lacing rims

How hard is it to lace your own rims? Can or should a rookie do this? What steps are involved? Is there anything better than Excels in your opinion?

I laced up a bicycle wheel once. wasnt that hard. I had a wheel truing stand though to make the job easy. Ive been thinking about doing this for a while for my moto. If I do it, Im going to whip up some kind of a stand that will hold the wheel for me while I true it up. where are you buying your wheels from and what was the cost?

I just laced and trued a new excel front rim a few months ago after bending my stock one. Since then, I have trued my back rim and laced and trued my friends new front and back I have 4 rims under my belt now. This is what I did:

1. Took pictures of my bent rim from a few different angles before I disassembled it, just to be safe in case I messed the lacing pattern up I could reference the pics.

2. I used my bench mounted vice to hold the axel. I drilled a hole (a little smaller in diameter than the axel) in a piece of 2x2. Then I cut the 2x2 right thru the center of the hole on a angle with a chop saw....I used this as a jig to hold the axel in the vice without damaging the axel.

3. Removed and cleaned up the spokes and nipples and then laced the new rim, threading the nipples approx the same amount of rotations.

4. Once laced, took the rim/hub to the vice and put the hub down onto the axel so I could rotate it (axel was mounted in the vice jig straight the rim rotated parallel to the floor or work bench).....this position seemed to be easier for me to make all the adjustments/corrections.

5. Set up the dial indicator for runout reading......touch the indicator to the side of the rim where it says excel and start spinning the rim. At this point you can eyeball it and see it wobble all over the place. I got a couple of alligator clips and I would clip one to the spoke that I would adjust then spin the rim 180 degrees around and adjust the opposite spoke.

6. At this point its hard to explain.....I just kept an eye on the indicator after several times around the rim tightening the nipples ¼-1/2 turns. When the spokes began to get close to the pitch of the stock rim (before I dissembled it they would ring around F# when tapped.....sorry.....Im a musician....if your not comfortable with pitch you could maybe just try to match the pitch to the rear rims spokes) I would check for the high and low spots by eyeing the indicator and kind of zero in on a ¼ slice of the rim (If I found a high spot, there was usually a low spot 180 degrees away on the rim....but not always!!).

7. High spot: count out two spokes that come from the bottom of the hub to the right and left of the high spot and tighten ¼ turn, then one spoke out from the bottom of the hub and tighten ¼ turn.....this will pull the rim in to the hub and down.

8. Low spot:.....just the opposite: count out two spokes that come from the top of the hub to the right and left of the low spot and tighten ¼ turn, then one spoke out from the top of the hub and tighten ¼ turn.

9. Every time that I made an adjustment that involved more than one spoke, I would give the rim a spin to see if my adjustment impacted the other side of the rim.

After about an hour or two of this ( and a few beers ) you will be able to predict what is going to happen on the indicator and it almost becomes be afraid to loosen them and start over if things aren't looking good after a while.....I swear that I became one with these rims toward the they where eating out of my hand...haha

Anyway I got mine to plus or minus ...005".....they are really kick a$$ straight! :)

Good luck.....Thats what worked for me.

And if you don't have an indicator, GET ONE!!! You can really see the results from each turn with an indicator.


I haven't built a motto rim yet, but I have built quite a few bike rims.

One cool trick if your spokes aren't thrashed is to tape all of the spokes together. What I mean is tape them where they cross. Then take all of the nipples off, and just switch the hub and spokes over to the new rim. Match it up exactly with the new rim, stick all of the spokes in to the holes and put the nipples back on and tighten and true every thing.

It is a really easy way to lace a new rim on old spokes, but if the spokes are messed up enough that you don't feel comfortable with them, you can do the same process and then change them one at a time until you have replaced all of the old with new. Tighten and true.

Get some spoke prep. You dip the spoke in one and the nipple in the other it really helps the spokes from loosening up. Take your time. Oh yeah some beer helps to. :)

It's not that difficult. I've done two front wheels so far.

I did not use a truing stand. With the bike on a stand I remounted the wheel for truing.

Having another wheel for reference on the lacing pattern is helpful. Taking photos is good too.

What worked best for me is getting the rim laced with all the spokes still loose.

Get the wheel back on the bike and work on making it round first.

Use anything to indicated the high and low spots as you rotate the wheel. I just stretched electrical tape between the fork tubes for a rough indicator.

In the high spots tighten the spokes making sure you get spokes on boths side of the hub. Don't go nuts and crank a bunch of turns, be patient. If there are low spots loosen the spokes. Most of the time working the high spots will make the low spots disappear on their own.

Don't worry about the side to side wobble until the wheel is round.

The side to side truing requires that you pay attention to the overall offset.

In the front wheel you make sure it's centered between the fork tubes. For the rear wheel take a clearance measurement before you unlace the wheel. The distance between the rim and swingarm is the offset.

Work on side to side truing by tightening only. This will help keep the rim round as you take out the side to side wobble.

You can expect this to take over an hour to accomplish on your first wheel.

As for the rims I have use the silver Excels. The new DID rims with the rounded cross section look like over sized bicycle rims. DID claims they are stronger that the Excels.

taping the spokes together works OK, but small zip ties are neater and quicker. Mike

This info was useful for me as well. I bought a used rear wheel and the rim is hammered and I have a new rim coming. I thought about zip tying the spokes together but wasn't sure if it would work.

Thanks for the help.


I have been meaning to ask this, looks like the best place.

Does anyone use custom lacing on their wheels? For MTN. Bikes you can race lace, braid, radial, and combinations there of. From that I've seen most dirt bikes seem to be pretty much straight laced.

I got my new hoops and laced them up. Real easy if you use the zip ties on the spokes. I was also able to borrow a truing stand so that helped as well. The stand is actually for bicycle rims but it works find for moto wheels also.


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