How to Fix the Spokes on a Bike

How to Fix the Spokes on a Bike
Bikes tend to come with either 32 or 36 spokes and are most commonly placed in a tangential pattern. This means that the spokes cross over each in an oblique fashion. This is done to increase the efficiency of the transmission of torque when accelerating or braking. The loss of just one spoke can create problems in either of these aspects of riding. Fortunately, replacing a new spoke is not very difficult.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Screwdriver
  • Light penetrating oil
  • File
  • Replacement spoke
Step 1
Remove the tire and tube from the wheel. Check to see if there is any rim tape inside the rim and remove it if so. The spoke itself can sometimes become damaged but remain intact. If this is the case, then you must locate the hub flange at the point where the spokes congregate in the center. Unscrew the nipple around the edge of the wheel and pull the spoke out from the hub flange.
Step 2
Check to see if the spoke is broken. If so, then remove fragment that remains at each end of the spoke. Take your replacement spoke and push one end through the empty eye in the hub flange. To do this may require pushing the spoke through the wheel from the other side since the spokes run alternately to the inside and the outside of the flange. Push the spoke until the elbow and the head of the spoke both catch.
Step 3
Peer closely at how the spokes have originally been laced in relation to each other. The tangential arrangement is important to keep intact. Weave the spoke into place while making sure you keep the spoke head flush with the hub flange. Simply repeat the arrangement of the second spoke in the pattern. Be careful not to force the spoke. You will know you are applying the right pressure if the spoke flexes with just a small amount of force.
Step 4
Thread the end of the spoke through the small eyehole located on the rim and then gently push the nipple down onto the end. Use a light oil to lubricate the nipple. This will serve the purpose of making sure that the nipple and the spoke thread don't bind together. Tighten the nipple onto the spoke using the screwdriver. Try to achieve the same amount of tension that was achieved with the other spokes. If any spoke ends stick into the rim, you can file them down.

Tips & Warnings

Any time a spoke is replaced, the wheel is likely to be put out of true. Check the website in the Resources section for advice on truing a wheel.

Article Written By Timothy Sexton

Timothy Sexton is an award-winning author who started writing in 1994. He has written on topics ranging from politics and golf to nutrition and travel, and his work appears online for, Disaboom and MOJO, among others. He has also done work for "Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.

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