If taking your bicycle out of the garage after a long winter caused you some despair, there are some things you can do to spruce it up for use. One occasional problem is that a spoke may have broken or become corroded. If the spokes are your problem, follow the simple steps below to respoke the bicycle wheel.
You will need replacement spokes, which often come in packs of 50. You’ll also need a spoke wrench.
Purchase the correct length of spoke for the wheel. If you can, take the spoke to your local bike shop to get the correct replacement spokes. If you are ordering online, make sure you measure the damaged spokes. If replacing both sides of a wheel, measure spokes on each side as it is possible that they will be different sizes.
Take note of the original spoke patterns and note any overlaps. Before you disassemble the spokes be sure you note which spokes overlap each other and where.
Remove the old or damaged spoke. Lay the wheel on its side. There are spokes on each side of the wheel but you should respoke one side at a time for optimal interlacing. Carefully unscrew the spoke at the rim end and remove the spoke from the flange in the center.
If possible, replace spokes one at a time. It’s easier to maintain the pattern this way. Insert the spoke so that it is interlaced the same as the original spoke.
Screw in spoke to rim. Screw the spoke into place but do not tighten.
Connect the spoke to the flange. The flange is the center of the wheel. Use the flange hole that is half way between the last spoke it crossed over and the next spoke. If you are replacing spokes one at a time, connect the spoke to the flange at the same location you removed the original from.
Repeat steps 3 - 6 for each spoke on the side. Turn the wheel clockwise while working from one spoke to the next to be sure you don’t miss any.
Once the first side is complete, turn the wheel over. If you are replacing all of the wheel spokes, you will flip the wheel over and start on the second side.
Repeat steps 3-7 for the other side. Work your way around the wheel again carefully following the earlier instructions for each spoke being replaced.
Make sure to tighten the connections at the flange and the rim for each spoke. Using the spoke wrench, secure the spokes. Do not over-tighten as this can cause too much tension. The spokes work together, so if one is too tight it can cause problems for the others.
If you are finished making repairs, put the wheel back onto the bike and secure it. Then head out on the road.
Biking is an enjoyable experience but only if your bike is properly maintained. If you bike has a complicated interlacing pattern or you are unsure of your skill at tensioning the spokes, get some advice from your local bike shop. Above all, have fun.