/ One broken spoke

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I was getting the bikes out of the shed at the weekend and swapping studded tyres for normal (of course it snowed again the next night!) when I noticed a loose spoke on the back wheel of my mountain bike. What had happened is the flanged end (if that is the right word) that holds the spoke to the hub has snapped off meaning the spoke can just slip out of it's hole in the hub.

The wheels are the original that came with my now 7 or 8 year old Kona Blast. It wasn't a super expensive bike; maybe 500 quid or so - so very 'mid range' but the wheels have to my mind been absolutely fantastic. I ride it virtually solely off road and around here that's over and through a lot of rocks. I don't aim to get 'big air' much, but it gets jumped around and off things lots when riding in the woods. The wheels have stayed true and just seem super tough - this is the first issue I've had with them.

So, it seems one option is to try and work out what size the spoke is and just replace that one broken one - but I know very little about wheel building and don't know how much tightening it would need etc. Or, option 2: figure that if one spoke has broken, that's a sign that the wheel has done very good service but is probably reaching the end of its life and I should replace it before it fails in some more dramatic manner.

Any thoughts from the hardcore MTB folks out there?
dale1968 - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA: cost a tenner to get it done at a bike shop, all the spokes may need adjusting and may well be on there way out. if your just commuting on it should be fine if your off roading maybe time for a new wheel imo
ebygomm - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Nipple is the word you're looking for :)

You may find that if one has broken there then others may follow. I had 4 break at that point within a short space of time, 2 on a gentle commute home. Pity they weren't 8 year old wheels
EeeByGum - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> Any thoughts from the hardcore MTB folks out there?

Not a hardcore MTB but hardcore commuter and have bust loads of spokes over the years. Generally speaking you simply take the old one out, put the new one in and then tighten until your wheel is true (assuming the wheel isn't buckled which it often isn't), but as others have said it is not expensive to get a pro to do it for you and you keep your nice clean hands! :-)
a lakeland climber on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to ebygomm:

The nipple is at the rim end of the spoke, it's the elbow that has gone here.

ALC
ebygomm - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:

Ah yes, careless reading. In that case I'd just replace a single spoke if broken at the elbow. Breakage there seems to be a bit more of a one off ime.
a lakeland climber on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to ebygomm:

No probs.

Last spoke that broke on me broke in the centre of the spoke which was weird. Unfortunately it was one that you threaded in to the centre not outwards so it was a pain to rethread.

ALC
unclesamsauntibess - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA: On a rear wheel you will need to remove the cassette/freehub to get decent access. Brake rotor too. Also tyre, tube and rim tape. Then install spoke, tension it and then true the wheel. Easy. Get the length of spoke from another one on the same side of the wheel.
Rigid Raider - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Unless you're a confident mechanic this is quite daunting so take it to your local bike shop.
gethin_allen on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA:
Is it on the cassette side of the hub? these are normally the ones that go as they are under higher tension than the other side and sometimes they get a bit of damage if the chain overshifts off the cassette.

It's an easy job, no need to assume that the rest will go just because the one has. In my experience spokes normally break at the elbows or the heads just simply pop off.
I've much experience with replacing spokes as I had a bike with a Mailard helicomatic rear hub. The selling point of them was that you could get the rear cassette off easily to service things and replace broken spokes. Detractors often pointed out that if it was designed properly you wouldn't need to take the cassette off anywhere near as frequently because you wouldn't break as many spokes. so the idea was a waste of time. I agree with the detractors, it was crap.
simondgee - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to unclesamsauntibess:
its easy to do but as a one off it will be cheaper to pop it in the LBS than to shell out for a chain whip and cassette socket if it is drive train side or torx key for rotor removal.... that said you dont learn much handing the bike over
In reply to unclesamsauntibess: Yep, the wheel is stripped down at the mo', I was changing tyres when I noticed it, and I can take the cassette and rotor off easily enough. So replacing it is no problem once I get the right size replacement. It was more whether it's worth replacing it, i.e. if I could maybe get another year of riding out it or something. Or whether it's a fair sign that the wheel is knackered - I've been doing some bikepacking on it over the last couple of years so finding the next couple of spokes break when you're a days ride out into the wilderness obviously isn't ideal!
simondgee - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA:
nah wheel should be fine unless its had a serious trashing ...occaisional spokes on machine built wheels is to be expected...quick and easy replacement :-)...buy 2-3 spokes ...they cost pennies.
Ricardo - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to simondgee: get your hands dirty every cyclist should know how to replace a spoke a chain whip is free to make with an old chain and you should have a socket remover anyway
In reply to simondgee:
> ...buy 2-3 spokes ...they cost pennies.

Not at my local bike shop they don't! One euro each which seems very expensive (see my comment about LBSs on the other thread!), but I bought a few and an over priced spoke key. So now it's fixed and I'm pleased it was so simple to do. The first few rides will reveal how good a job I've done, I guess! :)
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unclesamsauntibess - on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to simondgee: Some spokes may cost pennies but at that price they are cheap and crap. To do a lasting job you need DECENT quality SS/DB from Sapim, DT, ACT etc. These days they are nearer a pound each. I never build with black spokes, they seem prone to breakage due to the colouring technique. Many other pros say the same........

OP, the wheel is best taken to your local shop (if they are any good) and get at least a full side respoked. With a proper build and decent spokes it'll last (almost) forever.

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