Rear Spokes On Heritage

Discussion in 'Wheels' started by SoonerSoftail, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. SoonerSoftail

    SoonerSoftail Active Member

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    When I parked at work yesterday I saw something shiny on the ground. It looked a spoke end. It was. From my rear wheel. I removed the broken spoke and checked the rest. I found about 15 that were loose to way loose. Kinda scary. Tightened everything up and went to my favorite indy shop for advise. The rim has some rust from before I bought it so I figured this is a good time to replace it. Rim and new spokes + labor was going to be $200. They had a brand new wheel they had built for not much more so it's being put on.

    Now, I'm anal about lifting the bike up and cleaning/ checking everything regularly. A couple hundred miles ago the rear wheel spokes sang like a choir when you hit them with a screwdriver. Now a bunch were loose. Really loose. Something to check more often in the future.
     
  2. Duane53

    Duane53 Active Member

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    Boy it sounds like you were lucky. I would hate to see what could have happened.
     
  3. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Checking the spokes should be a part of the routine maintenance done on a regular basis. I usually checked mine when ever I cleaned the bike, it doesn't take very long and it's worth the time.


    Now don't ask how often I cleaned the bike here :D
     
  4. HDDon

    HDDon Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

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    I don't know how often Glider cleaned his bike, but I will say my Pledge stock when thru the roof.:bigsmiley12::bigsmiley12:
     
  5. doctordoug

    doctordoug Account Removed

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    Spokes loosen from not being tight enough. If the tension is too low then when you compress the spoke to more than the tension in the spoke the spoke unweights and will loosen slightly. As soon as the tension is reduced the loosening will accellerate. I used to build wheels for the U S Olympic team and we always used a spoke tensionometer to set the proper tension. Harley doesn't say that the tension should be 55 inch pounds and that all you need to do is hit your spokes with a screwdriver and listen for a nice ring. I use a Faast spoke wrench for motorcycles and it works great.
    When you build an engine do we just tighten those cylinder heads to what we think is correct? Of course not! You use a torque wrench to apply the proper torque to elongate the fastener so it will not loosen. If you don't do this the same thing will happen as with your spokes. The bolt will loosen because the stress on it allowed the tension to decrease to a level that allowed the bolt to loosen.
    The wheels are VERY important and demand no less attention!
     
  6. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    I usually gave it a "Pledge" after riding so it was always in top shape.:D
     
  7. Dr.Evil

    Dr.Evil Junior Member

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    Check your hub, I have seen the holes elongated causing excessive breakage.
     
  8. SoonerSoftail

    SoonerSoftail Active Member

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    Done. That's another reason why I bought a new wheel. Holes aren't too bad but I want to be 110% sure of my wheels & tires.
     
  9. nvsteve

    nvsteve Member

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    Excellent advice Sooner. I learned to "tune" spokes from my dirt bike days.
    Pretty easy unless they get way out, then you need a pro.
    When I had a softail with spokes I checked them at every oil change.