The importance of taking proper care of your sporting equipment can’t be stressed enough. If you want to keep your dirt bike in pristine condition, you should make sure each & every part are perfectly working.
One of them is tightening the spokes on your bike. Spokes are the metal pieces that attach the front wheel to the frame and they can sometimes become loose. This is because dirt bikes tend to go over bumps and the spokes can loosen.
Sadly, a lot of people don’t know how to tighten spokes properly, so they often end up doing it the wrong way. If you are one of them, here’s what you need to know about tightening dirt bike spokes.
How can you identify your wheel spokes need to be tight?
It costs good bucks to buy new wheels, but you can save money if you maintain the old ones well. However, even after maintenance, there might be indications that the wheel spokes need tightening.
So let’s explore those indicators…
1. Rattling noise from the wheels
During the ride, if you notice any rattling sound coming from your wheel then it means something wrong with your wheel. This sound can indicate that the wheel spoke’s nipples became loose and the wheel is much more vulnerable at this stage. Because loose spokes provide literally no support to the wheel structure
2. Rubbing sound while crossing potholes
It is sometimes possible for your wheel to make a rubbing sound as you ride through a pothole. This generates because the wheel is getting in contact with the brake without even braking pressure.
This condition means that due to external pressure, force, or hit, some of the spokes of your wheel have more tension than the other spokes. Which ultimately deforms the original shape of the rim to a renunciation level. You have to simply tighten the opposite side’s loose spokes and it will become fine.
3. Squeezing the spokes with fingers
Generally spokes tightness or tension level is not so loose that anyone can move the spokes or wobble the spokes just using their hand. If you can move the spokes using the finger squeeze that means the spokes became floppy. And as a dirt bike rider, you should immediately tighten the spokes to save yourself and the wheel.
How to tighten dirt bike spokes in an efficient manner?
The whole process of tightening the spokes of your motocross bike is quite simple. One good thing about is that it won’t consume much of your time.
I am quite sure you gonna love the whole thing about tightening the spokes once you understand what to do. Let’s begin…
- Spoke wrench
The spoke wrench should come with different torque to continue the fixing of spokes. These are main things you need for the job.
Spokes tightening process: Step by Step
Here I am going to tell you how to tighten the spokes for general maintenance. Without wasting any more time, let’s explore the tightening process of dirt bike spokes…
Step 1: Choose a suitable place on the rim to start work
To keep your focus on the point, you should choose the right place on your rim. The best place to pick is the first spoke right next to the valve system. From this area, you will start the spoke tightening process. Remember, you shouldn’t tighten it too much, as it can pull your dirt bike wheel out of alignment.
Step 2: Tightening range limit of the spoke nipples
According to experts, the best range of tightening spokes should not be more than a quarter up to half turn in one single time. For the best outcome, you need to have a spoke wrench that can perfectly snug the nipple of the spoke. Because a loose wrench will damage the nipples of wheel spokes.
Step 3: Follow the ‘’ tight one ad skip two ‘’ pattern
Now it’s time to follow a specific pattern that you will stick to throughout the whole wheel-spoke tightening process. The patterns are simple. You need to tight one spoke then skip two spokes and tighten the fourth one. This is how you would be going around the wheel.
Step 4: Continue the same pattern after one round
After finishing one cycle on the next lap, you have to start from the second number of spokes right next to the valve system. And simply carry on the same pattern for spoke tightening. This tightening pattern will keep the wheel true, balanced, and straight in its original position.
Step 5: Ensure all spokes are tight & maintain recommended torque setting
If any spoke appears loose, then also maintain the half turn tightening and continue to complete the whole circle. Now again start from the first spoke next to the valve stem and follow the same pattern till there’s no spoke remaining which missed the half turn from the spoke wrench.
Please follow the spoke torque settings during the tightening process and make sure every spoke is tight enough. It’s time to go for the next wheel and finish the process same as this one.
Step 6: Give a final check before the ride
For your security and full assurance, you can check the trueing of the wheel by spinning it for a few moments. Adding to that, you can also have a look if your rim has got any cracks or dents on it. If you find nothing you are good to go for the next riding session.
Why should you tighten and check your dirt bike’s spokes regularly?
The front and the back wheel have a system of tensioning rods that are equally calibrated to maintain the wheel straight, true as well as sturdy.
As time passes and you keep riding quite hard, these rods will become loose. Moreover, the jolt of the rim also makes the spokes get loose faster.
Because a motocross wheel is round, any mismatches or dissymmetry can influence the wheel’s overall balance, coordination, and strength. Like a building with strong concrete pillars can be vulnerable if one of them fails, so can the dirt bike wheel if the spokes come loose.
A weak spot will only deteriorate with time, resulting in even more loosening spokes, curved, buckled, as well as unstable rims. Moreover, after prolonged carelessness, there is a high likelihood that the wheel will collapse completely.
As a result, you might end up having a damaged rim, broken spokes, and a vulnerable less functional hub. You must make sure to tighten the wheel spoke off to reduce any chance of accidents at high speed or high jumping with your motocross bike.
How often should your motocross bike spokes be checked and tensioned?
Monitoring your enduro bike’s spokes after each riding session is preferable – if you are preparing or polishing your skill in motocross track.
Even if your dirt bike is new or you installed new wheels, it would be best if you check on the spokes after parking your dirt bike. After all, it’s always best to ensure that your bike is out of any danger zone regarding the spokes.
Appropriate spoke torque setting for successful tightening
When choosing a spoke wrench or a spoke wrench tip, make sure you’re using a tip that fits the spoke tight. If you get a loose spoke wrench and it’s easy to strip your spoke nipple just kind of makes some mess of things.
Moreover, when it comes to torque settings most motocross motorcycles should be within the range of 40-50 inch-pounds. However, for the optimum result, you should check your dirt bike’s manual book for the specific torque settings.
Using a center stand, you can place the bike straight and off the ground. Which will help you spin the wheels without any hassle and also make the spokes tightening process much easier for you.
What To do with older bike spokes?
If you have an older bike, you may have some spokes that are seized up. If that’s the case, you can use a high-quality penetrating oil. Just give it a little squirt on the nipple and spoke and let it sit for a day or two.
Once the oils had time to soak into the threads, it should make turning the nipple a lot easier. It is important to tighten spokes carefully so that the wheel doesn’t go out of alignment.
You have seen I talked about not only the full process of spoke tightening but also stretched and shed light on related stuff which will help you to work on both pre and post-spoke tightening appropriately.
If you can keep your spokes under proper check along with all other general maintenance, you will be able to ride more comfortably and less accident-prone.
Now you know the best way to tighten spokes on a dirt bike from all angles. Have a nice ride!