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I just got my hubs powder coated (black) for my Street Tracker project and I need to lace up some new hoops (18's front and rear - 2.15 front and 3.50 rear). I'm buying my rims and custom spoke kit from Buchanan's. They charge $248 to lace and true two wheels. I've done bicycle rims before and I'm 99% sure I can do this, but I don't have any of the tools (for a bicycle I just flip it upside-down and use the bike as a stand). These are tools that I don't expect to use more than a few times in my life. I'm not looking to make a big investment so I'm going cheap. Here is what I'm thinking:

Harbor Freight Wheel Stand   $40

Harbor Freight Dial Indicator   $17

Tusk Spoke Wrench Kit   $17

Tusk Wheel Weights   $2

 

Does anyone have experience with this stand? It seems to be very similar to the Tusk unit that is $70. Is a spoke torque wrench necessary? As long as I go in small and consistent steps it seems as though the dial indicator will tell me everything I need to know.

 

Please feel free to talk me into or out of my approach. I'm the first to steer anyone away from cheap tools, but sometimes they serve a purpose.

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I agree with your statement about not needing the spoke torque wrench.  I have been a professional bicycle mechanic for over 20 years and have hand-laced and trued 100's of wheels.    Due to manufacturing discrepancies, spoke bedding, etc....the concept of torquing spokes is not a valid one to end up with a true wheel.  The torque wrench may tell you when you are near tight enough...but c'mon they are thick ass moto spokes.  Make em as tight as feels right.

Also for me the dial indicator would not be necessary.  A fixed reference point (such as used on a professional bicycle truing stand) would be more than adequate.  Even in the bicycle profession very few mechanics ever use a dial indicator on wheel truing or building.  Considering this, and the fact that bicycle stuff is much lighter, smaller, and tighter tolerance, my opinion is that the motorcycle wheel is much, much more forgiving to slight variances in runout.  Especially when considering the tolerance of the tire--or lower speed, and off-road use. (yes I read that this is a street tracker, but still)

Spoke wrench--YES--by all means

Wheel weights--that is a can of worms--I balance all my wheels, even off road ones.

The moto wheel is harder to do than a bicycle wheel, mostly because you cannot bend the spokes around the way you do on a bicycle.  This means that logic in the sequencing of the spoke pattern can make the job go right together.  Or be nearly impossible as the hub and the rim are directional with regard to spoke placement.

Go slow and methodical, small even steps.  Start with full turns per spoke nipple and then work your way down until you are needing less than a 1/4 turn to effect a change in true.  Finally, please, make sure there is not an X (pair of crossed spokes) where your inner tube valve comes out or you will curse yourself for life.  Or at least every time you have to smash your hands to get air in the tube.  

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1 hour ago, kevvyd said:

Finally, please, make sure there is not an X (pair of crossed spokes) where your inner tube valve comes out or you will curse yourself for life.  Or at least every time you have to smash your hands to get air in the tube.  

Thanks for the help. The advice above in the quote is one I never gave any thought to. Thanks a lot for that one. 

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I laced the rims loosely with the correct pattern,, then  fitted them to the forks and swingarm . Zip-tied bolts across the forks and swingarm with the offset/alignment marked on it, and tightened 3 pairs of spokes till rims ran pretty true with correct alignment, then tightened all the rest till they were perfect.  Easy-peesy!

Edited by Muzz67
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I've done a pile of wheels and I just made a simple stand using 2 pillblock bearings bolted to a pair of A frames that I just screwed to my workbench. Then with a 1/2" shaft made a couple pointed bushings that push in to each side of the hub which centers it and then set screwed in place . I have indicators to get presice but usually just use aluminum TIG welding filler rod as pointers clamped so the tip is next to the rim ,one for side to side , one for up/down . Takes time to get down at first , best if you have an original wheel still laced up laying right there to follow if not knowing the pattern. Spin the nipples on all spokes up to a certain length like nipple tip even with ends of thread or similar, then go all around around the wheel tightening each spoke 1/2 turn till they start snugging up then start watching the pointers closer and tighten accordingly. Tightening torque is just by listening to the ping of the spoke when tapped with the spoke wrench.

