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Thread: Broken Spokes

  1. #1
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    Broken Spokes

    How do you guys deal with broken spokes on the road? In particular rear ones on the drive side.

    Thanks

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    When it happened I just wrapped the broken spokes around the others and had to open up the brakes as the wheel was no longer true. I then just turned around and went home.

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    9er
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmach View Post
    When it happened I just wrapped the broken spokes around the others and had to open up the brakes as the wheel was no longer true. I then just turned around and went home.
    ^^^ That's pretty much it..

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    If you have a lot of spokes, you can get away with loosening the non drive side to true the wheel up enough to not hit any stays. Open the brakes.

    I carry and have successfully used a fiberfix temporary spoke: FiberFix from Peter White Cycles

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9er View Post
    ^^^ That's pretty much it..
    Same here.
    My other chainring is a 39...
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    If you carry a spoke wrench, you can correct the wobble a bit, if you need to to limp home.

    On longer rides, it's more of a problem. I've successfully used one of these:

    FiberFix bicycle spoke replacement system - Yellow Jersey
    It's a kevlar string with a clever adjusing device. Makes a quite workable emergency spoke replacement.

    Right rear used to be the most common site for broken spokes, but now it seems they more often happen on the left. More cogs = greater dish = greater tension difference = lower NDS tension, which sometimes means spokes going slack, which accelerates fatigue at the bend.

    But not always, obviously.

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    I guess there is no practical way of carrying tools to put in a conventional spoke.

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    I had a defective wheel on a bike that I bought last year and after breaking 4 spokes on different occasions, I convinced the dealer to send it back to the company. Thankfully, I have not had the issue since. I was fortunate to normally be within a couple miles of home each time it happened.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by daniell View Post
    I guess there is no practical way of carrying tools to put in a conventional spoke.
    The problem with replacing a spoke on the right side of the rear wheel is you have to remove the cassette, which means you need a cassette lockring tool, and a wrench (you normally need a chainwhip, too, but you can improvise with the bike chain). Whether it's "practical" to carry those depends on how much stuff you want to carry. People on long tours carry lots of stuff.

    For the front wheel, or left rear, all you need is a spoke wrench.

    The fiberfix thing works, though. For emergency use it's fine.

    Have you been breaking a lot of spokes? A wheel that breaks multiple spokes usually has a problem, either a bad build or a damaged rim.

  10. #10
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    I secure the broken spoke to an adjacent spoke with a piece of tape (cannibalized from bar wrap finish tape) so that it doesn't flop around or get tangled up in something. I don't unthread the spoke since the nipple may fall into the rim. True up the wheel if necessary, usually by just loosening the opposite spoke. Open brake caliper if necessary.
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  11. #11
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    Back when I had the horrible EC90 easton wheels that I broke many a spoke on, I actually used small piece of the black electrical type tape used on my bar wrap and taped the spoke onto another one, just so I could get home.

  12. #12
    w-g
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    Tape it or wrap it around another spoke, ride home, carefully. If wheel out of whack, open brakes...ride home more carefully. On MTB, carry spare spoke, take cassette off, repair, keep going (been there done that).
    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Inigo Montoya

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    How often do spokes break and why do they break? I'm pretty new to cycling, so its something I would like to learn about.

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    w-g
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    Spokes on a well built wheel set should last a long long time (think years) of normal use. Usually its an outside influence on the wheel.
    The only time I've snapped a spoke was due to some impact of some kind or, in once case, the wheels were years old and the rim asspolded due to having worn out, took a couple spokes with it.
    A mis-aligned rear derailleur can drop the chain behind the cassette into the spokes. Get something stuck in derailleur and it wraps into spokes (had a few of these incidents). Beginner mechanics may over tighten nipples and thus put too much tension on the spoke which may kill it over time.
    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Inigo Montoya

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmach View Post
    When it happened I just wrapped the broken spokes around the others and had to open up the brakes as the wheel was no longer true. I then just turned around and went home.
    Same. But finished my ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by haendelbars View Post
    How often do spokes break and why do they break? I'm pretty new to cycling, so its something I would like to learn about.
    It's basically a fatigue failure. Every rotation of the wheel put the spoke into a cycle of increased and decreased tension. Imagine the bike in a stationary position with your weight on top of it. The spokes at the 12 o'clock position are seeing increased tension and the spokes at the 6 o'clock position are seeing reduced tension. So every rotation of the wheel puts each spoke through that cycle. After thousands of miles the spokes have seen millions of stress-releif cycles.

