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A UK Site Dedicated To The Suzuki C800, VL800, VX800, M800, VZ800, VS800, C50, M50 Model Intruder / Boulevard / Marauder
 
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 Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!

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katsd
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PostSubject: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:41 pm

If your bike has spokes that look like this 

 or wheels that look like this
don't waste your time reading any further as you either look after your wheels as you should, or don't need to !!  if, however, your spokes bear an uncanny resemblance to these


read on.  This may seem a little long-winded - sorry.   

I've already touched on this subject, but now I've finished, I'm pleased enough with the results to do a write-up.  This isn't anything deep, more a "rough guide" of how I tackled it.  Before you make a decision whether to go ahead, you need to know that this is a long-winded, tedious, monotonous job.  You're not going to finish it an evening - you need to commit to spending segments of time over a couple of weeks.  You also really need a bike lift as you need to be able to spin the wheel as you're working on it - you could do it without, but it'd be a pig of a job.

It was never the first task on my "task list", but after doing the bob - Bobbed , tidying up the engine fins Fins Cleaned, fitting the horn Loud Horn, drag bars Drag Bars, white walls White Walls etc ., I knew that I couldn't put off doing something about my tatty wheels any longer. 


I'd looked at several options 
1/  Replace the wheel - even if I could pick them up off ebay, the chances were they would be in the same condition
2/  Replace the wheel with a pair of cast wheels - not an option as I specifically wanted spoked wheels
3/  Get them powder coated - this was my original plan when I bought the bike.  However, when I looked into it, it was going to be a fairly expensive option - about £200 a wheel by the time I'd factored in new bearings etc.
4/  Spray them myself - discounted immediately as I knew they'd just look shit & I'd end up having to do something else a couple of months later.
5/  Clean the spokes - the mean I thought about the options, the more I realised that I was going end up with this one.


I tried various cleaning methods, rags, Scotch Brite, lace luster strips etc, with absolutely no success.  So one evening, I ran a piece of wet & dry round a spoke - the results were pleasing , but I knew that wet & dry paper would not be durable enough. 


This is what I ended up with
 
A 10 metre roll of 400 grit emery cloth - I used 1" wide which i cut in half so that each strip was 1/2" wide.
WD 40
Scotch Brite
A T-Cut type polish - but you could use a cream kitchen cleaner such as Cif ( Jif - if you're old)
A tub Of Luster Lace Strips Lace Luster Strips
A bottle of Auto Glym Extra Gloss Protection
A tin of Simoniz Original Hard Wax
An old cotton shirt (something with a tight weave like poplin so it's thinner & more abrasive) & a softer cleaning cloth

You don't need all of this stuff, I may have gone a little over-the-top.  The minimum you will need is the emery cloth, a cream cleaner & the cleaning rags.  The other thing that is going to make the job a million times easier is a bike lift so you can rotate the wheels as you clean them - I suppose you could do it with the wheels on the deck, but it'd a nightmare !!

First thing - lift the bike off the deck & secure the bars.  I use a couple of short cargo/truck straps with a loop at either end which I hook into the hole in the end of the frame with a couple of short bungee straps.  Next thing which will make access a damn sight easier is to remove the front disc - this will enable you to get to the bottom of the spokes on the disc side.  Move it to the side of leg & hold it in place with either a cable tie or a velcro strap.



" />


 You could just rest it on the axle, but put a piece a cloth on the speed sensor cable to protect it (like I forgot to do)

Give the spokes a spray over with some WD40 to loosen the crap that's welded to the spokes.  Leave it for a while, then give then a scrub with the polish (or Cif) & the ScothBrite - this will take off the dirt which will clog up the emery cloth.  When you've had enough of doing this, wipe the crap off with the soft cloth. 

This is where the hard work starts.  Pull approx 2 ft of emery cloth off the roll & cut it in half lengthways - this makes it easier to wrap around the spokes.  Start at the top, on the nipple - as 400 is a bit too rough, it will leave the spokes with a slight "brushed" finish, so you need to take the initial "grit" off the cloth.  However, as the nipples seem to hold the dirt more, you need the emery to have its full grit to make an impression on them.  I found that I would use about a 4 -6" section of emery for each new nipple, moving onto another new section of emery for each nipple.  When the cloth have been used fully, I then used that piece of cloth to clean the spokes - it would leave a shiny finish.  Obviously, when you first start, all your emery is new - rub the cloth against itself to remove the top surface.  Once you're satisfied with the nipple, move onto the spoke.  I didn't find there was one set way of threading the cloth round the spoke - you have to use a combination of different threading variations to get to all the parts of all the spoke.  Here are a few of the "wraps" I used - the same applies to when you clean off with the cloth " />" />" />" /> - keep rotating the wheel, moving the emery position, moving your hands & body around so you can get to all of the spoke.  Remember how you worked the emery round as you'll be doing the same with the cloth.

I found that I preferred to do one spoke at a time.  Once I'd emeryed a spoke, I would then go over the same spoke with a Lace Luster Strip - that way, I could definitely see which spokes had been done when I'd had enough for the day.  If you don't want to use the Lace Luster Strips, you could just go over them with some other polish & a piece of the cotton cloth - it's just I had these to hand.  Obviously, do the rims as well - I used an old sock which I pulled between the spokes whilst sat behind the tyre (does that make sense?).  Once you've done the initial deep clean on all the spokes & the rim, I'd recommend getting some protection on the wheel to stop it getting to the same state again.  I used the Auto Glym Extra Gloss Protection - again, as I had a bottle lying around.  I applied it with a brush & left it to dry whilst I was working on the rest of the wheels. " />

Once I'd cleaned off the Gloss Protection, I then repeated the process with some Simoniz Hard Wax.  Again, I may have gone over the top, but I work on the basis that I don't want to have to do this for a very long time (preferably never) & more protection is better.  As Mr I has suggested elsewhere, it may be worth wiping some WD 40 over the wheels to keep the crap at bay.  

