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Broken spoke, riding trip tomorrow.

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Hey everyone, I know this has been asked before and most people say it's an extremely stupid idea to do, but some say not too much can happen. Here's my problem, 2 days ago I noticed a broken spoke, half of it's missing, one near it is bent but still together, a couple are lose as well. I have ordered the parts but they won't be here until tomorrow, when were supposed to leave. I've never changed out spokes and heard it's quite a bit of a job, is this true or can I do it myself? If not, no way I can get it into a shop before the trip. What would the consequences be of riding my bike like this? If I go, it would just be for the day tomorrow since I wouldn't want to over do it. 60% sand riding, 40% dirt. Can I zip tie the loose spoke to another one and last the day or can I cause some serious damage? Any input is appreciated, thanks.

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Also, if this is a fix I could do, how long would it take and what tools would I need? If I can do it myself I'll pull the wheel tonight and have it ready to fix for tomorrow. I've just never pulled the wheel or done any of this so a list of tools and possibly links to guides could help.

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Replacing spokes is not hard, but you do have to remove the tire.  Periodically checking your spokes (just "ping" them with a wrench.  Any that don't ping need to be tightened until they ping) will prevent most wheel damage.

 

As for riding with it, you are going to get lots of different answers.  I can only tell you what i have experienced directly.  Twice during hare scramble races I broke a spoke (or spokes) and continued to ride.  In one case I was able to finish the race, and the other case I could not.  In both cases the hub was totally trashed by the time I stopped riding, and I ended up buying new wheels.  Needless to say, I don't recommend riding with any spoke damage, unless you like spending huge amounts of money.

 

But the next guy that replies is probably going to tell you that he has been riding for 3 years with broken spokes and does every triple at the track, and never had a problem.  

 

Who knows?

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Also, if this is a fix I could do, how long would it take and what tools would I need? If I can do it myself I'll pull the wheel tonight and have it ready to fix for tomorrow. I've just never pulled the wheel or done any of this so a list of tools and possibly links to guides could help.

If you have never even taken the wheel off your bike, this might not be a job to attempt alone.  Get a buddy with some experience to give you a hand.  You will need tire changing tools and a spoke wrench.

 

I have found that bicycle repair guides give great explanations of how to replace spokes and true wheels, as it is a more common procedure with bikes.  The procedures are the some for a motorcycle, but the parts are bigger and thicker.

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As long as the nipple is still in good shape you should just be able to stick the new spoke through the hole in the hub and spin the nipple with a spoke wrench. No need to remove the tire, but you will need to take the wheel off the bike which is simple enough. You should be able to do it in under 30 min even if it's your first time.

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I do not have positive answer for you, but from my perspective (mental run through of replacing a couple of spokes), changing a couple of spokes should not be that difficult.

I would at least give it a try. I would guess a person could replace a couple spokes maybe even without removal of the wheel. Remove the core from valve stem and see if you can get to the end of the spoke by squeezing the tire/tube out of the way.

If no access to the end of the spoke then your kind of hosed, and will need to remove wheel/tire.

As far as doing more damage; obviously it has been ridden some in that condition already?

 

I think the tricky part you hear about would be lacing and truing one from scratch, but even then I`m told with a little practice it is not bad.

Let us know how it works out.

Or better yet someone will chime in with more experience..(tell me to back off the crack pipe?..lol)

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Hey everyone, I know this has been asked before and most people say it's an extremely stupid idea to do, but some say not too much can happen. Here's my problem, 2 days ago I noticed a broken spoke, half of it's missing, one near it is bent but still together, a couple are lose as well. I have ordered the parts but they won't be here until tomorrow, when were supposed to leave. I've never changed out spokes and heard it's quite a bit of a job, is this true or can I do it myself? If not, no way I can get it into a shop before the trip. What would the consequences be of riding my bike like this? If I go, it would just be for the day tomorrow since I wouldn't want to over do it. 60% sand riding, 40% dirt. Can I zip tie the loose spoke to another one and last the day or can I cause some serious damage? Any input is appreciated, thanks.

I just had this same experience with a smaller bike.

A friend of mine had a broken spoke on his 85. He cut that spoke out and continued to ride the bike. Shortly -- after another day of riding, a second spoke broke in the general area of the first one. This one was not noticed immediately. We found it when cleaning the bike and noticed that the loose end had ground the aluminum of the brake caliper a little (not badly, but more might have been bad). My point here is that one broken spoke will probably lead to another one, and once that happens you'll likely have a meltdown.

