Friday, August 15, 2008

An Interesting Kind of Deadly Danger

Here's one to look out for if you have low spoke count wheels:

One of our local riders came in with her late-1990s LeMond Zürich. It has original Rolf wheels.

"It started having this terrible speed wobble on descents," she said. "It got so bad on my last ride that I thought I was going to have to jump off."

She pointed out that two spokes of the 18 in her front wheel had come completely unscrewed. The nipples had just fallen into the rim. No wonder the bike wobbled. The spokes did not break. They came undone.

Like many athletes, she's got quite a motor, but she's relatively oblivious to her equipment. A lot of good riders just hammer until something goes sproing and then seek out their mechanic.

If you have an older set of low-count wheels, particularly Rolf or Bontrager, take a good close look at the nips and squeeze the spokes. They're supposed to be very tight. If they don't feel painfully resistant to your squeeze, have someone throw a spoke wrench on there. Otherwise it could get ugly.

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