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Indian Spokes

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  • Indian Spokes

    So now that I am finally getting closer to moving forward with some decisions that revolve around the wheels (pun intended), I was wondering if I could get some input on spokes. I have multiple complete sets of Indian spokes and nipples that I kept along the way and my plan was to have them cad plated and reused on my original 1940's wheels. I had them bead blasted and they look fantastic. But, not having much experience with the longevity of cad plating, and hearing that they will lose their luster and can become stained easily, I am second guessing myself. I am now thinking that maybe I should go with stainless from Buchanan's and call it a day? They would be stainless, easy to take care of, new and I wouldn't have to worry about the cad plating wearing off.

    I like to weigh all options, good and bad. I don't really want to have to go through this again in 10 years, so looking for some input from those with experience.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I am thinking "Safety first" how many mile on the "sets of Indian spokes and nipples that you kept along the way"?
    Do you plan to ride your bike or mostly show it?

    I am working on a Non-matching numbers 741 that I never plan to have judged; I needed spokes and went with Buchanan stainless. (Very Good People to deal with)

    Not sure how stainless spoke would effect "correctness" from a judging/points view.

    Just my 2 cents.


    • #3
      I thought the judging allowed stainless steel spokes as long as they had been blasted to a low luster to look like CAD.

      But if I had enough to rebuild wheel with original stuff, why not.

      As asked, what is your intentions with the bike, trailer queen or daily rider?


      • #4
        I need more info to better answer your question. From your previous posts, it looks like you may be working on a 4 cylinder Indian.

        Or is it a Chief ? What year ? Are you wanting to lace up 16" wheels/hubs ? or 18's ? I have some experience with the 18's. its a long story.

        1940 was an important year for Indians. Introduction of the plunger frame, one year only front fender, introduction of 16" wheels, 18's became the option, rather than the std. issue. All of it matters when you are setting up the wheels. Research carefully. I ask because 18 inch wheels are not all the same. Early and late, the spoke holes drilled in the rims are very different angles. Unless you are 100% certain, make sure your spokes and wheels are the proper ones for your project.



        • #5
          I am certainly no wheel builder.
          Truth I laced and trued my FIRST set of rims this summer for my 741.
          Lacing was not bad but truing took me a lot of time (Did I mention 'summer' as my time span)?
          Anyway it is your bike and if you are comfortable using the original pokes you have (As long as they are the proper fit as pointed out by ChiefTwoKicks go for it)
          Its your bike.
          I am probably more anxious and paranoid about mechanical things failing on me than most.
          (If anyone needs 39 of 40 Indian 741 rear wheel spokes and nipples cheap I have them).


          • #6
            I've laced, and trued many, many wheels for H-D, Indian, Hendersons, and Excelsiors, etc. Oh yeah, Hondas too. I trust genuine factory spokes and nipples over reproduction as long as they look un-stressed, and will take the torque of truing. I've put a lot of miles on original spokes so if they look good and torque well, I consider them safe. I think Buchannan's spokes are very good, but they are a second choice for me because they are not correct. I have used aftermarket spokes (not Buchanann) and had them strip under torque. Original spoke makers like Torrington made high quality products that hold up to this day if they are in good shape. I don't know who made Harley-Davidson spokes but they are excellent quality. As for cadmium plating, I don't do that on spokes anymore as I have had many of them strip. I have to believe that the cad process can damage the threads of the nipple, and spoke if not done under strict control. Just my observations. I paint my later spokes with quality silver paint and think it holds up better than cad, can also be touched up, and looks as good or better than cad without the spottiness, and discoloration of cad.
            Eric Smith
            AMCA #886


            • #7
              Thanks Exeric; I appreciate the insights. Guess I'll hang onto my 39 Indian 741 spokes and nipples for possible use/replacement in the future.
              Of course I am guessing these are original Wigwam spokes on a 80 year old wheel may have been replaced somewhere along the line. Thanks Again.


              • #8
                I should mention that you should use Never seize on the spoke threads. Also, H-D, and Indian recommended checking spokes at the beginning of a riding season, or more often if needed. I know from pulling a sidecar, that you have to check the spokes quite often as sidecar duty is hell on all the chassis gear.
                Eric Smith
                AMCA #886


                • #9
                  Thanks for all the responses. I am bouncing between a 41 Four and 42 Chief. The Chief came with 18's and the Four with 16's. The Chief sat in a garage since the 70's. After blasting, underneath all the dirt and dried grease that was covered with silver paint, I found that I had one rim that was swiss cheese where water sat at the bottom. I originally was thinking I would go with 18's on both, so over time I bought enough Indian 18's to have 4 good rims, 4 good hubs and extra original spokes, enough to cover the bad ones that would be tossed. Then I decided I was going to go with 16's on both, so I sold the repop 16 rims and spokes that were on the Four, kept the hubs and bought 4 16's one at a time over the years. So now I am thinking I will go with 18's on the Chief and 16's on the Four, but going ahead and doing all 8 wheels at once, which will leave me with a spare set or the ability to switch between wheels. Not sure that I will ever do that, but at least I will have them. Who knows, maybe two more projects will come along that are missing never know! And you can never have too many projects.

                  The spokes I have that are original are for the 18's. I have no originals for the 16's, and I was going to plan on buying stainless and lightly bead blast them, as mentioned below. I am going to paint the hubs and rims black on both bikes. By the way, Eric, I bought a wheel from you a few years ago and I don't remember if it was an Indian or Harley wheel as I was needing both at the time.

                  Yes, I am familiar with the early versus later 18's, and the difference between Indian and Harley 18's (I hate to admit I learned the hard way, but that is the nice thing about ebay....I just turned around and resold it!)

                  Thanks for all the responses. I will not be lacing and trueing myself. There are lots of things I am willing to try, but that is not one of them. I would rather leave to the pro's but commend anyone willing to try it!