Spoke Wheel Maintenance

Serious adventure riders check wheel spoke tightness before every ride. Keeping the wheels true and maintaining proper spoke tension is vital to safe operation. The spokes on both wheels must be evenly tightened. Unevenly tightened or loose spokes will cause the rim to warp, the nipples and spokes to fatigue faster, and, worst of all, the spokes to break.

If you just bought a new motorcycle check the spoke tension before your maiden voyage. After break in, check the spoke tension again. It takes several rides before the spokes begin to seat in and remain tight. Be particularly thorough if riding an off-road style motorcycle, or when you ride often on rough terrain.

With the motorcycle sitting planted and level on the center stand, locate the valve stem on the front wheel. It's not necessary to remove the wheels to tighten the spokes. While holding a screwdriver in your hand, gently tap on each spoke as you spin the wheel with you opposite hand. Take note of the sound that the spoke makes. A tight spoke will emit a clear ringing tone, whereas a loose spoke will sound flat. Don this until you've checked every spoke (you'll know that you've gone all the way around the wheel once you've reached the valve stem). Then. Inspect every spoke to make sure each one is straight, not bent or broken. Replace any damaged spokes before riding.
If you discover that a single spoke is loose, check tightness on every spoke. The proper torque specification for spoke tightness can be found in the service manual (the recommended torque setting vary from 3nM to 6nM, depending on the motorcycle). Check the spoke tension using a torque spoke wrench. Use the valve stem as a starting point.

With the front wheel's spokes properly tightened to the desired torque setting follow the same procedure with the rear wheel. Check spoke tightness with a screwdriver, and tighten every spoke with a torque spoke wrench. Again, replace any bent or broken spokes. Also, inspect the rim and wheel hub for any dents or cracks. Check rim runout...
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