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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-03-06, 07:31 AM   #1
dalmore
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broken spokes ...

I am curious, what do you do when you suffer a broken spoke on the commute? At the office yesterday, I discovered that I had a couple of broken spokes. I have cutters at the office so I nippped them out. However, I don't carry anything with me that I could have removed the dangling spokes with. I'm thinking I should add a spoke wrench to my kit - anything else I should add?

The braking surface of that rim is nearing the end of it's life so I'll probably just have the wheel rebuilt instead of replacing the spokes and retruing the wheel.
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Old 10-03-06, 07:38 AM   #2
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The only time I have ever had broken spokes was when my U-lock slipped its bungee and danced into the rear wheel.

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Old 10-03-06, 07:40 AM   #3
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When mine have broken they have usually stayed in place and not caused me any problems. You can also tape the broken spoke to one of the others just to keep it from getting hung up. A little duct tape is a good thing.
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Old 10-03-06, 07:41 AM   #4
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My wheelset made it to 5300 miles before breaking a spoke on the rear wheel drive side.
I have yet to break a spoke on a front wheel.
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Old 10-03-06, 07:43 AM   #5
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If a spoke is loose after its broken, just wrap it around an adjacent spoke. Couple of twists and it will stay put. Don't forget to quick-release the brake or the rim will rub on the brake shoes.
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Old 10-03-06, 07:45 AM   #6
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If you are careful, you can ride a long ways on a broken spoke, even with a huge load. You have to be really really careful but you can do it. In 2005 I rode a broken spoke from the Jerry Johnson campground to Kamiah, ID (about 80 miles) with a fully loaded touring bike. It was all downhill so I didn't have to put much torque on the wheel and I babied it like crazy but I made it to where I could get help.

Two broken spokes is more of a problem but still ridable. Just don't go hitting potholes or jumping curbs. And get it fixed as soon as you get home!
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Old 10-03-06, 07:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DataJunkie
My wheelset made it to 5300 miles before breaking a spoke on the rear wheel drive side.
I have yet to break a spoke on a front wheel.
Front spoke breakage is very rare. I've only had it happen on one tandem that had bad spokes to begin with. Even mountain bikes...rigid ones at that...rarely break a front spoke.
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Old 10-03-06, 08:12 AM   #8
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I believe just about all of my spoke issues have been drive side rear wheels due to the nature of the beast.
I need to sprinkle holy water on my bike now that I have said that.
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Old 10-03-06, 08:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyccommute
Front spoke breakage is very rare. I've only had it happen on one tandem that had bad spokes to begin with. Even mountain bikes...rigid ones at that...rarely break a front spoke.
Probably because there is no dish in a front wheel. I don't expect to ever break a spoke on my SS MTB rear wheel. The hub takes up most of the 135mm space and the spokes aren't dished at all.

Edit: Oh, and I don't really ride it off road much. For my use, it's pretty much indestructible as long as I keep rigid objects from finding their way in the spokes while riding.
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Old 10-03-06, 12:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by squeakywheel
Probably because there is no dish in a front wheel. I don't expect to ever break a spoke on my SS MTB rear wheel. The hub takes up most of the 135mm space and the spokes aren't dished at all.

Edit: Oh, and I don't really ride it off road much. For my use, it's pretty much indestructible as long as I keep rigid objects from finding their way in the spokes while riding.
I think the lack of dish is only part of the reason. The other part is that the front wheel is rather static. If it were subjected to the lopsided torque that the rear wheel sees, you'd probably break spokes on the front wheel too. I wonder if we had drives on both sides of the rear wheel, if spoke breakage would be a thing of the past.
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Old 10-03-06, 12:47 PM   #11
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If you have to ride with a broken spoke, you can loosen the two adjacent spokes a bit to get the wheel closer to true until you can get a replacement in there and do a full truing. Until I got my current rear wheel (a wonderful tank) I was breaking spokes fairly frequently -- doing the loosening trick will get you home and avoid having the brakes rubbing as you ride. Spoke wrenches are cheap -- I always have one with me on a ride.
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Old 10-03-06, 01:07 PM   #12
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I've broken quite a few spokes on my commute. But then again I'm 220 and ride 28mm tires on some horrible roads. Plus most of the spokes I have broken were on my track wheel after I dropped the chain to the inside of the cog. It turns out I damaged the spokes near the heads. The spokes started breaking one at a time over the last year. I think there are still a few damaged spokes left before all the damaged spokes are repaired. I didn't even realize the problem until after the third spoke.
When they break (always at the head) I twist the loose spoke out of the nipple until I can get it repaired. Luckily my LBS is on the way home so I can pick up a spare or have them fix it if they are not busy.
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Old 10-04-06, 07:00 AM   #13
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Fiber Spoke

If you have the time and need to fix a spoke, you can use this. It's a kevlar cord that replaces the broken spoke and allows you to re-true the wheel. I have one, but haven't needed to use it yet.
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