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Old 11-14-07, 08:19 PM   #1
Portis
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Where to order spokes?

I did a search and didn't turn up all of the answers i need. Out of necessity, i am needing to learn how to fix my own wheels. I am breaking spokes and my spokes are loosening on most of my bikes. I uncerstand that wheel quality and spoke tension have a lot to do with my issue but for right now i need to learn.

I took one of my wheels in today to the LBS to get a new spoke/nipple. When i got home tonight i tried to replace it (my first time doing this) and i discovered they sent my home with a spoke that is too short.

So i have broken out the ruler and am measuring this spoke. It is about 260mm from shoulder to the end. And i need it to be about 3-4 mm longer to engage the nipple threads. Anyway between all of the recent trips to the LBS, bikes that i can't ride etc. I need to get geared up at home here to be able to do my own work.

I do most of my other repairs but have just never gotten into wheels. Where can i go to order spokes and nipples? I would like to try and find replacements for my current wheels so i can at least repair the wheels and ride on.

I'm not interested in wheelbuilding at this point, i just would like to have a bunch of misc. spokes and nipples around.

1. Where is the best place to order?

2. Do i need a spoke size guage or will a ruler do? If i do need one where to buy?

3. How do you determine guage?
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Old 11-14-07, 08:33 PM   #2
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spoke gauge or calipers. 2mm=14g, 1.8mm=15g the two most common. I doubt you could read an 0.2mm difference off of a round spoke with your ruler.

Ordering: kind of depends on how many of each length you want. Some places are cheaper by the spoke, others sell boxes of 18+/- cheaper, others are best at the 72-100 per box level.
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Old 11-14-07, 08:48 PM   #3
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I would like to be able to order a few misc. sizes in the neighborhood of what i "think" is the correct size for all of my wheels. I just can't find a place where i can buy individual spokes that has a wide assortment.
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Old 11-14-07, 08:55 PM   #4
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My LBS replaced a spoke for me recently and trued my wheel for $5. It was worth it. However, I did buy some spokes from him for 50 cents each or so that were the right fit. The mechanic was more than glad to seel me a few extras that were the correct size. This may be a better option than guessing.
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Old 11-14-07, 09:28 PM   #5
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My LBS replaced a spoke for me recently and trued my wheel for $5. It was worth it. However, I did buy some spokes from him for 50 cents each or so that were the right fit. The mechanic was more than glad to seel me a few extras that were the correct size. This may be a better option than guessing.
Yeah, but if you read my post, you'll see that my LBS sent me home with the wrong size. I am a big believer in becoming independent with my repairs. I have been to the LBS for spoke repairs probably about 10 times in the last 3 months.
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Old 11-14-07, 09:35 PM   #6
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I order them through the LBS, too. They're cheaper that way. Now that you know the right length (or thereabouts), get a few around that length.

You can also try Spocalc, which might have your rims and spokes in its database. It'll tell you exactly how long the idea spoke would be. Round up to the next millimeter and you'll know!
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Old 11-14-07, 09:50 PM   #7
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cambriabike.com will sell you individual spokes.
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Old 11-14-07, 10:55 PM   #8
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Here's another place for loose spokes.
http://stores.ebay.com/tangent-cycles
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Old 11-14-07, 11:58 PM   #9
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I've bought spokes from oddsandendos.com a couple of times. They're a bit slow, but the prices are good.
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Old 11-15-07, 05:14 AM   #10
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Yeah, but if you read my post, you'll see that my LBS sent me home with the wrong size. I am a big believer in becoming independent with my repairs. I have been to the LBS for spoke repairs probably about 10 times in the last 3 months.
Then become independent. Go back to the lbs, take your wheel and ensure that you are leaving with the right spokes, then you will have the right size spokes plus the right size to order anywhere you want and then become independent.
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Old 11-15-07, 10:19 AM   #11
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If you need to replace one spoke, the LBS is where to go. You are going to spend way too much money on shipping if you order online. The LBS will be able to measure for you and will swap it out if things don't work. If it's a set of spokes you want, I like the prices at Biketoolsetc. 20 straight gauge Sapims for $7.
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Old 11-15-07, 07:48 PM   #12
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tellyho, great advice.
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Old 11-15-07, 09:46 PM   #13
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Then become independent. Go back to the lbs, take your wheel and ensure that you are leaving with the right spokes, then you will have the right size spokes plus the right size to order anywhere you want and then become independent.
That is my plan. Still i have other bikes and want to stock a few spokes. My only LBS is small and so far i have always been able to find a correct spoke although often it is the wrong color.
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Old 11-16-07, 08:49 AM   #14
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Time to find a less L (local) BS, I suspect. They should stock a whole range of sizes, although I've heard owners complaining on here about the inventory cost of keeping a full range. Worst case, they have to order you one, and they pay for shipping. Still better than taking a flyer by ordering online.
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Old 11-16-07, 10:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
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I do most of my other repairs but have just never gotten into wheels. Where can i go to order spokes and nipples? I would like to try and find replacements for my current wheels so i can at least repair the wheels and ride on.
If you want to keep a stock of spokes on hand you need to measure the spokes that are on your wheels. Keep in mind that the rear drive side spokes are usually 1 or 2mm shorter than the others. You also need to notice if your spokes are straight gauge or swedged. If you're going to this much trouble, you might as well color match too.