Don't forget to give the disc a good wipe over before you re-fit it - I use a spray brake cleaner, acetone will work as well.  Also, don't forget to threadlock & torque the disc bolts back in.

Are the results worth the effort?  Personally, I think so - but my finger ends are buggered

" />" />" />

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v-twin
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:57 pm

Now I know why I have alloy wheels!!

Good work and for effort.
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hawktheslayer
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:56 pm

Thanks, they look great! BUT you have me decided. my bike spokes are only 1yr old and look like yours, IF I spend £20 on cleaning crap and several hours/weeks cleaning them they will look as good as new....for a few weeks! ergo when I have the time/money/inclination my wheels will be in a workshop, possibly haggon and having the spokes changed for stainless steel. I admire the hard work and time you have put in but I know regardless of the cleaning you mean to do everyday/week in order to keep your spokes looking good at some point they will end up looking tired again. The moral of the story is  once again we get a great product BUT the company's skimp on the things WE think matter, if its a car they fit a mild steel exhaust that will discolour and rust in the first few years and on a bike they fit either cheap chrome or spoked wheels that will pit and grey over a very short period of time, instead of spending an extra £20 to them or consequently £200 to us on stainless steel!!!!!!
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katsd
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:51 am

I agree with you on that Justin - the manufacturers do cut corners.  I'll be honest - I have no idea what the spokes are made of - I'm assuming a they're a zinc-plated steel - I'm sure either Sim, Mr I., or someone knows for certain.

I don't intend to go through this whole process on a regular basis.  My intention is to make sure that I give them a wipe over (once a month or so) with either a spray polish, WD 40 or something else that will keep the bulk of the grime at bay.  I know from years of detailing cars that if you spend a little time regularly building up a wax coat on the paint, the shit don't stick as well.

And if, in a years time, they're back to looking the dirty grey colour they were when I started, I'm going to bite the bullet & have the whole wheel powdered.  I'll keep this posting updated as to how they're going.
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simbo
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:47 am

Great write up Dave! What a great job of doing the spokes too, they look amazing! I'm sure they'll look even better when the suns shining on them in summer 
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peardrop3
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:50 pm

Now I know why I swapped my wheels from spoked to cast ones Dave!  
Good job though matey & if you want another set to do I still have my old wheels that could do with a clean, if you're not too busy of course  hyst
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katsd
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:05 pm

Never appreciated how easy the Katana wheels were to keep clean till now.

Tell you what - you give me a hand to sort out my diff conversion & I'll clean your wheels !!
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hawktheslayer
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:31 pm

OK, IF I wanted to change my wire wheels to alloy can it be done! I have looked online but nothing has come up...............
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simbo
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:38 pm



Last edited by simbo on Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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peardrop3
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:36 pm

You can fit VZ wheels Justin, no real problem in the general fit except  the front disc will be no good to you from your old VL, all the spacers etc from your old wheels will cross over though.
I had to fit the early vz (1998/2004) dished front disc as the VZ & the VL are flat centred. 
Also you will need to get new disc bolts & get an engineering place to redrill & re-tap the disc bolt holes in the wheel as the centres are different on the disc as you may be able to see from my write up that I did last year kindly put up by Sim as above, thanks Sim!
It you want anymore advice then contact me ok?
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peardrop3
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:38 pm

Dave I was joking mate & I'll help you anyway as we said earlier ok 
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fat intruder
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:43 pm

cant read German is that a rear wheel of the new c800 they have wheels like that don't they? is it just the rear wheel for that price I love them wheels of the new c800 wish I had em on my bike
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simbo
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:52 pm

  I'd posted the rear wheel twice lol, I'll edit the front one in 
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katsd
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:42 pm

peardrop3 wrote:
Dave I was joking mate & I'll help you anyway as we said earlier ok 

You're a star Pete - managed to pick up an 800 shaft & spacer, so I could start on striping that down.  I'll let you know when I have the 1400 unit as well.
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peardrop3
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:58 pm

OK Dave, will give you a bell during this week sometime & arrange to nip over to see you ok?

Justin, yes they are the new C800 cast wheels but expensive as you can imagine. They will fit straight on yours so you'd not have any problems with the disc as I did.
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katsd
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:08 pm

OK mate - look forward to it
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hawktheslayer
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:23 pm

Thanks BUT I was hoping someone new of some GOOD looking alloys, the new c800 casts are a little bland! I have no problem finding wheels for most other bikes but I cant seem to find them for ours
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katsd
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:53 pm

Strangely, I reckon they'd work well on my bike - one mans meat, as they say !!
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peardrop3
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:03 pm

Justin I think you'll have a very long search my friend as there are very few other wheels out there suitable to fit so you would have to get them made which will be an exorbitant cost so why not try some VZ Marauder one's like on mine as they do look different.
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captain crash
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:21 pm

Thats one hell of a job done, well done matey 
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hawktheslayer
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:55 pm

Thanks peter but I am tooo much of a tart to accept same ol same ol, if I cant get different from the crowd guess I will have to stick with spokes! cheers
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simbo
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:54 pm

Have a look at Sanos's wheels in the showroom Justin he has some fancy alloys and it'll tell you where they're from, not cheap mind.
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katsd
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:43 pm

Best be stocking up on your cleaning crap then Justin lol !!!!
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hawktheslayer
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PostSubject: Re: Spoke Cleaning - An Inconvenient Truth !!   Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:23 am

simbo wrote:
Have a look at Sanos's wheels in the showroom Justin he has some fancy alloys and it'll tell you where they're from, not cheap mind.

Where?
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