Spokes are the thin rods that you see between your wheel and the rim. Their basic function is to hold the wheel in shape. And while going through this, they do withstand the highest stress. Although, bike spokes are not delicate. But that does not make them indestructible! They might break which can cause a halt to your cycling activities.
What happens when a spoke snaps? That’s a good question! A snapped spoke will cause your wheel to twist. The buckled wheel is then going to wobble here and there and maybe even come in contact with the brakes. This will ruin the whole structure. Isn’t it better that we fix the spoke instead of waiting for this to happen? Exactly, so let’s get to work:
What Tools Will We Need?
- Chain Whip
- New Bike Spoke and Nipple
- Magnetic Screwdriver
- Spoke Key
- T25 Torx Key
- Cassette Removal Tool (Optional)
How To Fix A Broken Spoke
By fixing, I mean you will have to replace the spoke that is broken. Here is what you will need to do:
Step 1: Begin By Removing The Spoke
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.
Removing A Spoke On The Front Wheel
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.
Removing A Spoke On 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.
Step 2: Taking Out The Nipples
You can’t fix your spoke without taking out the nipple.
- Begin by removing the tires and their tubes too.
- Now pry out the rim tape.
- You will see a hole at the top of the rim. This is where you can remove the nipple from.
Sometimes the nipple might get stuck inside the rim. Don’t worry, give it a good old whack and the nipple will come out!
Step 3: Replacing The Broken Spokes
Determine the spoke length so that you can replace it. You can take the measurement yourself or visit the bike shops and get them to replace your broken spoke.
Step 4: Lacing The New Spoke
Now, let’s fix the spoke. It needs to be in the same orientation as the old spoke. Insert the new spoke through the hub flange. 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.
I’ll advise you 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 5: Fixing The Spoke
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 close to the rim and will be placed easily.
To make sure that the nipple sets perfectly, tighten it into the new spoke. You can either use your fingers or a screwdriver, whatever suits you.
Check out the article on how to tighten bike spokes to learn the right method!
Step 6: Tension and Truing The Spoke
All there is left to do is truing the spoke properly onto the rim. You will need a spoke key for that. Turn the spoke nipple clockwise. Check the progress from above the rim. You can also use a wheel truing stand here. Just keep spinning the wheel and the buckle will start repairing.
There, you have successfully fixed your broken spoke!
Read this guide to learn how to true a bike wheel!
What To Do If Your Spoke Breaks On A Roadside?
That’s a really good question! What if the spoke breaks when you are on the road? Of course, you will not be prepared. I mean, who carries an extra spoke, spoke key, or a spoke wrench on casual rides? When this happens, I recommend that you stop riding at once. Because the damaged spoke could come in contact with the bike’s drivetrain.
Unscrew 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.
The wheel rim might be buckled and the broken spokes will cause more problems. If you have a spoke key, you just need to screw tight the 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.
Can you ride with a broken spoke?
No, it is not recommended to ride with a broken spoke because it can cause damage to your wheel and other components.
Can I replace my own spokes?
Yes, you can replace your own spokes.
How much does it cost to fix a broken spoke?
It can cost you between $20 to $40.
Can you fix bent spokes?
Yes, in some cases, a bent spoke can be fixed.
Should I tighten a loose spoke?
Yes, you should tighten your spoke to avoid any further problems.
Bike spokes can snap. But it’s a fixable situation. Although, this is a situation that can be fixed very easily.
With the right tools and by following the right steps, you’ll be done with it in no time. But if the spoke still can’t be fixed after you have done everything, I will recommend taking the bike to a professional. They will fix it for you and maybe even get some spare spokes for rainy days!
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