Why do My Bike Spokes keep on Breaking?

One of the most important pillars of your bike is spokes. Although spokes may look insignificant, and they are one of the essential parts of your bike.

Hence breaking of bike spokes could be a major concern for bike riders.

Spokes are thin, cylindrical metal tubes present in the wheel of the cycle responsible for distributing weight to the center of the wheel.
Bike Spokes- Closeup (Source: Pixabay.com)

As a cyclist, I’ve encountered problems regarding the breakage of spokes more than once.

One time I kept on breaking my bike spokes, even after replacing them. Then I finally decided to change my wheels rather than changing spokes.

Replacing the reels solved my problem with broken spokes.

Breakage of spokes is a problem most cyclists encounter. Although you can ride your bike if one or two of your spokes break, cycling with three or more broken spokes is dangerous.

When a spoke breaks, you may hear a snapping sound or not.

Bike spokes most commonly break from fatigue, wear and tear.

Bike spokes don’t break from tension unless a rod or spear is thrown into the wheels while driving.

They degrade sooner in rough and rocky roads because the rims degrade sooner. Riding a bike through a pothole or curb may lead to spoke breakage.

Spokes may tend to break when a heavy person rides on the cycle. Condition and maintenance of the bike will also determine the lifespan of spokes.

If a bicycle is cheaply built, then bike spokes will rust quickly.

It would help if you bought a bike that can handle your weight and the terrain of the place you ride. 

Reasons for Breakage of Bike Spokes

An average bike has 36 spokes. A spoke won’t break from external tension. Some of the reasons for spokes breaking are:

Rough terrain and potholes

When riding your bike on rough terrain and potholes, spokes wears down quickly.

Cycling on rough and uneven terrain will cause rims to deteriorate faster, due to which spokes will also rust quicker.

When you ride on potholes and curbs, the sudden force will cause spokes to degrade quickly, due to which breaking of bike spokes will occur.

It would be best if you slowed down on potholes and rough roads.

If you are an extreme bike racer, you should buy a bike that can handle rough terrains and potholes.

A Professional Bike Rider (Source: Pixabay.com)

Too heavy Rider for the Bike

If your bike gets squishy when you get on, it means that it cannot handle your weight.

The primary purpose of a spoke is to support the weight to the center of the wheel.

If your weight exceeds the capacity of the spoke to support the weight throughout the center of the wheel, then it might result in the breaking of the bike spokes.

It’s a good idea to buy a good quality bike with a high number of spokes that can maintain your weight easily.

Cheap bike

A cheap bike is made of low-quality materials, which degrades faster. Cheap bikes also have fewer stokes and inferior rims, which means they will degrade and break easily.

You should invest in a high-quality bike that has a high number of spokes.

Poorly built wheel

If your bike wheel’s construction is lacking, your spokes will bend at every pothole and jolts.

A poorly built wheel will the over tensioned, with improperly crossed spokes. This phenomenon will cause the breaking of bike spokes more often.

If you break more than five spokes in a single month, then you should replace the wheels.

You should buy a new set of solid wheels that can easily withstand force and tension from jolts and potholes.

Old spokes

Old spokes are more likely to break easily than new spokes because of corrosion.

Due to the wear and tears over the years, old spokes will have reached their end of life.

Just a little cause such as riding through a pothole or sudden jolt can lead to breaking off old bike spokes.

If you have old spokes, you should consider changing them immediately before they give away soon.

Riding hard

Cyclists who habitually ride fast and hard, even on rough and bumpy roads and sidewalks, damage their bikes more easily.

Riding your bike in such a manner will degrade spokes earlier than their life expectancy.

It would be best if you slowed down when a curb or pothole appears in front. When riding in rough paths, you should ride at a slower pace to avoid damage to spokes.

Too few spokes

A cycle with fewer spokes won’t handle the rider’s weight. If your bike has fewer amount of spokes, it will more likely break when riding.

