7 On-Trail Fixes

Fix a broken spoke, Blister Gear Review.
Still Life with Spokes

Fix a Broken Spoke

The issue: A DH crash similar to the one that taco’d your wheel left you with a wiry mess of broken spokes. How do you roll home?

The solution: Broken spokes can make your wheel look like it’s taco’d, but this is a different phenomenon. A taco’d wheel is bent, through no fault of the spokes. A wheel with broken spokes is (usually) not bent, it’s just out of true.

One or two broken spokes aren’t a big deal; your wheel will be slightly out of true, but it’ll be rideable. If you need to do a quick true, the best option is to tighten the two closest neighbors of the broken spoke. And make sure you’re working on the same side of the wheel as the broken spoke. You probably won’t need to tighten more than a full turn.

If the spokes on either side are already tight, loosen the spoke that’s on the opposite side of the wheel from the broken one. If you break a spoke on the right side, loosen the spoke next to it that starts from the left side. It should only need a turn or two.

If you’ve broken a bunch of spokes, the process is essentially the same. Try to minimize the number of spokes you loosen though. The mess of twisted metal will compromise the strength of the wheel, so ride carefully back and get to a shop.

Whenever you have broken spokes, remove the broken spoke by unscrewing it from the nipple on the rim or wrap it around its neighbors. A flopping spoke can wreak havoc on your drivetrain or impale your calf.

A quick side note: Too little spoke tension on the wheel will cause spokes to fatigue, and break prematurely. Once a few of them give out, you can predict more spoke breakage in the near future. Again, get to a shop and let the pros handle it.

3 comments on “7 On-Trail Fixes”

  1. Also, and this may be obvious, a 26″ tube will work just fine on a 29″ wheel to get you home. Don’t walk your bike just because you are the only one of your friends who rides wagon wheels.

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