Loose spoke won't tighten

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
I have a loose spoke which is resisting my efforts to tighten it.

Everything is still in one piece in that the spoke is still hooked into the hub and still connected to the nipple, which is still in the outer part of the rim.

The problem is the nipple turns but does not tighten the spoke.

My knowledge of wheels is all but limited to the fact they are supposed to be round, but my guess is I have stripped thread, either on the spoke or the nipple.

Does that sound about right?
 

Big John

Veteran
Easy to strip the thread and by the sounds of it that's what's happened. Replacing the spoke is your answer. Easy to do. Take the old one out, take it down to your LBS and get a stainless steel new one. That's providing it's fairly bog standard. Stick the new one in and true it up with a spoke key using the brake blocks as a guide. Hope this helps.
 
Location
Loch side.
Remove the spoke by applying tension to it with one finger hooked around it like a trigger, whilst turning the nipple counter-clockwise with your nipple spanner. Once the spoke is out, inspect it. I doubt the spoke is stripped but suspect trouble with the nipple but even so, nipples rarely strip. A good brass nipple can be tightened so much that the spoke will start to twist long before the nipple strips. Nevertheless, start with the basics and remove the spoke, lets see what's in there. Unless you have a deep section rim, the nipple won't go AWOL once it is released from the spoke.
 
OP
Pale Rider

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
Thanks for the replies.

I've unhooked the spoke from the nipple.

The threaded end seems very smooth to me, so I reckon it has stripped.

The threaded bit may have snapped off inside the nipple, but the spoke looks long enough to me to reach far enough into the nipple.

It's a bike shop job now, but out of interest here's a pic:

Spoke.jpg
 

raleighnut

Legendary Member
Location
On 3 Wheels
Thanks for the replies.

I've unhooked the spoke from the nipple.

The threaded end seems very smooth to me, so I reckon it has stripped.

The threaded bit may have snapped off inside the nipple, but the spoke looks long enough to me to reach far enough into the nipple.

It's a bike shop job now, but out of interest here's a pic:

View attachment 74381
Its snapped off.
 

Rohloff_Brompton_Rider

Formerly just_fixed
Yep a snapped spoke. Can be an easy job of less than 5 minutes or a complete nightmare and take hours to get the tension and truing balanced right.

For example, if it's just a fatigued / faulty spoke then the rim will probably be straight and have no buckles - 5 minute job once the tyres and rim taped off. But if the spoke snapped due to road trauma such as a pot hole, which resulted in a difficult to tell buckle, then it can be a time consuming and frustrating job to do - very satisfying when finished though.
 
OP
Pale Rider

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
Thanks again - the replies make sense.

I would say the wheel is still true, but it has a disc brake so you don't get the tell tale rubbing of brake pads on the rim.

I clean the bike after every ride, so I'm fairly confident this has happened on today's 15 mile excursion.

At least it didn't puncture the tube.

There are plenty worse cycling calamities which could have befallen me.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
Would there be a danger of the duff nipple ending up lost between the two walls of the rim and becoming a permanent rattling nuisance? :whistle:
 
OP
Pale Rider

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
Would there be a danger of the duff nipple ending up lost between the two walls of the rim and becoming a permanent rattling nuisance? :whistle:
I believe there may be, only because I'm sure the bike mechanic at my local shop told me of such an instance a few months ago.

It's one of the reasons why I am leaving the try inflated, it will presumably keep enough pressure on the nipple to stop it going anywhere.

The mechanic is one of the better ones I've come across, so I'm hoping he will know what precautions to take when removing the tyre and tube.

Wrapping a bit of masking tape around the nipple ought to stop it falling into the rim cavity.
 

dan_bo

How much does it cost to Oldham?
Location
Failsworth
I believe there may be, only because I'm sure the bike mechanic at my local shop told me of such an instance a few months ago.

It's one of the reasons why I am leaving the try inflated, it will presumably keep enough pressure on the nipple to stop it going anywhere.

The mechanic is one of the better ones I've come across, so I'm hoping he will know what precautions to take when removing the tyre and tube.

Wrapping a bit of masking tape around the nipple ought to stop it falling into the rim cavity.
Bit of epoxy on the nipple will stop it falling through.
 
Location
Loch side.
The spoke broke from a fatigue crack right at its weakest point - the first thread. This can be avoided by fitting double-butted spokes and stress-relieving the wheel. Since all spokes fatigue at an equal rate, other spokes can soon break off as well. Ask your wheelbuilder to replace the spoke and then stress-relieve the wheel to weed out any other spokes that would have broken imminently. Don't fuss about the nipple. If I drop in, it drops in, it is neither here nor there since the tyre and rim tape must come off in order to replace that nipple. If you look carefully, in good light at the broken spoke head-on, you'll see how beautiful a stress crack can be. It will be a clean laser-like cut and you'll even find a teensy bit of thread on one spot too. There is no argument whatsoever to make for straight-gauge spokes other than saving money.

The wheel will be out of true now, but if you have 32 spokes or more in there, you can still ride it. Just tape up the flaying spoke if you can't remove it.
 
OP
Pale Rider

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
. It will be a clean laser-like cut and you'll even find a teensy bit of thread on one spot too.
I've just had a squint with a magnifying glass and my front bike light.

You could not have described that better had you been looking over my shoulder.

Clean cut and a tiny burr - the bit of thread.

Happily, I've no need to ride the bike because I have a couple of others, and I'm only out at weekends at this time of year.

I will gently suggest to the mechanic the other spokes are stress relieved.
 
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