Re-lace a spoked wheel

This is a basic tutorial on how to re-lace a spoked wheel in a cross 4 pattern. (Took me roughly 4.5 hours).

Our friend Bill Becker was kind enough to coach me through this, and let me use his tools.
Thanks again Bill!

Get all new spokes and nipples from Buchanan Spokes in California. Mail them an inner and an outer, and they’ll match it. I went with stainless steel. Package comes with oil. Oil all the spoke threads.

Lay the wheel out. Get the rim level with the hub.

Start with the inner spokes. From hub, it’s every other hole. On rim, it’s every 4th hole. Put the nipple on right when you put the spoke in. Only tighten a couple turns, just so nipple holds on.

First side inner spokes done.

Flip wheel over.
Do other side of inner spokes. Same as step 3, except, put nipples on last after all this sides inner spokes are on.

Start doing outer spokes now. Lay them out on top of inner spokes. Don’t try and put them in the hole until all this side outer spokes are placed in. Then find the holes and put nipples on.

Flip wheel over.
Do the same as step 6 on this side now.

Put the wheel on a truing stand, and use a screwdriver to seat all the nipples to where the threads end in the next pic.

Now hand tighten all the nipples until they bottom out with a screwdriver.

Get the right size spoke key. Now start tightening all the spokes tight. But not too tight yet.

– tighten all spokes firmly now
– adjust concentricity first (remove hop from wheel)
– adjust side play second
– when wheel is straight you want all spokes to be tight enough that when you hit them with a wrench it sounds like a note on a piano.

Bill Becker working on his cz125. He’s doing a full restoration on it.

Bill when he was in his mid 20’s riding around on the cz125.

Bill is available for hire to do any custom wheel building if anyone is in need of it.
His email is below:

Check out 2 of Bill’s bikes on BikeEXIF:
Aermacchi Sprint
Norton Commando MKIII

2 responses to “Re-lace a spoked wheel”

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  2. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for the how-to, guys. Gotta start working on the 450 again, and a new wheel kit is on the list.

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