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Sportster Motorcycle Tires, Wheels, and Brakes Discuss issues with Sportster motorcycle tires, wheels and brakes.

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  #1  
Old 1 Week Ago
GT Cyclery GT Cyclery is offline
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Default Spoked Wheel Lacing

I just bought some 21'' wheels for my Sportster. A friend of my dad's laced them and had a buddy true them. I believe they are 40 spoke wheels. Before I took off I threw the rear on the bike to see what it would look like and realized that the push spokes are laced on the outside and the pull spokes are laced on the inside. I've built many bicycle wheels and I know it is standard procedure to lace with the push spokes on the inside of the hub and pull spokes on the outside of the hub so that the spokes somewhat lock and support each other when torque is applied. I then checked the stock wheels and sure enough the push spokes are on the inside and pull spokes are on the outside. I have little to no experience working on motorcycle wheels, only bicycle wheels so I'm curious as to weather or not this issue is significant enough to tear down the wheel, relace and retrue. Some input from an experienced wheel builder would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Scuba10jdl Scuba10jdl is offline
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I've built dozens on dozens of mc wheels. What the hell are push and pull spokes?

ALL SPOKES are pull spokes. That's how they operate. You cannot have spokes that are not in tension.

Typical HD 21" rims have inside and outside spokes, referencing the hub as the baseline. They use different neck lengths. This is simply geometry to make sure they can be laced up without interfering with one another.

Would really appreciate pictures to know what you're talking about.

The rear wheel on the Evo in my profile was built by me. It did get a rebuild due to one spoke wearing through the other where they crossed and snapping. That was at about 60k miles, so before that it had maybe 40k on it, and after it's up to about the same 40k at this point. The ironhead has both wheels newly built. Just look at that front 40-spoke pattern. Hard not to love that.
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Last edited by Scuba10jdl; 1 Week Ago at 16:45..
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Spoked wheels use a cross pattern (as you clearly know). If you look at a bike from the right side as seen in your photos, half the spokes are angling clockwise off the hub and half are angling counterclockwise giving you the cross configuration. The spokes angled clockwise are essentially pushing the rim around in a circle. The spokes angled counter clockwise are pulling the rim. When you get on the gas the push spokes of the drive wheel will lose tension and flex outward while the pull spokes gain more tension. If the pull spokes are the outermost spokes of the wheel and the push are inner than the pull spokes will somewhat brace and support the push spokes from flexing outward. If the push spokes are outer they just flex out with nothing to hold them. This is basic knowledge you need to have when building quality wheels.
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WOW, newbie comes on and asks for help then wants to argue about minor details....
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I apologize for being a dickhead. I'm short on sleep. You understand the push and pull concept?
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I understand what you both were saying. They all have tension, just pulling or pushing in different directions.
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As long as you use the proper torque when building them they will never come loose. They might reduce their tension a bit depending on the forces acting on them at the time, but they will never come loose unless they're undertorqued. All flex and bending should be imperceptible as once they're build the wheel is treated more like a rigid assembly. Sure, the metal will bend and stretch, but it will be on a very small scale. Basically a fancy bolted joint.

The pattern setup is determined by the hub and rim spacing. It really won't matter which orientation they loop because the other set of spokes will be the other direction. They'll all balance out with the standard pattern. Usually you can only build them one way because the geometry won't allow them to fit any other way, but not all wheels are like that.

It may simply be the case that this custom 21" rear rim can only be built with that orientation to fit the hub. Ideally you wouldn't have any spokes touching any others ever, but size restrictions make that hard to do.

Last edited by Scuba10jdl; 1 Week Ago at 16:46..
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Yes the Push/Pull is more common in the bicycle world. With motorcycles the thought is it really does not matter.
One is our spokes are stronger and you can use more of them.
Stock is 40 but you can go 60 or 80 spokes.

They even make MC wheels that all spoke are radial or straight out, no crossing.
Another point is that while the rear wheel is stressed during acceleration the front wheel is stressed during braking. MC tires are made with this in mind.

I lace them as they were when stock, I don't check the push/pull orientation.
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I never thought of the push/pull bit when I build a wheel !!!! I just build as standard and make sure all the spokes sound the same, heres one I did a few months ago.
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Both wheels on my panhead were laced and trued at Buchanan's Spoke & Rim; the 16" rear has the push spokes on the inside, and the 19" front has them on the outside. If it doesn't matter to them, I would say don't fret it.
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