Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fixing a front wheel spoke

One of the spokes on the front wheel broke inside the nipple so I had to remove the wheel in order to replace it.  It was a really easy operation only requiring removal of 3 hex bolts, one on the wheel and 2 on the brake. The disk brake caliper needs to be removed so that the wheel can be removed from the hub.  Here are some pictures of the front hub and brake caliper assembly after they've been removed. 

I ended up taking off both wheels so that I could have the bike shop check the tension on the rest of the spokes since they were making a creaking sound whenever I turned the wheel sharply.  I also let them replace the spoke which required the brake disk to be removed due to the location of the broken spoke on that side of the wheel.  The bike shop said that the wheel is built with an unusually large amount of dishing to one side and was curious to find out the recommended tension for the inside vs outside spokes.  I'll update this post once I get those numbers from Organic Transit.

After the repair was complete it took a while to get the brakes adjusted just right.  I found that the disk wasn't exactly in the same position on the wheel so I had to do some fiddling with the brake adjustments to minimize rubbing and squeaking.  Now they're working great and the spokes aren't creaking any more either.


  1. When I removed my front wheels I had to loosen 2 bolts on the fenders to get them off. A few weeks later I got a flat 14 miles from home. I took the wheel off to take it and get it fixed. The next day I cut 1 inch off my fenders with a hand hack saw. Now I can pull them off anytime. (But I do also have to loosen and flip down the disk brake calipers!
    I wrote to Organic Transit to get a new design for others in the future. It's still a great vehicle.

    I posted pictures on

  2. my wheels hit the fenders and would not come off until I removed 2 bolts on the fender.
    I later cut the fenders 1 inch so I can slip the wheels on and off easily.
    Also the Allen head wheel and brake bolts are different sizes so you need to carry at least 2 sizes with you. I hope they match on a future design so the ELF is even better and easy to work on.

  3. Oh I also had a problem once when I removed the brakes. One of the disk brake pads fell out. It was very odd so I had to take it to a bicycle shop and they could get it back in. It must have been loose from the factory??

  4. How long does it take to get the wheels off?
    What tools are needed?

  5. Tom, taking the front wheels off is really quick. Just a couple of hex wrenches - one for the two screws on the disk brake and one for the wheel mount.