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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Rider: Big, heavy guy. Has lost a little or maintained same weight for past 3 years.
Bike: Vision R40 short wheel base recumbent. Rear wheel is 26"
Original Rim: Was a AlexRim DA16, 32 hole pattern. Rim was 10 years old and wore out from normal use in 2011. Had to be replaced. Along the inside surface of the rim little semi-circle shaped stress cracks started to appear around the spoke nipple after 10 years of truing the rim on an as needed basis. This happens because as the spokes are tightened it puts stress on the rim and is fairly normal.
Original Hub: Shimano Tiagra with 32 hole flange.

New Rim: AlexRim DA 16 36 hole pattern.
New Hub:Shimano Tiagra with 36 hole flange.

The original rim only had a total, in the 10 years I used it, 3 broken spokes. The last one was in 2010 because of the way it was transported on a SAG vehicle during an organized ride.

What has changed over the years is the crappy road conditions in my city. They have gone from bad to worse. A gravel road would actually be better and smoother than the paved roadways in a lot of areas of my city.

Since I started riding in 2012 I have have had 8 spokes break at the head, mainly on the non-drive side of the rear wheel. I discovered the reason could be because the looseness at the flange holes where the spoke heads are. The spoke heads on the current spokes are 2mm. The hole, being larger, results in play and can cause the spokes to wiggle around and cause the spoke to shear at the head. The respected opinion of my bike shop mechanic is not because of my large size, based on the past experience and longevity of the previous rim, but because of the crappy road conditions the vibration is causing cheaper spokes to break as these are.

My bike shop guy recommended DT Alpine III spokes, which I have pretty much decided to go with. They are on order as we speak. They should be in this week and if all goes right the wheel will be re-built with the new spokes and I'll be back on the bike by weeks end.

I did take some time and researched the new spokes by reading reviews on them. The only 4 negative things anyone had to say were:
1. Cost, on average is $1.50 per spoke vs. an average of $0.50 for less expensive spokes.
2. Weight. they are heavier than typical spokes.
3. Some people had an issue with the spokes fitting through the flange hole.
4. Some had an issue with the color. Did not like they only come in black.

From what I understand and the reason I choose the DT Alpine III's is they are made for among other types, touring bikes. They are also used by a lot of tandem riders and downhill mtn bike races also use them. The spokes are 2.5mm at the head, taper down to 1.8mm in the middle and up to 2mm at the nipple.

Here are my questions for the experts here:
What is your experience with these spokes? Do you like them? Do you think they work as well as the reviews state?
 

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I've not heard anything bad about DT spokes. How many miles do you expect to get out of $54 in spokes, vs. $18 in spokes? What's the break-even point in labor over time? Probably not much. Anyone that weighs more than 156 pounds should not worry about a few extra grams on their bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not sure where you're getting 156 pounds, unless the comparison is based on your weight. I am heavier. Even if I were not I have never been a weight weenie when it comes to my bike. I prefer cro-moly instead of aluminum for frame material. With nothing on it, with the original seat frame and the original 32 spoke rims my Vision weighed about 29 pounds. With the new cro-moly seat frame I had custom built that weight increased to about 35 to 40 pounds.

As far as miles. If I compare the mileage I got out of the spokes on the previous rim from 2010 to 2011, which is when the last spoke on that wheel was replaced to up until I replaced the rim, the mileage is about 1,500 before any thing should happen to the new spokes. I do not remember when it was before 2010 when I replaced a spoke on the original rim but lets say 2008 with an average mileage of 1,500 per year. So do the math: 3 yrs x 1,500 miles = 4,500 miles.

But since the DT Alpine III's are rated much better spoke than the cheap ones I am using now I would hazard an educated guess at double that, making it an average of 9,000 miles or 6 years, which ever comes first before one breaks and needs replacing. Of course that is breaking because of vibration due to the crappy road conditions in my city. If a spoke is damaged by something else that exceeds its limitations than it doesn't count.
 
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