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Bending a spoke while installing it . . . How bad?

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Bending a spoke while installing it . . . How bad?

Old 02-05-15, 09:49 PM
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Bending a spoke while installing it . . . How bad?

20" wheel 32 spoke 3x off a folding bike (cheapo). Has two broken spokes, broken where the spoke joins the nipple because the rim appears to be drilled straight toward the middle of the hub, rather than angled.

Anyway, the only way to install the replacement spoke(s) without bending them is to loosen and disconnect several adjacent spokes so as to have clearance.

If the spoke gets bent during installation, and then straightens out of course when tightened, does it have any serious effect on the spoke's durability?

I'm a little hazy on metal fatigue. OK, I really know nothing about metal fatigue--how a one-time lateral bend (now straightened) would effect a spoke's radial pulling strength.

Thank you.
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Old 02-05-15, 09:56 PM
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You won't have any issues with the new spokes. Bending spokes gently along their length to get them threaded into the hub won't change the metal enough to cause issues.

However, I'd be worried about the rest of the wheel. Since two spokes have broken already and, as you pointed out, the spoke holes are causing sharp bends at the nipples, I'd bet that the rest are ready to break. You may be better off replacing the whole wheel (if it's cheap enough) or relacing with fewer crosses. I think a 20" wheel with 32 spokes could get by with 2-cross on the rear and radial in the front.
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Old 02-05-15, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills
You won't have any issues with the new spokes. Bending spokes gently along their length to get them threaded into the hub won't change the metal enough to cause issues.

However, I'd be worried about the rest of the wheel. Since two spokes have broken already and, as you pointed out, the spoke holes are causing sharp bends at the nipples, I'd bet that the rest are ready to break. You may be better off replacing the whole wheel (if it's cheap enough) or relacing with fewer crosses. I think a 20" wheel with 32 spokes could get by with 2-cross on the rear and radial in the front.
You're exactly right--I already told the owner that he will probably have more broken spokes, but he's old and poor and doesn't ride that much. So we're going to hope for the best and see what happens . . .
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Old 02-05-15, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills
You won't have any issues with the new spokes. Bending spokes gently along their length to get them threaded into the hub won't change the metal enough to cause issues.

.
Thanks for putting my mind at ease on this point.
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Old 02-06-15, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills
You won't have any issues with the new spokes. Bending spokes gently along their length to get them threaded into the hub won't change the metal enough to cause issues.
+ 1
I wouldn't hesitate a second. Don't tie a knot on it and don't bend it over an edge and you'll be fine. Mid-length failures are extremely rare.

But, if it is indeed a funky drilling causing the problem, and the break at the nipple does suggest that, then I might be tempted to run a drill through to realign the hole, and then slip a washer on the nipple when relacing.

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Old 02-06-15, 07:14 AM
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You can bend a spoke very very far without hurting it. It's essentially a spring afterall. Unless you actually crease the metal, it'll be fine.
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Old 02-06-15, 07:41 AM
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A sharp, localized bend would be bad, but a gentle bend along the length of the spoke is OK.
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Old 02-06-15, 08:22 AM
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Thanks, Guys. I almost didn't ask because I feared that bending a spoke was an unpardonable sin and I was going to feel guilty about it for the rest of my life. Who knew?
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Old 02-06-15, 09:06 AM
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The elbow of a spoke is only a specific bend. So most spokes in use have already been bent. Andy.
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Old 02-06-15, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii
You're exactly right--I already told the owner that he will probably have more broken spokes, but he's old and poor and doesn't ride that much. So we're going to hope for the best and see what happens . . .
If there is a bike co-op in the area, perhaps you could get some help to loosen all the spokes a couple of turns and then re-true and tension the wheel. Might help, couldn't hurt.
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Old 02-06-15, 02:34 PM
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As long as you don't kink it you are OK. The wire for spokes comes on a big spool and goes through rollers to take the coil out.
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Old 02-06-15, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by GravelMN
If there is a bike co-op in the area, perhaps you could get some help to loosen all the spokes a couple of turns and then re-true and tension the wheel. Might help, couldn't hurt.
Great minds think alike. I did that, also made it a lot tighter than it was. Not too tight, of course . . . but . . .just . . . right.
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