How To Fix Broken Spokes – Bike Tips and Techniques

Regular Bike Maintenance is the key to enjoying amazing performance. Over time, your bike wheels are going to experience wear and tear and part of that are the spokes getting broken. These broken spokes if not attended will cause tons of problems even putting your bike on complete hiatus. In this guide, we will discuss how to take care of broken spokes!

Your bike’s spokes are going to break from time to time, there is no ignoring it or running away from it, it is all part of the life cycle. Although if these broken spokes are not attended then they are going to cause a LOT of problems for you, maybe even put your bike on complete hiatus!

What happens when a spoke snaps? A snapped spoke is going to result in a twisted wheel and we can’t have that. The buckled wheel is then going to wobble here and there and maybe even come in contact with the brakes, ruining the whole structure.

What Tools Will We Need?

Fixing the bike spokes isn’t exactly a walk in the park, you will need patience and time, and most importantly you will also need these tools.

  • Chain Whip
  • New Bike Spoke and Nipple
  • Magnetic Screwdriver
  • Spoke Key
  • T25 Torx Key
  • Cassette Removal Tool (Optional)

Having these tools at our disposal will get us through this process without any kind of problems! You can get them at any local bike shop. 

Broken Spokes Means Broken Bones

Broken Spokes

Imagine waking up one day and feeling that all of your bones are broken, you can’t feel them, it would seem like one crazy nightmare and that is how it feels when the bike spokes are broken. Anything can happen with bikes, the spokes can snap, if the bike has high-quality wheels then it will never snap.

The main reason for the broken spokes is that they are not tensioned high enough. In every wheel rotation, these loose spokes will flex more than necessary and that will fatigue the metal, and then eventually it will snap.

Here, we will discuss how to fix these broken spokes and if by the end of the guide you still can’t get a hand with this then you can just take the bike to a bike shop, they will fix every and any kind of problem you have. They can surely fix a damaged spoke or give you a spare spoke!

Replacing A Broken Spoke

Now that we know everything about broken spokes and the dangers that they put riders in, it is time to know how to replace them. The process will be explained in steps and it is advised that you follow the steps with extreme prejudice if you want the best possible results.

Step 1: Removal

The main breaking point of spokes is at either the hub or the nipple contact place. It will be either one of these two places, nothing to worry about tho. First, you need to unscrew the spoke using a spoke key, just take the spoke head and body off completely but leave the spoke nipples as they were. This was for the front wheel, now let’s talk about the rear wheel.

When it comes to the rear wheel, you would have to remove the cassette first carefully, after that the spoke nipples will also have to be changed. 

Bicycle Mechanic Adjusts Bike Spokes

Step 2: Taking Out The Nipples

In the second step, we will be taking out the nipples as the spoke cannot be fixed without that. That won’t be just as simple though, for that we need to remove the tires and their tubes too. When the tires and tubes are removed, we will pry out the rim tape, there will be a hole at the top of the rim, and that is where we can remove the nipple from.

Sometimes it could happen that the nipple gets stuck inside the rim or it just goes in there. Don’t be worried, just give it a good old whack and the nipple will come out, easy like that!

Step 3: Replacing The Broken Spokes

In the third step, we need to find a replacement spoke and for that, we must first determine the spoke length. You can take the measurement yourself or visit the bike shops and get them to replace a broken spoke. 

Getting these replacements is the easy part, the next part will require you to install them. A professional’s advice here is to put some oil on the spoke threads and nipples, this will make the spokes least likely to seize up and you can also seize them more effectively.

Step 4: Lacing The New Spoke

Now that you have a new spoke, we have to fix it in place. It needs to be in the same orientation as the old spoke, insert the new spoke through the hub flange. Now we have to lace it as the other spokes on the wheel, it may cross under or over, depending on the construction of the wheel. 

If you have a radially spoked wheel then the process is even simpler as the spoke will go directly to the rim.

Step 5: Fixing The Spoke

This is the penultimate step, we have to fix the nipple into the wheel’s rim. The easiest method is through a spoke, just screw the nipple into the other spokes, this will be really close to the rim and will be placed easily.

In order to make sure that the nipple sets perfectly, we need to tighten it into the new spoke. You can either use your fingers or a screwdriver, whatever suits you the most. You do this and your whole wheel will start looking brand new!

Step 6: Tension and Truing The Spoke

In the last step, we need to true the spoke properly onto the rim. You will need a spoke key for that, just turn the spoke nipple clockwise, you can have a friend with you to check the progress from above the rim. You can also use a wheel truing stand here, just keep on spinning the wheel and the buckle will start repairing.

If you do all of these steps perfectly then you would have successfully replaced the broken spoke!

Bicycle Repair In Workshop

Problems At The Roadside That You Could Face!

This here is a problem that needs to be discussed, we went through how to fix the broken spoke when you are at home or someplace where you have all the tools and help, but what if the spoke breaks when you are on the road?

Of course, there will be a missing spoke when one snaps from the rim, you will not be prepared, there won’t even be tools like the spoke wrench or spoke key. The advice that we would give here is to stop riding at once, the damaged spoke could come in contact with the bike’s drivetrain and completely put you on hiatus.

The first order of business is unscrewing the spoke nipple from the rim, you can do that with your fingers. Normally there would only be the head of the spoke at the hub but if there is more than that then you would have to push the whole spoke out through the hub flange, all of it.

Even if you don’t have tools like the spoke key then bend the damaged spoke and the adjacent spoke for safekeeping. As of now, the condition of the wheel rim will be in shambles, it will be buckled and the broken spokes would be causing even more problems. If you have a spoke key then the situation can be salvaged, you just need to screw tight two nearest spokes that are on the same side of the wheel. You will need to screw them anti-clockwise, this will keep them steady enough for you to reach home and make full-on repairs.

Recap

A Bike’s wear and tear is part of the whole process, there is no denying it. Your bike’s spokes will snap from time to time. This won’t happen if the bike’s wheels are premium quality and have a really amazing construction. Although, this is a situation that can be fixed very easily.

This guide is focused on showing you how to fix a broken spoke and showcasing the tools needed for the repairs. Even after all the struggle, they can’t be fixed, the best course of action would be to take the bike to a professional. They will certainly fix it for you and maybe even get some spare spokes for rainy days.

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