Newsletter - 2008 Archive

BC Randonneurs logo BC Randonneurs logo

BC Randonneurs
Cycling Club
BC Randonneurs logo BC Randonneurs logo


As readers have probably noticed I've tried to keep this on-line version of the newsletter a bike hardware-free zone. It's like the guitar shop with a "No Stairway" policy. Anyway, Dave exemption here is because the bike part is a sort of "character" in his Victoria 200 pre-ride experience. Sneaky. And it must be said, Dave has some helpful observations on the subject. Have a look. [Eric F] :

FiberFix Emergency Spokes
by Dave Macmurchie

Last October there were a couple of posts on the discussion list concerning what seemed to be an interesting gizmo, the FiberFix emergency spoke; it started with a note that they were hard to find. I was sufficiently intrigued that I ordered three from The Urbane Cyclist in Toronto, one for myself and two as "novelty" Christmas gifts. The general idea, of course, was that if you were in possession of one of these items, surely you would never need it.

Apparently the drive-side spoke gods are not to be trifled with though, because last weekend I actually had the opportunity to put the gadget to the test. At about 48 km into the pre-ride for the Tour of Greater Victoria, I heard the fateful "ka-ping" of the spoke letting go, promptly confirmed by the inevitable wobble of the rear wheel.

A sailing mate of mine has an admirable approach to circumstances like this: he rubs his hands together, grins wickedly and exclaims, "Ah - an entertainment!" and I did my best to emulate this as I rummaged through my rack trunk for the FiberFix, which I was sure I had tossed in somewhere.

Once I unearthed the item, which fortunately still included instructions, it was remarkably easy to install and tension up to the point that the wheel was close enough to true that a slight backing-off of the brake calipers was all I needed to restore the bike to normal behaviour, and plod through the remaining 152 kms of the ride.

Dave's spoke job - overview & detail (Click to enlarge)

A couple of supplementary remarks:

Someone (Gary Baker?) noted that his emergency spoke became impossible to remove, rendering it a single-use item. That may have been the result of putting much more distance on it than I did, or maybe just bad luck, but I was struck by the fact that mine came off pretty readily, and showed no obvious wear or tear, making re-use quite possible, if unwelcome. With that in mind, it seems like a good idea to end-for-end the Kevlar string, so that next time, a different part of the line will be in contact with the hub, reducing the possibility of wearing through the fiber at that point.

The Kevlar line is plenty long, and the manufacturer advises tying off the excess after tensioning the emergency spoke. This I did with a series of half-hitches back toward the hub, but I would have felt better with a little tape to secure the end of the line, lest it find its way around some other part of the bike. This has reminded me that I ought to be carrying some Red Green tape anyway; now part of the rig.

So at about 15 grams and the size of a tube of lip balm, this seems to me like a very handy addition to my saddle-bag. There's probably no killer advantage over spare metal spokes if the failure isn't behind the gear cluster, and I'm not sure about attachment to high-tech hubs with non-traditional spoke arrangements, but it worked like a charm for me last weekend: FYI.

Dave makes the road side repair on the Vic200 pre-ride while Brynne Croy looks on.


June 12, 2008