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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
getting ready to start restoration of 72 tiger. Taking inventory, ordered the special tools etc. Looking at the wheels they look good, all spokes seem straight and tight no visual problems. Is there any reason to replace just because they are old? What is the rule of thumb on running existing wheels and spokes, what to look for, check for? Thanks
 

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spokes?

loose, bent, broken or really rusty ones are a problem. take a good look at each end to catch hidden wear or serious corrosion

other than that you're good to go. i've ridden on many a spoke older than I am and I'm 60 this year.
 

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I suggest you go around each wheel and hit each spoke with a wood dowel or plastic handle screw driver. They should all ring about the same pitch. Some will be a little flat and some a little sharp, and that's okay. But if you find one that goes "thud" you found a problem.

As for age, I just stripped a 1947 HD wheel that the original owner tried to straighten with a big mutha hammer. Ruined what was a very nice original chrome wheel that could have been straightened property with the right tools. I located a used HD rim, cleaned up my original spokes and nipples, replaced 2 spokes and one nipple from errant hammer blows, and laced the wheel back up, good as new.

Old is not a problem for spokes and nipples, unless there has been damage done to them.

You should also check your wheels to make sure they are running true. If true and all the spokes play a nice song, you're good to go.
regards,
Rob
 

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The main thing to check for on wheels are the bearings. The (stock)dirt/dust covers and felt seals are inadequate at best. Replace them with modern sealed type bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. The spokes all seem really good. The rims are fairly good as far as chrome. What products do you all use to clean up the chrome rims and then keep the tiny little rust dots from coming back?
 

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Question: how true is good enough? 1/8"? 1/16"?

Both for side-to-side "wobble" and for "out of round".

I'm talking about a vintage machine for regular riding, not road racing or land speed records.

Any advice from someone who knows how to lace and true a wheel properly would be appreciated. I've replaced broken spokes and tightened a few up to pitch, but not done the whole procedure. Thanks.
 

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And by the way, I use Autosol with #0000 steel wool with good results for removing the bad pitting, then polish as normal.
 

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A commercial plater that does a lot of vintage bike plating recommends Mothers Chrome polish. I asked them about the Turtlewax brand and they were okay with that one too. There are some brands out there with abrassives that will scratch the chrome. I've gone thru several bottles of the Turtlewax brand bring the chrome back on a few vintage bikes with excellent results.
Don't use anything like kero and steelwool, which normally works great, because the kero can get inside the rim and deteriorate your tubes. Not to mention centrifuge out later and make for a slippery tire.

I cannot find a Triumph spec in the manuals, but 1/32" for side runout and radial runout are a typical dimension for motorcycle wheels. If I am lacing a wheel up from scratch, I use a dial indicator and I want my wheels to run within .010 inch, if possible. Many times, especially on older rims, the manufacturing process does not permit that dimension to be achieved. But you normally just find the bad spot (normally where they are welded) and accomodate for that in your runout readings.

Don't try to pull a wheel into true by tightening spokes alone. There are a number of good descriptions on websites for truing wheels. I've read as many as I could find looking for tricks and tips. Bottom line is you have to be patient and consistent. Shortcuts will come back to bite you. Once you get a feel for it, you'll know what to do when you find "issues" with a wheel.

Personally, I'm big on marking out quadrants on the wheel with a magic marker.

Triumph has specific requirements for how a wheel is laced. That info is in the manual. The intent is for the inside spokes to take the braking loads by putting them in tension. That is an important detail if you relace a wheel.

Last point on the subject, if you are lacing up an aluminum rim, you have to be a little more cautious because you can pull a nipple right thru the rim if you over-tighten it. I actually found a 1/4" drive torque wrench that was military surplus so I cold develop a feel for how much tension I was putting on the spokes the first time I laced up an aluminum rim.
regards,
Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
great idea with the shoestring. So what exactly do put on the shoestring? Cleaner first and then mothers chrome polish?
 

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Snakeoil;

True a wheel to 10 thou? That's impressive.

I don't have a dial indicator so I'll just set up my pointer and use the eyeball method. Pretty sure I won't see anything much finer than 1/64 and I figure I'll be doing good if my limited spoke tuning skills get me anywhere near that close. I'll shoot for 1/32". Thanks.
 

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yup

not having a dial indicator does make it a bit harder.

the guys trueing new wheels at the Meriden plant had a trick that's pretty interesting. They just rested their hands on the trueing jig and used their fingers rubbing against the wheel rim to get em true. You could always use a stick vice-gripped to the jig or bench for the same effect. being able to hear it rub always helps.
 

