BicycleFilter: where can I buy 3" spokes?
January 16, 2011 2:44 PM   Subscribe

BicycleFilter: where can I buy 3" spokes?

I need some replacement spokes for a tiny-wheeled folding bike. The rims have an internal diameter of 7" (about 8" external diameter) and the tyres are 12½ x 2½. The spokes themselves are about 3" long.

Bike shops have told me that they don't stock those kinds of spokes, and they'd have to be custom made. This is hard for me to believe, but my google-fu is failing me. As far as I can tell, tyres that size are most often used on prams, but I'm not sure if pram spokes would bear the weight of an adult.

The hubs bear the brand "Sunmoon" but this doesn't reveal much in google. The bike itself is Chinese (Xinhua) and that doesn't help much either.

As a secondary question, would it be possible to snip some regular spokes, and thread them using a tap & die set?
posted by UbuRoivas to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
Best answer: Actually, when a bike shop says "custom made" spokes, they really mean custom cut and rolled (for best quality, the threading is rolled, not cut, using a special machine). Bike shops that specialize in recumbents can probably help you. I'm not absolutely certain, but I suspect PowerOn Cycling can help you, and I'm pretty sure that Zach Kaplan (, no website) can.

Note that spoke lengths need to be measured pretty much to the millimeter, so whoever makes your spokes will probably want to know exactly what kind of rim and hub you have, and if they can't look up the dimensions from that, will want you to supply them with accurate dimensions.
posted by adamrice at 2:59 PM on January 16, 2011

Best answer: You will have to have the spokes custom made, but this isn't as tough as it sounds. Up until the late '80s or so it was normal for a bike shop to stock only a few lengths of straight-gauge spokes and have a spoke cutting/threading machine on the work bench.

Find the oldest bike shop in your area. If they can't help you, they can probably point you in the right direction.
posted by Anoplura at 2:59 PM on January 16, 2011

Best answer: This shop appears to sell spokes in 1mm increments - they also have a calculator to help you determine your exact spoke length.

I picked a random spoke type and the dropdown menu for length had an 80 mm option, which is very close to your length.
posted by davey_darling at 3:00 PM on January 16, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, all - that should be all the info I need to solve this one. I'll drop the entire wheel off at a good bike repair place I know, and if they can't help or point me in the right direction, there's always the prowheelbuilder site to fall back on.

(I'm reluctant to try online first, just because the entire bike seems a bit out of left field, and I can't be sure that anything about the spokes or nipples are standardised)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:16 PM on January 16, 2011

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