Instructables

Emergency Bicycle Spoke Repair Kit

Picture of Emergency Bicycle Spoke Repair Kit
The Kit.JPG
This instructable will show you how to make and use an Emergency Bicycle Spoke Repair Kit. It's simple, effective, and inexpensive, and can allow you to get home on two wheels rather than two legs!
 
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Step 1: Tools and Supplies

Picture of Tools and Supplies
You'll need just a few basic tools and supplies:

1. An old (or broken) spoke
2. 80-lb test fishing line
3. A needle-nose pliers
4. A small allen wrench or similar tool

Step 2: Making the Spoke

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Using your needle nose pliers, bend a loop into the spoke about 3 inches from the threaded end.

Step 3: Finishing the spoke

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Bend the spoke around itself for about two turns, and cut off the remaining portion. You should have something that looks like this.

Step 4:

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Thread the spoke into the nipple two or three turns. Tie one end of the fishing line to the loop in the spoke, and make 5 loops of fishing line (10 strands total) between the spoke and the hub, threading it over and under the crossing spokes in the same way as the original spoke. Minimizing the slack in the fishing line at this point will make it easier to tension the spoke later on.

Step 5:

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Tie a couple of half-hitches around the bundle of fishing line at the spoke end to finish it off. Cut off the excess line.

Step 6:

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Insert your allen wrench or other tool into the loop on the spoke and thread it into the nipple. As you thread it in, the fishing line will twist to rapidly increase tension. Put the wheel on your bike and increase the tension until the rim runs smoothly past your brake pads.

You're ready to ride!

Step 7:

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After 5 or 10 miles, the fishing line will stretch a bit, allowing the wheel to come out of true. Simply add a few more turns to bring it back into true, and continue riding.

The repair pictured here went about 200 miles and was still going strong!
darrenhall1 year ago
Hi - I would have no idea how a person could damage a spoke - tend to be a road cycle rider, nothing off road or heavy on the bike - - I am guessing though that as you thought of this instructable you know how one might be damaged - - ya know what - I think this is a great idea and you get my vote - I bet this could get the appropriate person out of some real bother.

Big respect - good job.

DZ
Its easy - my boy has broken ~5 spokes in the last year. Here in Christchurch the roads are still terrible, and in the dark or a puddle its easy to ride into a pothole. The front wheel tends to skip through okay, but the back wheel carries more weight (hence why they have more spokes than front wheels)

So when there's a sudden hit on the back rim the most-stressed spokes tend to shear at the hub end, and the little pinhead drops off. The spoke stays there, held by the rim nipple and the crossing of other spokes, but it might flail around and worst case catch on the frame or chain.

That said - braking is mostly done with the front wheel, so a get-home fix is to widen the back rim brakes or undo them completely allowing the possibly distorted rim room to turn.
Only a get home solution.
maulepilot (author)  darrenhall1 year ago
DZ

Thanks!

When I built my bicycle, I got the wheels from a wrecked mountain bike, so I think the spokes were a bit stressed to start with. On top of that, my bike is a 35-pound recumbent, I carry some touring weight in my rear panniers, and I'm a little on the heavy side myself. Over the course of a summer I had four spokes break; fortunately the first was close to home, and I had the kit for the other three.

I did a little research, talked to my bike shop, converted to a 36-spoke rear wheel and haven't had any problems since.

Probably the best way to AVOID breaking spokes is to keep them properly tensioned...if they go into tension as they go around the top of the wheel and compression as they go around the bottom rather than staying in tension the whole way around, they'll fatigue and eventually break, usually at the bend in the hub.

David
aaaahhh interesting - I ride a unicycle quite often, both from Ebay - will get the spokes checked for correct set up.

Cheers - very interesting.

DZ