Replacing a few spokes is not nearly as difficult lacing up the whole wheel (which isn't that bad either). I replaced the missing ones and adjusted the wheel some (not perfectly) in about 30 minutes. But you will have to remove the wheel and the tire and then put the tire back on. I think this is the biggest risk if you've never changed a tire before. If you pinch the tube, then you'll have to fix that too.

I don't think you can put a spoke in with the tire on -- even if the spoke nut is still attached and you can get the old spoke out of it -- because the spoke won't straighten until it is fully inserted into the hub and you have the spoke "Tang" flush in the hub. But when this is the case, the nut will have to be pushed all the way up into the tire and you will no longer be able to get a tool onto it to turn the nut onto the spoke. I'm having trouble describing this, but if you try you'll see what I mean. And you don't want to bend the spokes to get them into the nuts.

Regarding truing a wheel with old spokes, it can be tough if not impossible in some cases. If any of the spokes are seized in the nuts, trying to turn them will just break or weaken the remaining spokes. Then you're heading down the road to replacing each one that cannot be adjusted, which starts to beg the question of just lacing up the whole wheel, which takes more time.

If you have the spokes (I've only been able to find them in full sets) and can change a tire, you're golden. If you don't have the spokes or can't change the tire, you might want to chance it and try to ride easily with the broken spoke, but I'd check it regularly and if another one breaks I'd stop.

Edited by Katzat
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Alright thanks for the replies guys, I have one completely broken spoke and one that's bent as well as some loose, so if I'm able to just replace the broken ones and tighten the other ones I think I can handle that. Is this possible without truing and everything though? Thanks again.

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Alright thanks for the replies guys, I have one completely broken spoke and one that's bent as well as some loose, so if I'm able to just replace the broken ones and tighten the other ones I think I can handle that. Is this possible without truing and everything though? Thanks again.

Truing the wheel is not too difficult as long as it is not to badly out of shape. Like I said above, a bicycle repair manual will probably provide the most clear directions. Basically you take a marker and tape it to a reference point like the swing arm, with the point just off the edge of the rim so it marks the out of true spots when you spin the wheel. You then loosen the spokes on that side in that area, and tighten them on the other side. Then repeat the process to check your progress. It just takes some patience, and remember that dirt bike wheels don't need to be perfectly true like a high speed street bike. You should have it in serviceable condition in no time. I've corrected some seriously "potato chipped" wheels before without too much trouble.

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U can true with the wheel and tire still on the bike but it's kind of going to be a pain in the ass but possible check YouTube for some instructions there's a lot of videos on it. when you get home you're going to want to just buy a whole new spoke kit and possibly even a new rim if you plan on having your bike for a while

Edited by Berm-Saw

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if the nipple is still there you DO NOT have to remove the tire.  Just run a new spoke through the hub hole and screw the nipple on.  I've Done it many times.

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if the nipple is still there you DO NOT have to remove the tire. Just run a new spoke through the hub hole and screw the nipple on. I've Done it many times.

okay, because half the spoke is still there, and the other is just bent. So can I just deflate the tire and swap out 2 spokes without taking the wheel off? And just tighten the loose ones?

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okay, because half the spoke is still there, and the other is just bent. So can I just deflate the tire and swap out 2 spokes without taking the wheel off? And just tighten the loose ones?

People remove old crappy spokes by cutting them in half anyway. 

Spray the nipples and the spoke-holes in the hub with WD-40, or similar, and leave them for a few minutes at least. This will help loosen everything up that might be seized or full of grit. 

Just get the broken half that is hanging out of the hub and push it out. You might have to grip it with a pair of pliers to get a decent hold on it. You may have to do some very gentle tapping with a hammer too, on the broken end of it, if the hole in the hub is a bit oxidised or full of grit. 

