Eldi Emergency Spoke Bicycle Tool
A Spoke Recycler
The great thing about this bicycle spoke cutter and bender is that it allows a mechanic equipped with a handful of long spokes to fix bicycle wheels of any size. How? The tool shears the head off the spoke. Then, by holding the spoke just so in the tool’s jaws and squeezing the handles, an S shape is bent into the spoke’s end as shown. Because you can put this shape anywhere along the spoke’s length, you can size long spokes to fit every size wheel.
A Ride Mechanic’s Treasure
This spoke shaper is the perfect tool when you’re wrenching for a ride or race. Instead of carrying several common spoke lengths for repairs, simply pack a supply of long spokes and you’ll be prepared to repair any wheel that needs help. It came in very handy one year when I was manning a century rest stop in Paso Robles, California during the Great Western Bike Rally. Early in the day, I repaired a 700c wheel and in the afternoon, a couple came through on a Bike Friday Family Tandem with 20-inch wheels. I used the Eldi to size spokes to fit and saved three riders from having to SAG in.
Bicycle spokes with this S bend are known by tourists as emergency spokes because the special bend simplifies installation. Carry some emergency spokes inside a pump, handlebar or bag and should you break a spoke, simply wiggle it out of the hub and you’ll be able to poke the emergency spoke’s S-shaped head in its place. You won’t have to remove the wheel, cassette, tire, tube or nipple (assuming you were smart enough to prepare emergency spokes that match the nipples in the wheel). So, these spokes come in very handy. And, they’re strong, too. I’ve ridden for years on one with no problems.
I’ve searched for this tool without luck so I don’t believe it’s available any longer. It’s possible to create emergency spokes by cutting the heads off with diagonal cutters and bending the S with pliers. But, that’s a crude way to go compared to Eldi’s solution.
Update on finding a tool that can create the bend: a reader named Chung wrote saying that there’s a model airplane tool that puts Z bends in steel rods that might work. Thanks! Also, ace mechanic Roger at PacTour told me about a tool for lawnmower throttle cables that can do this. It should be available at lawn-care stores. Note that I have not tested these tools to see if they work, but they sound promising.