Join Date: Sep 2004
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Helpful (maybe) advice on replacing drive-side spokes
I'm not sure if this will be useful information to experienced people around here, but I found a useful trick related on the Massbike forums a while back for when you break an annoying spoke on the cassette-side of your rear wheel. It was posted by Tom Revay, and I'll just paste the instruction. I did it and it's worked well thus far. Then again, maybe you all know this already.
>>In April 2000, I attended a Leadership Training Seminar put on by the
Adventure Cycling Association. At this seminar, the instructor showed us a
trick that made the whole thing worth the price. And just to show you what
a terrific guy I am, I'm going to tell you this secret without making
anybody except Schimek pay me $400. (Paul, I'll see you tonight for your
Here's how it works --
Ordinarily, spokes are like an L, with a little cap at the short segment of
the L. The spoke threads through the hole in the wheel hub, and the cap
keeps the spoke from passing all the way through the hole and falling out.
This lets a wheelbuilder run the spokes through the hub, and then lace them
in a pattern (cross three usually, though cross four or cross two or radial
patterns are also used) without the spokes falling out before s/he starts to
Thing is, when the spoke is tensioned, the only part of the cap that's
needed is the part that's on the rim-side. Once the wheel is built, the
spoke need only be a J -- it just needs a hook at the hub-end, not a cap.
So what you can do when you need to replace a spoke is this --
* Take a spoke of the proper length, and with a metal file, file the cap
off the L. Don't file the whole cap -- just file the 3/4 part of it that
protrudes from the side and bottom of the L.
* Keep trying to pass the end you're filing into the hub-hole. When you
can do this, you've filed enough. This leaves the top of the cap on the
spoke, and the spoke stops being an L. It's now a hook -- a J.
* Put a bit o' grease on the spoke's threads, and thread it just a couple
turns into the nipple. Then wiggle the spoke through its soon-to-be mates
so that it follows the wheel's lacing pattern.
* Finally, bring the J-hook near the empty hub-hole, and work it through.
Tighten the spoke nipple while holding the hook thru the hole with your
thumb until the hook starts to grab the hub. After that, just tighten and
true as you normally would.
Using this method, I saw someone install a filed spoke on the cassette side
of the rear wheel -without removing the cassette-. He just worked the spoke
back and forth until its J-hook popped into the hole.
Once the spoke is tensioned, it will hold so long as you've left a nice J at
the end. You can just leave it there and ride on it.