Sporty Spokes - Harley Davidson Forums: Harley Davidson Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Sporty Spokes

I just bought a stock 2004 Harley Sportster 883. It's my first bike and I love it. It has a couple of things I want to change to dress it up though, like adding more chrome.

Also, it currently has a stock, solid rear wheel. For reasons of personal taste I'd prefer a spoke rear wheel. I realize those wheels need maintenance such as wheel truing and vigilance for loose, bent, broken or missing spokes.

In that regard they are in the same ballpark as spoke wheels on the various 60's era sports cars I've owned.

But - in correct well maintained condition - are they safe for a bike with 51 # torque?

And if that torque isn't a disqualifying factor, how about the stress of curves and bumps?

If I recall correctly, Shelby's first year AC Cobras made 271 bhp and about. 300 # torque - with spoke wheels. I think the spokes were less of an issue than the splines on the wheel and hub.

Obviously, a Sporty doesn't use a splines hub so that can be ruled out.

Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Spokes - rear wheel on Sportster

I just bought a stock 2004 Harley Sportster 883. It's my first bike and I love it. It has a couple of things I want to change to dress it up though, like adding more chrome.

Also, it currently has a stock, solid rear wheel. For reasons of personal taste I'd prefer a spoke rear wheel.

I realize those wheels need maintenance such as wheel truing and vigilance for loose, bent, broken or missing spokes.

In that regard they are in the same ballpark as spoke wheels on the various 60's era sports cars I've owned.

But - in correct well maintained condition - are they safe for a bike with stock 51 # torque?

And if that torque isn't a disqualifying factor, how about the stress of curves and bumps?

If I recall correctly for purposes of discussion, Shelby's first year AC Cobras made 271 bhp and about 300 # torque - with spoke wheels. I think the spokes were less of an issue than the splines on the wheel and hub.

Obviously, a Sporty doesn't use a splined hub so that can be ruled out - but the overall strength of the spokes cannot.

Thanks in advance
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 07:02 PM
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51 lb torque is no problem with spoked wheels.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by StreetBob4 View Post
Yeah, in a perfect world I suppose 'laced'.... wheels would be okay, but I remember that 'in the day' they had to be tightened on a reasonably frequent basis and was included in all your service intervals. Maybe they've come a long way, I don't know, which, is why I'm asking for him.

Guys here do 'bracket' racing on the strip with stock bikes all the time, it's probably the biggest aspect of drag racing here, so yeah, he could be racing with 'only' 120 hp. Plus there's always the occasional street run.

Just one of those things I guess that I personally would not feel comfortable with.
I've run spoked wheels on four banger British sports cars for decades without paying too much attention to loose, bent, broken or missing spokes and never a problem.

Two wheels makes a difference I suppose, mainly with the impact of out-of-true wheels? I'd think that loose spokes can't be too difficult to tighten, but keeping the wheel true, or true enough, probably takes more effort.

As a kid, I trued my Schwinn 10 speed's wheels now and then by feel and by sight. Probably a modern day motorcycle shop has a specialty tool to check the variance from true and help determine specific spokes to adjust?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunbeamTiger View Post
Probably a modern day motorcycle shop has a specialty tool to check the variance from true and help determine specific spokes to adjust?



Mala Ipsa Nova
Psalm 144:1 Luke 22:36

'05 Carbed Night Train
111 rwhp, 112 rwtq
Best 1/4 ET 12.557s
Best 1/4 MPH 108.59

http://weathersticker.wunderground.c...ansas_City.gif
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 01:34 AM
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Hey K, you are always a great source of good information

Joe

That was me 40 years ago
My how times have changed


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I ride therefore I am (Veho Ergo Sum) JPR

65 Italian scooter
66 305 Rice burner; NO PROBLEMS
67 650 English Bike; MAJOR PROBLEMS
1968/XLCH - lots of mods; loved it for 11 years; NO MECHANICAL PROBLEMS
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bought all brand new except scooter

There's a picture of the sportster after all the mods in my images file.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 06:37 AM
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Sportsters have had spoke rear wheels since their introduction in 1957. Properly maintained and trued, they are reliable. I had spoke wheel motorcycles for 40+ years with negligible issues. As for the Cobra reference, car wheel spokes are only a few inches long and thicker, so comparison isn't valid. IMO

I ride like an old guy that wants to get older.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 07:39 AM
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Plenty of motorcycles with tons of power use or have used spoke wheels. Plenty of spoke wheels available for your Sportster, if you like spoke wheels, no reason not to go for it.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Spokes are in the future

2004 Harley Sportster
1985 Honda 250 Scooter
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1959 v6 Sunbeam Alpine
1974 Araya 10 speed bike
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 11:59 PM
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Spoke wheels? pain in the a$$ to keep clean .
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