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Broken spokes while on tour

Old 10-17-14, 02:27 PM
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jrickards
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Broken spokes while on tour

Spokes that break on the front wheel or non-drive side of the rear wheel are much easier to deal with than drive-side rear wheel broken spokes. I've also heard that it is more common to break drive-side than non-drive-side rear spokes. A couple of spare spokes and a spoke tool are light enough to carry. However, the chain whip and locknut tools are not.

Do you carry a chain whip and locknut tool with you? From the list of gear that people show or recommend for touring, neither seem to be part of the gear. Maybe it doesn't happen very often that spokes are broken but you never know.
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Old 10-17-14, 02:47 PM
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Yes I carry them plus all the tools to fix my bike you never know what will fail or need repairs.
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Old 10-17-14, 02:50 PM
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+1. never had to use them though.
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Old 10-17-14, 02:53 PM
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You can make a light weight chain whip with a section of chain and a cord to tie it to the rim. It will hold the cassette just fine so you can loosen the locknut.
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Old 10-17-14, 03:11 PM
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There are special mini cassette tools such as the Pamir Hypercracker, The Mini Cassette Lock, The NBT2, etc.. some people take on tour. I have a Phil FSC touring hub so I don't need a cassette tool to remove freehub body and replace drive side spokes. Some other hubs allow for this too such as the VO Touring Hub. Always do carry spare spokes with me on long tours.
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Old 10-17-14, 04:14 PM
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No, we don't carry a lock ring tool or a chainwhip. However, I do carry a Kevlar Fix Spoke for temporary drive side repairs. I have only broken 3 spokes in over 40 years of touring, and they were all on the front wheel during the same tour. I was able to get to a shop on all three breaks, and the spokes did not break at the same time.

Last edited by Doug64; 10-17-14 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 10-17-14, 04:39 PM
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Given I run discs and have 36 spoke wheels I can usually roll to the nearest bike shop simply by adjusting the tension on the surrounding spokes. Its easier to retension and true a wheel with real tools.
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Old 10-17-14, 04:40 PM
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Brought 2 spare spokes in the 3 lengths on the bike. 4 rear 2 front.

Built my wheel around a freewheel hub so only needed the freewheel remover along ,

And rear , had a 48 spoke wheel ,the 47 left when 1 broke was only an inconvenience .. touched up the truing a bit, and went on..

Borrowed the big wrench (only once) from a Stranger, then as a thank you , we went down to the Pub.
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Old 10-17-14, 04:44 PM
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I carry FiberFix because it's only half an ounce and requires no tools. My touring bike has had a couple of sets of solid 36-spoke wheels and has never broken a spoke (14,000+ touring miles). My total weight: me, equipment, & supplies is always less than 215 lbs. The half-ounce insurance is all I need.

BTW: When I toured back in the 1970's I broke lots of spokes on my steel-wheeled 10-speed. Even then I was able to hobble into a bike shop with several spokes broken. Modern wheels are a lot more solid.

Last edited by BigAura; 10-17-14 at 09:22 PM. Reason: added link & clarification
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Old 10-17-14, 05:06 PM
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I used to carry a cassette cracknut, like the one pictured.

Then I got a bender that I could use to dog-leg my spare spokes. I got this at a hobby shop. It's designed to put a dog-leg into RC airplanes' throttle wires. It works perfectly on bicycle spokes. (I added the pink line to demonstrate the shape on the working end of the bender.) With dog-legged spokes, no cassette removal is needed to replace them. Also attached is an image of a dog-legged spoke that I replaced.

I also carry a fiberfix spoke so I can put off actually installing the replacement spokes until I reach my destination.
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dogleg.jpg (58.4 KB, 54 views)
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crack.jpg (51.6 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg
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Last edited by MMACH 5; 10-17-14 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 10-17-14, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
I used to carry a cassette cracknut, like the one pictured.

Then I got a bender that I could use to dog-leg my spare spokes. I got this at a hobby shop. It's designed to put a dog-leg into RC airplanes' throttle wires. It works perfectly on bicycle spokes. (I added the pink line to demonstrate the shape on the working end of the bender.) With dog-legged spokes, no cassette removal is needed to replace them. Also attached is an image of a dog-legged spoke that I replaced.

I also carry a fiberfix spoke so I can put off actually installing the replacement spokes until I reach my destination.
I like that idea. You could even fit the spoke with the wheel in place that way.
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Old 10-17-14, 06:15 PM
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I learned this method from fietsbob on another thread.

Leave the heavy chain whip tool at home. Instead bring some zip ties. Lash the cassette to at least three spokes to stabilize it. Leave the heavy wrench at home. Borrow one from any hardware store, RV traveler or repair shop. Just bring the small lock ring tool. I just tried it. It works! Three zip ties came close to snapping. You may need more.


Last edited by BobG; 10-17-14 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 10-17-14, 06:35 PM
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I carry a NBT2.

NBT2 lockring remover
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Old 10-17-14, 06:39 PM
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+1 on the FiberFix Spoke. Never had to use it but it's a great emergency equipment that's also light weight.
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Old 10-17-14, 06:43 PM
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NBT2 works OK on vertical dropouts but on my horizonal ones, it just can't find secure purchase on the front lip and moves around. It can bend the spindle.
Whatever happened to the Pamir Hypercracker?
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Old 10-17-14, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
I learned this method from fietsbob on another thread.

