I recently bought a second hand city bike. After a 2 weeks I got a flat tire. On closer inspection it looks like this is due to the spoke. The rim tape is fine though. It seems that this particular spoke was changed by the previous owner and its end is more prominent than the others. Can this be the reason? Can I safely cut the excess?

This is the spoke I think caused the puncture (although the rim tap seems fine. spoke that caused puncture

This is the look of the other spokes. normal spoke

  • 1
    You'd need a special tool to cut it, but it is quite specialised, I'm not sure I've even seen one. I think it will probably easier (and certainly cheaper) to buy a spoke of the correct length, but I could be wrong. Before you do anything, it is probably worth checking that the offending spoke is actually longer than all the others.
    – PeteH
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 10:56
  • 2
    Yes, you can cut it. You'll need to remove it first, making it not worth the trouble. As @PeteH says, buy a new one that is the correct length. If you must cut a spoke, a triangular file can be used, or small bolt cutters. Then you need to clean up the end with a file. Make sure no filings get into the wheel; they can cause mystery flats forever. As said, it's easier to just replace it :-)
    – andy256
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 11:25
  • 1
    It is common for wheel manufacturers to use spokes that are a hair long (so they can, eg, use the same size spoke on both sides of a rear wheel) and then, after the wheel has been assembled, grind down the end of the spoke. You could perhaps accomplish the same thing with a Dremel-style rotary tool. Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 11:55
  • (Note that, if you choose to "rescue" the spoke somehow, you should make sure there is thread range left on the spoke, and that the nipple is not already tightened up against the top of the threads, preventing the spoke from being properly tensioned.) Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 11:56
  • 1
    It is not a bid deal to pull the spoke and cut it. Follow in instruction on the end of this video: youtube.com/watch?v=Wtond_V5iT4
    – paparazzo
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


I'd cut it without a special tool:

  • fully unthread the nipple
  • remove spoke from the rim (no need to remove it from hub)
  • fully thread the nipple as far as it can go
  • cut 5mm of spoke thread with a regular cutting plier
  • fully unthread the nipple. mushed threads (from the cheap pliers) will be fixed that way
  • insert spoke into rim
  • thread nipple as much as necessary

Other options:

  • simply remove spoke from rim until you get a shorter one. missing 1 spoke doesn't cause any problems
  • partially unthread spoke and bend it in the middle with pliers until you get a shorter one
  • leave spoke as is and place a rubber square from an old tyre between spoke and rim tape to prevent any further punctures
  • I'd be careful doing it that way. With alloy nipples there would be a strong possibility of ruining the treads (in the nipple) by unthreading it over a rough cut/plier snipped end. Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 23:11

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