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  1. #1
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    Frustrated with the Big S

    I am extremely frustrated with Specialized. I broke a spoke on my 2012 Enduro Expert Carbon and it has been a nightmare trying to get a replacement. A $6,000 bike reduced to wall art because of a single, small part that I can't get! I have been using this bike as a "trail" bike. It hasn't seen any major jumps or drops. I have even specifically avoided certain trails with it to keep the stresses on the CF frame to a minimum. The spoke actually broke while pedaling on a very mild trail. I'm a heavier rider and I realize I put more torque into the drivetrain than the average rider so it's not a big shock that the spoke broke. What is a shock is that the Roval Traverse wheels use special spokes that I can only get from Specialized! DT Swiss makes the spokes, but they are not available to the general public - only Specialized gets them. Dealers are quoting $6-7 per spoke! One dealer, way out of my way, already sold me spokes that didn't work at the low-low price of 2 for $8. Taking them back would cost more in fuel than I would get back, so there's no point to that. I called Specialized and someone there said these spokes shouldn't be more than $2 each. I'm waiting on another dealer (so far it's been another week) to get a spoke. Hopefully they get the right one. I bought this bike at the "Expert" level for the DT ratchet system in the hub, not even considering that the Big S(hitheads) would use proprietary parts for the rest of the wheel.

    I know the spoke lengths of both wheels on the bike. Good luck finding a 27 hole replacement rim for the front, though. I could relace the rear wheel with non-proprietary spokes. That's two boxes of spokes (272mm and 274mm) at about $100 each. Or I could get a wheel builder to do it and charge for the spokes and time to relace. That's assuming the rim is okay. If not, there's another $75-100 and different spokes. It's a $200+ solution to a $2 problem.

    Or I could get away from the wheels entirely. It's about $850 to build a CK or DT240 set of wheels with a far more common 32 hole front wheel and normal spokes. Add tax or shipping and it's into the $900+ region. Another solution to a $2 problem.

    Thanks a lot, Specialized. Never again!

  2. #2
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    Might want to try one of these places if you go with a new wheel set. Hope makes good stuff and they will ship it for about half the price of the Kings.

    Mountain Bike Disc Wheels | Merlin Cycles
    Wiggle | Hope Hoops Pro2 Evo MTB Front Wheel | Performance Wheels

  3. #3
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    Hope makes a nice looking hub for a good price, but I have my doubts about anything with a pawl system anymore.

    This was a Sun freehub body after I rode it for a couple months:


    So far the DT ratchet system has held up well for me. I have always been curious about Chris King. Either way it's frustrating to be considering replacing the wheels before I have even really worn out the tires on this bike!

  4. #4
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    I thought they used standard straight pull spokes?!? The 27 hole front rim is a complete pain in the ass though I will admit.

  5. #5
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    They are straight pull. They are not standard. The only ones DT sells to the public are the "Competition" straight-pull spokes (2.0/1.8/2.0 with 2.0mm thread). Specialized has DT make a straight-pull "Supercomp" spoke just for them (2.0/1.7/1.8 with 1.8mm thread).

    I'm not even sure you could relace the rim with the nipples for a 2.0mm spoke. The eyelets might not be big enough.

  6. #6
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    I see, the closest I can think of then (as long as a 2mm nipple will fit the rim, and I'm pretty sure it will) is a wheelsmith DB straight pull spoke. These are 2.0/1.7/2.0.

  7. #7
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    Also watch out for the weird prolock nipples they use on Specialized wheels. They give a different total length (to the bottom of the nipple flange) than if you use a standard nipple. Those 1.8mm prolocks don't appear to be available to the general public either.

    I think Specialized's failing is that they assume their dealer network can handle these issues, but they often can't do it very well and it becomes a total PITA for the customer.

    I did a rim replacement and ended up replacing all the spokes to Comps at the same time due to issues finding replacement Supercomp spokes and nipples.

  8. #8
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    its pretty sad if your local spesh dealer has no problem stocking $6k bikes but doesnt stock parts to service them. Id be more upset at the LBS than Specialized.
    2013 Stumpy Evo
    2014 Fatboy

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yardstick View Post
    So far the DT ratchet system has held up well for me. I have always been curious about Chris King. Either way it's frustrating to be considering replacing the wheels before I have even really worn out the tires on this bike!
    Agree, it's good, it's also super easy to replace and service. That said, I did round-out two of them, but there's no hub that I've ever used that's held up to me forever. The shimano ones were usually approximately every year, cheaper OEM stuff even more frequently. Given the design, the DT system should be one of the strongest.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  10. #10
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    perks of proprietary parts....Trek does the same thing.

  11. #11
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    I have been talking with a local wheel builder about relacing the wheel. It would be about $100 and he would include a few spare spokes. I finally pried the final price of the replacement Specialized spoke out of the dealer. Somehow the original quoted price of $6-7 per spoke is now "about $2 per spoke". But he won't know that for sure until he gets them. How does that make sense?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaks View Post
    Also watch out for the weird prolock nipples they use on Specialized wheels. They give a different total length (to the bottom of the nipple flange) than if you use a standard nipple. Those 1.8mm prolocks don't appear to be available to the general public either.

