does one spoke matter?

so today i went for my first proper offroad ride, awesome fun :smiley:
i did the whole thing on my 20" club freestyle uni and at the end i noticed one of my spokes has snapped
im wondering whether i should take the wheel to the bike shop and get another spoke put in? im no good at tensioning wheels and all that rubbish :stuck_out_tongue:
will it be okay to ride with 1 snapped spoke?

You should get it fixed; your wheel is more likely to fail (taco) with fewer spokes and less spoke tension.

Really, you should learn to fix it yourself; all it takes is putting the spoke in and tightening it. If you’re not running a brake, you don’t need to be very precise.

Agreed, you should fix it as soon as possible. One broken spoke can lead to more which leads to a fail. It’s not hard at all. I was surprised to find how easily I could build my own wheel for my trials uni. After that truing and tensioning are a cinch as well. Just give it a try.

ahh ive got this wrong, the spoke itself is fine but the nipple is snapped, the spoke is just a bit bent, should i replace the spoke and the nipple or just the nipple, also how do i find my spoke length, im guessing they arent all the same size :stuck_out_tongue:

You can probably get away without replacing the spoke.

Spoke length is a function of hub and rim type and spoke crossing pattern; there are calculators to help you figure out the proper length. Or you can just measure one.

When I “true,” I just find a loose spoke, and twist the nipple until it’s tight. Is this bad?

Only if you call it truing. Tightening spokes is better than not tightening them, but if you never check your wheel fore trueness, it will eventually get weaker and weaker, and you’ll probably start breaking spokes or have a catastrophic failure at some point.

replace the nipple you can just bend the spoke back into its right shape.
building a wheel or just putting a spoke and nipple isnt hard at all i built my first MUni wheel not long ago and broke 2 spokes and still waiting for the bike shop to make them for me. apart from that it is very easy to build a wheel people just think its hard. if you use a step by step for the 1st time all good i did and my wheel came out fine just abit out of true and getting it trued when i have money so i can put a brake on it

NO don’t just tighten loose spokes! First true the wheel then tighten all spokes evenly.

  1. Flip the Uni over and stand it on the seat and spin the wheel.
  2. Take a deep breath and TAKE YOU TIME…many small adjustments, NO BIG ONES.
  3. find a spot that it not at center and tighten loose spokes from the side that is out. Your trying to pull the rim back to center.
  4. If you find the spokes that pull are already tight then loosen the spokes that are pulling rim the wrong way.
  5. If both sides or about the same tightness then tighten and loosen both. I adjust 2 to 4 spokes with each adjustment pass.
  6. I am talking about small adjustments, you will not true a wheel in one pass, it will take several passes to get it right so TAKE YOUR TIME!
  7. Keep loosing and tightnening until the tire it as true as you want it, with every adjustment it will effect other parts of the wheel that is why you do small changes each time.
  8. Now it is true enough, now start at the right side of the valve and tighten every 3rd or 4th spoke all the way around 1/2 turn. This depends on if you have 36 or 48 spokes.
  9. Now go to the second spoke from the right and go every 3rd or 4th again and again until all spokes are tightened 1/2 turn.
  10. Now re-true because it will go out of true by tightening all the spokes.
  11. Check general spoke tightness and do another 1/2 turn on all the spokes again if needed.
  12. Now ride it and let all the spokes “settle” and see if it needs re-trued.

The most important thing is to do small adjustment and expect that you may make it worse before it will get better…that is why the small adjustments are so imporant.

Just buy yourself a spoke key and ask if they would give you a 14 gage nipple. Your bike shop would have to be real cheep to charge you for a single nipple but if they do it would be maybe 10¢. You will find that spoke key handy once you know how to use it a bit.

I sudgest you read “wheelbuiding” by Sheldon Brown

or buy unimag issue5 thats what i used very simple step by step.

i looked at “wheelbuiding” by Sheldon Brown and it confussed the crap out of me. but luckly i had my handy unimag with me lol


I snapped spoke while riding up a hill yesterday on my Coker. I’ve ridden her for a year now and haven’t paid any attention to maintenance. I’m overdue for a trip to the bikeshop anyway so I want to bring it in, have her checked, true the wheel, replace the spoke etc. But I don’t have time to go until Tuesday. I want to ride her this weekend. I’ll be ok right? She’ll be ok too, right?

You can ride on one spoke, esp. if you’re just riding, not hopping or dropping. The risk of wheel damage IS higher, though.

If it’s just the spoke that bent, you can thread a new one in and screw it in place without taking anything apart. If you snapped the nipple, too, well. . .it’s a bit more work, but not difficult.

My question is: how hard is it to get spokes for a 36" wheel? I wouldn’t imagine it’s standard bike shop fare. If you can get the parts, we can do the repair on Sunday, if you like.

Hey, thanks. I’ll be careful not to do any hopping or dropping on the 36. I’ll control myself around the curbs until it’s fixed. :slight_smile: There is a good chance Lakeshore Schwinn has some in stock as several guys who work there bought Cokers right after I did. I’ll give them a call tomorrow first thing. The nipple is fine.