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Riding with spoke(s) missing...

Old 03-05-19, 10:41 AM
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Riding with spoke(s) missing...

Well, the Bianchi snapped a head off of a rear spoke, drive side. That was a couple of weeks ago and I can't find another spoke in Jamaica, so far. To get a spoke shipped from Canada takes about six weeks for arrival. So...

I have been riding the Bianchi with a missing spoke in the rear. I do not go as fast, or as far and I stay away from hard (bumpy, potholed, rough) roads. So far, so good. Hope I can make it another six weeks with my flimsy rear wheel. Does anyone else find themselves fudging, from time to time?
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Old 03-05-19, 10:49 AM
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Looks like 36 spokes. I am unable to ride my Colnago with one spoke gone on the drive side. It rubs on the brake requiring the calipers to be opened all the way. I have gotten by on wheels with 36 spokes.
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Old 03-05-19, 10:51 AM
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When a spoke breaks I replace it immediately. I always carry 2 extra spokes while riding--one for the DS and one for the NDS. Never had a problem with front spoke breakage, only rear. Helicomatic's are known for spoke breakage. I can r&r a spoke almost as fast as changing a flat.
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Old 03-05-19, 11:24 AM
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Hmm, a quick check of the Jamaican yellow pages shows 16 bicycle shops. It's hard to imagine that one of them wouldn't have a workable length spoke.
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Old 03-05-19, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Jon T View Post
I always carry 2 extra spokes while riding--one for the DS and one for the NDS... Helicomatic's are known for spoke breakage. I can r&r a spoke almost as fast as changing a flat.
I guess you might have to do that with a helicomatic. But planning on rear ds spoke replacement on the road is not really feasible for those of us with regular freewheel hubs. Fortunately, the problem hasn't really occurred (for me, anyway).
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Old 03-05-19, 01:17 PM
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I've ridden with a broken spoke in the rear wheel a number of times. As long as it's not a regular event with that wheel and you can true adequately around it, riding a bit easier should work fine. Should another spoke break, time to hunt down one of those Jamaican shops. Good luck!
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Old 03-05-19, 01:19 PM
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In a pinch I have trimmed longer spokes with a cable cutter and used it, this being Jamaica that is what I would do. The beater bike I used when near Negril for a week had much bigger issues but I rode that thing everywhere anyhow since the overall vibe is why worry????
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Old 03-05-19, 01:23 PM
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Fiber Fix!

I’ve seen a zip tie idea but really it was more along the lines of “get off the mountain and back to the car before the wolves come out,” not “six weeks of riding while awaiting delivery”

What sort of spoke could you cut? Those are some pretty long ones. Maybe you could splice two.

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Old 03-05-19, 01:33 PM
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As to whether I fudge it... heck yes. On my commuter bike I had a stiff chain link throughout February. I never fixed it because I knew I’d be going for heart surgery and wouldn’t ride that bike again til autumn at the earliest. And even so it was only complaining in 5th gear on a 1x11, not a gear you hang out in.
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Old 03-05-19, 01:43 PM
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Having lived full time in the second and third worlds for the past 17 years, I have come to be quite adept at fudging. And I lived in Appalachia for the 20 years prior to that. I can't imagine you can't just true around that broken spoke and keep going. It's not rocket science.
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Old 03-05-19, 03:01 PM
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I've had spokes break on me twice over the past ten years.

First time a spoke popped without any obvious reason and after removing the FW it turned out a chain had "eaten" a few spokes and I ended up replacing three or four at the nearest LBS. He wasn't happy. I was.

The second time it happened as I got out of the saddle to power up a steep hairpin corner on a French hill. I managed to true the wheel enough to continue the ride and kept my behind firmly planted in the saddle during the rest of that vacation. The wheel held up with 35 operational spokes for another week or so.

Since then I've bought a handful of these at a swap meet, but I haven't needed them yet.

I give you the Simson First Aid Spoke ® :

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Old 03-05-19, 03:45 PM
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Curious - is that 12.50 kroner, euro, something else?

Darth's Fiberfix reference is to a kevlar version of pretty-much the same thing. Seems like a neat idea and compact enough. Cold comfort for the OP, and neither would get there any sooner than a conventional spoke.

But that does beg the question - why only from Canada? Just guessing, but I would think shipments from the US to Jamaica occur a lot more frequently. Why not just order either the needed replacement spoke (plus a spare or three), and/or one of the above-mentioned field emergency "spokes", from Amazon or some stateside LBS?
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Old 03-05-19, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Curious - is that 12.50 kroner, euro, something else?

