January 2, 2010
The FiberFix Spoke is one of those products I would rather not have to review, but two days ago I heard the unfortunate 'ping' of a spoke breaking. Normally I tote along a few spare steel spokes, but I've heard a lot of talk about the FiberFix option, and decided to give it a shot.
The FiberFix spoke consists of an aramid fiber (more or less Kevlar) that is stronger than steel. On one end of the fiber cord you have a metal loop with a cam system that threads into the spoke nipple. Just pull the other end of the fiber cord through the spoke hole in the flange of your hub, and then back up cam to thread it into a locked position. It this sounds confusing, the spoke includes very well written and illustrated directions, as well as a spare spoke nipple, and spoke wrench.
The fiber cord is more than long enough to handle a 700c wheel, and can be tensioned very tightly. In my scenario, I didn't have to loosen any spokes around it to get the wheel back to true. While the spoke is very strong (and has so far held up well over a couple hard days of loaded touring), be sure to find a replacement spoke at the next bike shop you come across. This way, if you break another spoke, you can repeat the process over again with the same FiberFix spoke.
At $10, it's a little more expensive than buying a few steel spokes, but it's reusable, light, and compliant with any wheel.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.