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How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) #483167
03/26/13 7:40 pm
03/26/13 7:40 pm
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Redshirt Offline OP
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I wrote this article for my British car club newsletter last month. There are a few sites around with re-lacing tuts, but we don't have one here. Now we do. Please tag on with comments if I've missed something or you have a tip or trick I've missed. Please PM me if you'd like to re-post or reprint somewhere--I'm happy to help.


Got a good rim, but broken spokes or a bad hub or vice-versa? Maybe your wheel looks fine, but your handlebars dance in your hands. there's something in here for you. Lacing and truing wire wheels is an ancient skill mankind developed shortly after evolving from apes, but few know how to do it today.

Re-lacing and truing is not extremely difficult, but is an exercise in patience and forethought. The payoff is in saving a ton of money. Under $100 from Buchanan Spokes will get you stainless steel spokes and nipples for almost any application. Polished stainless spokes are only slightly duller than chrome steel spokes. The benefit is that stainless spokes are stronger and less brittle than chrome spokes. In fact, the chroming process significantly embrittles spokes, making them prone to snapping. If you have rusty spoke wheels and want to paint them, you are probably running a risk trying to extend the life of a wheel that is already unsafe.

In addition to the spokes, whether they are a complete kit, or a couple of donors, you will also need a spoke wrench. The best style is the long thin single-size type, but the multi-size style is more common. The key here is that a regular wrench head doesn’t really fit in between the spokes. Spoke wrenches are thicker to engage the nipples over a wider area. The nipples are small, but require a lot of torque, so a regular wrench just won’t do. You will also need nipple grease. Just as I was considering asking my wife if she had any, I discovered that this was supplied with the spoke kit, thus avoiding embarrassment and potential injury.

For my example, I’m re-spoking my BSA motorcycle wheel, but the process is unchanged for other bike or even car wheels. In fact, car wheels are easier because there’s less interference between the spokes. For this BSA wheel, there is no way to replace an individual spoke. The whole wheel has to be undone. This was not the case for the rear wheel or my British car wheels, where I was able to replace broken spokes as needed.

Let’s get down to business. Start by taking photos! Once the wheel is apart, you’ll suddenly have a hard time remembering your spoke pattern. Next, make some marks on the hub and rim with a Sharpie to indicate the origin and destination for one example of each length of spoke. On most wheels, you’ll have spokes going two directions on each side.

I labeled all the holes for the spokes sweeping counterclockwise A, B, C, etc., and all the holes for clockwise sweeping spokes 1, 2, 3 and so on. The marks will save you heartache later. One aspect of wheels that is vitally important but gets little mention is offset or dish—how far in or out the hub is in relation to the rim. Before you disassemble your wheel, try to capture this dimension. Getting it wrong can result in fouling fenders or bump stops.



For a complete re-lacing job, break down the wheel until you are left with just the hub and rim. Even if you have the space between spokes, there really isn’t any point in doing a one at a time replacement because there is no way you will end up with a straight wheel anyway. Just break the whole thing down, it will save you time. If you are just replacing a couple of broken spokes, go ahead and do a one for one swap.

Set the rim aside. Set the hub in the middle of a clear working space. I found it helpful to elevate it on a coffee can. Orient the hub so that the longest spokes are on top.



One spoke style at a time, feed the new spokes into the hubs. Repeat with the other spoke sizes. Before bringing over the rim, arrange the spokes to cross each other in your correct pattern.



Now overlay the rim and feed the first sharpie-indexed spoke through the appropriate hole in the rim.



Apply a small amount of nipple grease to the threads and offer up a nipple from outside the rim. Thread the nipple on only about 3-4 turns. Alternate between the spoke styles until you have a nipple threaded onto every spoke on that side of the wheel. Go ahead and flip the wheel over and repeat for the other side.

Now the first tedious step begins. Tighten every spoke up one turn, working around the rim. Repeat until the spokes start to get tight. By working in this way, you’ll draw the spokes up tightly in a uniform manner that will hopefully result in the hub being close to center (radially correct) and straight (wobble or run-out). We will true the wheel statically on the bench, and then fine-true it on the vehicle or on a stand if you have one. Before truing, take a look at the offset (dish) and see if you got close. If not, uniformly tighten the inner or outer spokes (loosening the opposite) as needed to move the hub in or out.