After you have made a list of what you need, I'd order from wheelbuilder.com. He appears to have a pretty complete inventory. He has fair prices and good service. And he'll ship you the exact number of spokes that you want.
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Old 11-17-07, 11:50 AM   #16
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Ordering individual spokes online is a fool's game. The shipping will make the cost far higher than sourcing locally.

If you're breaking spokes and having other problems, either the wheel isn't built correctly or it's time for a whole new set of spokes (or both). If you order online, order enough for a full re-lace.
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Old 11-17-07, 12:36 PM   #17
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Ordering individual spokes online is a fool's game. The shipping will make the cost far higher than sourcing locally.
That's funny. I think that trying to buy spokes locally is a fool's game.

It ain't like it used to be. There used to be 2 kinds of spokes - 14 straight gauge and 14/15 gauge butted spokes. There weren't as many different lengths either because rims were much more standardized than they are today. With all of the different sizes, lengths, colors and shapes most bike shops today don't keep a complete stock. They're not likely to be too crazy about special ordering a wholesale lot of 50 or 100 so that they can sell you 1 or 2 spokes either.
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Old 11-17-07, 12:41 PM   #18
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You only took half my meaning. First look locally and try to save yourself some $$. That's hardly a fools' game.

If your spokes are impossible to find locally (as some of mine are), you may have to order them online. If so, get more than just a replacement for the one you broke. You'll be paying $5-10 per spoke. Get a whole set and spread the shipping cost. You'll likely need them soon anyway.
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Old 11-17-07, 12:48 PM   #19
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You only took half my meaning. Granted some spokes are impossible to find locally (I have some). But if you have to order them online, get more than just a replacement for the one you broke. Get a whole set and spread the shipping cost. You'll likely need them soon anyway.
You have a point but I'm still going to disagree. The big savings comes, not from shipping costs, but from buying the exact number of spokes that you need. I have the ability to buy bike parts at wholesale cost and, for my last couple of wheel builds, it was still cheaper for me to buy spokes from wheelbuilder.com. The last time that I bought spokes on line I think that the shipping cost was under $10.00. That's only 5 or 6 spokes worth and I bought the exact number of spokes that I needed.
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Old 11-18-07, 07:30 PM   #20
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Using a little math, and assuming a $7 shipping charge for a small # of spokes, if I pay $1 a spoke at the LBS, it's cheaper to buy 1 there. Reasonably, my break even point is around 14 spokes, right? If I'm buying that many, I'm either building a wheel or need to think about it as something is seriously wrong with my current one. I try not to ride wheels that need crazy spokes, but that's because I'm a cheap b*stard.
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Old 11-18-07, 07:58 PM   #21
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Using a little math, and assuming a $7 shipping charge for a small # of spokes, if I pay $1 a spoke at the LBS, it's cheaper to buy 1 there.
If they have the spoke that you need. That didn't used to be a big deal but today that's a big if.
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Old 11-18-07, 11:09 PM   #22
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I really like this spoke calculator because you dont need excel (sp?). be sure you remember to enter the number of spokes and number of crosses each time.
Its interesting that your LBS sold you the wrong length. I ordered some spokes, a hub and a rim from universal once and I asked them to do the calculation for me. On the plus side I think they just grabbed a big handfull of spokes because I got a dozen more than I paid for, on the negative side they sized them for 4 cross.
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Old 11-19-07, 08:31 AM   #23
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At this point, I use several spoke calculators to double-check, mostly against my own mis-entries.
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Old 11-19-07, 09:01 AM   #24
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I had a faulty wheel once, it broke spokes like nobody's business. During a couple of months I must have taken it to 2 different LBSs for 5-6 repairs total, until finally the latter LBS decided they've had enough and cut me a very good deal on a new wheel. On my request they included a couple of spare spokes, which I promptly duct taped on rear rack tube.

The new wheel took care of the problem, and the few occasional broken spokes I've had after that I've replaced myself. When I'm down to 1 spare, I visit my LBS with it and buy maybe 5-6 identical spokes. I've been fixing both sides (drive side / non drive side) with the one length replacements. Don't know if that's the ideal way to do it, but it seems to work for me. I don't even know what spoke length I'm using, as I've never had to find out. Maybe if/when I start to build my own wheels...

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