I don't know spokes. I bought the wheel a year or two ago.

I noticed one of the spokes (i.e. on the right of the picture) is slack -- the nipple is recessed into the wheel, leaving the thread on the spoke exposed. For comparison on the good/tight spoke on the left the thread on the spoke is covered.

enter image description here

I assume it's safe to ride, it's one of 32 spokes on the wheel, but still I want to fix it or to ask a mechanic to.

What's the problem and how to fix it? Is something broken, e.g. thread stripped, does something need to be replaced? Or is it just taking the tyre off and tightening the nipple somehow with some tool?

  • It was sold as a ready-made "Deore" wheel. The rim is a "Rival 19". I use it in the city, 4000 km/year.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 17:39
  • 1
    Don’t keep riding with a loose or broken spoke. The other spokes will suffer. If you stop riding it’s probably simply a matter of re-tensioning the spoke and truing the wheel.
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 19:25
  • This happened to me as well. And after fewer km. Surprisingly, the wheel was not that untrue even with two spokes completely loose. Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 9:22
  • @VladimirFГероямслава Yes my wheel doesn't seem untrue to me. I took it a Local Bike Shop, they tightened the spoke immediately, and gave me an appointment to true the wheel later. I guess if it loosens perhaps that's symptom enough that it's untrue. Or perhaps an untrue wheel would be more obvious wth rim brakes than disk brakes.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


You don't need to take the tyre off to adjust spokes. A spoke key picks up on the square pay off the nipple. In the unlikely Event that it's come right off the spoke, you should still be able to re-engage it (with your fingers).

All spokes should be under tension, but the wheel also needs to be true. A quick check for that is to spin the wheel and look at the gap between the rim and (rim-)brake pads, or for disc brakes, between the rim and a finger or steadily on the fork or seat stay.

If the wheel is true with the spoke slack, you can either just try to get it acceptably tight and acceptably true at the same time, or properly true the wheel (recommended).

It was probably under too-low tension to start with, and the nipple worked loose over time. That's not completely surprising on machine-built wheels.

  • 3
    Just be careful not to lose the nipple inside the rim! That can be very frustrating, and will almost certainly involve removing the tyre and rim strip to retrieve and relocate it. Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 9:49
  • I agree with Chris H that you don’t need to remove the tire to adjust the spoke. I would recommend deflating the to tire first. The pressure of an inflated tire may cause the spoke nipple to tear through the rim tape/strip. After adjusting the spoke, you can check that the spoke has not damaged the rim tape.
    – P. Barney
    Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 15:44

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