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Broken spoke!

Old 03-14-19, 03:24 PM
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ButchA
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Broken spoke!

Well, it finally happened to me earlier today, when I went for a quick ride around the neighborhood. Thankfully, I was on my street, on my way home, when for some odd reason, I heard a BANG! sound, and looked down thinking I got a flat, but I immediately noticed my rear tire had a slight wobble like I bent the rim.

Upon further inspection once I got home (not even a 1/4 mile), I noticed the broken spoke on the hub. All other spokes appear okay and are still intact, very old and classic (1985), but they are still holding up.

How hard is it to repair a broken spoke? I've never done it, have no clue, etc... and might be better taking my beloved C&V, 1985 Fuji Del Rey to the LGS and have them change the spoke and true the rear wheel while their at it.

What do you think?

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Old 03-14-19, 03:32 PM
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bargainguy
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You'll need to remove the freewheel and the "pie plate" plastic spoke protector to get the old spoke out and the new one in, and then you'll need a spoke wrench for the new installation. Not difficult if you have the tools to do it. If you don't have the tools and don't plan on doing this repair much in the future, might be worth having someone else do it for you.
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Old 03-14-19, 03:33 PM
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Details, for anyone who has ever repaired broken spokes...

1985 Fuji Del Rey, extra large size 25" frame.
6 speed Fuji freewheel.
Ukai 27" x 1 1/8 rims, 36 spokes.


Edit... Thanks, bargainguy!
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Old 03-14-19, 03:46 PM
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It depends how mechanically inclined you are. I had someone replace the first spoke I broke, but have replaced 4-5 since on my own. It is not difficult, but does takes time, especially when it's your first. Watch a few youtube videos to get an idea.

As you seem to only have 1 bike, you also have to decide whether it's worth being down while you try and fix it. Do you have a freewheel removal tool and spoke wrench?
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Old 03-14-19, 03:48 PM
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The spoke appears to be broken at the elbow. If you take it into the LBS, they will be able to measure it and sell you a replacement.

Truing wheels takes practice. Whether you can do this successfully by yourself depends on your mechanical aptitude. If you haven't trued wheels before, replace the spoke, and adjust the tightness of the replacement only, until the wheel is a straight as possible.

You'll also need to remove the freewheel, which requires a tool. Might be better to have a shop fix it. 10 minute job tops.
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Old 03-14-19, 03:48 PM
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This might be obvious, but if you're going to do it yourself, you might want to bring the old spoke (and nipple if you want to buy the wrench) to your LBS so they can match the length and gauge. It looks like the "elbow" is still there, so it can be measured correctly. (Or I guess you can bring the whole wheel).
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Old 03-14-19, 04:02 PM
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Thanks everyone!

I'm mechanically inclined with cars and motorcycles (like most everyone), but I have never touched a freewheel, hub, spokes, etc... I've only replaced brakes, cables, and minor things like tubes and gumwall tires. I don't have a freewheel (Suntour) removal tool, or any serious tools like a LBS would have in their shop. I would feel more comfortable asking my LBS to fix the busted spoke and truing the rear wheel for me.
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Old 03-14-19, 04:11 PM
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A perfect opportunity to remove the dork disk.
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Old 03-14-19, 04:24 PM
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My thoughts exactly, SurfRosa!!!
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Old 03-14-19, 04:35 PM
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When my bike broke a rear wheel spoke in 2016 I had no tools -- sold 'em all about 15 years earlier when I thought I'd never ride a bike again. The rear wheel was a single wall rim and I was using the bike for errands, including groceries and pet supplies weighing up to 50 lbs. The wheel was pretty badly warped just from a single broken spoke.

I needed the bike ASAP so I had the LBS do it. Replacing a single spoke would have cost $20. I figured the spokes would probably keep breaking since the break was at the hub. So I just had 'em replace the entire wheel with a sturdier double wall rim and basic loose bearing hub for around $80. The replacement wheel had much sturdier spokes. So far, so good.

But since then I've added a bunch of tools, have three bikes and don't need a bike repaired ASAP. So I'd do it myself now. I've practiced spoke adjustments on an older wheel that was trashed after my bike was hit by a car.

Truing wheels is my least favorite maintenance chore, next to chain maintenance. I'm truing a wheel from my Univega right now and it's a PITA. The black enameled or painted spokes tend to squeak against each other. The tricky bit is when the spokes bind in the nipples so it's impossible to adjust them correctly. If the spoke twists instead of the nipple rotating, it'll defeat the purpose and the wheel will be out of true again soon, and the twisting stress will probably lead to spoke breakage.

If I get another wheel, no black spokes.
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Old 03-14-19, 06:04 PM
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Spoke repair is one of those skills that's good to learn after the basics - flat repair, brake setup, derailleur setup, bearing overhaul/adjustment. It's really not that hard to learn. Since 90% of the time you're replacing a drive side rear spoke, getting the freewheel or cassette off is half the battle.
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Old 03-14-19, 09:16 PM
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My one and only velo is an '84 Peugeot that I bought new. Still running the Helicomatic rear end. Helio's are known for spoke breakage. I carry 2 spokes, the cassette removal tool (the "bottle opener") and a spoke wrench with me at all times. I can r&r a spoke and true the wheel in about 15 minutes. Spoke r&r and truing are skills that every one should learn. Truing is an art, but not rocket science.
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Old 03-15-19, 11:45 AM
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How hard is it to repair a broken spoke?
It is not difficult, at all, IF you know how. Get a proper length spoke. Install it (might have to do some spoke bending to get it into place). Then true the wheel. No biggie - IF you know what you are doing!

Of course, if one spoke fails one (you) must ask yourself if it is indicative of an old wheel or just an unlucky spoke failure. I have been riding my Bianchi, in Jamaica where it is HARD to find a spoke, for about four weeks, now, with one broken spoke in the rear wheel. I take it easy and avoid rough road surfaces. So far so good but I guarantee you that next winter, when I get back to Jamaica, a new set of near bullet proof wheels will be travelling with me....
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