Leave the heavy chain whip tool at home. Instead bring some zip ties. Lash the cassette to at least three spokes to stabilize it. Leave the heavy wrench at home. Borrow one from any hardware store, RV traveler or repair shop. Just bring the small lock ring tool. I just tried it. It works! Three zip ties came close to snapping. You may need more.

Interesting! I've been strapping the crank to the chainstay and using the chain as a makeshift chainwhip, only moving the wheel away from the frame just enough to get the cassette removal tool inserted.
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Old 10-17-14, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
Whatever happened to the Pamir Hypercracker?
I think they went out of business. Here's the equivalent.........

Cassette and Freehub Tools for Bicycles from Harris Cyclery

stevep............

fietsbob gets credit for that suggestion!
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Old 10-17-14, 08:14 PM
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i carry a cassette removal tool and a 6" crescent wrench.
no longer carry a chain whip.

i think most people torquen the lockring too tight!
when mounting, i turn the tool as much as i can by hand,
then use the wrench for 6-8 more 'clicks.'

i can then use the small wrench to remove the lockring,
holding the cassette with a thick rag. or bit of newspaper.
or rolled up plastic shopping bag.

haven't had one come loose while riding.....yet.
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Old 10-17-14, 08:43 PM
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+1 on the wire (zip) ties. Lot's of uses for them. This was what I did on this summer's Great Lakes traverse:

I had the bike on the stand in Peterborough, ON and was evening the tension on my spokes when the rim gave way (Mavic XM 317, 26" 32 hole). Fortunately a piece of the rim still surrounded the spoke ferrule and the hole in the rim had a keyhole shape. I was able to wedge the broken section of the rim back into the slot on the keyhole and wire tire that spoke to its neighbor. It allowed some tensioning though not enough to completely get rid of a slight wobble.

I still had a day and a half ride to Kingston where I would complete the tour. It held up, fortunately. I suspect I could have finished the ride minus the spoke altogether but I felt better trying it this way.

Given the places I've taken it, I guess four years were too much for that rim.
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Old 10-18-14, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by robert schlatte View Post
You can make a light weight chain whip with a section of chain and a cord to tie it to the rim. It will hold the cassette just fine so you can loosen the locknut.
I described that chain and cord trick a few years ago at this link:
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/80...ip-travel.html

My cassette tool took too large a wrench to carry, I filed down two of the flats on it to allow me to carry a smaller crescent wrench. Less than 10 minutes of filing.

Two of my touring bikes do not have spoke holders on the frame. I carry the spare spokes in the seatpost. They are held in with a wine cork. The cork dried out and shrunk slightly so I wrapped some electrical tape around it to make the cork fit tighter in the seatpost.
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Old 10-18-14, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
Do you carry a chain whip and locknut tool with you? From the list of gear that people show or recommend for touring, neither seem to be part of the gear. Maybe it doesn't happen very often that spokes are broken but you never know.
I usually carry a Unior Cassette ******* and a few spare spokes. It works fine, weighs less than an ounce, and wasn't very expensive. I have not found it to take all that long to replace a spoke so I do not bother with temporary fixes like the fiberfix.

BTW on every bike I have toured on I have been able to find one size of spoke that would work for all three different locations on the bike (front, drive side rear, and non drive side rear). I pick a size that will grab several threads when replacing the longest spokes, but not poke through to puncture the tube when replacing the shortest ones.
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Old 10-18-14, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I usually carry a Unior Cassette *******
Wow, I guess cassette c-r-a-c-k-e-r is a dirty word here
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Old 10-18-14, 08:01 AM
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I, too, read, then passed info along.. Zip tying the big cassette cog to the spokes will replace the chain whip,
so you can unscrew the lock ring, with that smaller tool.

Probably best to follow multiple suggestions .. dont over tighten the lockring in the 1st place check it before you start.
& then the zip ties 1 per spoke crossing, so 9 on a 36 spoke wheel, 8 on 32.

have not done that myself ..

(new Trekking bike is Rohloff hubed, they have big flanges + are dishless, so less tendency to break drive side spokes)

so easy to pass the spoke thru (disc may have to come off the NDS side , depending on which broke,
But the 4 bolts are same as the chainring uses so disc is easily removed.

derailleur disc bike? Go with centerlock hubs removal tool is also the lockring tool.

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-18-14 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 10-18-14, 08:40 AM
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I really like my Stein Mini Cassette Lockring Driver: weighs about the same as a cassette lockring tool, is small and flat, and you don't have to carry around a heavy crescent wrench or chain whip tool, but still does the same job as all three of those tools.

Here is a good description of the tool (older version of it, anyways): https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...page_id=325740

The fibrefix spokes look like a great gadget, and I love the idea of the dogleg spoke, which are great temporary solutions. I suppose one advantage of carrying spare spokes and a tool to replace them, though, is that the fix will hopefully be permanent and you don't have to worry about it again down the road.
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Old 10-18-14, 09:40 AM
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It is very easy to make temporary replacement spokes. All you need is a pair of pliers w/cutters and a spoke slightly longer than the original. Use the pliers to bend an elbow at the same point as the elbow on the broken spoke, then cut it off so the length after the bend is slightly more then the width of the hub flange. Make the bend a wee bit tighter than 90 degrees. With some effort you should be able to get the spoke into place without removing the cassette. I assume the dogleg spoke idea works the same, but no need for a specialized tools.
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