Can I ride home with a broken spoke?

  • I noticed a wobble in my back wheel while commuting in this morning. Broken spoke. Is this a problem that I should take care of before my 7 mile commute home, or can I pick up a spoke and repair it at home?

    lol, when I first read the title of this question, I read *"Can I ride home with a broken spine?"*

    If you have any sort of toolkit at all it's a good idea to carry an appropriate-sized spoke wrench (don't use one of those one-size-fits all circle things). Then, when a spoke breaks, you can loosen the spoke on the opposite side to reduce the wobble in the wheel.

  • deemar

    deemar Correct answer

    10 years ago

    Yes you can ride home with a broken spoke. I'd probably unscrew the spoke from the nipple before doing so, so that it doesn't wobble around and get caught in other bits of the bike. Bike wheels are wonderful things that can easily put up with having a few spokes missing.

    Thanks for the fast answer! I'm about to try it an will tell you how it goes. I suspect the worst will be that it occasionally drags on my brakes. Will loosen those up.

    No problems. If it's a road bike you can usually try flicking up the little lever on the brake caliper that makes taking the tyre out a bit easier. This gives the brakes more clearance and can avoid the drag. Just make sure you check that you can still lock up the brakes with the amount of movement you have left in the lever.

    totally agree, did it for 20km last Saturday. Take the spoke out and be a bit gentle.

    If you can't unscrew, you can bend/wrap it around an adjacent spoke to keep it from getting caught in something else. If you have a spoke wrench, you can loosen the two spokes on either side to get the wheel closer to true.

    Thanks - I made it home just fine. Loosen my brakes slightly so the wheel would not catch (I prefer tight brakes). Unfortunately, the answers to this question have purged all sense of urgency to fix this problem. I'll probably have a broken spoke for the next year.

    @Precipitous: You should replace it though. It's not like you'll have trouble riding, but since the load distribution becomes worse, a broken spoke can lead to more spokes breaking. You'd be surprised how much more unstable a wheel with three broken spokes is. Anyway, you'll have to replace it eventually, and doing it sooner rather than later will mean less hassle in the end.

    I had a broken spoke at the start of a 210km organised ride! Finished the day no problems although the number of people who let me know that my wheel was buckled was funny. It was nice to have so many helpful people!

    I had a broken spoke prior to the start of a 100km organized ride; after removing it, I didn't have any problems during the ride, but just to be sure, I got it replaced as soon as I got home (the ride was in another city).

    I think this assumes a standard 32 spoke wheel. Many of the newer, fancier road bikes may only have 16 spokes, so losing a spoke is much bigger deal. If you only have 16 spokes, and you lose 3, and they are all consecutive, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to ride on that wheel.

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned FiberFix spokes ( As a temporary fix when you aren't carrying extra spokes it works pretty well.

    I'm surprised no one mentioned 3 spoked wheels, so I had to do that :)

License under CC-BY-SA with attribution

Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM