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  1. #1

    Default question for wheel builders

    Hi, so I currently run up front a W&W cycles 3x16" 40 spoke drop centre rim on a modern timken bearing star hub with a W&W cycles springer OEM replica drum brake. This is all fitted to a W&W repop classic 1939-57 type springer fork. This is being run on a 1995 stock softail frame with the OEM softail 3x16" rim on the back.

    I am currently replacing the rim on the front wheel due to a pothole taking a big chunk out of the rim and am in the process of re-lacing the hub to the new replacement rim (same type, 40 spoke drop centre).

    Ive read up on the process and took plenty pics etc to ensure I can put it all together which is going fine, I have trued my wheels in the past and got them nice and straight but haven't fully replaced a rim before.

    My question is to do with the offset. I noticed before I unlaced the front rim that with the rim on the front axle (tyre removed) and with all spacers, brake drum together etc. the rim outer edge measures approx. 5cm away from the brake side fork leg and approx. 4 cm from the other fork leg. I also measured the rim offset on its side, lying on a flat surface laying a straight edge across the brake side wheel hub face to the outside edge of the rim and got approx. 1.5cm.

    I have heard that it is normal for there to be a slight offset on these 16" wheels to allow clearance for tyres but I dont have a manual that would confirm this for these old style starhub / springer set ups. Can anyone confirm if this sounds correct?

    My normal approach would be to centre the rim so it is completely in the middle of the fork legs and im not using any additional spacers or anything "custom". Its all the OEM axle and spacers designed to work with the OEM brake, wheel and springer.

    For what its worth, the bike was riding straight and good with no abnormalities in the steering!

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2018


    The H-D service manuals specify a measurement from some point on the hub to the rim.BUT, the measurement only works for the OEM rims, which we usually do not have. I have found that centering the rim between the spoke flanges on the hub will produce a useable wheel. But if you would like to double check, assemble the wheel and rough true it, and leave the spokes just snug. Then assemble it on your front end and see where the rim falls. Make any corrections, and finish truing the wheel.

    I had a '67 FLH come in a couple years ago with a handling complaint. It had a new aftermarket wheel on the front. The rim was so far out of place, that the installer had added washers on the axle so the tire would fit under the fender. And that of course ruined the position of the brake shoes in the drum. It was a total shit job from start to finish. I took the wheel off, and centered the rim between the flanges on the hub, tossed the extra washers, and was able to assemble it all in the fork properly. I hate to see bad (and potentially dangerous) work like that on any motorcycle.


  3. #3


    Thanks for your advice Jim, I will go with that.

    Appreciate the help

  4. #4


    Just to update on this, laced the wheel and trued it last night. Did as Jim suggested and ensured the spoke flanges were centred.
    Offset seems to measure the same as before I unlaced the old rim so seems to be correct in order to make sure the rim doesn't contact the drum.
    I do like a black rim with a chrome hub

    Click image for larger version. 

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