adjust those. Not with the one I bought from luna, but I did on the power wheels from amazon & ebikeling. The luna wheel cost $740; he had better use real steel spokes. When I built a wheel out of dtswiss spokes, (a IGH hub) the performance was trouble free.
um...ok....thanks. Not quite sure where that leaves me.....do I need to get DT Swiss spokes from somewhere? I've no idea where to start, let alone how then to fit them....
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
Good J-spokes come in a giant 20 kilo box uncut. They cost about 2 cents each. A wheel builder then cuts them for the build. Someone in London has a box of decent spokes and a spoke cutter.