New alloy wheels.

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Jan 18, 2004
I have a '72 Roadster with a disc front brake. I just had new wheels built and have ran into a problem that I am hoping I can get some good advice on. The wheels were rebuilt to the factory specs using Excel rims and, of course, stainless steel spokes and nipples. When I installed the rear wheel it appeared to be offset over to the left. The center of the tire did not line up with the center of the frnder, yet the fender appeared to be perfectly lined up between the tubes of the rear frame loop. I used a straight edge and took a crude measurement from the shock spring to the rear tire. There was definitely more clearence on the right side than on the left. When I installed the front wheel, the exact same problem. The tire was rubbing the fender on the left side. And I mean rubbing! When I measured from the fork leg to the rim, once again, more clearence on the right than the left. It seems pretty obvious that there is a problem with the offset on both wheels. Correct? I contacted the gentleman who built the wheels and he explained that this is not an uncommon problem. He told me that he had built the wheels to the specs he had for Commando wheels, but that it would be easy for me to correct the problem. He described how I needed to loosen the spokes on one side X# of turns and then tighten the spokes on the other side the same number of turns. By doing this I would be able to bring the wheel into the correct alignment. Does this seem correct? Should I be the one doing this? Is this normal when new wheels have been built? Can't I screw up and get the rims out of tru? Did I get screwed? I appreciate any info or advice anyone can offer. Thank you.
I don't like it. In theory the gentleman is correct, you might be able to +/- at an equal rate to get the correct spacing. Based on the money you have invested in those wheels and your personal safety, I would only make the adjustments on a truing stand with a dial indicator. I wouldn't take the chance, wheels are too important. You may also have trouble trying to get a good balance or need an ugly number of weights.

Something like that would torture me everytime I wanted to make a high speed run.
wheel offset

Debbie had a similar problem with front disc wheel. There is a definite offset for front disc wheels to the left side. The rear is centered for the stock drum brake hub. Your builder messed up and should correct the problem. Did he provide the spokes or did you provide them to him? My '72 had the wheels built 8 years ago with Buchanan polished stainless spokes by a well known local Brit bike builder. They've been great all this time.
So far the responses I have received are exactly what I expected and feared! This is one of those situations you pray that you don't find yourself in. I've already spoke to the builder once and he did not volunteer to correct the problem, his shop is located on the East Coast and I'm in Michigan, and I've already paid to have the wheels balanced and the tires mounted! Sorry for the run on. Now I'll have to prepare to do battle on the phone as I doubt he'll be willing to absorb the extra costs that I will incur. Let me ask all of you this; what if I could find a shop somewhere close to my home that could correct the offset and tru the wheels. Of course, once again I'm taking someone's word that they know what they are doing. I realize it will cost me, but maybe in the long run it would be worth it when you consider the hell I may have to go through to get the builder to correct his mistake. As a side note, he who shall remain nameless, advertises regularly in Walneck's and seemed very honest and knowledgeable in my past dealing's with him. All of you may be thinking that I am jumping to conclusions about how he will respond when I phone him, but the nick name I carry at work explains it all; Bad Luck Chuck! Thank you all.
P.S. Does anyone know of a shop in Michigan or northern Ohio that knows Norton's and may be able help me with my problem?
Oops. Sorry David....the builder provided all the parts. And sadly. the wheels look absolutely fantastic! When I received them I was very impressed, as were the guys that balanced them.
I've used Expert Cycle Works in Hobart, IN 219-942-2401. They've been in the British bike business for a long time. The dad started the business as a BSA dealer and his son in now running things.

If you belong to the INOA you can check the Parts, Service, Membership Directory.

Good luck Chuck
It certainly sounds like your wheel builder got the offsets wrong and he should make things right. However it may be more trouble than it's worth to pursue that, perhaps finding someone locally would be better.

There's a large parts dealer in MI called Klemph's (spelling?) that would be a good resource for parts and advice. I don't know if they do service work though. There is also a Michigan Norton Owner's Group that I'm sure could be very helpful. Norbsa, who posts regularly here, lives in Flint and could hook you up with them.

Good luck! It seems "plug and play" doesn't apply to Nortons!

Chuck, We can get this fixed with a short trip to Canada I have used Jock to build over one dozen wheels and he fixes this kind of stuff all the time. As I told Debby the Norton disk wheel is a bugger even for people that do them all the time. No sirprize there This will take an apointment and a long lunch to fix that's all contact me off the board at norbsa
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