Help, I need to respoke my wheels


I've got an XR650R, stock rims/hubs/spokes. My rims and hubs are fine, but negligence on the spokes has allowed one of the spokes to get so loose that it caused a flat tire. I've got several spokes on the front and rear that seemed to be stripped. Time for new spokes.

All you wheel building experts out there help me out please. I want to get a new spoke kit (front and rear) and try relacing my stock hubs/rims. Money is tight so no black Excels and Talons until later :thumbsup:

How do I find out what spokes I need?

Who makes the best/strongest spokes/nipples?

Recommended spoke torque wrench?



Get Buchannon stainless spokes, either Eastcoast wheels, or Motostrano are dealers for these or do a search for the best price on them as they are the strongest, longest lasting, and best looking spokes on the planet. I have them on my supermoto and am going to them on my Desertsled, the ones on the supermoto have been ridden on the street and ditr for 8 months and still look like chrome their so clean! AND their stainless! Oh yeah, I can;t give you any help on the lacing, I stay away from only three things on my bikes, trannys, suspension rebuilding, and lacing wheels! I wish I knew how to lace a wheel, I do excells and buchanons on my desert bike!

here ya go snaggle....

and here too!

If I was going to go into it I would pay a local shop to lace them...with the recommended spokes if you want them all done and all at the correct torque. I think I priced ~$80 for decent spokes and nipple parts? (been a year so I don't remember) I was going to do it b/c I didn't pay close enough attention to mine and a few got loose and got enough Dirt and mud inside them that I stripped them trying to tighten them. I paid $8 and got 4 OEM spoke and Nipples and just replaced 2 individual spokes and ended up replacing just the nipples on two other. Then I tightened them all so they had the same tone when tapped with a wrench. :ride: (may not be accurate but they are all tight, and the same and I didn't pay $90 for a spoke torque wrench). One thing I was warned about when I was checking into it before hand was if you do one at a time its OK but if you do the whole wheel you have to tighten them a little at a time b/c obviously if you have some tighter than will pull your wheel out of true. (Thats what I was told anyway) So my temporary fix b/c I was replacing my tire....(By the way...I found that some that were loose I could tighten with a philips head screw driver from inside the rim after the I kept putting penetrating oil on it the night before) So in the end I didn't feel it was as temporary a fix b/c they were all secure and not as strong as aftermarket but as good as it was stock. :thumbsup:

I thought I remembered that some had to be loosened or moved out of the way to get a new one in. Maybe someone has replaced all of them one at a time. I imagine that if you could torque each one down as you replaced it theoretically only the one you are replacing would be loose and you could replace them all and get away with it. Well good luck with it


Replacing spokes is no big deal, lacing an entire wheel is another matter! Thats one reason why a guy who does it for a living still wants 90 bucks to do it. Just think of it this way, 90 bucks to put 36 spokes into a rim and tighten them? Theres allot more to it than that, especially knowing the pattern and crossover and everything on all those different wheels.

As along as you haven't taken it all apart, it shouldn't be too bad. Remember it's a dirt bike so absolute perfection is not required. If it's a rim, pile of spokes, and a hub then it's a different matter. I've replaced broken spokes, and I have replaced a rim. Neither was too hard. For a new rim, tape the spokes together. Remove the nipples, then the rim. Put on new rim and reinstall the nipples. For new spokes, just replace them one at a time. Don't try and tighten them at first, leave them loose. When all the new ones are in there, start tightening it.

I've never used a spoke torque wrench, but I'm sure that one would help. The spokes need to have only a little preload on them. It's real easy to over torque them. That leads to more broken spokes. The torque wrench will only give a valid reading on spokes where the threads are nice and clean. If you buy new ones it should be fine. Old spokes and nipples can be hard to turn when they are still loose, so the torque wrench is of less use then. I just go by how the spokes feel.

I don't have a wheel stand, so the final part of tightening happens on the bike. To measure the wheel, I just hold a screwdriver agains the forks (or swingarm) and turn the wheel. The goal is to get a nice even torque, with all the spokes the same length. Since the rim is not new, it will show the signs of use. These can be flat spots and side to side wobbles that came from large impacts. Just try and get it as good as you can.

I called Buchanan, and they wanted to know what diameter nipples I needed as well as what width the rims are. I was hoping they would know something. Under their XR section they show nipples at .300 and .320. I measured one of my rear nipples under where the wrench goes and mine were ~.280". I'm assuming the front rim is 1.85 and the rear is 2.15, however, I can't find anything to confirm this.

Does anybody know what size nipples the stock rims take? Also, what is the stock rims width front and rear? Thanks.

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