Why did I buy Shimano wheels with just 36 spokes the pair?

You may recall that when the hub of my back wheel fell apart I bought a pair of Shimano “ready made” wheels from Ribble Cycles. I was concerned that twenty spokes didn’t seem enough for a back wheel but I reassured myself that as spokes always break at the bend by the head the straight pull spokes in the new wheels would be up to the job. Two weeks and five hundred miles later I know different!

Last Thursday I rode to Bournemouth which at 100 miles is as far as I have ridden for some years. On Tuesday I set out on the return leg and just as I reached Southampton there was an almighty bang  which was the sound of a spoke breaking. By the time I stopped the spoke had fallen out of the wheel and couldn’t be found. Amazingly for the first time in my cycling life the spoke had broken at the nipple end. The wheel was badly buckled but I managed the remaining seventy miles without it getting any worse.

But what now? I went to Evans Cycles but as I expected they don’t have straight pull spokes in stock. They can get them but needed to know the exact length. Why? Don’t Shimano know how long the spokes are? They have probably sold a million pairs world wide, after all I first saw this type of wheel on a bike on sale at Lidl! Surely somebody in Japan has measured the spokes.  I suppose I could try phoning Ribble Cycles but I don’t think I have the mental strength for that.

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