How To Spoke Motorcycle Wheels 101

Posted on 6th May 2009 by Electra Glide In Blue in Harley-Davidson, Motorcycle Parts, Motorcycle Wheels - Tags: , , ,

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Front and rear motorcycle wheels are spoked identically. If you are respoking a wheel, It may help to take pictures before you dismantle your wheel.
In this example I am using a Harley hub and an aftermarket 21in rim. Spoke holes in hub flanges are in two rows around the flange. On a 40 spoke hub, there are ten inner row holes and ten outer row holes in each flange.
All spokes must be inserted from the inside of the flange.


1. Place the hub with the brake end of the hub facing up.
2. Insert the spokes in the ten inner holes of the brake side flange.
3. Swing the loose end of the spokes counterclockwise as far as the hub will allow without turning the hub.
Place the rim over the hub and spokes.


Note: If you have a hub with a grease fitting, position rim with the valve hole 90 to 180 degrees from the grease fitting.
If you are using a 16in rim that has a side valve hole, place it opposite of the brake side of the hub, if the rim has a center valve hole don’t worry a bout it unless you have a grease fitting hub.
4. Insert the spokes in the upper row of rim holes that angle in the same direction as the spokes.
5. Just start the nipples on the spokes as you insert them in the rim.
6. After all ten are attached, start inserting the spokes in the outer holes of the flange and swing them clockwise.
7. Select any outer spoke, make sure it crosses over four inner spokes and insert it in the nearest upper rim hole and start a nipple.


8. Follow this same application with the remaining nine spokes, starting a nipple as you go.


9. Turn the hub and rim over and repeat, only this time the inner spokes will flow clockwise and the outer spokes flow counterclockwise.
When you have spoked up your wheel, the inner spokes on both sides of the hub are flowing in the same direction and the outer spokes are flowing in the same direction, opposite the inner spokes.
Turn each nipple on just far enough to cover the spoke threads.

Now wasn’t that easy!


You are now ready to true the hub to the rim.
If you don’t have a truing stand you will have to take it to someone who can center the hub and true the wheel.
I will cover centering the hub and truing the wheel in my next post, stay tuned and ride safe.

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  1. [...] How To Spoke Motorcycle Wheels 101 [...]

    Pingback by How to true spoke motorcycle wheels | Electra Glide In Blue — May 14, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

  2. You make it look easy. It should be easy, but I mess it up every time!!

    Comment by Teknikka — May 25, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

  3. [...] I like the look of the new Wide-Glide with the black spoke wheels. [...]

    Pingback by New Harley 2010 Motorcycles Video | Electra Glide In Blue — September 24, 2009 @ 11:08 am

  4. after reading both your articles, i am ready to relace my 18 inch excel wheels. my only question is that my inner and outer spokes flow in oppisite directions. my friend has 18 inch akront wheels and the spokes flow in the same direction as per your article. any input you could give me woud be helpful . thanks

    Comment by alex paris — February 26, 2010 @ 9:14 am

  5. Alex,
    Better take a look one more time, in my article the inner spokes go counter-clockwise and the outer spokes go clockwise over the top of the inner spokes flowing in the opposite direction. Just take your time and start at the valve hole, slowly working your way around the wheel. do the inner spokes first then the outer spokes.

    Comment by Electra Glide In Blue — February 26, 2010 @ 11:32 am

  6. thanks for your rapid reply, i will look at my wheels again.

    Comment by alex paris — February 26, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

  7. i looked at my 18 inch excell wheel again and the disc brake side is laced as per your article, but my opposite side is laced in reverse to your article. so my two inner rows flow opposite each other as do my two outter. since every other 18 inch wheel i’ve looked at is laced as you described, my question is are my wheels laced incorrectly or is this way correct for the excell alumium rim.-thanks again,alex

    Comment by alex paris — February 27, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

  8. Alex,
    Something doesn’t sound right, could you send me a couple of pic’s?
    using this address;

    Comment by Electra Glide In Blue — February 27, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

  9. i will do that, thanks.

    Comment by alex paris — March 1, 2010 @ 7:27 am

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