Seems kind of high that Buchanan wanted $250 for lacing , I had them do 1 rear rim that the spokes were at a screwed up angle due to hub dia being so big for the rim dia, they just charged $30 , but that wasn't any truing , just redrilling the holes so big that the spokes would finally fit (rather than drilling the holes correctly in the first place which pissed me off)

 

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Edited by jjktmrider

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10 hours ago, jjktmrider said:

Seems kind of high that Buchanan wanted $250 for lacing , I had them do 1 rear rim that the spokes were at a screwed up angle due to hub dia being so big for the rim dia, they just charged $30 , but that wasn't any truing , just redrilling the holes so big that the spokes would finally fit (rather than drilling the holes correctly in the first place which pissed me off)

Just to be clear, that's $250 for two rims (front & rear) trued for run-out and hop.

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27 minutes ago, Gary in NJ said:

Just to be clear, that's $250 for two rims (front & rear) trued for run-out and hop.

and thats hoping that they get the offset ideal in the rear .. i think you can do it no problem if your patient .. i see no reason for a stand if you have the bike jacked in the air .. for wheel balancing i recommend ceramic beads, i started using them awhile back and im a believer now, about 12 bucks for 4 oz on amazon .. i use them on all my bikes now and i know, i dont think, they work better than weights on bike tires .. bike tires wear unevenly real fast and the weights become worthless ugly dog-knotts pretty quick ..

Edited by cowpie

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On ‎2‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 11:14 PM, Muzz67 said:

I laced the rims loosely with the correct pattern,, then  fitted them to the forks and swingarm . Zip-tied bolts across the forks and swingarm with the offset/alignment marked on it, and tightened 3 pairs of spokes till rims ran pretty true with correct alignment, then tightened all the rest till they were perfect.  Easy-peesy!

I do the same thing except when I get close I change to a pencil. The mark will tell you where to adjust the spokes. You can use a china marker, but I just use a regular lead pencil. Also I use rubber bands instead of zip ties. Either will work.   joe

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1 hour ago, central joe said:

I do the same thing except when I get close I change to a pencil. The mark will tell you where to adjust the spokes. You can use a china marker, but I just use a regular lead pencil. Also I use rubber bands instead of zip ties. Either will work.   joe

Thanks for all of the input. I purchased a basic wheel stand, dial gauge and Pro-Motion multi-head spoke wrench. My hoops came in Friday and I hope to have some time this week to begin lacing. I watched a bunch of videos on-line so I'm feeling ready to go. I just want to make sure I get the intertube valve correct - don't want to undo it all after I discover my mistake. I'll use an existing wheel as a guide. It seems fairly simple:

1. Put down some wood blocks to allow for the offset

2. Start on the outside spokes, give the nipple just a few turns, skip 3 spoke holes and add another. Repeat 7 more times.

3. Next install the 9 inside spokes

4. Flip the wheel and do the other side, same way

5. Put the wheel in the stand and tighten nipples to the end of thread

6. Start tightening in 1/4 turns, use dial gauge and check for run-out as I go

 

I'll post photos...if I can remember to take them.

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I just did a rear wheel for a kdx I bought recently. Bought the tusk stand on sale because I had swing arm off the bike.

Really liked the stand. Well worth the $60. I've trued and set off set on swing arm or forks previously, but the stand is nice. 

Same deal. I used a new tusk impact rim and Buchanan supplied the spokes.

Putting wheels together is actually kinda fun

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I'd skip the dial gage. A pointer which never makes contact with the rim and visual is all u need.

Knowing where the spokes go and which need to go in 1st is important 

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I haven't done any Suzuki rims but I've done a bunch for my Yamaha's and about 10 old Harley 40 hole clincher wheels(1920's), all of them I had to put all the spokes in the hub and then work them into the rim holes , royal PITA with all those spokes flopping around and needing to get routed above and below each other while trying to line up the pattern with the holes . The Honda's were easy , able to put each one in at a time . I think the Suzuki's is the same way, makes it fun actually.

 

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