    I think Specialized's failing is that they assume their dealer network can handle these issues, but they often can't do it very well and it becomes a total PITA for the customer.

    I did a rim replacement and ended up replacing all the spokes to Comps at the same time due to issues finding replacement Supercomp spokes and nipples.
    That figures - more special parts. The wheel builder I found uses Sapim spokes. No wonder he was skeptical about the lengths I was giving him from the Specialized specs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Lynch View Post
    its pretty sad if your local spesh dealer has no problem stocking $6k bikes but doesnt stock parts to service them. Id be more upset at the LBS than Specialized.
    I have no love for the shops or Specialized. I can understand having to order the part. I wouldn't expect every LBS to stock every part for every bike they sell. What I don't like is when they quote an over-inflated price and/or sell me the wrong part because they don't know WTF they are talking about. I'd respect them more if they said, "I don't know, let me look that up for you." Why can't they do something like motorcycle manufacturers and dealers have done - allow dealers to put a parts fiche online with prices and if the LBS sucks, let owners buy online from a different shop! Push shops to have better customer service and let the others die off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Agree, it's good, it's also super easy to replace and service. That said, I did round-out two of them, but there's no hub that I've ever used that's held up to me forever. The shimano ones were usually approximately every year, cheaper OEM stuff even more frequently. Given the design, the DT system should be one of the strongest.
    I have one older Shimano LX hubset on a hardtail that is still going, but usually those freehubs go fixie after a couple of rides for me.

    This is my DT ratchet after a year of infrequent riding (less than 1x per week average):



    I'm a little surprised to see some wear in the freehub body itself:

  12. #12
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    This is one of the reasons why I'm buying a 2014 frame only option on the Enduro 29. I'm tired of the Roval wheels. I too am a larger rider and tend to break spokes often. I can't fault the DT hubs. They have been perfect for me and show little to no wear. I actually bought a spare 36T ratchet thinking I would need to replace my original one after a year of use. Not even close. I'm pretty sure my original ratchet would last 3 years before I would need to change it. I also like the Roval rims, actually. I thought the 2011 rims were terrible, but my 2012 rims have been nothing short of outstanding. I've broken 5 rear spokes and 1 front spoke over the course of 2 years. They take a serious beating from me and keep truing back up straight when I replace the spokes. I actually broke a spoke within 10 minutes of a bike vacation last year and forgot to bring my spares. I rode the entire weekend and up to 6 ft. drops and the rim ended up being fine the entire weekend til I could replace the spoke when I got home (and I'm not very good. I land pretty hard on drops). The propietary spokes are a pain the ass. I learned my lesson on a set of 2011 Roval Traverse wheels. I had my LBS order up about 20 spare spokes when I bought my 2012 Stumpy Evo in February of last year. I wanted to make sure I wasn't in the same situation I was in when I broke spokes on my 2011 wheels - waiting forever to get the proprietary spokes. This has worked out much better as I always have spare spokes ready to go when one breaks.

    While the Big S is a pain in the ass when it comes to proprietary stuff, I am very disheartened by your LBS. Way over-pricing spokes and not really going to bat for you when dealing with Specialized. That is unacceptable. My LBS sold those proprietary spokes at $2 or less per spoke. I honestly don't remember the number as it was small enough that it wasn't worth remembering. I do know that if they were $8 a spoke I would certainly remember that! Industry 9 anodized aluminum spokes aren't even $8 a spoke at MSRP! Even better, when my LBS was having trouble getting in spokes back in 2011, they are always working to find an inexpensive solution. They took some J-bend super comp spokes, bent them straight, cut'em, threaded them, and I used those in my wheel for a month or so (on easier trails) til my spokes came in. This is what I've come to expect from an LBS and this is the kind of service that always makes me think of giving my LBS my business over going to an online shop. I always find it funny when I hear shops complain about online stores but then do nothing to prove why they are better. Some customers are just bad. They will go to an online shop no matter what, but I think the majority of customers are good people and will reward hard work and effort. My business is earned, not just given out of the kindness of my heart to keep local businesses alive. My LBS thrives because they work for your business and have return customers.

  13. #13
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    Wait, you're saying that replacement spokes for pre-built wheels are expensive??? Have you ever had to buy a spoke for a mavic crossmax wheel? It's worse. Prebuilt wheels are normally not good for heavier riders.

  14. #14
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    Are you not ridding the bike because of a broken spoke or two? Your LBS should give you a spare wheel. Maybe a crappy wheel but it will allow you to ride. You may want to throw a sht fit at your LBS as well. That is no way to treat a customer who just spent $6K.
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

  15. #15
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    OP, you've just discovered the down-side of proprietary parts, and private label marketing.
    Have had similar experiences with Fisher/Trek - Bontrager, and know that Spec operates similarly.
    Agree with ^^ for us heavier riders in that hand-built wheels are far better, and lower spoke counts =
    higher tensions, and less durability.
    The best is the one you want to ride most often..

  16. #16
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    Man, I thought my I9s wheels where special. Didnt know the Rovals have special spokes.

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