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  1. #1
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    Question about installing spokes on freewheel side without removing freewheel

    I've got a Huffy mountain bike that occasionally breaks spokes. (Please do not give a non-answer (such as replace the wheel, or remove the freewheel) to the upcoming question.)
    I was in China and when replacing spokes on the freewheel side, the mechanics normally cut off the non-threaded end of a new, slightly longer spoke, and bend it in such a way (with long nose pliers) that it can be inserted into the hub eyelet without removing the freewheel. I've never had such a spoke pull out of the hub, and this kind of repair just takes a few seconds. Furthermore, any length spoke can used (must be at least longer than original spoke) because the excess is cut off.
    My question is, can someone explain how to bend the spoke to do this kind of repair. Maybe include a simple drawing.
    Last edited by jimdays; 05-11-11 at 08:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    This is the first I've heard of such a repair method so it will be interesting to learn how this is accomplished. The only procedure that I am aware of has allready been discounted in your first post. Is there some reason you don't want to make a more permanent fix so you wont have to repeatedly make this type of repair?
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  3. #3
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    more permanent fix so you wont have to repeatedly make this type of repair
    Since I've never had such a repair fail, I consider it a permanent fix.

  4. #4
    Collector of Useless Info
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    Good luck getting a bend in the spoke that can hold up to being fully tensioned 110 Kilo-whatevers. This kind of hack is fine for a severely under-tensioned wheel that is going to be ridden at no more than 5 MPH, but really, it's better to remove the freewheel.

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    On second thought- if the spoke is bent left, then right, kinda like a kink, and if the hub is steel, then more tension can probably be put onto the spoke than if the spoke just has a simple hook. I still wouldn't trust it to be fully tensioned, though.

  6. #6
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycle_maven View Post
    Good luck getting a bend in the spoke that can hold up to being fully tensioned 110 Kilo-whatevers. This kind of hack is fine for a severely under-tensioned wheel that is going to be ridden at no more than 5 MPH, but really, it's better to remove the freewheel.
    Yep. My guess is that the "mechanic" first bent it in an L shape to fit it through the flange, then bent it in a U shape to keep it in place. Freewheel removers are not expensive...

    The other problem with this is that your spoke length will depend on how you bend it.
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  7. #7
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    if the spoke is bent left, then right, kinda like a kink
    My observation was that the spoke was bent like that, definitely not bent into a hook.
    An experienced mechanic could take any length spoke, cut it and then bend it and then insert into the hub. Repair was always less than one minute and they didn't have to stock a lot of different spoke lengths.l

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    I would say it was bent in a z _/-- and the back lip would push against the hub which is why it hasn't pulled out, this would be super easy to feed in without pliers. considering you could do it with 2 45 degree bends its pretty strong compared to a single 90 degree, I don't know if I would call it permenant but if it has worked for you this long I am not gonna preach, I think the biggest issue would be a tight s/z so it doesn't protrude into the other bits.

    wheel here----------deleted these space first time---- hub side z bend
    ]==-----------------------------------------------------\___
    Last edited by BigHuf; 05-11-11 at 09:38 PM.

  9. #9
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    I've seen flattened "aero" spokes made with this kind of end so they can be laced without cutting slots in the hub flange. They seem to be durable enough- the only issue is what you mentioned- the protruding end can get caught in the back side of the freewheel or cassette.

    I suspect they're more expensive to make than conventional "hammerhead" spokes, which would make them a non-starter on a bike like Jim's Huffy.
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    you ****ed up twice. you rode a huffy and you did it in china

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Too late now, and you are dealin wth a Huffy which is why you are having problems ..but

    There is a classic French design hub, Maxcar , for the freewheel side the hub had a double keyhole

    kind of drilling for the flange so you could pass the head of the spoke thru the hole
    and it engaged the slot on either side of it.. so in fact broken spokes could be replaced
    without removing the freewheel..

    hubs sell at collectors prices now = to several tons of Huffys , at .. Steel scrap rates.

    Those who plan ahead can fabricate an S bend in the head end of the spoke.
    to use as a spare..
    may fit in some situations..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-12-11 at 12:39 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigHuf View Post
    ..wheel here-----------------------------------------------hub side z bend
    ]==-----------------------------------------------------\___
    Wohoo, ASCII art!

    +1

    Although it's more of two tight 90 deg angles than 2 tight 45 deg angles. Dead common trick for hooking up linkages between servos and control surfaces in r/c models as well. Probably won't work if it's a heads-in spoke that has to be replaced.
    Better than nothing I suppose, but if it was "just as good" - why aren't we seeing entire wheels built that way?
    Someone, somewhere ought to have tried it as a way of cutting inventory.

  13. #13
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    My question is, can someone explain how to bend the spoke to do this kind of repair. Maybe include a simple drawing.
    you mean something like this? http://www.jimlangley.net/wrench/espoketool.html

    I expect a really skilled hand could get some pretty equivalent results using needle nose pliers, like you said.

