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Chapman 11-21-13 07:36 PM

Broken spokes
Apologies if this thread should be posted in a different forum...

I broke a spoke this morning during my commute to work. During this evening's commute two more spokes broke. Should I have the wheel repaired or should I just replace?

Any advice appreciated.


unterhausen 11-21-13 07:57 PM

depends on how old the rim is, but the spokes are all going to go now.

Papa Tom 11-21-13 08:30 PM

Stop riding on it immediately and get it to a good bike mechanic. You may have bent it beyond repair by continuing to ride on it OR you might be lucky and find someone who can still fix it.

MNTC 11-21-13 08:34 PM

Unless it's a light-weight rim it's probably fine. Definitely have spokes laced back in and the wheel trued before you ride on it again, bt a back-and-forth commute is unlikely to have trashed the rim.

HonestOne 11-21-13 09:05 PM

Buy the spokes and spoke wrench yourself, its actually easier than you think to fix. I've been riding around with one spoke broken and it hasn't got any worse, I ride it pretty hard too, do little jumps off curbs and between driveways. This is on a 26" beach cruiser.
- Aaron

ItsJustMe 11-21-13 09:05 PM

I've ridden with two broken spokes. It won't hurt anything but replace them ASAP.

If they're breaking at the elbow, odds are the spokes are under tensioned and need to be tighter.

My first bike had a garbage rear wheel and I broke a dozen spokes in the first 1000 miles. I bought a new good rim (a Mavic) and butted spokes and printed out Sheldon Brown's wheel building web page, sat down in the living room watching TV and laced my first wheel. I took the advice of a friend who said "Lean on that sucker to relieve the tension and tighten the nipples until it feels like you're almost ready to strip something, then the tension will be about right."

That wheel stayed dead true with no broken spokes for 14,000 miles, until the cheap axle broke.

BTW I agree with just doing it yourself, spoke replacement is super easy. They're probably drive side though so you'll need a tool or two (freewheel tool or a freehub tool and a chain whip, depending on the hub type). I can throw a new spoke on in about 5 minutes and have the cassette back on and the wheel back on the bike.

e0richt 11-22-13 08:34 AM

I had that happen to me and just repaired it... works fine... if this is a common problem then there are two options: one is to replace the wheel... the other is to "tie" the spokes... I had a problem with mine because it is a hybrid and I am a heavy guy (bit lighter now) so I put the bike away for a bit but now have brought it back out and if I have a problem again, I will probably try the "tie" approach to strengthen the wheel...

mconlonx 11-22-13 08:41 AM

Replace the spokes or have them replaced; bonus if you have a shop de- and re-tension the whole wheel while they are at it. They should also be able to tell you if it's worth the repair. Older, beat wheel with bent/dented rim and corroded/stuck nipples? Maybe not, but if it's otherwise in good shape and you don't want to shell out for a new wheel, by all means get it fixed instead of replacing.

After fixing the broken spokes, if you start breaking more, definitely do a whole new rebuild w/ new spokes and nibbles, or get a new wheel.

At the shop, I'll fix a spoke (1st). Person comes back in with another one(2nd), fix it, suggest de- and re-tension service or wheel replacement with a warning that if another breaks, I'll be a bit more suggestive about replace/rebuild; at a third spoke(3rd), I'll point out that at once this third one is fixed, I could have re-built the entire wheel for the same money...

jrickards 11-22-13 08:50 AM

I have an old (i.e., non-disc) bike with 4 broken spokes on the rear (hobbled home gently, haven't ridden it since). Are the spokes on the drive side a different length than on the other side?

Also, on another bike, I noticed that the end of the spokes (as viewed from the inside of the rim with the rim tape off) has a slot as if it could be tightened with a flat screwdriver, is this an option or should I use a spoke tool?

Bill Kapaun 11-22-13 09:23 AM

IF you've broken 3 spokes, it's time for ALL new spokes or a new wheel.
Likely, the wheel was never properly tensioned and the other spokes have enough "flexing" that their fatigue life is about over.

What rim/hub combination do you have?
I'll assume it's a rear wheel, but which side are they breaking & where? The J bend?

jrickards 11-22-13 09:29 AM


Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun (Post 16268541)
What rim/hub combination do you have?
I'll assume it's a rear wheel, but which side are they breaking & where? The J bend?

I'll have to check on all of that but I have one on my desk here that is broken at the J bend.

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