Rebuild A Wire Wheel Motorcycle

Motorcycle wheels can withstand an astonishing level of weight and stress. This can sometimes cause problems like out-of-true and out-of-alignment rims. Unlike aluminum or carbon fiber wheels, a wire wheel may be taken apart and rebuilt to solve these issues.


Dismantle The Wheel

1. Using the correct size spoke wrench, loosen the spokes evenly. Do not loosen any spokes more then two turns at a time. This will add undue stress to the rim and potentially bend it.

2. Remove the spoke nipples from the spoke ends. Set the rim aside.

3. Remove the spokes from the hub. Pay special attention if you have a dished wheel (such as one with a disk brake) and separate the spokes by size.

Build The Wheel

4. Lay out your materials. Check for spokes and nipples damaged during removal. Replace them if necessary.

5. Insert the first leading spoke into a hole on the flange of the hub from the outside.

6. Skip one flange hole between leading spokes until every other flange hole has a spoke in it. Be sure these spokes face inward. Insert a leading spoke into every other hole on the other side of the hub.

7. Insert the trailing spokes into the empty flange holes from the inside of the hub. Check that every spoke was inserted the opposite direction of those on either side of it. A misplaced leading or trailing spoke will create a hop in the rim.

8. Insert the end of an inward-facing spoke (leading spoke) into the correct hole on the rim. Thread a spoke nipple onto the spoke until you can no longer see the threading. Leave three rim holes empty and attach the remaining leading spokes in a similar pattern.

9. Attach the trailing spokes to the rim so that they cross over the the leading spokes. This “cross-lacing” is what makes the wheel strong enough for the weight and stress of a motorcycle.

True The Wheel

10. Attach the wheel to the motorcycle.

11. Put a zip tie around each fork or swing-arm leg at the same height as the edge of the rim. Trim them to the same length.

12. Spin the wheel slowly and notice where the wheel rubs only one of the zip ties In these spots, tighten the spoke on the other side of the rim with a spoke wrench until the wheel is true.

13. Install a tire and tube to your wheel. Test ride the motorcycle and observe any unwanted handling behavior. Park the motorcycle and check the wheel.

14. Make any adjustments necessary until the wheel is true and evenly tensioned.