One bust spoke – will I die?

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  • One bust spoke – will I die?
  • Just seen that my commuter/hack bike has one loose, bent spoke on the front wheel (26inch). It’s an old bike.

    My head says it’s ok since so many spokes there next to it. It’s only to be ridden on city rodes and the odd path.

    Is it safe? What do people reckon?



    You’ll not die. Yet.


    You might not die, but your chances are increased.. From personal experience one broken spoke gives about 20 minutes of riding before wheel implosion.. Quickly becomes way out of true and brake pads rubbing etc. Get it sorted there’s a reason the spokes are equally distributed

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    You will die. But one broken spoke won’t kill You!

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    First time I went to Fort William I noticed a broken spoke as I was putting my bike on the train. Couldn’t find a straight pull in fw so I just went riding- full day on the chairlift and another day razzing around the forest later and the wheel was fairly unround but it didn’t cause any bother. Put a new spoke in it when I got home, trued it back up, kept on using it for 4 more years.

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    If you have disc brakes you’ll do better than rim brakes as the wheel will tend to go out of true faster with uneven tension caused by one broken spoke.

    If it’s a typical 32 spoke 3-cross wheel and you aren’t hammering it (kerb drops, big potholes etc) then it’s going to stay rideable quite a long time (probably) but you should certainly be planning spoke replacement soon. It’s a quick and easy job if you get a replacement of the right sort of length (LBS should be able to tell you what size you need if you show them the wheel). It’s probably going to take longer to remove the wheel and take the tyre off and refit it than it will take to refit a single spoke.

    Plenty of reasonable guides online, all you need is a serviceable spoke wrench.


    I ran an MTB wheel for 2 years with a spoke missing.


    I’d suggest that the front wheel of a commuter bike doesn’t get really badly stressed, in the grand scheme of things. You’ll be fine and it will not lead to your immediate demise.

    I have occasionally run Alpine reds with a missing rear spoke or two. Not ideal but I replaced them ASAP. I’m 100kg.

    Replace the spoke when you can, it’s a really easy job.


    You’ll be fine for a while but get it sorted or the rest will break earlier. It’s a quick easy job as long as rotors and cassettes aren’t seized on.


    Is the Spoke snapped or just loose ?

    If loose and bent just tighten it back up

    If it’s snapped at the head end just remove it from the nipple and fit a new one , this can sometimes be done in the bike


    I would ride it but fix at the soonest opportunity

    Certainly found wheels with snapped spokes and never been that certain how long it has been snapped


    It’ll be fine in the short term.

    However the longer you ride it could cause other issues down the line, so get it replaced and retentioned reasonably soonly.


    pulled a spoke through the eyelet of the rim about 9 months ago when the rear mech got caught in the wheel. Been riding it off road 2-3 times a week since then with no issues.

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    I ran an MTB wheel for 2 years with a spoke missing.

    In my 2nd year now, on the rigid singlespeed. I’ll report back at the end of winter.

    Cheers for the replies – made me look at it last night.
    Whilst the spoke felt it would fall out because so loose and bent, I did manage to tighten it and it seems ok for now. Think the whole wheel could do with a tighten I guess

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg

    I ran an MTB wheel for 2 years with a spoke missing.

    Knowing you have that sort of tip top maintenance regime remind me never to buy anything second hand off you

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