Can You Ride Mountain Bike With a Broken Spoke?

Mountain biking is a popular sport that involves riding a mountain bike on rough terrain, unlike road biking, where the road bike is stationary. Mountain biking involves the rider constantly moving on a difficult trail. So it’s normal to face spoke breakage with a mountain bike. However, the question is can you ride a mountain bike with a broken spoke or not? Well, simply saying you can ride a mountain bike with a broken spoke, but you shouldn’t if it is more than two. If multiple spokes are broken in the rear wheel, it will be tough to balance the bike on a rough trail. If it is in the front tire, you will face steering problems. 

But if it’s only one broken spoke, or barely two in one tire, you can ride a long way slowly. But, don’t try to hit the trail again with a broken spoke as you usually do. And if you have the essential tools, just remove the spoke and continue riding to your home and then visit the local bike repair shop for a new spoke. Replacing mountain bike spokes is simple and won’t cost you a lot; if you want, you can try it yourself. Let’s scroll down to know what causes broken spoke, costing, replacing process, preventing steps, and lots more. 

What Causes A Broken Spoke?

A broken spoke is a result of inadequate mountain bike wheel Maintenance. It can happen for many reasons, but the most common ones include overuse, a lack of lubrication, poor braking performance, and over-reloading the wheel. 

When you’re riding your bike, excessive force is applied to the hub, which causes the mountain bike spoke to fracture.

Braking heavily on wet surfaces can cause bicycle rim strips to brake too hard against the hub; this often results in damaged spoke because they’re unable to absorb shock well.

Additionally, when tires are inflated beyond their recommended psi levels, and compressions forces are put on bike spokes (especially at high speeds), they too can be susceptible to breaking.

Besides these easy-to-fix problems, big problems can also cause broken spoke that we mostly ignore. One such problem is Hub failure on a mountain bike. When the hub flange failed to work, it is typically a result of wear and tears on the drivetrain, leading to the loose spoke and, over time, spoke breaks. 

How Long Can You Ride Bike With A Broken Spoke?

Whether you’re a recreational cyclist or a professional racer, you know that a bike with a broken spoke can be a major headache. Not only is it difficult to ride, but you may also be at risk of being stranded if you can’t get the bike moving. A broken spoke can also damage the opposite side and the remaining spokes as well.

So it’s essential to know how long you can ride a bike with a broken spoke, so you can take the necessary step in time. 

If you are almost close to your destination, you can slowly go towards it, but if it is too long, avoid riding right now! But how long?

Well, I can’t tell you exactly how long you can go with a broken spoke because it depends on how sturdy your bike wheel is, how many broken spokes you have, and how many miles you have already ridden with it. But basically, you can ride up to 30 miles with one or two broken spokes. But if you have the tools or are near a bike repair shop, I recommend fixing it soon.  

Because spokes breaking will cause other spokes to come loose and sometimes even damage the wheel, leading to the wheel fall or expensive repair. So if you want to continue your ride after the spoke is broken, highly recommended to remove that spoke and continue riding.  It’s safe to ride with less spokes than broken spokes. Broken spokes can cause the wheel to wobble and make it harder to stay upright, leading to a crash. 

How Do You Stop Spokes From Breaking?

After knowing what can cause broken spoke, now you can easily stop them from breaking. How? Let’s know.

The best way to prevent bike spoke from breaking is by minimizing how much stress it’s subjected to during use. And if it’s regular wear and tear,  you must keep your wheels well-lubricated to resist wear and tear and brake properly. 

To stop the spokes from breaking, use a low-pressure tire with adequate air pressure (PSI), wash your bike often or whenever dirt accumulates, lubricate and grease them regularly with oil,  check the spoke tension regularly and adjust as needed, replace worn or damaged parts regularly. Loose spoke is more likely to break than those properly tension spoke. Additionally, ensure your gears are appropriately adjusted so that you aren’t using excessive amounts of power when mountain biking; cycling slowly enough is essential at that time. So avoid applying force on the spoke key. This way, you can keep the nearby spoke safe from getting bent or damaged. 

How Much Does It Cost To Replace Bike Spokes?

Spokes are essential not only because they help your bike function smoothly but also because they add an aesthetic touch to your ride. So when it comes to replacing them, make sure to get new ones every few years, even if you don’t think anything’s wrong with them. Doing so will keep your bike looking fresh and spick and span! 

As I told you above, replacing bike spokes doesn’t cost a lot. Bike spokes typically cost between $1-$2 per spoke, and a laborer can take $10-$20 to replace it. It can vary from bike shop to shop, but it should not take more than $20 because it’s just a work of 30 minutes. And if you ask, I will tell you to do it yourself; just purchase a good spoke and replace yourself; it’s not hard.  

How Often Do Bike Spokes Break?

Typically a bike spoke can break after riding 5,000-6,000 miles. However, without proper maintenance, the spoke can twist or bent and cause a spoke to break without any prior warning. Plus, if the wheel is overloaded or the bike hits something while being ridden, that can also cause a spoke break at any time.  Sometimes, overloading a wheel can also cause the wheel to wobble precariously or even come off the rim in an accident.

Is A Spoke Protector Necessary?

Yes, a spoke protector is necessary. This device helps protect the spokes from being worn down by the cyclist’s tire, debris, and other objects thrown up from the ground. It also prevents the spokes from becoming twisted or bent. Plus, this protector can save your spoke from damage from sharp objects that may get caught in your tires or wheels or from getting nasty cuts when you hit them with your bike frame. 

So I recommended cyclists invest in spoke protectors if they ride on busy streets or trails. It’s a must-have bicycle accessory. 

Can I Replace Spoke Myself?

While it is possible to replace a spoke yourself, doing so may not be the best option if its’ multiple spokes. If the entire wheel needs to be replaced as a result of damage or wear and tear, then experts should be contacted for guidance. Because this task would require a qualified mechanic with the tools and knowledge to complete the repair correctly. Unless you are experienced in mechanic work, it would probably be better to take your mountain bike to a bike shop rather than attempt this task on your own.

But if you only need an adjustment or replacement of one or two spokes, you can replace your bike using basic hand tools. And if it’s about replacing multiple spokes, better to visit a local bike shop.

How To Replace Mountain Bike Broken Spoke 

Replacing a mountain bike broken spoke can be difficult, so it’s essential to have the right tools and knowledge. For starters, ensure you have the right size on hand. Wrenches in inches or mm are often available at home improvement stores or online. Once you know the size of the spoke needed, use your spoke wrench to unscrew the old spoke from the hub assembly. Next, thread a new spoke into the hole by aligning it with a slot on either side of the hub. Secure it using a wrench if necessary. Finally, screw back just enough so they’re snug but don’t tighten them too much.


After reading this article, I hope you got the answer. Yes, you can ride your mountain bike with a broken spoke. Just be careful to avoid slipping or catching the wheel when you brake. However, we do not recommend doing it. it’s better to call for help and get it fixed in time!

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