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Bought a new bike this year, have only 200 miles on it and I don't jump curbs. I wanted to go for a ride Sunday. I decided to spin my wheels to check for trueing before I left and one wheel was way out of true. I flipped the bike upside down on my bench and noticed that I had a broken spoke. Unfortunately all the bike shops were closed, fortunately I noticed it at home. If this happened on the road, I would not have been able to repair it because it was the rear spoke on the side of the cassette. Next day I bought 2 spokes, one for the repair and one extra, only .75 each! How often do spokes break? Is this something I should carry with me and tape to the frame pump and then carry the spoke wrench in my saddle bag? If this happened on the road, would I have done damage to the wheel if I had ridden it home? I carry some duct tape in my saddle bag in case a spoke breaks and I need to take it to another one so it doesn't flop and cause damage.
 

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Generally you shouldn't be breaking spokes often on a well built wheel. Of course it can happen, but so can a lot of other things and you don't want to bring a whole bike shop with you for everything that can possibly happen. That said I guess it would be pretty easy to tape a spoke to one of the bike tubes. They are light and dont take up much room.
 

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FiberFix emergency spokes

Like lawrence at work says, you shouldn't be breaking spokes very often on well built wheels (I haven't broken a spoke in the last 40,000 miles or so, anyway). But if you want to carry an emergency replacment spoke, the [URL="http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fiberfix.htm]FiberFix replacement spoke[/URL] is very easy to carry in a bag, a pocket, or just about anywhere else, and you don't even have to be able to remove the broke spoke to use it.
 

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Stick it inside your seatpost with some foam and tape or something like that. Just a bit of foam at the top of the spoke to stop it rattling and a larger chunk at the base of the seat post. Then a bit of tape to stop it working loose.

I don't bother with the road bike, you can easily ride with one busted spoke. On the MTB I do carry a spare.,
 

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Fiberfix kevlar emergency spoke

http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fiberfix.htm
http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?id=707

I know from personal experience these really work. Comes in a cylindrical pack about 1/2"X2" (i.e., much smaller than a typical multitool). I keep one in the seat bag. I've rarely used it, but when necessary it has saved a ride. Besides its tiny size and weight, the real advantage compared to carrying a "real" spoke is that you can replace a drive-side rear spoke without having to remove the cassette.
 

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lawrence said:
If this happened on the road, would I have done damage to the wheel if I had ridden it home?
Depends on the wheel. If you have 32 spokes or more, the rim probably doesn't go out of true so much that you can't ride it. I had several spokes break until I rebuilt my wheels myself, and I would just ride home and replace it... no worries. The wheel stabilizes pretty well in the "warped" position. Obviously the wheel will be slightly weaker, but not by a lot.

If you keep breaking spokes it would be a good opportunity to learn to build your own... just replace the spokes with some good butted ones. Properly hand-built wheels are much more durable than the cheap machine-built wheels.
 

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lawrence said:
Bought a new bike this year, have only 200 miles on it and I don't jump curbs. I wanted to go for a ride Sunday. I decided to spin my wheels to check for trueing before I left and one wheel was way out of true. I flipped the bike upside down on my bench and noticed that I had a broken spoke. Unfortunately all the bike shops were closed, fortunately I noticed it at home. If this happened on the road, I would not have been able to repair it because it was the rear spoke on the side of the cassette. Next day I bought 2 spokes, one for the repair and one extra, only .75 each! How often do spokes break? Is this something I should carry with me and tape to the frame pump and then carry the spoke wrench in my saddle bag? If this happened on the road, would I have done damage to the wheel if I had ridden it home? I carry some duct tape in my saddle bag in case a spoke breaks and I need to take it to another one so it doesn't flop and cause damage.
You should get your wheels retensioned, or do it yourself. Cheap machine-built wheels tend to get broken spokes because the spoke tension is not high enough, so the spoke heads flex on each revolution, causing metal fatigue. The spokes break after a certain amount of flexing. If the tension is high enough, then the spoke heads won't flex nearly as much. A well-built, properly tensioned and stress-relieved wheel should last for thousands of miles before a spoke break. Oftentimes the rim will wear out before a single spoke breaks. I know this difference may sound like an exaggeration, but it's true, and it's well documented here and elsewhere.

If you want to do it yourself, there's a lot of info out there about how to build a wheel properly. Otherwise, a shop can do it for you. However, since you've already experienced spoke breakage, the other spokes may already be near death, and you may experience more broken spokes.

Unfortunately, when they sell less-expensive bikes, they don't tell you that the whee's aren't built to last...
 

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It won't do you much good to carry a conventional spoke wth you, because it's usually a drive side rear wheel spoke that breaks, and it's not really feasible to carry all the tools you'd need to change one on the road. But it's always a good idea to carry a spoke wrench to adjust the tension on the surrounding spokes to compensate. I've ridden home as far as 15 miles on a broken spoke without much trouble, although I moderate my speed and it does create a small wear spot on the tire where the wheel wobbles.
 

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John Nelson said:
But it's always a good idea to carry a spoke wrench to adjust the tension on the surrounding spokes to compensate. I've ridden home as far as 15 miles on a broken spoke without much trouble, although I moderate my speed and it does create a small wear spot on the tire where the wheel wobbles.
Sounds like you don't have enough spokes in your wheel. When I break a spoke, nothing rubs... I just pop in a new spoke when I get home, tension it, and the wheel is perfect. If I screwed around with the tension of other spokes, it would be a lot more work to fix... plus it would actually *increase* the stress on the spokes and rim til I got home.
 
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