How to Buy the Right Bike Spokes

Written by chelsea anderson
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How to Buy the Right Bike Spokes
Make sure to get the right size spokes. (Near image by w...‚odzimierz from

Broken spokes are a huge hassle. Thankfully, you don't need to buy a whole new wheel because of one broken spoke. Spokes are easily replaced, just as long as you know what size you need. More advanced cyclists may also be interested in building their own wheels and installing their own spokes. Picking the right spokes depends on personal preference as well as proper fit.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Measure your old spokes. Bicycle spokes are generally measured in millimetres and sold that way as well.

  2. 2

    Check that your spokes are the proper length by using a chart if you're building new wheels or cannot get an accurate measurement of your older spokes.

  3. 3

    Choose a material for your spokes. Stainless steel is rust proof and lightweight, making it suitable for a wide variety of uses. Chrome-plated spokes are less expensive but won't hold up as long. Titanium spokes are also available, and may be lighter than stainless steel or chrome-plated spokes, but can be more expensive and slightly harder to find due to the fact that titanium is a pure element rather than an alloy.

  4. 4

    Visit a local cycling shop with any questions before you buy. The staff may have valuable insight into the spokes you are interested in and can warn you away from poorly made product.

Tips and warnings

  • Weight and spoke thickness are up to personal preference. Some styles of spokes are more durable than others but may add more weight. Look into the styles of spokes to determine which is right for you and your bike.
  • Spoke gauge and diameter are fairly forgiving, but if you're nervous about picking the right diameter and can't find your wheel's specifications, head to the local bike shop and ask for help.
  • Avoid purchasing carbon fibre spokes, as they tend to break easily unless they're made thicker than normal.

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