The Wheel FAQ:

compiled & edited by Brad #1002
updated & edited by PDuffy 21 March 03, Kristian #562
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.

Refer also:


The very essence of a motorcycle is found in its two wheels. A lot of the character of a motorcycle is derived from the size and style of its wheels. Our F650 was conceived with wire spoke wheels and it will be some time before cast wheels like those on the newer CS model out number their older siblings. Problems with wheels themselves are fairly small in number. It is usually the bearings or the tires that bring us to these pages. However, things to do go wrong and some seek to find wheels better suited to their needs, so read on for solutions and ideas in the world of wheels.

Wheel Modifications:

Wheel Problems:

Axle & Spacer Problems

Q: My GS Front Wheel Spacer Split. What's with that?
A: Like this?

See the Front Wheel Removal FAQ.


Wheel Truing

Spoke Sizes and Part Numbers


Q. I'm trying to find out the size of our spokes (i.e. which spoke wrench will work on them). So what size are they? Seacuke #1214

A. Doesn't quite answer your Q, perhaps, but 3.5mm would SEEM to be the correct answer:

Q. I just visited my dealer and wanted to order some spare spokes for the front and rear wheels. The rear was no problem, but for the front wheel there are 2 different spokes.
a) 224/D=3.5Li
b) 223/D=3.5RE
What's up with that? Spakur #1117

A. If you look at the front wheel you will see that the spokes are shorter on the side where the disc is fitted, as the hub has a larger diameter flange on that side to give strength the disc fixings. Hence the two types of spokes. Trevor #999

Tips on Wrenching Spokes
Flash #412


Checking for Loose and Broken Spokes. 

Ask to see a spoke wrench at a motorcycle shop.

Buy it. You will be glad you did.


Installing a New Spoke


You will need to remove the wheel in order to thread the new spoke in. You MAY need to remove the tire to facilitate the job. You might be lucky and get away with just reducing the pressure to nearly nothing.

 See also


Wheel & Spoke Adjusting Tips (Faast)

Use the following procedure as an example.


It is very important to only turn your nipples a half of a revolution or two flats at a time on a newly laced wheel. If you find yourself having to turn more than a half of a turn go to the next spoke in the pattern, and gradually bring the nipples up to torque by working the pattern. Once you have all your spokes close to the torque range, this will no longer be necessary. If you turn the nipple more than 180 degrees to bring it up to torque, you will pull the offset of the wheel off to one side or the other.


1.        Start at the spoke next to the rim lock. Call it spoke #1

2.        Back off spoke #1 until it turns freely - then tighten until spoke torque wrench clicks. Go to spoke #4 - repeat step #2. It will come from the other side of the wheel.

3.        Go to spoke #7 - repeat step #2.

4.        Go to spoke #10 - repeat step #2.

5.        Continue around the wheel torque every third spoke, until coming back to spoke #1 (on a 36-spoke wheel). Move to spoke #2 and repeat step #2.

6.        Go to spoke #5, then #8, then #11, continuing this pattern all the way back to spoke #2.

7.        Move to #3 and use the same procedure on spokes #6, #9, #12 and so on around the wheel.

8.        It will take 3 revolutions of the wheel to complete the torquing process. You will torque 12 spokes per revolution.

9.        To avoid having the nipples seizing on the spoke it is a good idea to pull the spoke nipples off one at a time and fill them with waterproof grease. While you have the grease out, use it to fill in the void behind the wheel seals to protect the wheel bearings.

Wheel Rim Feedback

Spoke Feedback


Why Spoke Rims?


Why is it that spoke rims are the rims of choice for off-road/dual purpose use?


See and


Broken Spokes