Wire wheels are popular among retro motorcycle riders, but they must be properly maintained for optimal performance. Once you understand how the tire parts are assembled, maintenance becomes less challenging. Regular cleaning, inspection, and repair are the best ways to keep your wire wheels in pristine shape. Let’s take a closer look at ways to best care for the wire wheels on your motorcycle.
Cleaning Wire Wheels
Wire spokes give a motorcycle a distinctive appeal, but keeping them clean can be a challenge. You won’t need to purchase special products to clean your wire spokes; tire cleaner or a gentle soap will do the trick.
Start by applying the cleaner to the spoke and use a soft brush to scrub dirt from the crevices. After you’ve cleaned the wire spoke to your liking, rinse with warm water to remove any extra dirt or debris. After your wheel is properly rinsed, dry the spokes off with a towel and apply polish if desired. Keeping your wire wheels clean may require a little elbow grease on your part, but in return, you’ll have a beautiful, untarnished set of wheels.
Inspecting Wire Wheels
Inspecting your wire wheels regularly is important for keeping your motorcycle running smoothly. To inspect your wheels properly, be sure to check the spokes, rims, bearings, and seals for any noticeable damage. If you’re having any problems locating specific parts, you can always refer to the owner’s manual.
Start by looking for bent, broken, or missing spokes. Repairing spokes is typically an easy process that you can do on your own. Damage to the rim is uncommon, but over time, you may discover minor cracks or dings. For rim repair, formal inspection may be necessary if you’re less experienced in tire mechanics. To check the bearings, flex the tire and listen for a click sound between the hub and axle. If you hear any free play, the bearings will need repair.
Replacing Wire Spokes
If you accidentally hit a curb or have a fender bender, you might damage the spokes on your bike. The repair process may require some patience to disassemble all the parts, but you’ll save money by replacing the spokes on your own. Before replacing the spokes, make sure you have spokes of the right length and diameter.
First, place the motorcycle on its kickstand, then use a spoke wrench to loosen the nipple attached to the spoke so that you can remove the spoke. To measure the old spokes, you can use a micrometer or check the owner’s manual for exact measurements. Place the new spoke between the hub and rim, then tighten the nipple to hold the spoke in place. If you discover that the rim or hub is damaged, the replacement process will be a bit more challenging and costly.
Unless you have some experience in motorcycle wheel repair and maintenance, taking your bike to a tire technician might be the best option. In either case, caring for your wire wheels on a routine basis is the way to go.