How to Lace a Dirt Bike Wheel

Riders should never fear the task of changing a rim on their dirt bike, which may include having to lace and true a wheel. 

If you’re one of the ones that’s nervous about doing it yourself, you’ve come to the right place! Lacing a wheel seems like an arduous task, but all it really takes is a little patience, working slowly and methodically to get it right.  Watch the video above and follow the steps to learn how to lace up a rear wheel or spoke wheel on any type of motorcycle. 

Tools and Parts Needed – Lacing a Motorcycle Wheel

How to lace a motorcycle wheel

Before breaking down the wheel, make note of the orientation and configuration of the existing spokes. This allows you to follow that same pattern when lacing the wheel with new spokes. If you’re lacing a rear wheel, it’s necessary to remove the sprocket from the wheel hub to give you room to install the new spokes.

How to Lace a Motorcycle Wheel

Step 1. Set the rim and hub on a flat surface and raise the rim so it’s level with the hub. 

How to lace a dirt bike wheel

NOTE: The more accurate you are in aligning the rim and the hub, the less adjustment you’ll need to do later when you’re truing the wheel.

Step 2. Remove the wheel rim and feed the new spokes into the hub, alternating the direction they’re fed into the hub from inside to outside as you work around the hub. 

How to lace spokes onto a wheel

NOTE: The spokes with the shorter curved head are fed into the hub from the outside, and the spokes with the longer curved head are fed into the hub from the inside.

Step 3. Flip the hub over and repeat Step 2 on the other side of the hub.

Step 4. Flip the hub back over so it’s laying on the same side it was when you aligned the rim to it.

Step 5. Position the spokes so they’re roughly in the positions they’ll be once they’re laced into the rim, then bring the rim back and set it around the spokes.

Step 6. Slide each spoke through the corresponding hole in the rim and install a spoke nipple onto the end to prevent it from coming out. Only give each spoke nipple a couple of turns because the wheel assembly still needs plenty of adjustment.

Lacing spokes on a motorcycle wheel

PRO TIP: If you ride in harsh environments (mud, sand, etc.), put a dab of anti-seize lubricant on the threaded end of each spoke so they’ll be easier to adjust or remove at a later date.

Step 7. Flip the wheel over and repeat Step 6 with the spokes on the other side of the hub.

Step 8. Flip the wheel back over again so it’s laying on the same side it was when you originally aligned the wheel rim and the hub.

Step 9. Using a spoke nipple wrench, tighten the spokes to the point they’re within a couple of screw threads of bottoming out against the wheel rim.

Dirt bike wheel rim spoke lacing

The spokes should now be evenly tightened and the hub set within the center of the wheel rim. Next, you’ll need to true the wheel. 

 Watch the video below to see how to true a motorcycle wheel.


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