Honda C90 – wheel truing

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Wheel truing is another of the wheel building black arts and no doubt fixing seriously bent or damaged wheel is highly skilled, but with enough patience the basic skills are within the grasp of the rest of us, particularly if we make the job easier by starting with a new rim and new spokes. The steps to follow are explained well by the chap at Oakys garage:

wheel truing

Once you get a feel for it is not too difficult, although of course a proper wheel builder will be able to do this with their eyes shut, but if you take it slowly you will get there in the end. The idea is to get the rim of the wheel roughly straight and offset from the hub by the appropriate amount and then to gradually tighten the spokes, keeping an eye on how true the wheel is as you go. You will need to reinstall the wheel bearings if you removed them to clean up the hubs and to use some kind of jig to hold and spin the wheel as you work. I was aided by a purpose built wheel balancing jig, but you should be able to create something equivalent by holding the inverted front forks in a vice and using a suitable rod as an axle.

The jig is surprisingly well made for something that was produced in a factory in China and shipped all the way to my house for a grand total of £29.99. How do they do it at that kind of price?

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el cheapo wheel balancer

The original Honda spoke nipples are 5.1mm diameter and this is not a standard size. I bought a cheap multi-size spoke spanner and slightly filed out the no 11 slot (below)

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The excellent Eclipse slotting/sawing tool – amazingly useful. They still come up on ebay for about a tenner now and then. They are no longer made so get yours before they are all gone!

As far as I can tell from the people in the cycling world, when it comes to spokes the rule is the tighter the better just so long as it does not distort the rim (this would be hard to do to a motorbike rim, which are much more substantial than your average bicycle wheel). I did mine as tight as I felt comfortable – the result is that they all have a pleasing musical ‘ping’ when tapped. Here is one of the finished wheels:

The Honda manual says that new wheels are delivered from the factory true to within 0.5mm and should not be allowed to runout more than +/- 1.0 mm. That little blip you can see in the video is less than that, honest!

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