Roadside repairs are a part of being a cyclist. It’s not rare for your bike to break every so often. It might be because you have taken it past its tolerances, or maybe something has just worn out to the point it has snapped.

Learning how to fix your bike can stop you from having to get a lift home and also save you a fortune when it comes to bike mechanic bills. A question we often get asked here at Bike Test Reviews is, “How do I fix a broken spoke on the go?”

In this article, we will be telling you how to fix a broken spoke on the go and also discussing why it happens. Here’s what we will be speaking about:

  • Why Do Bike Spokes Break?
  • How To Fix A Broken Spoke On the Go 

Bike Spoke

Why Do Bike Spokes Break?

Before getting into speaking about how to fix a broken spoke on the go, it’s important to understand why a spoke breaks in general. Here’s what causes your spoke to break:

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The first reason you might find a spoke to break is because of an impact. If you cycle into a pothole, tree root, or even a curb too quickly, then there’s a chance you are going to break a spoke.

Incorrect Tension

Another reason you might find a spoke breaking is because the tension isn’t correct. If a spoke is overtightened compared to others, it takes much more pressure and can’t function as it should.


Spokes have to endure a lot of tension cycles throughout their life. Eventually, this fatigue catches up, and they just break.

It is common for metal under heavy stress to eventually break. It’s more seen on older wheels or when they are heavily used.

Poor Wheel Build

You will also find you will get lots of broken spokes if your wheel isn’t well-built. Too much or too little tension in the spokes can cause breaks, and also, if the tension isn’t even across all the spokes, you get issues too. Poorly built wheels don’t last, unfortunately.

Bike Spoke

How To Fix A Broken Spoke On the Go

Typically when it comes to fixing a broken spoke on the go, there are two different methods. One requires you to have a spare spoke. The other doesn’t.

Here, we will explain how to run through both methods. You are going to need a spoke key, and if you have some tape, it will make the job a little easier.

Fixing A Spoke Without A Spare Spoke

When fixing a spoke on the go without having a spare, we are essentially bodging it just to get you home. This isn’t a long-term fix, it’s just to get you riding again until you get to a bike shop or home to fix it there.

Step One: Identify The Broken Spoke

The first step is to find the broken spoke. You might want to flip the bike upside down so you can spin the wheels and work on the spoke much easier. You will notice with a broke spoke comes a buckle on the wheel too.

Step Two: Secure The Spoke

Next, you are going to need to secure the spoke. If you have some tape, you are going to wrap the spoke to the next spoke alongside it.

Failing that, you will want to bend the spoke and wrap it around a spoke next to it.

Step Three: Adjust The Spokes On Either Side

Where the broken spoke is, you are going to want to go to the spokes on either side. These should be on the other side of the hub compared to the broken spoke. You will need to loosen these spokes slightly.

Then the next spokes, along with these loosened spokes, will need tightening to pull the wheel back straight. This sounds complicated, but it is easy when you know how. Here’s an easy way I remember what to do.

Go to the broken spoken and think of it as number three. So you will need to slightly loosen spokes two and four. Then slightly tighten spokes numbers one and five.

Bike Spoke

Step Four: Get Home And Get It Fixed

Remember, this is only a temporary fix, so when you get home, you are going to need to either get a new spoke in and true it or replace the wheel altogether.

Fixing A Spoke With A Spare Spoke

Now we’re going to run through the process with a spare spoke. We appreciate that it’s not common for someone to carry a spare spoke unless on a very long tour. It’s not something we would keep in our spare tools kits for daily riding close to home. You will need a multi-tool, pump, and a spoke key.

Step One: Remove The Wheel And Identify The Spoke

As before, you first need to flip the bike, and we recommend removing the wheel. Then identify the broken spoke that you need to repair.

Step Two: Remove The Tire, Tube, And Spoke

Next, you are going to want to remove the tire and tube. You will need to take the rim tape off as well, as we need access to the spoke nipple as we are completely removing the old spoke.

Not only will you need to remove the spoke and nipple from the rim, but you will also need the rest of the spoke removed from the hub.

Step Three: Install New Spoke

Now you will need to install the new spoke. Thread it through at the hub all the way up to the rim and attach it via the nipple on the inside.

(If the cassette is getting in the way, you will have to refer to a bodge repair until you can remove the cassette.) Tighten until the rim is true.

Step Four: Put Everything Back Together

Finally, you will need to get everything back together. Return the rim tape first, then add the tire and the tube and get it all pumped up. Once the wheel is ready, drop it back into the bike and then tighten up the quick release.

Bike Spoke

A Final Thought

Breaking a spoke is not an ideal situation when on the road. It’s a fairly easy repair to ensure you get home without having to call a taxi.

We hope you enjoyed our article and are now ready for any spoke repairs on the road.

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