How to Spoke a Motorcycle Wheel

Written by justin wash
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Spoked motorcycle wheels are a classy looking, strong and low cost alternative to diecast or carbon fibre wheels. They have become a staple of chopper and cafe racer motorcycle design aesthetics and are easy to build and maintain, as spoked wheels can be trued at any time with just a spoke wrench, saving the rider hours of riding time as well as a few dollars.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Basic wrench set
  • Wheel hub
  • Wheel rim
  • Wheel spokes
  • Spoke wrench

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Insert a spoke into a hole on the non-drive side of the hub from the outside in. If done correctly, the spoke nipple should show on the outside of the hub flange. Skip one flange hole and insert the next spoke in the same fashion. Continue until every other flange hole has a spoke in it, and repeat this procedure for the opposite hub flange. These are your "leading spokes."

  2. 2

    Insert a spoke into each of the empty holes of the hub, this time from the inside out. The spoke nipple of each of these spokes should not be visible from the outside. These are your "trailing spokes."

  3. 3

    Insert one of the non-drive side leading spokes into a hole on the non-drive side of the rim. Thread a spoke nipple onto this spoke until you can't see the spoke threading. Insert the drive-side leading spoke opposite the first (on the other hub flange) into the next rim hole and thread a spoke nipple onto it. Repeat this procedure until each of the leading spokes is in place on the rim.

  4. 4

    Insert one of the non-drive side trailing spokes into a hole on the non-drive side of the rim. Thread a spoke nipple onto this spoke until you can't see the spoke threading. Insert the drive-side trailing spoke opposite the first (on the other hub flange) into the next rim hole and thread a spoke nipple onto it. Repeat this procedure until each of the trailing spokes is in place on the rim. There should now be a spoke connecting every hub flange hole to every rim hole.

  5. 5

    Attach the wheel to the motorcycle. Put a zip-tie on both fork legs level with the wheel rim. Cut the zip-ties so they are the same length on each fork leg.

  6. 6

    Spin the wheel slowly around its axle. Take note of any spots on the rim that touch one zip-tie but not the other. In these spots, tighten the spoke opposite the side of the rub with a spoke wrench until the rim is even between the ties. Repeat this procedure until the wheel is perfectly straight all the way around its circumference

  7. 7

    Install a tire on the newly-laced wheel and air it up to the specifications found in your motorcycle's owner's manual. Take the new wheel for a short test ride to make sure that it tracks straight and rides smoothly across even pavement. When you come back from your test ride, check the straightness of the wheel rim once more before taking any long distance rides.

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