Autonomous Motion

FiberFix Emergency Spoke

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Stronger-than-steel emergency bike spoke

Breaking a bicycle spoke is a rare occurrence — I’ve had it happen twice in a decade of commuting — but after the first time, I decided to be prepared for the next. I’ve carried a FiberFix Emergency Spoke for the last five years, and finally got to test it this week! Bicycle spokes have to be a very precise length, and different spokes in the pattern will be different lengths. This makes it a real pain to actually replace a spoke in the field. They also have to be laced through the hub, making removal and replacement a problem if it’s on the drive side of the rear wheel, which is blocked by the cassette (which mine was). The FiberFix $13 solves these problems by being flexible. It’s a kevlar cord and cam which can be used to replace a spoke of any length without having to remove the cassette. I don’t know of anything else like it! (It’s unrelated to the FiberFix brand resin repair tape elsewhere on this site)

The wheel still needs professional repair after you use this — I wouldn’t ride with a kevlar spoke any farther than necessary, because it is a lot stronger than its neighboring spokes, and will cause them to wear more quickly! I extracted the broken spoke from underneath the cassette with a pair of multitool pliers, then pushed the stub out through a gap in the cogs. Threading the kevlar cord on and tightening it required the included instruction sheet, but was by no means difficult. The wheel came within 2mm of true. I loosened the rear brake a little to reduce rubbing (it was still quite usable, though). I rode all the way home with no further issue. It was really empowering to get myself home, without needing to call a friend or a cab. It was so quick and easy that, had it been on the commute to work, I doubt my boss would have noticed the delay!

-- Mike Seery 02/25/19