Bicycle Mechanics - Just popped a spoke - can I fix this?
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I've never done wheel work before and am wondering if it's a good idea for me to try and fix my wheel. I was actually just noticing it was out of true and this morning a spoke popped...so much for preventative maintenance!
It's just one spoke that popped, so if I bought a pack of spokes could I just replace the one spoke? From reading on the Park Tool website it seems a truing stand might be in order. Would it be easier to just take it to the shop? I'm not a bike mechanic newbie but as I mentioned I've never done wheel work.
Front or rear? If you have to remove the cassette it means tools. Did the spoke break or just pop out of the nipple? If that's the case you may just have to replace the nipple (more common with aluminum). But you can handle this even without a stand by watching your wheel next to the brake pads. And you can buy just one spoke from your LBS, and buy a good spoke wrench.
03-28-07, 10:59 AM
Returning your wheel to what it was before it broke the spoke is a relatively simple job. What it was before, however, was a wheel that was about to break a spoke. I doubt that's what you want.
The RIGHT way to fix it is to replace the broken spoke then to equalize the tension of all the spokes. Often the non-drive spokes have inadequate tension so the tension on every spoke has to be increased. Finally, the wheel will need to be retrued by tightening and loosening opposing pairs of spokes by an equal amount.
So would you say that's a do-able job for me given my intermediate skills? A truing stand and spoke wrenches is about $50 which is probably in the range of what it would cost to have a mechanic do it for me, so I can go either way (though obviously learning to do it myself means I can fix it in the future). Would I need a spoke tensioner or is that more of an optional piece?
Go for it! Desire is 90% of it, right? The tension meter's going to double your expenditure, would be nice to have, but I've built about 1/2 dozen wheelsets without one and have yet to have a spoke break or follow-up truing problems. Others swear by them, though, probably for good reason.
Yeah, the meter alone would be $60+ so it's more than double :) Good to know it's do-able without...I'm probably going to go for it. As they say, teach a man to fish...
Wish me luck!
03-28-07, 04:47 PM
Would I need a spoke tensioner or is that more of an optional piece?
I built a lot of wheels before I bought a tensiometer. Now that I have one, I wouldn't want to be without it. I think that the key to building reilable wheels is to have the spoke tensions as nearly equal as possible. That's a lot more likely to happen if you have a measureing instrument.
I actually sissy'ed out and took it to the shop. Since it was a drive side spoke I'd need to get cassette removal tools too and adding it all up started to take it near $100. Maybe one day, but a LBS quoted me $25 so I figured I'd save myself the trouble.
Thanks for the help though - I definitely plan to do this myself at some point. Might still pickup the spoke wrenches and truing stand just to maintain trueness to hopefully prevent popped spokes in the future. Wheels are the 'final frontier' so to say in my bike tuning skillset so I should learn it eventually, I can handle pretty much every other part of the bike except these :)
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