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Old 01-16-08, 07:53 PM   #1
sknhgy 
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Spoke wrench?

I've been semi-seriously riding for about 3 years. Haven't had any spoke problems yet. I like to be prepared while out on the road. I see that folks carry spoke wrenches.
Are spokes prone to breakage?
Do you carry extras?
Is there something here I can learn about and get prepared for in the comfort of my home, instead of learning about the hard way while I'm stranded 20 miles from nowhere?
Thanks
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Old 01-16-08, 08:00 PM   #2
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I've been semi-seriously riding for about 3 years. Haven't had any spoke problems yet. I like to be prepared while out on the road. I see that folks carry spoke wrenches.
Are spokes prone to breakage?
Do you carry extras?
1) Fiber-fix spoke. Carrying different lengths of spokes with you on a rec ride (as opposed to touring) is uh, not very easy or useful.

http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fiberfix.htm

Spokes aren't prone to breakage, crappy wheelbuilds on crappy components with riders heavier than wheel was designed for causes breakage. Of course then there's always the random debris into the wheel or pothole etc.

2) Before I knew better several factory built wheels actually had spoke(s) on it to completely unwind while I was riding. A spoke key got me home without breaking it. This is mainly my own fault for not checking the wheels before I went riding on them but I didn't know any better.
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Old 01-16-08, 08:12 PM   #3
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Yes, do buy a good quality spoke wrench. There are basically 3 different sizes for the nipples most used in the market. I like Park wrenches for their quality and fit.
Or buy a multi-size spoke wrench. But take note, quality varies.

With one, you can inspect your wheels before rides to detect loose spokes. All wheels eventually go out of true a bit from potholes, miles, etc. You will be able to true them back.
A properly tensioned wheel rarely breaks spokes.
But you can have an accident on the road that can snap spokes. Having a spoke wrench on you will allow you to try to straighten out a rim enough to get you home.
It's a small, valuable, essential tool for any biker who depends on their bike.
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Old 01-16-08, 08:43 PM   #4
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I've got the Park one that is a flat triangle with three different nipple widths. Wouldn't want to build a wheel with it, but it fits in a jersey pocket very nicely.
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Old 01-16-08, 09:08 PM   #5
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I've never had a spoke break as I'm fairly light and prefer to ride on well built wheels (preferably built by myself), but I bring a spoke wrench just in case I hit something in the road or get hit by something/someone that knocks my wheel out of true enough to rub the brakes.

I had a goofy teammate fall into my rear wheel once which called for a truing on the fly. The only case I've had in 9 years but if I hadn't had a spoke wrench, I would have been walking home.

fwiw I just carry the standard black one. It's the one I built all of my wheels with.
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Old 01-16-08, 09:16 PM   #6
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If a spoke breaks during a ride, a spoke wrench will only do you good if you've also got an extra spoke. And that's assuming it's not a rear drive-side spoke, which is under more stress than any other and might require a chainwhip and cassette lockring tool and wrench to get to it. Where does it end? Should we also bring extra brake and shifter cables--how about cable cutters and end caps? That'll fit in a jersey pocket just fine.

These tools are great for DIY repair and maintenance, but keep 'em at home. Make sure your bike is good to go before the ride and the only thing you should really expect are flats. I carry an extra tube, patch kit, tire levers, a pump, and mini-tool on every ride (and some would even say that is overdoing it). But unless I'm touring hundreds of miles away from home, there's no need to carry all the extra just-in case tools.

Edit: Okay, something like this would be acceptable: http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4217

Last edited by JiveTurkey; 01-16-08 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 01-17-08, 09:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
I've been semi-seriously riding for about 3 years. Haven't had any spoke problems yet. I like to be prepared while out on the road. I see that folks carry spoke wrenches.
Are spokes prone to breakage?
Do you carry extras?
Is there something here I can learn about and get prepared for in the comfort of my home, instead of learning about the hard way while I'm stranded 20 miles from nowhere?
Thanks
Having one spoke break on a traditional wheel won't leave you stranded.Wheel will wobble so opening up the brake is needed. If you can't stop rubbing then the spoke wrench is needed to loosen the spokes around the broken one to get some of the wobble out.
Carry one. They aren't that big. I carry shift cable too. Ever been 20 miles from home and have the rear one break?
Gear defaults to the 12. Not fun. In the past I was able to tie the cable up to acheive a lower gear but takes the same time as just putting on a new one. No I don't carry cutters. can wait to get back for that.
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Old 01-17-08, 10:23 AM   #8
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While everyone lambasts me when I say it, I've never had a spoke break or a tube blow out. I don't think you need a spoke wrench. That said, there's one on the multi-tool that lives in my wedge pack.
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Old 01-17-08, 02:54 PM   #9
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It's usually the loose spokes that break. Keep your tension up and wheels true and dished.
I think Spokey spoke wrenches are the best for the money, I quit using Park's.

Al
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Old 01-17-08, 03:35 PM   #10
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While everyone lambasts me when I say it, I've never had a spoke break or a tube blow out. I don't think you need a spoke wrench. That said, there's one on the multi-tool that lives in my wedge pack.
+1

I won't lambast you at all. Unless you're doing a self-supported tour or similar adventure, I'm of the mindset that you keep your bike maintained at all times so you don't have to carry a bunch of stuff with you when you ride. Typically, spokes on the drive side of the rear wheel are most vulnerable. I've broken a couple of spokes in my riding experiences. It wasn't a big deal. I wrapped the broken spoke around an adjoining one, opened the brake caliper for more clearance and rode home on a wobbly wheel. Same thing happened with a buddy of mine. He broke a spoke out in the middle of nowhere and rode 40 miles to where the car was parked. In both situations, a spoke wrench would have helped not at all, except to remove the broken spoke.

(I realize that, of course, I am now karmically screwed and my wheels are likely to disintegrate on this Sunday's ride. )

If you're going to carry anything, carry a cell phone and some cash.
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Old 01-17-08, 03:47 PM   #11
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It's usually the loose spokes that break. Keep your tension up and wheels true and dished.
I think Spokey spoke wrenches are the best for the money, I quit using Park's.

Al
+1000 They are also kinder to the nipples too.
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Old 01-18-08, 12:11 PM   #12
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I love my cell phone spoke wrench. Doubles as a pump.
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Old 01-18-08, 07:14 PM   #13
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Mr. Spokey spoke keys RULE! ...And they are pretty.
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Old 01-19-08, 07:30 PM   #14
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I love my cell phone spoke wrench. Doubles as a pump.
Is that the kind Maxwell Smart used?
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