We always true radially first as this is the hardest, and has the greatest impact on the ride. Measure from the edge of the rim to the edge of the hub front to back, and then measure left to right to see how close the hub is to the center of the rim. Orient the wheel so that the hub needs to move toward you. Loosen the spokes slightly on the opposite side of the wheel, loosening along an arc covering about 120 degrees on the far side of the wheel. Tighten an equal amount on the near side and re-measure. Repeat until you believe the hub is exactly centered.

Now, set the wheel up on its edge and roll it while looking at it straight on. Chances are one part of the hub will stick out more than any other. This area will need to be pulled back (or opposite areas will need to be brought forward). This part gets a bit brainy. Orient the wheel so that the area that sticks out too far is up. Where the hub is sticking too far out, the spokes that attach to the front of the hub at that point will need to be tightened while the spokes running to the rear of the hub in that area will need loosened. At the bottom of the wheel, do the opposite. Re-measure and repeat as needed. So you think your wheel is straight? Now it’s time to go find out just how wrong you are.

Mount the wheel to the vehicle, properly and safely supporting it off the ground. If you are lucky enough to have a bench-top axle stand, use that. The rest of us are going to be on the floor for a while.



Break out that dial gauge and stand. Remember, we solve radial (out of round) problems first. Set up the dial gauge pressing against the front edge of the rim, adjusted to be mid-range in its travel so it can accommodate the wheel moving towards and away from the gauge. Spin the wheel and mark the high and low points. There may be more than one of each. Start adjusting just like you did on the bench. If the side to side wobble is too much for the dial gauge to stay aligned with the rim, go make some basic corrections for that and come back and complete radial truing. I read you should get the wheel to within 1/8th of an inch of perfection. That’s 125 thousandths and seems like quite a bit. You’re the one who has to ride on them. I stuck with it and got my wheel down to 25 thousandths—much thinner than a dime. Remember, your tire isn’t likely to be that round, so strike a balance you’re happy with.

Move the dial gauge around to run along the side of the rim. Work out wobble (run out) the same way as on the bench. Here’s the tolerance was given as 1/4 inch. Again, seems a bit much. I worked mine down to under 20 thousandths. You can visually see the difference in how smooth the wheel spins.

Now go twice around the wheel checking every spoke for looseness or extreme over tightness. Spoke should be fairly tight. Don’t crank them or they will snap. Now tap every spoke with a wrench. All spokes of the same length should have the same ring. A pitch higher than the rest indicates too tight. A dull sound is too loose. Re-check your radial and run-out to make sure you didn’t mess it up.



Finally, get out the grinder and remove any bits of spoke that protrude past the end of the nipples. Skip this step and you’ll have a flat tire in no time when the stray spoke punctures your tube. Congratulations, you’ve won.

Enjoy,
Redshirt


Redshirt

'67 BSA Lightning--A collection of Helicoils held together by matching numbers
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Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #483492
03/29/13 1:30 am
03/29/13 1:30 am
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Bastrop, Texas, USA
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BSAGuy Offline
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Nicely done Redshirt! This is the kind of article that we who are not so advanced as others, need. Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge with us. Hope to see more articles soon. The Forum will survive the loss of information as long as those who provide it have a celestial sense of humor.

Think I will go and start on those five wheels I have in the shop. This is just what I needed before ordering spokes from Buchanan's...a solid set of instructions!~ Great article and great photos, R.

Thanks


Always try to keep the chrome side up! Cheers!
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: BSAGuy] #483510
03/29/13 5:02 am
03/29/13 5:02 am
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Redshirt Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: BSAGuy
Nicely done Redshirt! This is the kind of article that we who are not so advanced as others, need.

Think I will go and start on those five wheels I have in the shop. This is just what I needed before ordering spokes from Buchanan's...a solid set of instructions!~ Great article and great photos, R.

Thanks


BSAGuy,
You are welcome. This is my first British bike but I've done British cars for years. My BSA looked good coming in the door, but has needed EVERYTHING. The spoking wasn't hard, I looked around the internet at a few tutorials just had to get up the nerve to dive in.

Both my tach and speedo worked when I got the bike assembled. Both failed a few minutes into riding. I have rebuilt those as well and will post a tut in a few weeks.

Cheers,
Redshirt


Redshirt

'67 BSA Lightning--A collection of Helicoils held together by matching numbers
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #484468
04/04/13 11:57 pm
04/04/13 11:57 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,972
Greensboro, NC
Alan_nc Offline
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Hummmmm,

Guess I should have read this prior to lacing up a wheel yesterday. At least I did have another wheel to copy the pattern from and was using Pre-used spokes so had the sizes right.

