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It was a bit cold in the garage over the holidays, and this along with my winter laziness of avoiding the constant shuffling of vehicles to make space in the garage, lead me to lace, true, and balance my wheels in my living room. Yes, you heard me right. This would not be the first (or the last) time I have done something like this. I have also been known to store car parts in my kitchen cabinets, but I digress. In  my defense, I used a good size chunk of granite surface plate that leveled out quite nicely, and was very stable - even on top of my carpet.

I started by cleaning up the hub bores with solvent just to ensure there wasn't any media from blasting leftover - don't want that stuff in my new bearings. I also took the time to cover everything I could in blue painters tape to help prevent the inevitable scratches.

Lacing is a lot easier than it seems. Long story short, there are two different types of spokes: "inner" and "outer" (leading and trailing) which you can identify by comparing the amount of bend in the hook portion of the spoke. If you bought new spokes, like I did, this will be much easier as the different spokes will likely be bagged separately. If you put them in the wrong side of the hub, it will be fairly obvious, as they wont line up to the holes in the rim very well. I started with front hub, and the spokes that slide through the hub from outside-to-inside (see 2nd picture below). I loaded all these spokes on one side of the hub, and then passed them trough the rim. Skip 3 holes, then the next spoke goes in the fourth... Repeat. Its relatively intuitive as far as which spoke should go into which rim hole. If you get confused, refer to the pictures of your wheels that you hopefully took before dismantling them. Flip the wheel over and repeat, again with the spokes that pass through the hub from outside-to-inside. Now its half done, and time for the spokes that pass through the hub from inside-to-outside. Then repeat the whole process yet again for the rear wheel. I installed the nipples loosely after applying a drop of oil (supplied with the new rims/spokes) to prevent them from galling.

Before setting up the truing stand, I opted to lightly tighten the spoke nipples using a criss-cross pattern and a special bit I modified. I used a gunsmithing torque screwdriver at a low 10 in-lb setting to directly torque the nipples sans spoke wrench. This step is not required, but I feel that this got me roughly in the right  neighborhood as far as truing, which should create a good starting point for the rest of the process.

This is the point where I realized it might have been better to have installed the bearings at the hub level, rather than wait until the wheels were laced up. Oops. At any rate, to make life easier I threw the bearings in my freezer for a bit. Then I used some bearing drivers on my hydraulic press to press them into the hubs. The hydraulic press isn't a requirement - the bearings can be driven in the old fashion way (BFH).  My new bearings are OEM Honda Japan units and came pre-greased. For reference I used 2X 96140-63020-10 on the front and 1X 96140-63040-10 and 1X 96140-63050-10 for the rears. The new front bearings were double shielded (the originals were only single shielded), and  the new rear bearings were single shielded just like the originals. These bearings are relatively inexpensive, and therefore worthwhile simply to replace vs. try to re-use old units. With the bearings pressed in, I reinstalled the bearing retainers (with a smidge of anti-seize) and tightened with my OTC 6613 pin spanner. Then I used a drift punch, to drift material from the hub into the notches on the bearing retainers to  lock them in place.

Helpful hint: I have had very good luck sourcing many OEM Honda parts through Power Sports Plus. The trick is to know the Honda part number, which can be found in the OEM parts list. Another helpful hint: The exploded views in the OEM parts list (sometimes also depicted in the OEM service manual) come in very handy, especially when you forget which way certain parts should be oriented at assembly.

Note that if you opt to use the Harbor Freight balancing stand, the supplied axle is probably BENT. I checked every box at my local store, and they all had this problem. At best they are 0.060" out. Otherwise this is still a decent stand, and all that is needed is a new axle. Precision shafting can be sourced on McMaster. In my case, I simply purchased some rod stock from Ace, which measured within 0.003" (TIR) on my V-blocks. I shortened the rod stock to the appropriate length with my chop-saw, and used this new axle for truing front and rear wheels. The supplied "cones" are a bit of a loose fit around the axle, but this isn't as big of a deal as it seems: For truing we really desire to spin the wheel about the bearings in the hub, rather than the bearings on the balancing stand (this essentially removes the error inherent in the stand/axle/cones). Balancing is slightly less sensitive, therefore spinning about the stand's bearings isn't as huge of a deal - though rotating about the bearings in the hub is best, so long as they spin very freely (which may not be the case on the rear wheel as I discuss later).

To true the front wheel, I setup the stand with my new rod-stock axle and the supplied cones. The triangular end pieces on the stand put enough friction on the rod-stock axle to prevent it from turning, instead allowing the wheel to spin about the bearings in the hub (which is what we want to help remove error!). The cones are set-screwed in place so that the axial (side-to-side) position of the wheel does not shift. I setup two indicators, one to measure radial (vertical) run-out, and one to measure axial (side-to-side) run-out simultaneously. I opted to indicate from the "inside" surfaces of the rim to prevent from scratching the final finish of the rims that would be seen.

