Tuning spokes for a 72 spoke chrome wire wheel

I have a '69 E S2. I have successfully rebuilt 6 flat hub 72 spoke chrome wire wheels from 11 sacrafice wheels (which includes my 4 original wheels).
My cost to date is $375. I am currently tuning them. See photos of tools and tuning jig. Has anyone done this? There are several 40/60 spoke motorcycle YouTube tuning videos. Jag wheels have 24 outside hub spokes and another 48 inner spokes. I am wondering which set is used to for lateral and up/down adjustment.


The Bentley manual has a section on rebuilding wire wheels and tuning . I used that and all went well .

1 Like

Which Bentley manual?

It’s the E type manual …Blue cover
Takes on series 1 2

Can’t help you but good for you how many hours labour have you put into one wheel

My experience is entirely with building bicycle wheels so stop reading right now if you don’t believe that is relevant. I would make sure that you start by installing all the spokes with the same number of turns on the threads. If that is too loose, then tighten all the spokes again with the same number of turns. That will get you in the ballpark. When the tension seems pretty good, but not yet final, start adjusting individual spokes. Never try to correct the alignment with just one spoke. Instead, tighten five spokes or more with lessening amounts of tension from the center to the outside spokes. Check constantly for roundness and true. The spokes work as a system so a change in one area will affect others. If you have a practice wheel, start with that and don’t expect that you will get it right the first, second or third time. When you finally have it to your satisfaction, tighten up all the spokes with an even number of turns to reach final tension. Tap the spokes to determine if they all sound a similar note. Finally, bicycle truing stands are set up to scrap against the wheel giving you an aural signal where the wheel is out of true. As you make changes and spin the wheel you can hear the scraping lessen and ultimately go away. I suspect this much easier than constantly looking at gauges. Good luck. This is a big undertaking, but could be very satisfying.


From the start, (11 wheels)all the spokes were rust frozen in, alot a tedious work to break them free, 50% were broken and/or bent (which is why so many wheels) or bad chrome. All the threads had to be cleaned with a die, then degreased, wire wheeled and polished as were the 6 good rims and hubs I have built. $350 for used wheels and nipple wrenchs. Then, 25 hours(each) to true and tune.
AND, compared to a Dayton wheel…the polished chrome on these 55 year old wheels is far superior.
So, to answer your question…75+ hours per wheel…and 100% satisfying.

Good for you thks for the information quite a undertaking

Frank , where are you getting your spokes ?

1 Like

They all came from sacrifice wheels (mostly EBay) with 6 sided flat head nipples.
I was told the ones that can be ordered are thicker and do not fit in the old rim holes.