Lace Motorcycle Rims

Upgrade your motorcyle’s performance with new wheels. Unfortunately, it can be an expensive upgrade with pre-built wheels. Building your own wheels is a great way to learn something new about your bike, and save a few dollars in the process.


Lacing The Wheel

1. Lay out your materials. If your wheel needs to be dished (in the case of a drum brake, most likely) be sure to separate the two different lengths of spokes.

2. Choose a hole on your hub, and slide a spoke through the hub flange from the outside. These inward-facing spokes will be your “leading spokes.”

3. Leave one open space and slide another spoke through. Repeat this step on both sides of the hub until every other hole has an inward-facing spoke in it.

4. Choose one of the empty flange holes, and slide a spoke through from the inside. These outward-facing spokes will be your “trailing spokes.”

5. In the next open space, slide another trailing spoke through the hub flange. Repeat this step until every hole on the hub has a spoke in it. This is called a “loaded hub.”

6. Choose one of your leading spokes (the ones on the inside), and slide it through a hole on the correct side of the rim.

7. Thread a spoke nipple onto the end of the spoke and twist it until you can no longer see the spoke threading. Skip three rim holes and repeat this process for each leading spoke.

8. When all of your leading spokes are in place, the hub will twist to center itself in the rim. Attach the first trailing spoke in the opposite direction. The spoke should only properly fit in one hole on the rim.

9. Attach the remaining trailing spokes.

Truing The Wheel

10. Use a spoke wrench to bring each spoke to a similar level of tension. A spoke tension meter will help you toward a more even wheel tension.

11. Put the wheel in place on the motorcycle’s fork or swing arm.

12. Attach a zip-tie to each leg of the fork or swing arm. Be sure they are the same height as the edge of the rim and measure to be sure they are both the same length.

13. Spin the wheel slowly, and observe spots where the rim rubs the zip tie on only one side. In these spots, tighten the spoke opposite the rub until the rub disappears.

14. Take your wheel off of the motorcycle, install a tire and tube, and take the wheel for a “shakedown ride.” When you return, check that the wheel is still true and evenly tensioned. Use a spoke wrench to make any final adjustments.