Very nice write-up


Alan
Cleared m out....left only
59 BSA Bantam (Trials)
78 Triumph Bonny (UPS)
02 Suzuki GS500
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Alan_nc] #495371
06/25/13 9:40 am
06/25/13 9:40 am
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 560
Rotorua, New Zealand
'59 Bonnie Offline
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'59 Bonnie  Offline
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Rotorua, New Zealand
Lacing a 19" 40 spoke Triumph Rim.

I am looking to build a new rear rim with new spokes as the original wheel was a 15" and was not correct for the bike I have read elsewhere on the rebuild of the rims but the spokes that cam out of the original rims were the same length and angle with the same neck length.

I took photos before removing the spokes from the 15" rim, but now starting to get all the parts together I am not sure which is the inner or the outer spokes. I am guessing that the outer spokes are the spokes that are threaded from the inner side and lay on the out side of the spool and the inner are the spokes that are threaded from the outside and lay on the inside. There is a difference between the inner and the outer head lengths. The outer have a longer neck.

I will be great if someone a can point me in the right direction. Thanks.


"We are "motorcyclists" & "historians" our hobby includes the research & preservation of motorcycle history. What we are doing in the research & preservation of iconic bikes is, an important part of its history & value".
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #495376
06/25/13 11:40 am
06/25/13 11:40 am
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 9,331
Scotland
kommando Online content
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kommando  Online Content
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Scotland
This is the write up for the 18" rear wheel spool type, for a 19" all the spokes will be longer but the relative lengths should be close.

http://www.tioc.org/lacing371007rim.htm

10 spokes 7 9/16" long with 95 degree head - left (drive) outside
10 spokes 7 9/16" long with 90 degree head - left (drive) inside
20 spokes 7 7/8" long with 90 degree head - right side inside and outside.

Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: kommando] #495579
06/27/13 5:36 am
06/27/13 5:36 am
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 560
Rotorua, New Zealand
'59 Bonnie Offline
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Thanks K


"We are "motorcyclists" & "historians" our hobby includes the research & preservation of motorcycle history. What we are doing in the research & preservation of iconic bikes is, an important part of its history & value".
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #495611
06/27/13 2:22 pm
06/27/13 2:22 pm
Joined: Jun 2013
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united kingdom
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Crackin write up and makes it less of a "black art" well done....certainly will try mine now.


Tiger Tiger burning bright.......mountain cubs outta sight.
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: rurod] #495845
06/29/13 9:15 am
06/29/13 9:15 am
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 560
Rotorua, New Zealand
'59 Bonnie Offline
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'59 Bonnie  Offline
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How difficult can it be???? The answer is in here some where, so what am I doing wrong. I am obviously missing something. I have been following http://www.tioc.org/lacing371007rim.htm

Two possible mistakes.
1. Knowing how or which side is the drive side of the rim or does that not matter? On the rim I have I cannot see that there is any difference. Surely the rim should have been marked drive side???
2. The hub used here is the bolt-up type. I have used, I believe the correct spokes marked as drive side outer first. (see photos) I have wondered if this makes any difference or whether I should have used the drive side inner spokes first. The moment I lace the inner spokes by the third spoke the lacing goes al cockeye. The other photos show the aliment of the drive side spokes with the upper timing side centre key hole and the last photo shows the inners spokes threaded in to the nipples and pushed through the rim but not hoked up in to the hub.

Hope someone can spot where my mistake is thanks.



Rim with outer spoke laced.


Alignment with drive side and timing side spokes


Drive side outer spokes fitted and threaded with nipples and inner spokes threaded in to nipples and just laid over not hooked up.
Where are the mistakes???


Last edited by '59 Bonnie; 06/29/13 9:34 am.

"We are "motorcyclists" & "historians" our hobby includes the research & preservation of motorcycle history. What we are doing in the research & preservation of iconic bikes is, an important part of its history & value".
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #495851
06/29/13 11:45 am
06/29/13 11:45 am
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Boston, Massachusetts
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John Healy Offline
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The proper rim for this wheel IS handed as mentioned in the text. If it isn't handed you don't have the right rim.

I don't understand what you are trying to explain in the second picture. The next step is to offer the Drive Side Inner spokes from the outside and laying them clockwise to the hold in the rim.

Quote:
Drive side outer spokes fitted and threaded with nipples and inner spokes threaded in to nipples and just laid over not hooked up.


