How to Replace a Wheel Rim
Learn how to replace a worn out wheel rim (rim transfer).
In this tutorial we will learn how to replace a worn out rim. This repair is often called a rim transfer.
What You’ll Need
For this job you will need an appropriately sized spoke wrench, a wheel truing stand, an optional nipple driver, waterproof grease and a toothpick, linseed oil, rim tape, and some tape or zip ties to fasten the rims together. You’ll also need a replacement rim. The new rim must be the exact same size and spoke count as your old rim.
Grease Spoke Holes
Using a dab of grease on a toothpick, grease all of the spoke holes on the new rim. You’ll only need a tiny bit. This helps the nipples turn easier when you’re tensioning the wheel.
De-tension Old Wheel
Next you’ll need to loosen all of the old spoke nipples. The safest way to do this is to start at the valve hole and loosen all of the spokes by turning clockwise 1/4 turn each. Repeat this step until all of the spokes in the wheel are de-tensioned but still attached.
Attach New Rim
Tape or zip-tie the new rim to the old rim in 2 places directly across from each other. Make sure that the valve hole and placement of the spoke holes in the rims match up exactly.
One at a time, you’ll need to move each spoke from one side of the wheel over to the new rim. Turning counter-clockwise, unthread each nipple from the old rim and place a drop of linseed oil inside the nipple threads. This will keep the nipples tight while still allowing them to be turned in the future. Move the spoke over to the corresponding hole on the new rim. Thread the nipple on most of the way, but leave 2 spoke threads showing.
Once all of the spokes on the first side of the wheel are transferred, repeat the process and transfer the spokes on the other side of the wheel, until all of the spokes have been threaded onto the new rim.
True and Tension Spokes
You can now undo the tape or zip-ties and remove the old rim. Starting at the valve hole, tighten all of the nipples by turning each 1/4 turn counter-clockwise, all the way around the wheel. Repeat this until all of the spokes are fairly tight, and then tension and true the wheel. See the video titled how to true a wheel. In the next video we’ll learn how to properly tension your spokes.
Discuss this topic in the Wheel Forums
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