    Off topic, I must to admit to being pretty curious as to what you mean by "occasionally breaks spokes".
    Last edited by Plimogz; 05-12-11 at 01:59 AM.

  14. #14
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    There is a classic French design hub, Maxcar , for the freewheel side the hub had a double keyhole kind of drilling for the flange so you could pass the head of the spoke thru the hole
    and it engaged the slot on either side of it.. so in fact broken spokes could be replaced
    without removing the freewheel..

    hubs sell at collectors prices now = to several tons of Huffys , at .. Steel scrap rates.
    Older Sturmey Archer generator hubs also had keyhole drillings... initial lacing is a little trickier on these and few hubs are as nice as Maxicar.

    For the OP... if you live in the civilized world have your freehweel removed so you can replace any broken spokes... if your wheel is doing this regularly the wheel will need tom be re-built or replsced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dabac View Post
    Wohoo, ASCII art!

    +1

    Although it's more of two tight 90 deg angles than 2 tight 45 deg angles. Dead common trick for hooking up linkages between servos and control surfaces in r/c models as well. Probably won't work if it's a heads-in spoke that has to be replaced.
    Better than nothing I suppose, but if it was "just as good" - why aren't we seeing entire wheels built that way?
    Someone, somewhere ought to have tried it as a way of cutting inventory.
    I was thinking at straight 90's you would loose the side pressure to keep it pinned tight and wwaayyy increase the chance of stress fracture, two 45's you would have a fair amount of side load pinning it to the hub face, maybe 45 was not enough, but if you left the bends below 90 it will not be as prone to moving or breaking when bent. (need closer 90 on most RC as servos parts are flex joints, these are not))

  16. #16
    Young Fred jediphobic's Avatar
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    I've heard of people doing this, but it's always people who are on tour, and don't have easy access to a free-wheel remover, and just need it to get them rolling again. In no way would I consider this a permanent fix, spokes are designed the way they are for a reason. If you're breaking spokes, that might be a sign of another deeper problem as well.
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  17. #17
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimdays View Post
    Since I've never had such a repair fail, I consider it a permanent fix.
    Sorry, I assumed that "occasionally breaks spokes." meant that you were having to repeat the repair. A well built wheel will not occasionally break spokes under normal conditions but then a well built wheel would be a rare find on a huffy since they are marketed as low cost disposable bikes. The type of kludge you describe obviously can be made to work in a pinch but is only a temporary fix. If you were to remove the freewheel and use a spoke "as designed" and then properly tension the wheel, the spoke breakage would be rare to nonexistent. The fact that this is working tells me that the tension in this wheel is lower than what it should be which means that the rest of the spokes have been exposed to greater than normal stresses. This means that you will continue to have "occasional" breakages. What I meant by a more permanent fix is one that will not have you fixing ANY spokes unless you are involved in a collision.
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  18. #18
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Older Sturmey Archer generator hubs also had keyhole drillings... initial lacing is a little trickier on these and few hubs are as nice as Maxicar.

    For the OP... if you live in the civilized world have your freehweel removed so you can replace any broken spokes... if your wheel is doing this regularly the wheel will need tom be re-built or replsced.
    China is plenty civilized enough to have freewheel removers. I've been to bike shops in China that are much better than the ones available here in Toronto. Just don't expect the same kind of professionalism from the guy repairing bikes out of a cargo trike under the overpass.
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  19. #19
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    I use the technique as a volunteer mechanic at various medium sized rides (1K to 5K participants). I do not have an Eldi S-bender. I use something called a z bender plier (google it). It's a lot faster and requires less strength (and skill) than using a needle nose plier. My aim was to carry a 1 size fits all stock of spokes rather than avoiding pulling a freewheel/cassette. You're still going to have to pull a freewheel to replace a heads-in broken spoke on the driving side.

    I've never claimed the replacement is permanent, although I've never had any failure complaints. I've always suggested that the person take the bike to his local shop to have the spoke replaced after the ride. I've also put a dab of nail polish on the spoke so it can be easily found.

  20. #20
    tcarl
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    I agree with Jeff Wills above. In the 1980's when aero bladed spokes were new and hubs weren't slotted, someone came out with a bladed spoke with two 90 degree bends instead of one bend and a flat head. I still have some. They worked fine in terms of staying in the hub under tension. The two bends weren't U shaped. Bend the spoke with a needle nose plier 90 degrees (you can match the same "arc" of curvature with any other spoke), have a 2mm length at the 90 degree angle to the spoke (the part passing through the hub flange), then start/make another 90 arc down - pointing down toward the hub axle, not back up toward the rim). From the end of the second bend to the end of the spoke is another 2mm. I got these measurements from one of my spokes - it has the name "Hoshi" stamped on it. I'd say take these measurements and experiment. I think it should work. Good luck.

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