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Advice on replacing 2 broken spokes

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by SNORTN_72_NORTN, Oct 10, 2019 at 6:18 AM.



    Jul 18, 2019
    I've never had to do this until now, so I thought I'd get some quick advice prior...

    I just discovered 2 broken "inner" spokes, right next to each other, on the rear wheel of my '74 Commando. Will I need to remove the entire wheel, tire, tube, etc., to change them out, or is there a way to replace them with everything still remaining on the bike?

    Thanks in advance for your reply!
  2. kommando


    May 7, 2005
    One of the checks is to make sure the spoke end inside is at least flush with the nipple head to ensure it does not puncture the inner tube so its wheel, tire and tube off.
  3. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

    Jul 12, 2015
    Tough job but you might be able to do it. If you can get the spokes out of the nipple and hub, and can get new ones in place, and can get it started in the nipple, the only worry is that the spoke could be too long and puncture the tube. So, if you can get by all those ifs, then do it and wait a day or two to see of the tube leaks.

    When building wheels the spokes are all put in loose so the rim - hub distance can move letting you get the spokes in place and then the nipples on - that's why so many ifs in my first sentence.

    Also, there are at best loose standards for the threads on spokes so you'll need spokes that match the nipples if you don't take it apart.

    Personally, I would unmount the tire, and make it easier on myself. If you take it apart and don't loosen the other spokes, some of the ifs remain - outer spokes would be easier if it's laced normally. You'll probably have to bend them some to get them in and then straighten once in place.
  4. laurentdom


    Nov 30, 2012
    I had to replace recently a broken inner spoke on my rear 18" wheel.

    Since it was not possible to bend the new one enough to put it in place and the only alternative was to loosen all the spokes (as when you build a full wheel), I decided to shorten it by say 2-3 millimeters. The remaining threaded part of the spoke and the nipple were long enough to ensure a proper mounting of the new spoke, and I had to loosen only the spoke next to the new one.

    Hope this helps,

  5. Danno


    Feb 7, 2010
    Sometimes you can cut out the bad spokes, leave the nipples in place and get a new one started and then tightened, but you may not be able to do this without bending the replacements. If you deflate the tire somewhat, you can push the nipples down flush with the wheel to get the threaded end in place.


    Jul 18, 2019
    Thank you all. I think I will try a combination of all of the above. I plan to flat file a few millimeters off of the new (Andover Norton) spokes, ensuring they clear the wheel rim and do not puncture the tube, once installed. (They are an exact length in comparison to the original spokes currently on the wheel.) That 2-3 millimeters will give me JUST enough clearance over the (compressed flat with the wheel) nipple, to get the thread end in place. This should also prevent me from having to bend the new spoke, however, I'm sure Murphy's law will be in full affect. : )
  7. jimbo

    jimbo VIP MEMBER

    Sep 25, 2004
    were the broken spokes stainless?


    Jul 18, 2019
    No. They were original factory. The new ones from Andover Norton are (I assume) stainless.
  9. Ron L


    Feb 27, 2004
    If it were mine, I would relace the wheel with a complete new set of spokes. Why did the two spokes break? Fatigue? Or just loose?
  10. Joe Schlaberdowski

    Joe Schlaberdowski

    Jan 1, 2017
    I have built bicycle wheels and it all applies, how to get it straight and concentric, except it would be harder to build a high strength motorcycle wheel) from scratch. If you don't do it often (like this is the first time?) It can be a long drawn out process during which you won't be riding. Still, you can do it. But I need to add this. I strongly second Ron L's post asking why did they break in the first place? An enormous stress is placed on the other spokes then. And the rim distorts. So to bring it back in true -- perfectly circular, perfectly concentric with the hub so there is no hop and, perfectly without a side to side wobble is not a task to start from such possible damage. The new spokes and some of the old ones too will have much greater tension than the other spokes just to pull out the distortion that happened when those two broke. And one of them no doubt went first (a pot hole, a wreck, some side damage) so that the change was enough to break the other as well. Consider your own life and either get the wheel completely rebuilt with brand new spokes OR buy a new wheel.

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