What are you saying here? Why aren't the the Drive Side Inner spokes laced into the hub?
John


Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: John Healy] #495857
06/29/13 12:24 pm
06/29/13 12:24 pm
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 560
Rotorua, New Zealand
'59 Bonnie Offline
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'59 Bonnie  Offline
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Rotorua, New Zealand
Thanks John I was just looking at how it was supposed to be with the spokes laying over the others. Not to worry about that comment.

I was just readying you doc and was a bit confused about the wording of "handed" from your comment below. I think I am slowing beginning to understand it.

THIS RIM (37-1007) is handed and must be installed the right way around! The rim is handed because the wheel hub has different diameter spoke flange holes on one side from the other.

With practice you should be able to see the difference in dimpling and piercing that makes a rim handed. If you need some help try the method below:

In the picture I have placed nipples in the rim and I am measuring the distance between two adjacent nipples which are angled, front to back, away from each other. Using the outside edge of the end of the nipple I get a measurement of 3" (see picture below).

I then move to the other side of the rim and take a measurement on the a pair (it will be in the range of 3 1/4"). By measuring the distance between the nipples you can determine which has a larger included angles.

From the angle you can determine which way the rims should be installed. The widest distance between the tops of the nipples (3 1/4" in my case) goes to the drive side.

This rim is what was on the bike. It's a 15" Harley rim. Is this what you were measuring?



"We are "motorcyclists" & "historians" our hobby includes the research & preservation of motorcycle history. What we are doing in the research & preservation of iconic bikes is, an important part of its history & value".
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #495916
06/30/13 3:24 am
06/30/13 3:24 am
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Posts: 10,131
Boston, Massachusetts
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John Healy Offline
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Yes.


Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #495938
06/30/13 9:07 am
06/30/13 9:07 am
Joined: Dec 2004
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Scotland
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Who supplied your rim, as John says the correct rim has one sides holes drilled at a slightly different angle, there are generic rims around where the holes are at the same angle both sides and you end up with the driveside spokes bending which is a no no. The only way to check is as per John's writeup. The 3" and 3 1/4" dimensions are for an 18" rim, they will be both larger for a 19" rim.

Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: kommando] #495939
06/30/13 9:19 am
06/30/13 9:19 am
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 560
Rotorua, New Zealand
'59 Bonnie Offline
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'59 Bonnie  Offline
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Rotorua, New Zealand
Thanks I go it sorted. It is actually dead easy. Once you have determined the drive side of the rim. What I found was the way the hub or rim is supported that changed it for me.

I supported the rim about 70mm off the working surface with two blocks of wood once I had the outside drive side hooked up then the drive side inners while the hub was hanging off the rim. The rest is history as they say.

Thanks now to do the offset etc.


"We are "motorcyclists" & "historians" our hobby includes the research & preservation of motorcycle history. What we are doing in the research & preservation of iconic bikes is, an important part of its history & value".
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #496560
07/04/13 11:12 pm
07/04/13 11:12 pm
Joined: Jul 2012
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Bastrop, Texas, USA
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BSAGuy Offline
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Outstanding! I have several instruments that need some help so I am looking forward to your next installment. Mine vary from working (shakily) to not a twitch...any insight will be greatly appreciated.

BSAGuy


Always try to keep the chrome side up! Cheers!
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #498320
07/19/13 7:42 pm
07/19/13 7:42 pm
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Oregon
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I just laced up two Indian Velo 500 wheels, these have the Borrani 36 hole flanged rim and single diameter spokes. The original spokes and nipples were badly rusted, so I purchased replacements from Central Wheel Components in Birmingham UK. You can specify all particulars for standard or custom spokes using the formula on their web page. http://www.central-wheel.co.uk/ I've used CWC for wheel components on many occasions now and cannot sing their praises highly enough. The USA shipping was a little pricey at twenty squids but they used Fedex express and I had the spokes/nipples in a matter of days. This is not intended to be an advert for CWC and I have no financial interest in this, it's just nice to pass along details of a good (in my opinion) vendor when the opportunity presents. smile

Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #499671
07/30/13 4:21 am
07/30/13 4:21 am
Joined: Mar 2013
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Redshirt Offline OP
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What gives here? This tutorial on 'how to' got moved out of the Tutorial section. Is there a reorganization going on or did I miss something?

