Lacing a Spoked Motorcycle Wheel
Spoked wheels are a mainstay in the motorcycle scene
Spoked motorcycle wheels have become a mainstay in the motorcycle scene. Classic bikes, dirt bikes and race models still use spoked wheels. Unlike most mag wheels, they do require some maintenance and care. Mag wheels usually just need a good cleaning and a good once-over for bent spots. Replacing components of spoked wheels can be tricky, but a little patience and a service manual can get the job done.
Spoked motorcycle wheels consist of three major parts. These parts are the rim, the spokes and the wheel hub. Attached to the wheel hub is usually the brake rotor and chain/belt sprocket. Steel spokes can rust over time and may need to be changed. Rims bend and hubs can rust over. Fortunately, it is not that hard to repair a spoked motorcycle wheel. This is where a service manual comes in handy.
To fix any motorcycle wheel, the tire has to be dismounted first. This can be done by a shop or with some tire irons. The process takes some muscle so it may not be that easy for some. A motorcycle or tire shop can do it fast and fairly cheap. Once the tire and/or tube have been removed, there is a rubber strip that covers the nipples of the spokes. This strip is like a huge rubber band and should be replaced. The tire tube should also be replaced.
Now is a great time to measure to offset of the wheel. Use a straightedge against the flattest part of the hub and measure the distance from the straight edge to the wheel rim. Do it for both sides on both rims. The offset of the wheel should be listed in the service manual. Sometimes wheels are offset to one side to track the road better. Take pictures of the spoke pattern and note how they are arranged. A service manual should have the correct pattern.
The spokes can then be removed. The nipples of the spokes can be loosened with a spoke wrench. If the spokes are garbage or bent they can be cut using an angle grinder or bolt cutters. Be careful, the spoke may have tension. The spokes can be slid out of the hub and the wheel is finally apart. This is a great time to clean everything while it is all apart. Some hubs are made of aluminum. They can be cleaned with a wire brush and polished if necessary. If the aluminum is oxidized badly, they will need to be sanded and polished. Chromed hubs and rims may need to be re-chromed if the chrome is badly pitted. Steel wool and chrome polish can be used to clean-off oxidation.