Darth's Fiberfix reference is to a kevlar version of pretty-much the same thing. Seems like a neat idea and compact enough. Cold comfort for the OP, and neither would get there any sooner than a conventional spoke.

But that does beg the question - why only from Canada? Just guessing, but I would think shipments from the US to Jamaica occur a lot more frequently. Why not just order either the needed replacement spoke (plus a spare or three), and/or one of the above-mentioned field emergency "spokes", from Amazon or some stateside LBS?
Dutch guilders. Or florins, if you like. Last century stuff ...
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Old 03-05-19, 04:06 PM
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An idea for a quick fix - 3rd world style. See if you can find a linesman's Nicropress tool, the huge "pliers" for joining wires and the matching sleeves. You might be able to make a new spoke out of several old ones. (I'd try going to the telephone or electric company and seeing if I could arrive at lunch and talk to the workers. Show up with the spokes marked for the splice.) No promises, but then, you'd have nothing to lose and if they get interested, they might well have a better idea. Their living is wires after all. And who knows, someone there might take this on as a challenge.)

I've done enough sailing with boats rigged entirely using those tools. If you can find one sized to do spoke diameters, the splice will be plenty strong.

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Old 03-05-19, 04:18 PM
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Broken spoke, fix it. If it breaks in a ride, true as best you can without getting any spoke "real" tight, and be careful riding home (don't stand and pedal, keep away from potholes, etc.)
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Old 03-05-19, 04:51 PM
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I have no idea how wheelbuilding or spoke-changing works, but I definitely need to learn. I've had some bad luck with those rascals, in the last year or so. 😩😖
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Old 03-06-19, 12:01 PM
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Broken spoke, fix it. If it breaks in a ride, true as best you can without getting any spoke "real" tight, and be careful riding home (don't stand and pedal, keep away from potholes, etc.)
Ah, gugie, you and I think alike...

I retensioned close by spokes to hit true with the wheel. Then I super centered the wheel (had to since I am running 700c x 38 and very little clearance between the chain stays).

With that set-up I resumed riding, slowly, middle ring and biggest cog. I do not go far. I do not ride hard roads (potholes, bumps etc). And I pucker up my butt, in absolute anticipation of another PING followed by zip, zip, zip and the rear tire rubs on the chain stay. Anyway...

I am still staying close to home (my SPDs are so worn out that they are falling apart and I do NOT want to have a long walk home in them anymore). They gotta last another six weeks. That said...

Believe it or not and even I don't believe it, I am on the big ring now and close to top gear, zipping quickly over the smooth surfaces, of which there is one, about three kilometers long, that I sprint on. Back and forth, fast as I can go, keeping in mind that the rear wheel is not 100% for three loops. Turns out that I am getting my exercise, enjoying the ride and meeting even more people. Even the Jamaican police, the parish ones anyway, wave to me as we meet on the road.

As for finding a spoke. That is a trick, all by itself. Next year - new wheels, spare spokes and I might even build myself a drop bar mountain bike, using the components from this...


Fitted onto this(if my youngest grand daughter will agree)...
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Old 03-06-19, 12:35 PM
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36 spoke wheels with old school tension (low) could be ridden with a broken spoke for some time without worries. Flipping open the QR on your campy brake made enough space, and single pivot calipers could track a bent wheel just fine. Spokes got replaced when you got home, or a couple days later. As higher spoke tensions and lower spoke counts became fashionable, riding with a broken spoke became less possible. So the answer is you should be fine, but it depends somewhat on your spoke tension. Find a shop and replace the spoke if you can.

I remember neglecting to replace broken spokes for a couple weeks+ at a time on my commute bike. This is when I was working as a mechanic. I just didn't care that much, and I thought it was funny.
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Old 03-06-19, 02:14 PM
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My Touring bike rear wheel build was 48 spokes , so when 1 broke, a tiny bit of wheel truing and it ran straight again ..

and I rode until I could borrow a big wrench to unscrew the freewheel..
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Old 03-16-19, 11:22 AM
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Well, the Bianchi and I are still getting from here to there and back to here,, still with a broken spoke. But that might be the least of my problems.

Though I suffer (not the best word) from carpal tunnel syndrome, my guess is that my gloves will last until I get back to Canada...


My spds, on the other hand, or foot, might not last until the end of April...


But all in all, I racked up about three thousand or more kilometers, this year, and loved almost every minute of it, including the two or three long walks home (that's what wore the shoes out). That said, this morning, while moving pretty darn fast down a gentle slope on a very smooth surface, a nanny goat jumped out in front of me. That is the first time, in many years, that I had to lock the brakes up to avoid a crash. But it did feel kinda cool, as the bike was sliding sideways. Don't tell Mrs. Me!-(
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