    In my experience, spokes almost always break at the "J" where they are attached to the hub.
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    I have a small multi tool that has a spoke wrench. When I break a spoke I twist it around a neighbor and then if the tire rubs the frame I can do a quick field retruing to get it close enough so it doesn't rub. One of my bikes has limited clearance around the BB so most of the time when I break a spoke on that bike I need to true the wheel.

    I then finish the ride.

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    I guess I was looking for some ingenious way of replacing a spoke on the drive side without carrying tons of tools. If I can think of it, I will let you know.

  19. #19
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    A spoke with two elbows at the hub end instead of one elbow with a head. If the old elbow breaks at the hub, as they are likely to do, the new spoke can be fed into the hub from the inside of the flange.
    The hub end of the spoke is fed in past the 1st elbow and then the spoke can be turned up to the rim and fed to the nipple.

    When you're done one elbow will be on each side of the hub flange, the outside elbow acting as the head of a standard spoke. Only a few mm's are needed past the bend, just enough that it can easily be passed through the hub flange and keep the spoke from pulling back through when secured to the nipple.

    I have seen touring bikes built with carriers on the chainstay for to carry spare spokes so I guess if one was worried enough they could tape a coupla spokes to their chainstay.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    A spoke with two elbows at the hub end instead of one elbow with a head. If the old elbow breaks at the hub, as they are likely to do, the new spoke can be fed into the hub from the inside of the flange.
    The hub end of the spoke is fed in past the 1st elbow and then the spoke can be turned up to the rim and fed to the nipple.

    When you're done one elbow will be on each side of the hub flange, the outside elbow acting as the head of a standard spoke. Only a few mm's are needed past the bend, just enough that it can easily be passed through the hub flange and keep the spoke from pulling back through when secured to the nipple.

    I have seen touring bikes built with carriers on the chainstay for to carry spare spokes so I guess if one was worried enough they could tape a coupla spokes to their chainstay.
    I wish you I could see a picture. Somehow I am not following it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daniell View Post
    I wish you I could see a picture. Somehow I am not following it.
    I wasn't following either, and I've never heard of that, but a little googling turned up this pic of something called a "Z-bend" spoke. I think this is it. Pretty clever idea.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by daniell View Post
    I wish you I could see a picture. Somehow I am not following it.
    This might be even more garbled than my last post, but I haven't found a picture on the interwebs and I have no way to draw and post something myself.

    The hub end of the spoke an S bend for lack of a better word. The spoke needs an elbow that fits through the hub flange and then another elbow that will hold the spoke from pulling through the flange.
    Imagine the spoke from the rim to the hub, a 90deg elbow allowing the spoke through the spoke hole in the hub flange and then another 90deg elbow with a few mm's of spoke pointing at the axle of the wheel.

    Found some picks.
    You'd probably need to make them yourself out of a too long spoke, but they could be fished through the hub flange without removing the cassette/freewheel.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Broken Spokes-spoke-2.jpg  
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  23. #23
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    I am trying to dream up a way of being able to remove cluster with a minimum of tools.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by daniell View Post
    I am trying to dream up a way of being able to remove cluster with a minimum of tools.
    Okay, but why? Why make things more difficult than necessary? If you break a spoke on the road, the objective is to effect a repair that will make the wheel rideable for as long as necessary. The fiberfix spoke will do that. Or you could get one or two of those z-bend spokes in the proper length. With either of those solutions, you don't need to remove the cassette.

    And I say again, if this happens more than once on the same wheel, that wheel needs some more attention than merely replacing the broken spoke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    Okay, but why? Why make things more difficult than necessary? If you break a spoke on the road, the objective is to effect a repair that will make the wheel rideable for as long as necessary. The fiberfix spoke will do that. Or you could get one or two of those z-bend spokes in the proper length. With either of those solutions, you don't need to remove the cassette.

    And I say again, if this happens more than once on the same wheel, that wheel needs some more attention than merely replacing the broken spoke.
    For decades I built my own wheels and never broke a spoke.
    Then a couple of years ago I broke quite a few on the same wheel.
    I emailed DT. They said that the tension was too low.
    I increased it. Lately I have not broken any.
    I am still wondering however, is it possible to get a bad batch of spokes?
    I remember reading somewhere that DT increased the length of the elbow so that it would fit into wheel building machines. Some people claimed that this caused spokes to break.

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