So, I’ve broken a few spokes along the way and I’ve gotten pretty decent at replacing them. Recently, however, I’ve started running tubeless and I broke another spoke this past weekend – snapped right at the threads inside the nipple.
1) Is there a trick or shortcut to fixing this without tearing the wheel apart? Before it was a pretty quick fix to push the tire, tube, and tape aside to pull the nipple out, but now it looks like I’ll have to tear it all the way down, then retape, reset, and reseal.
2) Any idea on why I’m breaking spokes? It could be coincidence but this spoke I need to replace is right next to the two previous (new nipples are a different color than the original – makes it easy to see). I thought I trued the wheel pretty well last time and I’m just chalking it up to age – the wheel is original with the bike – about 7 years old.
Some sealants can corrode alloy nipples, causing them to break. Try a less corrosive sealant like Orange Seal. If the problem still persists, consider replacing your alloy nipples with brass ones, which are corrosion resistant.
Way over-due but thought I’d add something for those who might be searching. One of my bikes was more prone to breaking spoke nipples, probably because they were ceramic. However, one suggestion is to make sure you are properly seating your tire bead. For me, that typically means getting the initial tire pressure past 50-60 psi. Not sure of the science, but it seems to strengthen the wheel. Once I paid attention to getting the bead fully set, I’ve only broken 1 or 2 since.
I broke a spoke just last week. It was the second one this year for me. I just converted to tubeless and when it broke the spoke pushed back down into the tire through my tape and let all the sealant out. I haven’t learned spokes yet so I took it in to my local shop. Spoke replacement is not expensive but being the wheel needed retaped and more sealant added I had to purchase these items so my the repair was more expensive then I expected. I asked the shop why I was breaking spokes considering I wasn’t riding hard at the time of the break. They did a quick check on my spoke tension and noted so of the spokes were a bit slack and susceptible to damage. Maybe checking to make sure you spokes are tight before a ride.