OK to ride with missing spoke?

Enargins

Member
I have a 2018 Rad Power Bikes RadCity. I just noticed one of my rear spokes is out of the nipple. I put it back in and tried tightening it, but didn't work. Threads in the nipple must be stripped. Two questions:

1) Is it OK to ride for the time being with one spoke disconnected?

2) What size nipple should I buy to replace the damaged one?

Thanks!
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
I have a 2018 Rad Power Bikes RadCity. I just noticed one of my rear spokes is out of the nipple. I put it back in and tried tightening it, but didn't work. Threads in the nipple must be stripped. Two questions:

1) Is it OK to ride for the time being with one spoke disconnected?

2) What size nipple should I buy to replace the damaged one?

Thanks!
yes you can ride it for the time being but you can expect more to start breaking and then it will need attention. That is one reason why I prefer Mid Drives.
 
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batmick1

Active Member
I would get it fixed as soon as possible. A wheel is a dynamic balance of forces and a missing spoke will cause the entire system to become unstable over time. Eventually more and more spokes will come out of whack or may even break.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
It is like ants....there is never just one ant and there is never just one broken spoke. I had a rear hub drive bike. It lasted 6000km until I had my fill of broken spokes and other issues.
 

batmick1

Active Member
A well built wheel should last a long time. But whenever you take a hit to the spokes or some lateral stress, it can't hurt to check all spokes.

Most stock bikes, especially the cheaper ones, will have machine built, low quality wheels. Check regularly!

I rebuilt both wheels on my Haibike too, because they were not up to my standards. But then again, I am a trained wheel builder. ;)
 
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fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
How bout Lectric XP?
dont know. rad has a history of poorly built wheels. usually wheels need one adjsutment after several hundred miles thne they should be good for a while. if a pro built them they would need one adjustment then good for the life of the wheel.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
I have a 2018 Rad Power Bikes RadCity. I just noticed one of my rear spokes is out of the nipple. I put it back in and tried tightening it, but didn't work. Threads in the nipple must be stripped. Two questions:

1) Is it OK to ride for the time being with one spoke disconnected?

2) What size nipple should I buy to replace the damaged one?

Thanks!
You've gotten lots of good advice on getting the damaged spoke/nipple replaced sooner rather than later. As to the nipple size, it depends on the gauge of the spoke. This article has a discussion of spoke gauges.

Your LBS can check this for you. They will most likely have a replacement nipple in stock as well.

With a replacement nipple in hand, you now need to thread the nipple onto the spoke and tension the spoke to maintain the wheel true. The article on spokes discusses this as well. Be sure to check the tension on the other spokes since tightening the missing spoke could over tension some of them.

Your LBS can give you a price for doing this.
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
The spoke holes (spokesholes? Like fake news? LOL) in the hub-drives are not that precise, and then the unit is power-coated. There is going to be a wearing-in or breaking-in of the seating of the spokes, and they need to be checked after every major ride. I use the sounding method, Park Tool says use a tensionometer. In any case, they need to be kept up with, tightened where they get loose, or you WILL break spokes. Even the whole wheel can come undone.

I've never had a rim go out of true for just snugging up tension on spokes so they all sound similarly. The two sides may not match in sound, just each adjacent spoke should have a similar 'ting' when you tap with with a small wrench.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Another vote for dealing with it right away.

And my experience with Rad wheels is that they need to be dealt with once. If done properly, even at initial setup, they hold well. Stories of chronic loose/broken spokes on wheels done properly are hog wash.

I'm 300 lbs and running a 1000+ watt Mac 12t geared hub, commonly accepted as one of the strongest rear hubs available. I am NOT having any spoke (or any other) trouble at all. IF there were chronic spoke issues, with my weight and amount of power I'm running, it would seem like I'd be more aware of it?
 
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Bruce Arnold

Well-Known Member
I did it for a few weeks because the damn spokes were only available 50 km from where I live. You can certainly ride spokeless if you need to without having a catasrophe.
Agreed. I've ridden for a while with a broken spoke. I was way more careful about staying off uneven surfaces and kept my speed down somewhat -- the stress on spokes goes up exponentially with speed.

I didn't ride "for a while" because I felt like it. It was because that's how long it took to get it serviced.

I have my spokes checked every time I have any service done. Maybe overkill, but why not? For the DIYers, that might be every 1K-2K miles, depending on how hard you are on chains, treads, etc.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
It must be a function of the rim. I broke a spoke on my mech bike rear wheel riding at lake Tahoe several years ago. It got out of true quickly to the point that it wasn't rideable. Luckily the shuttle that runs around the lake has bike racks so we hitched a ride15 miles back to the car. Just last week when I went to load the newish mech bikes for our ride the next AM the rear wheel on my bike was rubbing on the V-brake very badly. Another broken spoke. I was able to fix it that evening and ride the next AM. Both bikes had brand name double walled rims but they could not be ridden with a single broken spoke. Obviously YRMV...😎
 

DouglasB

Active Member
A quick way to check your spokes is to spin the wheel and let your fingernail or a key, lightly touch the spokes. They should all give off the same ping tone.