Redshirt


Redshirt

'67 BSA Lightning--A collection of Helicoils held together by matching numbers
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #499682
07/30/13 5:15 am
07/30/13 5:15 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,871
The Northwoods... Michigan
Steve Erickson Offline
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The Tutorial section is intended for issues involving the operations of/within the BBF site. The posts that do not belong there have been moved to their more appropriate locations... for instance, a technical thread on lacing would be better on the British Bikes in General Board than a Board dedicated to BBF site procedures.

What you missed, along with some other members, is the sub-header text defining what the Tutorial Board's purpose is. Not a big deal, no posts are lost, just relocated.

Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Steve Erickson] #499819
07/31/13 2:50 am
07/31/13 2:50 am
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Redshirt Offline OP
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Steve,
Thanks. I know there are some good tutorials about the bikes out there. I don't know how this forum software works, but some sites organize FAQs and tuts as 'stickies' that remain at the top of their respective sub-boards. It just seems the actual technical tuts will get lost.

Redshirt


Redshirt

'67 BSA Lightning--A collection of Helicoils held together by matching numbers
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #499845
07/31/13 7:57 am
07/31/13 7:57 am
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The Northwoods... Michigan
Steve Erickson Offline
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I agree, it would be great to have a dedicated Tech Tutorial section, maybe for each of the Boards. But it would be a daunting task, and though it has been mentioned before, nobody has stepped up and volunteered to take this on...

In actuality, most of the threads on the dedicated brand/marque Boards are technical in nature, so it would be difficult to determine what should be a sticky. Though the Search function here is a bit difficult, if used correctly it can find a lot of tech answers from years of postings, and I think that will have to serve us, at least until someone comes up with a better system. Barring accidents, hopefully none of these threads will be lost.

Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Steve Erickson] #499896
07/31/13 4:00 pm
07/31/13 4:00 pm
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Illinois, USA
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There has been a well written tutorial for wheel building as a "sticky" at the top of the Members Bike Projects page since 2009.

Ray


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #519509
12/20/13 11:57 am
12/20/13 11:57 am
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Tewkesbury UK
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Bern Offline
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I've just started to look at making spokes for a 6th scale BSA B60 (Action Man/GI JOE) I am repairing and upgrading.
The information posted here is VERY useful.
Many thanks,
Bern

Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #520763
12/30/13 8:35 pm
12/30/13 8:35 pm
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Posts: 37
Canada
Good post. I am about to try and true my wheel. It is an original Dunlop WM2-19 on the front of my 1970 Triumph Daytona. The spokes are all free but the rim is out of round by as much as 3/16 inch which is giving it a hop. the out of round is also the heavy spot when the wheel stops its rotate. Can I bring it round just with the spokes or do I need to despoke completly and pound it with blocks? I am open to sugestions. Thanks Jerry

Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: Redshirt] #520764
12/30/13 8:46 pm
12/30/13 8:46 pm
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 37
Canada
J
JDH Offline
BritBike Forum member
JDH  Offline
BritBike Forum member
J
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 37
Canada
I am thinking of making a jig if I have to despoke the wheel completely. Does anyone know th true outside dimension of the Dunlop WM2-19 wheel? Also the width of the rims (outside dimension)? Thanks Jerry

Re: How To Re-Spoke A Wheel (Re-Lace, Rebuild) [Re: JDH] #520810
12/31/13 8:46 am
12/31/13 8:46 am
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,110
Ottawa, Canada
gREgg-K Offline

BritBike Forum member
gREgg-K  Offline

BritBike Forum member
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,110
Ottawa, Canada
Originally Posted By: JDH
Good post. I am about to try and true my wheel. It is an original Dunlop WM2-19 on the front of my 1970 Triumph Daytona. The spokes are all free but the rim is out of round by as much as 3/16 inch which is giving it a hop. the out of round is also the heavy spot when the wheel stops its rotate. Can I bring it round just with the spokes or do I need to despoke completly and pound it with blocks? I am open to sugestions. Thanks Jerry


Jerry,
It depends on what is causing the hop. If it's because of a flat spot in the rim caused by a road impact, you will never be able to correct it with spoke tension alone ... that requires other intervention to restore the roundness of the rim.

If the hop is only because of incorrect wheel building or poor truing, then you will be able to get it right by slackening things off and starting over. If you're good at it, you may even be able to get it right by selective loosening and tightening.

... Gregg


Spyder Integrated Technologies
Lucas, BTH, & Miller Magneto & Dynamo Restoration
SMITHS Chronometric Restoration
magneto@spyder-it.com
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