14. How to Replace a Broken Spoke

Demonstrates a single spoke removal and installation.

IMPORTANT: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
How to Replace a Broken Spoke
DVD Vol. 1 DVD Volume 1
This video is available on DVD

If you break a spoke on your wheel, the best thing to do is stop riding until you can get it repaired. However, sometimes you simply have to keep riding, in which case you can keep the broken spoke out of the way by twisting it around an adjacent spoke.

Spoke Removal

To replace the damaged spoke, first remove your wheel and then the tire, tube and rim tape. Then remove both ends of the damaged spoke and nipple. Spokes usually break either at the nipple or at the hub flange. If it’s a rear wheel, you’ll have to remove the cassette or freewheel first.

Spoke Installation

Insert the new spoke and gently flex it into place, using the other spokes as a guide. When installed properly, the spoke pattern should be consistent all the way around the wheel.

I personally recommend using linseed oil to lubricate the nipple threads before threading the nipple on to the spoke using a screwdriver or nipple driver.

Gently pre-bend the new spoke by pushing down on it at the hub flange, and then tighten the nipple using a spoke wrench until it has the same tension as the rest of the wheel. Check this by plucking the middle of the other spokes on the same side and then compare them to the sound of the new spoke. Now you can true the wheel as demonstrated in the last tutorial, and re-install your rim tape and tire.

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