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In that regard:
1. If it aint broke, dont fix it.
2. If it is, let a dealer do the job properly


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I ping mine with a wrench and tweak any loose ones till it sounds the same as the others, kind of like tuning a guitar.

I know someone is going to blast me but it's been done this way for years by me and thousands of others, but hey I'm a redneck what do I know.
 

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BOTM Winner, December 2013
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well IMHO....if you have to ask then you should leave it to somone who has done it...OR find someone to show you....as for me i learned how easy it is to frack up that job many many years ago on bicycles
 

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How does one learn if you "just take it to someone"? I'd keep asking here and on other forums. Someone has to know how to do it and do it right. I hate being told that I'm not smart enough to do something and I need to take it to another "smarter", trained or educated person. What, was he/she born with a special "spoke" of genius? If all else fails I'd surf the net. Lot's of smart & knowing people out there who are willing to help with most anything. Good luck.
 

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How does one learn if you "just take it to someone"? I'd keep asking here and on other forums. Someone has to know how to do it and do it right. I hate being told that I'm not smart enough to do something and I need to take it to another "smarter", trained or educated person. What, was he/she born with a special "spoke" of genius? If all else fails I'd surf the net. Lot's of smart & knowing people out there who are willing to help with most anything. Good luck.
I totally agree. The one thing I have learned in my 58 years is that you can't count on someone else to do something right even if they're supposed to be a pro and especially if they're working on your junk and not their own. Too many trust the judgement of others above their own which I'll never understand.

Bamadrive has offered up the old school method which works as well now as it has in the past although I would suggest for someone who hasn't done it, they watch the vids offered on youtube on the subject. I would also suggest the use of a spoke torque wrench that wasn't available in the old days.

One thing for sure, you never learn if you don't try.
 

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So, consensus is don't even check it? :confused:
That would be my advice. I don't often check and adjust my piston ring end gap either. But, both of those items ought to be checked about as often. I just don't bother doing it.
 

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From the 900 Manual:

OK, here are two shots from the 900 manual describing the procedure. It always seemed to be more of an "art" than just a mechanical adjustment. I've re-spoked and re-rimmed dirt bike race wheels to a satisfactory degree. I've just never had a need or desire to check and adjust them on any street bike I've ever owned.
The manual has you checking them every four thousand miles or so;
if you want to do it that often, it's up to you.
I'm sure the dealer would like you to bring it in that often for your "spoke checks"!



 

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That would be my advice. I don't often check and adjust my piston ring end gap either. But, both of those items ought to be checked about as often. I just don't bother doing it.
Although I know what you are saying, you actually check ring end gap every time you check your oil since oil consumption is one of the best signs of cylinder or ring wear. :)

On the original subject though, I feel the average rider could possibly completely use up a good bike under normal circumstances and never have a problem with spoke tension. The more aggressive rider will loosen those things regularly. Coming from a racing background in the 70s and 80s it was a necessity to keep tabs since there weren't many solid wheels around yet. After all, it's not rocket surgery or brain science. It's a simple task to both learn and carry out. I've never had a wheel unspool under load, but I've seen it happen twice and it ain't pretty.
 

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Not sure if checking the spoke tightness would have prevented this or not, but just developed this problem on my 05 800 classic with 95,000 miles. Notice the holes where the spokes go through the hub. The fact that most of these miles were at or near the weight rating of the bike, my girl and I combined are in the 425-450lb range. Found wheel on ebay for $170.
 

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Was telling a friend about this thread since he too has spokes on his new HD. He told me that he went to sturgis this year and his bike spent 3 days in the HD trailor there since both his front and rear spokes came loose and the bike was dangerously unmanageable. Guess I'll have to start checking mine.
 

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Don't do that.
Plus 1 .... i dont do my own surgery either, even though i have my own knives ...


spoke wrenches .. torque wrench ... checking is one thing ... tension and a straight unbuckled rim is another.
 

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Was telling a friend about this thread since he too has spokes on his new HD. He told me that he went to sturgis this year and his bike spent 3 days in the HD trailor there since both his front and rear spokes came loose and the bike was dangerously unmanageable. Guess I'll have to start checking mine.
OK, before this thread, I can't remember a single mention of loose spokes. I just looked at my '05 and '06 Vulcans, and tapped a few spokes on each wheel with a wooden drumstick. They all made the exact same pitch sound, and it's for sure they have never been checked or tightened. Nothing I've ridden since the sixties, except for a couple of dirt bikes, have ever had a "spoke check".
Maybe the Harley guy had re-laced his own wheels or something, but with both the front AND rear loose, there's something else going on there that was probably self-inflicted.
I just don't think wheel spokes need much attention, but if they do, I would seek out someone who builds wheels routinely.
Just .02 cents worth.
 

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I ran a MG Midget for years that had spoked wheels (4 plus the spare). I had to tighten the spokes and true the wheels every year due to the rough roads and pot holes in and around Chicagoland. It's just not rocket science. You have to be dedicated and double check your work, but it isn't even all that hard.
 

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I ran a MG Midget for years that had spoked wheels (4 plus the spare). I had to tighten the spokes and true the wheels every year due to the rough roads and pot holes in and around Chicagoland. It's just not rocket science. You have to be dedicated and double check your work, but it isn't even all that hard.
But you couldn't true your rim by adjusting the spokes, only adjust the radial and lateral runout. On a bike rim, you can actually reshape the rim by carefully manipulating the spoke tensions and patterns.
 

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Lots of tire shops (dealers or what have you) check and adjust spokes when they do the tires, others will do it if you ask for cheap or nothing. That's when I check mine! :p Whenever I get tires put on, I have them tighten the spokes.

Do a google search, there are a few tutorials out there on doing it. I would caution you though (and most of the tutorials will as well) if you have more than a couple loose then you really increase the risk of getting the rim out of true when you tighten them. I never discourage people from trying things on their own but make sure you are confident going in if you decide to tackle this, and if you don't think it's right, don't wing it, consult a professional. Things can get messy if you get the wheel out of true.

Good luck either way. But, if you want my two cents, it's worth the few bucks (local shop charges a buck a spoke, another shop does it for free when you have them do the tire) to just have the tire shop do it when you get tires put on. Maybe this is the wrong way of looking at it but, if all of these guys with decade old bikes are riding around and have never HEARD of adjusting spokes, then me doing it every 10,000 miles or so when I change a tire isn't the end of the world right? Although I've heard people talk about doing it each time you change the oil.

I guess there's a reason 99% of touring bikes come with solid rims. Spokes are pretty but they are a pain! (Won't see me giving them up though!)
 
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