How To Repair A Spoke On Your Bicycle

A broken spoke on your bike can throw the wheel off and lead to a wobbly ride. Read this article and repair your spoke.

Bicycle spokes look fragile, but they withstand tremendous pressures in keeping the wheel true. To be true, the wheel must be perfectly round, while its plane of rotation is constantly perpendicular to the axle. A wheel obviously out of true, or one with several damaged spokes, should be replaced with another new wheel, although you can safely replace one or two spokes yourself. It is important to properly lace the replacement into the existing pattern. Study the arrangement of the spokes closely before beginning any work. You may have to remove the freewheel sprocket.

With the wheel dismounted and tire off, remove the broken spoke. Note the side of the hub to which its head connects, and when removing any parts off the bicycle, put them aside and mark them if need be. Thread the new spoke through the hub. When head is properly seated, swing the spoke up and lace it into the network, ending with the tip of the spoke near its hole in the rim.

Engage the tip of the spoke to the nipple on the rim. Tighten until the spoke appears taut and straight and the nipple is flush with the rim surface. Adjust with a spoke wrench until the new spoke has same give as intact spokes. It must not protrude through nipple or it may puncture the tube and cause more problems.



For emergency spoke replacement while on the road:

Be sure that you do the repairs off the side of the road and not in the way of heavy traffic just for safety reasons. Put the bicycle on the grass median, or pull off into a parking lot.

Repairs can be made on the road if you carry a wrench with a 1/4 in hole drilled in the handle and replacement spokes about 1 inch longer than those already on the wheel. Leave tire and wheel on the bicycle. Begin repair by cutting off head of new spoke. Then, use the hole in the wrench to bend the spoke's nonthreaded end. Hook bent end into hole in the hub. Lace spoke into network, then flex it to insert into the nipple.

Adjust spoke tension. The repair should be regarded as only temporary until you can get the bike home and do the proper repairs that are needed. Before installing the wheel back on your bicycle, recheck the spokes and their tension.

Then take a short ride to test it. Do not plan a long ride until you are sure the spokes were properly installed and have been checked.

To keep spokes in top condition, clean them when they get dirty by using a mixture of soap and water. Also, do not install any bike apparatus on your bicycle that will put wear and force on your spokes. Most children like to put trading cards on their bicycles with clothes pins to make the bike sound louder when they ride. Do not do this, as it can cause the spokes to become damaged after time and lessens the life of your bicycle.

© High Speed Ventures 2011