Once you have taken that half out you can use the pair of pliers to grab the other half. Then you will need something to grab the nipple (so it doesn't go walkabouts into the hub while you are poking about). Multigrip pliers would do. If the nipple is alloy then just be careful you don't grip it too hard because they are soft. Grip the spoke hard with the pliers and turn it counter-clockwise to wind it out of the nipple. If it's not moving you can use more WD-40 and try again. Failing that you could try a bit of heat on the nipple to expand it a bit. You can use a hair dryer on high (I'm guessing you don't have a heat gun) or a cigarette lighter (wipe up the excess WD-40 first!) get it too hot to leave your finger on and give it another try. If you still can't get it out then you will have to have to replace the nipple as well, because it is seized onto the spoke. I don't know if you can do that without removing the tyre though, because there is a rim tape that is made of rubber that goes all the way around the rim and it covers all of the nipples. You'd have to get the spoke past that and I'm not sure you could do that with the tyre, tube and tape in the way, even if it's deflated.

If you want to replace the bent one as well then you could turn the nipple a bit and see if it's stuck to the spoke or if it's turning ok. Because if it turns ok then you can just cut the spoke in half and remove as described above and install your new spoke onto the old nipple.

Is that sort of instructions you are after?

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People remove old crappy spokes by cutting them in half anyway.

Spray the nipples and the spoke-holes in the hub with WD-40, or similar, and leave them for a few minutes at least. This will help loosen everything up that might be seized or full of grit.

Just get the broken half that is hanging out of the hub and push it out. You might have to grip it with a pair of pliers to get a decent hold on it. You may have to do some very gentle tapping with a hammer too, on the broken end of it, if the hole in the hub is a bit oxidised or full of grit.

Once you have taken that half out you can use the pair of pliers to grab the other half. Then you will need something to grab the nipple (so it doesn't go walkabouts into the hub while you are poking about). Multigrip pliers would do. If the nipple is alloy then just be careful you don't grip it too hard because they are soft. Grip the spoke hard with the pliers and turn it counter-clockwise to wind it out of the nipple. If it's not moving you can use more WD-40 and try again. Failing that you could try a bit of heat on the nipple to expand it a bit. You can use a hair dryer on high (I'm guessing you don't have a heat gun) or a cigarette lighter (wipe up the excess WD-40 first!) get it too hot to leave your finger on and give it another try. If you still can't get it out then you will have to have to replace the nipple as well, because it is seized onto the spoke. I don't know if you can do that without removing the tyre though, because there is a rim tape that is made of rubber that goes all the way around the rim and it covers all of the nipples. You'd have to get the spoke past that and I'm not sure you could do that with the tyre, tube and tape in the way, even if it's deflated.

If you want to replace the bent one as well then you could turn the nipple a bit and see if it's stuck to the spoke or if it's turning ok. Because if it turns ok then you can just cut the spoke in half and remove as described above and install your new spoke onto the old nipple.

Is that sort of instructions you are after?

Thats perfect, thanks a lot! Appreciate it!

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okay, because half the spoke is still there, and the other is just bent. So can I just deflate the tire and swap out 2 spokes without taking the wheel off? And just tighten the loose ones?

Do not deflate the tire.  The tube holds the nipple up so you can work with it.  Be careful about tightening loose spokes.  You may throw the wheel off center.  When I've done this I don't take the wheel off the bike or deflate the tire.  I unscrew half the broken spoke from the nipple, remove the other half from the hub, insert a new spoke in through the hub hole, carefully thread the old nipple on to the new spoke, tighten to snug and done.

Edited by GammaFunction

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I've been riding with a broken spoke for three years, and I huck every triple at the track. I'm super fast.

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Plus one on all of the advice on spokes.  One of my boys borrowed my RM for a trail ride and picked up a fir branch into the front wheel, which then caught on the back side of the forks.  He went down fast and broke one spoke and bent two others.  I pulled the wheel and saved the two bent spokes but they were stretched and I had to grind off the ends that protruded inside the the nipples. Plus re align the wheel and adjust all of the other spokes.  Alingnment is easy just check out the bicycle guides or U tube.

 

Once one spoke is loose or missing the adjacent spokes must take up the load which stresses them.  For competirion I want all spokes tight and to pass the "ping" test.  For trail riding not so important; I have one rear wheel, from ebay,  with a couple of loose spokes that I can't adjust because of corrossion, just another winter project.

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just a helpful hint if you cant get the spoke to turn in the nipple don't force it to hard in either direction .. turn it a bit each way even if you don't think it is turning , doing this will help to loosen it up to a point that you can back it all the way out .. forcing it in one direction will end up gauling the spoke to the nipple and then your chance of saving it are slim to none... I have saved more then a few spokes this way

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