How to True a Motorcycle Wheel

Mounting a new rim is one of those feared jobs that should be demystified, as it’s really not as hard as people think to lace and true a dirt bike wheel.

All it takes is a bit of patience and you should have no trouble replacing a rim or spoke wheel on any type of motorcycle. Follow the steps below and watch the video above to true a motorcycle wheel in a matter of minutes. How many minutes it takes really depends on how out of whack the wheel it is to begin with, but here are the tools and steps to get the job done. 

Tools Needed – Motorcycle Wheel Truing

How to True a Motorcycle Wheel

Step 1. Set the wheel in a truing stand and tighten it down until the wheel is held securely but isn’t over-tightened.

How to true a motorcycle wheel

Step 2. Spin the wheel to get an idea of how far out of true it is by observing the side-to-side deflection of the rim and any up and down deflection (also known as hop).

How to true a dirt bike wheel

Step 3. Use the valve stem hole in the rim as a reference point. 

Step 4. Using a spoke wrench, tighten down each spoke until it’s seated against the rim, just enough so there’s no movement between the spokes and the rim. If you come across a spoke that feels too tight as you work around the rim, back it off and re-seat it.

How to true a wheel tightening spokes

Step 5. Spin the wheel in the truing stand to determine where the hop is at its most extreme. Tighten the spoke at the mid-point of the hop and the four spokes to either side of it by just 1/8th of a turn each. This pulls the rim inward toward the hub and flattens the hop deflection. If the spokes feel too tight as you’re adjusting, loosen them directly opposite (on the other side of the wheel) by 1/8th of a turn.

How to true a motorcycle wheel hop

Step 6. Spin the wheel again to see if it still has any hop. If it does, repeat Step 5 until you’ve removed any hop from the rim.

Step 7. Spin the wheel in the truing stand to determine how much side-to-side deflection there is in the rim. Mark the points on the rim where the deflection is at its peak.

How to true a motorcycle wheel deflection

Step 8. If the sideways deflection is to the right, tighten the spokes on the left side of the rim and hub by 1/8th of a turn. This pulls the rim to the left and flattens out the deflection. If the sideways deflection is to the left, tighten the spokes on the right side. However, if a spoke feels too loose as you’re tightening it, adjust it so it’s as tight as the others.

Step 9. Spin the wheel again to see if it still has sideways deflection. If it does, repeat Step 8 until you have removed any left or right deflection from the rim.

Step 10. Using a spoke torque wrench, torque each of the spokes to the setting stated in your motorcycle’s service manual, in the following pattern:

  • First pass: Starting at the reference point you established in Step 3, tighten the first spoke, skip two spokes, tighten the next spoke, skip two spokes and so on until you’re back at the reference point.
  • Second pass: Starting at the reference point, tighten the second spoke, skip two spokes, tighten the next spoke, skip two spokes and so on until you’re back at the reference point.
  • Third pass: Starting at the reference point tighten the third spoke, skip two spokes, tighten the next spoke, skip two spokes and so on until you are back at the reference point.

How to true a dirt bike wheel spokes

The wheel should now be true, with no sideways deflections or hop. The same dirt bike wheel we trued for this video/walkthrough was also laced in a previous video. 

 Watch the video above to learn how to lace a motorcycle wheel.

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