My bike lives in my bedroom, and on waking I noticed that one of my spokes has broken from the hub end. After making sure I wasn't dreaming it was still broken. Great start to the day.
Thankfully this was already a planned rest day so I've got time to try and sort it out. Firstly a little background, this has occured on the rear wheel on the side without the drivetrain, it is a 32 spoke wheel, and I have covered about 1700 miles.
What I'd like to know is what I do next:
a) remove spoke and carry on riding,
b) fix spoke (somehow),
c) take to LBS and have the wheel fixed,
d) another solution that you know of.
If (a) do I just use a spoke tool to completely unscrew to remove or is there anything else I need to know.
Regarding (b) I have tried to put the end of the spoke through the hole but have been unsuccessful, and on further inspection I have noticed that the piece of the spoke which prevents it from coming through the hole has broken off, rather than flattened (hope that makes sense).
If (c) could you please give me a rough estimate on the cost of repair.
Please excuse my lack of knowledge, I'm very keen to be able to do my own repairs its just I have no experience and have been riding for only seven months.
Oftentimes this is a signal that it's time to have the wheel rebuilt with top-quality DT or Wheelsmith spokes. These brands have far longer fatigue life than the typical original-equipment no-name spokes.
Rebuilding the wheel, particularly the rear wheel, is an advanced task and you will probably want to fall back on your LBS for that. Typical labor: $25 to $40, spokes extra.
Even just replacing the broken spoke may be something to have your LBS do (typical labor: $8 to $15). To start with, you will usually need the cogs removed so you can get your new spoke in there (specific tools are needed to remove the cogs), and it's not as simple as just putting the spoke in and tightening it... you need to true the wheel afterwards.
If the spoke in not on the driveside, it can be replaced at home or by the roadside without specialist tools, but you need to tension the new spoke, a skill akin to tuning a violin string.
Remove the old spoke. Unscrew the spoke from the rim(using a spoke key), but leave the old nipple in place.
Buy a new spoke of reasonable quality, the same diameter and length as the old one. Good makes include DT, Sapim, Wheelsmith. Cost == 50c.
Insert the new spoke and gently bend and ease the spoke into the correct lacing pattern. Screw the old nipple into the new spoke. Tension the spoke by tightening the nipple, until the wheel is true in both radius and laterally. See various wheelbuilding guides.
I usually do this with the tyre in place(hence I re-use the old nipple rather than replace it with the one on the new spoke), but for critical trueing you can remove it.