From here it was just a process of slowly rotating the wheel and loosening/tightening to reduce the run-out. This is a slow process where I made LOTS of small adjustments: A few revolutions of adjusting radial run-out, and then a few revolutions of adjusting axial run-out, then repeat. Using my trusty spoke wrench, I would slightly loosen or slightly tighten as required to improve the run-out . You have to use your judgment to figure out which spokes need to be loosened or tightened to improve the run-out; its a bit of an art. Be sure not to go too crazy - if your run-out values continue to get worse, stop and start over before you twist your rim out of shape. Work your way to the best run-out value you can achieve (mine are listed below). Final torque values on the spoke nipples are technically 22.8-26.4 in-lb front and 18.0-22.8 in-lb rear. While special torque wrenches are made for this, I am not completely convinced they are necessary and opted to go by feel using my spoke wrench. You can also go by the sound the spokes make when tapped with the spoke wrench (if you trust your ears). Final run-out values for my front wheel was: 0.007" radial & 0.008" axial. The spec is 0.020" with a max limit of 0.080" for both radial and axial.

To true the rear wheel, I found that I needed to clamp the rod-stock axle to the stand to prevent it from spinning (again, we want to rotate via the bearings in the hub to help eliminate error). Essentially, I followed the same steps as discussed above for the front wheel to true the rear wheel. Final run-out values for my rear wheel was: 0.007" radial and axial. The spec is 0.020" with a max limit of 0.080" for both radial and axial.

Once trued, I started to re-install some of the components. The front wheel got the 22x36x8mm dust seal (#91252-300-003) pressed into the bearing retainer. The rear wheel got the dampers re-installed, along with the final drive flange and its associated o-ring. The original o-ring is a 2.6x79mm (#91261-323-000) which I had a hard time finding. In the end, I used a 2.62x77.5 from The O-ring Store which seems to work fine. The final drive flange also received some new studs (found them at Ace) as the originals were a bit chewed up from some chain damage. 

The next task was mounting the tires. The first step was to trim down any spokes protruding through the nipples. I did this with my Dremel. Then I used rim tape over the center of the rim (covering the nipples). I'm sure the rim tape was fine by itself, but just for a little extra protection I also used old school rim strips. Mounting the tires themselves was a bit of a challenge. I started by putting just a tad of talcum powder inside the tires to help allow the tube to spin a little in-case I needed to adjust it. Then I put a small amount of air in the tubes so that it kept its form. I again broke out all my tire spoonsrim protectors, and blue painters tape. I drew the direction of rotation on the painters tape, just to be sure I mounted the tires the right direction. I highly recommend leaving the tires out in the sun for a while if possible so that they are more pliable. I used plenty of soapy water for lubrication, and found I needed to use a couple clamps to keep the tire bead over the rim, while I worked my way around with the tire spoons. If I had to do it all over again, I would have used pledge (yes that pledge! Turns out its a great lubricant for mounting tires). I lined up the red dots (heavy spot) on the tires with the valve stem to hopefully achieve balance with less weights. I managed to get the tires on before realizing I hadn't gotten the valve stem through the hole - so that took a bit of finagling to get it right. With the tires installed, I aired up the tubes until the beads popped into the place. Whala!

After a bit of research and a few tire diameter and gearing calculations, I decided I wanted to slightly re-gear. Instead of going with the stock 37 tooth rear sprocket, I had a custom 39 tooth sprocket made by Sprocket Specialists out of 7075 aluminum. I installed the new sprocket, along with the sprocket side plate. On the sprocket side plate I installed the (#90753-283-000) 34x55x9mm oil seal (I had to RTV it into the side plate bore as it was a bit of a loose fit), as well as a new 2x92mm O-ring (from the o-ring store). I opted to use new wave washers and hex nuts to attach the sprocket vs. the original "D" washers that get bent. This was mostly for aesthetics - I'll keep an eye on the hex nut torque to just be sure they don't come loose.

With all this hardware installed, the rear wheel was ready for balancing. To balance we are not as concerned about holding the wheel in the exact axial position, so we can use the Honda axles. This, however, requires the wheel balancing stand to be slightly modified to accept the length of the OEM axles. I simply drilled several new sets of holes in the baseplate, which allow the arms to be moved inward. The triangular pieces on the end of the arm, which normally justify the rod-stock axles (which I used for truing) can flipped down, to allow the OEM Honda axles to hang out over (see the 8th picture from the end). Statically balancing is straight forward - turn the wheel a little, stop, and see if it stays put or rotates. If it rotates, let it settle and mark the heavy spot. Tape some weight to the wheel on the opposite side and repeat until you find a weight that achieves balance. I opted to use black sticky weights, as I thought they looked better than the crimp on spoke style. Right now, only the rear wheel is balanced, as the front wheel needs further modifications for the dual disc brake conversion prior to balancing it. My rear wheel took 40 grams (20g on each side of the spokes), which isn't terrible. One further option is to break the tire bead and rotate the tire on the rim to try to achieve a better balance (move the heavy spot on the tire around).

I deglazed the rear brake drum with a bit of sand paper, and then installed the new brake shoes and springs on the rear brake panel. I used a touch of brake grease on the metal to metal contact points. Then I installed the completed rear wheel on the bike! While I was there, I also installed a new heavy duty RK chain and JT 17 tooth front sprocket. I also oiled the chain and tensioned it. Since I used a larger rear sprocket, the adjusters are nearly maxed at the 'minimum' setting, so I may need to use some shorter adjusting screws so that it doesn't look funny. Overall the rear wheel came out great - and looks awesome.

In the next update I will cover the dual disc brake conversion, front wheel balance, and a few other things.


Here's a quick vid I shot of the front wheel spinning after truing. Ignore the 'jump' you see (there was a machine mark in one spot). I know the indicators are hard to see, but TIR is 0.007" radial & 0.008" axial!