How To True A Motorcycle Wheel – In my previous blog post I discussed how to mount a wheel assembly with new spokes. This week I will be discussing how to straighten rims. True Edge is actually not very difficult. Once you understand the interaction between spacers and the rim, you’ll make quick work of it.
To get started, you need to set up a fair booth. It didn’t need anything special and I used a bench screw, adjusting block, rear axle, adapter, a series of old bearings and washers, and an axle nut. The reason for going to the trouble of locking the hub in place was to eliminate any possibility of the hub sliding back and forth on the rim, which would make my true attempt difficult.
How To True A Motorcycle Wheel
This is by no means the only way to make a temporary true stand and you can use your imagination to come up with alternatives. If you don’t have a bench vise then temporarily putting the wheel back into the crank may also work.
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Next, you need some kind of measuring device so you can see how much the run is. I used a dial indicator attached to a magnetic base, although simpler solutions could easily be made.
It is not absolutely necessary to measure runout, especially immediately when major changes need to be made. Instead, you just need to watch how the gap between the end of the pointer and the rim changes as the wheel spins. A coat hanger, a piece of welding rod or even a pencil can be used to the same effect as the indicator shown.
Axial (side to side) runout shall be corrected first. Here you can see that there is a noticeable difference in the size of the gap between the rim and the pointer through a full rotation of the rim.
The goal is to adjust the tension in the spokes so that the gap between the rim and the pointer is equal when the rim is rotated.
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To do this, the gap can be either increased or decreased depending on whether the spokes are tightened or loosened. To reduce the gap, tighten the spokes coming from the side of the rim where you want to reduce the gap. In the last picture, I’m tightening the right side of the spokes and as I do so I’m pulling the rim to the right. Turning the nipple ⅛ to ¼ is enough to make a difference. For the specific area of the rim that needs to be pulled up, evenly tighten at least three adjacent spokes on the side to be pulled up. If the rim needs to be turned a lot, loosen the spokes in the opposite direction as you tightened the pull side spokes. This will help maintain even tension on all spokes and will help keep the rim from splitting.
The process of tightening and loosening the spacers can be done at all high and low points around the rim in order to stretch the rim from side to side. Continue turning and rotating the rim until the gap between the rim and the pointer is equal. Some areas may require the spokes to be tightened and the rim pulled in one direction, while other areas may need to be loosened to allow the rim to move back in the other direction. Take your time and make small changes as you go. As I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t take long to see a significant change in rim placement as the spokes get stiffer.
Since the rim is optimized on both sides, you can move the pointer closer to reduce the gap. Reducing the gap where the edge is correct makes it easier to see less difference in runout. To get things right, I like to use a dial indicator by placing the contact point on the outer edge of the rim. Again, this is not absolutely necessary and similar accuracy can be achieved with a simple pointer.
Here I have taken pictures of the high and low points on the shore. The total run is the difference between the high point and the low point. In the left picture, the needle is 0.0075” (0.19 mm) to the left of my zero point. In the picture on the right, the needle is 0.008” (0.20 mm) to the right of zero. This gives me a total runout of 0.0155″ (0.39 mm). Most service manuals suggest a maximum runout of 0.079″ (2mm), so I’m in the wild! To be honest, I was very happy to have the rim at 0.0155″ as the rim is old and a bit cracked.
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The rim I was working on is centered on the hub. Some rims will be offset and it becomes more important to pay attention to the relationship between the edge of the rim and the feature on the hub (usually the machined surface of a brake disc or the machined surface of a sprocket). Your service manual will provide specifications for the gauge points and specify how much offset should be provided. It is important to set the offset correctly because if the offset is off, the front or rear wheel will not be in line with the other wheel. This can make the handling of the bike very interesting! I don’t think that slight misalignment is noticeable on dirt, but it’s definitely a problem on asphalt.
A straight edge can be used to measure from the specified surface, the outer edge of the sprocket, or from the brake disc to the edge of the rim. If you measure from the sprocket or brake disc, you will need to subtract the sprocket or disc thickness from your measurement.
If the rim isn’t quite right after all the side-to-side adjustments, it can be moved at this time. To pull the rim one way or the other, just tighten all spokes evenly on the side you’re trying to pull the rim. The spokes on the opposite side can also be loosened to allow the rim to move. Once the rim is aligned where it needs to be, half the battle is over!
Next, the radial run must be corrected. To do this, move the pointer so that it extends past the outer edge of the border.
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The gap between the pointer and the outer edge of the rim shall be monitored and adjusted to achieve evenness during rotation of the rim.
This time all the aliens around will be either tightened or loosened equally to bring about a change in the runout. To increase the gap, as I’m doing in the attached photo, all spokes are tighter which pulls the rim inward and widens the gap between the pointer and the edge of the rim.
To reduce the lag in a specific area, you can empty all the spaces in that area and allow the edge to expand towards the pointer. As with side-to-side adjustments, only nipples need to be turned ⅛ to ¼ to make a noticeable change in gap.
As long as all the lugs in the affected area are equally tightened or loosened, there will be no side effects. Slowly rotate the rim and make the necessary cut until the gap between the edge of the rim and the pointer is equal to the rotation of the rim. You can move the cursor closer and closer to fine-tuning the roundness of the edge. The surface of my brow was too battered to take accurate measurements, so I relied only on eye distance to adjust its roundness.
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Once the edge is taken axially and radially, the spokes will still remain relatively free. Spacers should be tightened slowly and evenly so that all efforts to straighten the rims are not in vain. Since most rims are either 32 or 36 acre rims, you can tighten every 4 spokes around the rims. This results in a similar 8 or 9 step pattern that is repeated four times to tighten all spokes. First all the red balls are hard, then green, yellow and finally blue. Tighten each spoke ¼ turn.
Alternatively, thumpertalk member ballisticxcriss suggested a pattern where every third gauge is tightened. This would allow tension on both sides of the rim within a single rotation of the wheel. I’ve always had good results with the pattern I described, but believe his suggested pattern will work just as well and is another option for you to use.
As the spokes get tighter, it’s no surprise that the nipples get harder and harder to turn. Space voltage can also be checked by tapping the end of the wrench against the center of the meter. The balls make a ringing sound and the pitch will be different for balls that are not as dense. Continue working your way around the edge and gradually tighten the nipples until all spokes are evenly tight.
Next, use your hand to squeeze the aliens that are parallel to each other. Squeeze all the spokes evenly around the edge. Will help squeeze out the aliens
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