Author Topic: Bicycle repair - spokes gone wild - can we DIY this?  (Read 1546 times)


  • Magnum Stache
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Bicycle repair - spokes gone wild - can we DIY this?
« on: December 15, 2018, 02:26:19 PM »
I have a 20 year old commuter bike purchased off Craigslist a year ago for $125. It's been a trusty little steed, perfect for errands and a minor commute to and from the train station. It carries cargo nicely, is not attractive enough to be stolen (which I further encouraged by adding some neon orange duct tape to the frame to increase visibility), isn't nice enough to require me to be overly careful with it, and has a frame that is easier to step through.

Recently it started riding weirdly and got worse over the following week. My husband discovered that 14 of the 36 spokes in the rear wheel broke.

I do have another bike used for longer pleasure rides that can sub in for commuting to the train station. It's a much nicer road bike which means it'd be a slightly faster commute but not as comfortable. It also means an increased risk of getting stolen since it would spend all day locked up at a train station. Note - this is from actual experience not clutching my pearls in complainy-pants fear, my last bike was a nice commuter bike stolen from the train station despite being in the proper locking area. It was frustrating so I prefer to not repeat the experience, using 2 locks and appreciating the joy of an ugly bike. If needed, I could make the road bike slightly more ugly visible via duct tape and McGuyver it for cargo baskets.

For the philosophical side of things - I like my commuter bike but where do you draw the line on paying to repair a Craigslist Special when there's a viable alternative? Going to a shop would be pretty pricey.

For the DIY side of things - Is this a repair within the skill range of a bike maintenance newbie? With over 1/3 of the spokes broken, is it more reasonable to replace the wheel itself (Google-Fu led me to that with this link comment 6, part 2 spoke fatigue looks looking possible since most of them broke in a week)? We have some tools and are decently handy, could we do this ourselves?

Picture of the errant spokes included.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Bicycle repair - spokes gone wild - can we DIY this?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2018, 02:38:50 PM »
You can DIY it, but you'll need some tools.

GCN has some good videos on this -

If you go to the end of that video, they have a link to the video that shows you how to true the wheel once you've replaced the spokes.

Personally, I've never had to replace a spoke, and I don't have the equipment to true the wheel, so I'd probably just take it to the bike shop.


  • Bristles
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Re: Bicycle repair - spokes gone wild - can we DIY this?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2018, 07:56:43 PM »
That's just a steel hub and galvanized spokes. I would replace the wheel.

If you break one fixing it it's all downhill from there. Find an old donor bike.