How To Tighten Dirt Bike Spokes

In this video, we show how to tighten dirt bike spokes and how to true a dirt bike rim without...

July 8, 2021

The spokes on your dirt bike wheel play a vital role in structural integrity and safety. In the video below, we show how to check spoke tension, true a dirt bike rim without using a truing stand and how to tighten dirt bike spokes.

How to true a dirt bike rim

A common maintenance task you should perform after riding your dirt bike is to check spoke tension. Improperly tensioned spokes can break, cause the rim to bend or, worse, cause a crash.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Two ratchet straps
  • Two black Sharpie markers
  • Duct tape
  • Spoke wrench
  • Spoke torque wrench
Secure handlebars to true a dirt bike rim without a stand.

Secure the handlebars

If you don’t have a truing stand, secure the handlebars using ratchet straps so the wheel doesn’t move from side to side.

Use markers and tape to true a dirt bike rim.

Use markers and tape

Then, affix a black Sharpie to either side of the rim using tape. Position the markers so their points are about 2 mm from the rim. Next, spin the wheel. Areas where a marker touches the rim and leaves a line require correction since it’s outside the 2-mm specification. (Consult the owner’s manual for your bike’s run-out specifications.)

The rim used in the video is outside the run-out specification, as noted by the presence of a marker line on the rim. To correct the out-of-spec area, we need to adjust the spokes.

How to tighten dirt bike spokes.

Adjust the spokes

Use the correct spoke wrench to adjust the spokes on your bike, depending on the style of nipples on the spokes. Starting at the beginning of the marker line, make small adjustments first, loosening the side that is bent a quarter turn. Stay only on the side that’s bent for now.

Once you’ve reached the end of the marker line, move to the opposite side and tighten those spokes the same amount that you loosened the other side. Make small adjustments and recheck each time until the rim falls within the 2-mm limit.

How to tighten dirt bike spokes.

How to tighten dirt bike spokes

Next, check spoke tension using a spoke torque wrench. You can find one online for about $100. Refer to your owner’s manual or the wheel manufacturer for the correct torque specs for your spokes.

Start by identifying a reference point, like the rim lock or valve stem. Check the first spoke, then count to the third spoke after the one you just checked. Continue checking every third spoke until you’ve gone around the wheel.

Check every third spoke because there are 36 spokes on most dirt bike wheels. Tensioning every third spoke evenly spreads the tension around the wheel, similar to tightening lug nuts on a car’s wheel in a star pattern.

After completing one revolution, you’ll end on the spoke on which you started. To complete the second pass around the wheel, move one spoke forward and complete another revolution, tensioning every third spoke. Repeat the process until you’ve tensioned all the dirt bike spokes.

There you go – how to tighten dirt bike spokes. Check out AMSOIL products for your dirt bike.

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