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I've used the shoestring method with S100 polishing soap for polishing spokes.

The S100 soap doesn't leave a black residue like some chrome polishes do.

I use a damp string and rub it across the bar for applying the soap, a second, wet string in a bucket of clear water for "rinsing" the suds and keeping the polish damp and a microfiber rag for wiping them down and buffing.

Load up the damp polishing string with a little bit of the polishing soap.
Give it a turn or two around the spoke and set to pulling to and fro, up and down.
Free the polishing string, turn to your "rinse" string, squeeze it out and repeat the same process to continue to clean and polish the spoke(s).
Wipe down/dry with the microfiber.

Miniscule traces of the polishing soap will accumulate on the rag and that in turn makes a great way to wipe, clean and polish the rims while there.

It sounds slow but it actually goes pretty quickly. Grab a cushy pneumatic adjustable rolling shop stool, cold bev of your choice and load the music playing thingy over on the wall with a bunch of Mofro and enjoy the process.
 

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Snakeoil;

True a wheel to 10 thou? That's impressive.

I don't have a dial indicator so I'll just set up my pointer and use the eyeball method. Pretty sure I won't see anything much finer than 1/64 and I figure I'll be doing good if my limited spoke tuning skills get me anywhere near that close. I'll shoot for 1/32". Thanks.
With an indicator, it's pretty easy. Just takes patience and getting a feel for how much to back off and take up on the offending spokes. Like I said, many rims won't run that true because of the weld area. I just ignore that little dip in the readings or split the difference. And a twisted rim may never get close to that.

I'm sure using your hands is very accurate, especially if you do this all day for a living. Many moons ago when I was a machinist apprentice, they told us that the human touch can detect about 3 mils. That's the thickness of a piece of paper. If it is a step, I would think you could detect less. But a smooth transition like a wheel runout, I'd be happy with 1/32" accuracy by feel... Hell, I'd be damn proud of that.
regards,
Rob
 

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Just finished truing the front wheel on my 59, and I'm pretty happy with it except for an ugly bend in the bead which I think I've got as straight as I can with the tools I have.

When I started, the wheel was about 3/16" out of true. With the exception of the one bad spot on the bead, I'd say the rest of the wheel is very close to 1/32" which was my goal...

My suggestions for what it's worth:

- get a good heavy spoke wrench, no junk;
- check the wheel for roundness first, then do side runout or "wobble";
- I used a black marker to mark the high spots of the side runout on both sides, just spin the wheel and hold the marker close. Use these and other markings to keep track of where you are;
- Once you define and mark the area you want to adjust, loosen the spokes on the "high side" then tighten the spokes on the opposite side an equal amount to pull the wheel true.
- TAKE YOUR TIME! It's easy to overdo it. Once the rim starts to move it really moves. I found starting with a half a turn at a time on the nipples was about right, then down to quarter turns and less;
- spin the wheel more slowly when you get closer to true. I clamped a very fine screwdriver pointing towards the side of the rim to measure/estimate the trueness;
- work with no distractions and keep track of where you are - it takes some concentration;
- then fine tune by pitch to make sure no spokes are over tight or too loose.

BTW, my spokes play a C# (just above middle C). No kidding - I can actually check the pitch with a chromatic guitar tuner when I give the spokes a good thwack with a 1/4" wooden dowel!

Satisfying when you get it done. Well worth the time (about 2 hours). The next one will go quicker.

Cheers, Canuck
 

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Where is a good place to look for quality truing stands? Pit Posse (pitposse.com) has a few in the sub-$200 range.

Any other good suggestions or caveats?
 

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Jim,

Spoke wrench: just 7 bucks at British Cycle Supply. Solid little job with 3 graduated sizes on each end. Way better than a flimsy thing I used to have.

Forgot one thing - a couple spokes and nipples were rusted together I used a little WD40, had to hold the spoke with pliers while turning the nipple to break it loose instead of twisting the spoke off. I used WD40 very sparingly, just a tiny amount (see Snakeoil's comment about rotting the tubes with excess gunk in the rim). I'll use compressed air and clean rag to get it as clean as possible before putting my new Avon Speedmaster on!

Cheers,

Canuck 3134
 

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Wheel truing jig

Rather than go out and spend a fortune on a jig, I used the paddock stand I had lying around in the garage then just tie wrapped the wheel axle to the supports. For a pointer I used a steel box (for my torque wrench) and a magnetic foot for a dial gauge. This set up seemed to work pretty well.

Webby
 
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