You should fit enough quantity of the spokes to support your weight during cycling.

Lack of tension

A spoke might also snap if they don’t have enough tension.

Lose spokes will flex more during cycling, causing it to lose its elasticity and becoming fatigue faster.

Are Broken Spokes Dangerous?

It is not considered unsafe to ride with a broken spoke or missing spoke. You can ride with almost up to 3 broken spokes.

However, it is risky to ride with more than three broken spokes. No cyclist will suggest you ride in such a manner regarding the safety of the rider.

When a spoke breaks, it is necessary to take the broken piece out as soon as possible; otherwise, it will damage other areas.

How to Check Broken Bike Spokes?

Spokes can snap and break easily. It might be challenging to find if they are broken.

When the spoke breaks, the wheel becomes wobbly. You might be able to hear when a spoke snaps. 

It is essential to check your wheel daily if you are a regular rider.

Spokes can also get too tight or too loose. A tight spoke may break off because of tension, and a loose spoke may be elastic and flex.

You should place your finger on the string of the spoke and pull it like you play guitar. Doing so will give you an idea about the elasticity of the spoke.

Man Repairing a bike (Source: Pixabay.com)

How to Repair Broken Bike Spokes?

Spoke breaking is a common problem among experienced cyclists.

Experienced cyclists say that snapping of spokes starts to become common as the cycle becomes old. Whenever your spokes break, you should replace it with a new one. 

As the life duration of the cycle increases, they will become more susceptible to corrosion.

The spokes have high metallic elasticity during the early phases of their timeline. Their elasticity will decrease with time, leading to gradual breakage.

If you go to the repairing center, the mechanic will take 15-20 dollars for repairing the broken spokes. So if you can learn how to fix spokes, you will be able to save lots of money.

When a spoke snaps, you should unscrew the spoke from the nipple and fit replacement spokes of your wheel’s exact length and diameter into the hole where it needs to be threaded.

The spoke must follow the same pattern and sequence as other spokes. So it would help if you weren’t afraid to lace them through other spokes.

Having a spoke key will help dismantle and fit the spoke.

Purpose of spoke

When the wheel was first discovered by humanity, it had a flat disc with no spokes resulting in the heavier wheel.

Later on, the discovery of radial spokes was made, which made wheels lighter.

After this, we finally found tangential spokes or cross spokes. Although spokes may look insignificant and useless, they are one of the most critical parts of a cycle. 

They serve an essential purpose for a bicycle which are listed as below:

Strength to the rim

Although spokes are thin and elastic metal, they have the vital purpose of adding strength. Spokes are the supporting structures that give structural support to the rim.

If you ride a bike with more than three spokes broken, this may lead to additional spokes breaking because of their inability to maintain tension.

When riding on rough and bumpy roads, spokes is the central part that gives strength to the rim.

They are responsible for the shape of the rims. Broken spokes may also get caught on the outer rim, causing puncture.

Transfer force to the wheel

When we pedal, force is applied to the hub of the wheel through the chain. The spoke helps the bike move forward.

Spokes connected to the rim move in a clockwork direction when force is applied to the pedal. This motion indicates the wheel to move in the forward direction.

Support weight

Spokes require a certain amount of tension. If the spoke is too tight or too loose, it won’t handle your weight and snap under pressure.

Well-fitted spokes will be able to adjust your weight without damaging the shape of the wheel.


We can expect breakage of spokes as the cycle gets older. Wear and tear of spokes will reduce the elasticity of the metal resulting in breakage.

Condition of the bike and tension in spokes also plays a significant role in maintaining the quality and elasticity of spokes and the rider’s weight.

If you are a cyclist, you will experience this problem at least once in your lifetimes.

You shouldn’t worry about such a case if you are a hands-on person like me.

I suggest you buy spokes of the same length and measurement according to your present spokes and fix it by yourself.

I wish you a comfortable ride, and if you encounter a problem with spokes, you shouldn’t worry as it is an easy problem to fix.

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