Can you get spokes cut to length for replacement use in run-of-the-mill bikes, e.g. one with an older 26 x 1 3/8 wheel where there is not likely to be a standard size in the 'DT Swiss' range?

Does anyone have any recommendations on how to accurately get the length right? I imagine this is not going to be an instant job in an LBS, does anyone do this mail order (particularly in the UK)?

Do bike shops generally have that tool to put a thread on the end of a cut-to-length spoke or has that gone the way of the buggy whip?

  • I'd be surprised if that's outside the range of available spokes. It's possible that your LBS won't have it in stock.
    – Мסž
    Jun 16, 2011 at 5:11
  • ...does an accepted answer mean people are less inclined to add answers of their own? With the SPD shoes some more answers are always welcome! Jun 16, 2011 at 8:26
  • If you want more answers you should make it a community wiki rather than a single answer question. I don't know about other people but I will add answers where the accepted answer is clearly insufficient.
    – Мסž
    Jun 16, 2011 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


It's worth asking at your LBS. If you've got more than one LBS, try asking them all. :)

I don't know if most bike shops have it, but I know at least one of my LBSs has a piece of equipment that cuts a spoke and puts a thread on it at the same time. They routinely cut (and thread) spokes to length. From talking with one of their employees, I guess it was a better deal for them than trying to stock a ton of different length spokes.

Rims might be a few fairly standard sizes, but there's a lot of variety in hub flange diameter. Spoke lacing pattern also affects the needed lengths. In other words, even your unusual size might be something they already stock. Or if they've got something that's just a millimeter or two too long, it's probably possible to cut it without putting thread on it and still have a useful spoke.

  • 2
    A bargain at only $3900: philwood.com/products/tools/spokemach.php
    – lantius
    Jun 10, 2011 at 19:27
  • Cut spokes are slightly weaker than rolled spokes, but for odd sizes that's all that's usually available. Although with more online shops even that statement is becoming less true. And cheaper cutters exist, I've used a Japanese one that was ~$200 IIRC and worked pretty well. Wouldn't want to cut 36 spokes at a time with it, but for one-offs it was fine.
    – Мסž
    Jun 16, 2011 at 5:16
  • @moz: How relevant is that weakness? Is it just in the area where they've cut and threaded the spoke? I've never had a spoke break at the rim end (where they'd be cutting), they always break at the hub end.
    – freiheit
    Jun 16, 2011 at 15:03
  • yes, rolled spokes are thicker where the thread is than cut spokes. But some "spoke cutting" machines actually roll spokes, so it is not entirely clear-cut. And yes, spokes rarely break at the thread so it is a bit academic.
    – Мסž
    Jun 16, 2011 at 21:51
  • Most quality spoke threading machines only cut to length, The threads are rolled in, which is precisely how precut spokes are manufactured. Specifically, the Phil Wood machine noted above deos roll the thread, as does the Park Tool threading machine.
    – zenbike
    Jun 20, 2011 at 12:43

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