In the workshop yesterday, I had a Cervelo on the stand with a price we estimated at around $8,000 with the 10-speed compatible SRM crank for Dura Ace. On the other stand, my colleague had an early-1960s Huffy worth about $20. Add that together and divide by two, you get $4,010.
Numbers are funny, aren't they?
The Cervelo had spontaneously broken a spoke in the rear wheel. The nipple is now permanently trapped inside the deep rim, because there's no hole big enough for it to escape except by the wildest luck. Regardless of what the engineers say about the strength of a 24-spoke wheel for the normal stresses put on it, pounding over the frost heaves and pot holes of the real world will take its toll on a spoke with only 23 companions as opposed to 31 or 35. And the clearances on this Cervelo are so tight that the slightest deviation causes the tire to jam in the frame.
The rider said it happened on a precipitous descent.
I cut and threaded a spoke the proper length for a 24-hole 2-cross, inserted a new nipple and tightened things back up. This was after a period of fruitless shaking and tipping to try to get the old nipple and the stub of spoke it contained to appear at any opening in the rim. A stainless spoke in a brass or alloy nipple is immune to magnetism. We'll have to shrink a tiny team of people to salvage it, or build little robots to recover these inconvenient bits of debris. How about trained ants?