Rims Where to get mechanical spare parts, wheel rims, spokes? for hub motor wheels

Vincenzo

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I recently destroyed (multiple cracks) my voilamart rim because I did not replace the worn out brake pads soon enough. I do 40 Miles round trip everyday on a hilly rural area, so something like that was expected at some point after 2200 miles of riding. The problem is that those voilamart kits people exaggerate the parts prices so much that if you add the prices on the parts sold by them, you get at least double the price of the whole kit. I did use third party parts before (from ebay and aliexpress), but this time, it looks like they used a rim that is so unique that you have to buy from them (rim depth from nipple to tire is 3cm). I bought a full known brand name double-walled rim wheel that looked identical for half the price, but when I took it apart found that the rim depth is less and that I need to get longer spokes and the original spokes were too thick (12) for its holes. It was just wrong. Does anyone know a place that sells decent wheel rims for normal prices that fit or at least what specs to look for?
I even looked for a whole wheel (rim+spokes+hub motor) if the price was right. This way, I'll be saving the build effort and time and save the old motor and spokes for spare parts but couldn't find one fact. I could not contact a seller a couple of hours from me on facebook market thing because they kept trying to "verify" me and every time i put a phone number, they say there was an error!
Any help with advice is tremendously appreciated.
 
Thanks. So, you recommend getting longer spokes and drilling the holes 1mm wider? the ones in the link are all 12G (2.6mm).
BTW, their pics show all the lacing straight!!! while in the kits all you get is 3 crosses lacing!!!
This shows the irreparable damage
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and these show the original vs "wrong" replacement
2.jpg
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and this shows how the 2.6mm original spokes sit in the hub holes vs the 1.9mm that came with the new one
1.jpg
 
Hard to tell without seeing the whole wheel on a truing stand.

I wouldn't drill the rim unnecessarily, that would just weaken the rim.

For high power output hub motor application, rims really need to be eyeletted, direct drilled rims are weak and wear rather quickly with motor output.

If your frame is not limited to caliper or side-pull rim brakes, convert to disc brake to further separate the braking forces from rim.
 
Do it right and build yourself a proper wheel. That means don't use bottom-end Chinese parts. I've done custom wheels on all my hub motors as well as the mid drives. On the hub bikes, the oldest ones are thousands of miles down the road with only a spoke tune-up after the first 6000 miles; still perfectly true.

12g spokes are usually used by Chinese wheels simply because cheap spoke suppliers can't match the performance of a proper spoke unless they beef the thing up. But a good Sapim Strong spoke, which is a butted 13/14 gauge, is more durable than the comparable 12g (and cheaper) Sapim Leader spoke. The same goes for DT Swiss spokes, although Sapim is going to get you better bang for the buck on an ebike thanks to the Strong and the E-Strong spokes.

This pic was taken in March of 2017, and these wheels were both on a daily driver bike for years before I built something else I liked better. Double-walled Weinmann/Origin8 rims, DT Swiss Champion spokes because almost every bike shop in the USA has at least a few Champs in several sizes in a drawer in the back. Long brass nipples for durability. The motors were meant for 12g spokes but the Champs fit just fine with no need for washers. I had the spokes re-tensioned when the bike's display rolled over from 6600 miles to zero a year or so ago. Otherwise they have been flawless with zero maintenance.

20170314_185925.jpg


I built this wheel in 2020. Meant for a cargo bike, I used a really strong BMX rim (Alienation Black Sheep) that is double-walled and has angled spoke holes that are really helpful for strength. But I used 12 ga Sapim Leader spokes and this was a learning experience (i.e. a mistake on my part). The wheel is so stiff the spokes will not flex and a too-stiff rim risks breakage... a survivable rim flexes at the spokes under a sharp impact. Also the rim was a royal screaming b**ch to string because of the short length and the spoke stiffness.

20230718_132357.jpg


The next one of these I built, in 2022, I wised up and used Sapim Strongs. It was a whole lot easier to string and even with the smaller gauge spokes its a much stronger, as well as more road-compliant wheel. Plus I was able to find a 42mm wide rim which is optimal for the 2.40" tire I am using here. Look at the picture underneath this one of the Chinese factory wheel that originally held this motor. Its less than 1/3 the internal width. That tire was barely able to fit on the rim and the only truly safe alternative was to use a smaller tire and lose out on the load capacity and comfort of the larger model that works fine with a properly sized rim.

This is where I get my spokes from, custom cut to my specification. Note that if you do decide you want to go with the really beefy E-Strong spokes, Stoic sells special reduction nipples that let you use the bigger spokes without drilling your rim out. Another benefit of doing up a proper wheel.

You can get the specs for your chosen rim needed to help determine spoke length from the rim manufacturer. From there you either take the specs your motor mfr publishes for the final measurement, or just let your local bike shop wheelbuilder figure it out.

PXL_20220604_203036258.jpg

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Building your own wheels, you can do stuff like pick a wider rim so you have a smarter tire profile that is better for riding. Chinese factory rims that are not deliberately made for fat bikes tend to be overly narrow.
 
OP is just asking for sources in parts.
Most people can't afford expensive rims.
 
Determine the length & guage of the spokes, replace accordingly.


Stainless spokes maybe less prone to rust?

Thank you. That is a great store and they have every length but their eta is probably 3 weeks and if i can't work that long (or find a job and uber back and forth) I'd rather spend my money on a homeless tent ;)
I always buy stuff from aliexpress and ebay but this is an urgent emergency
 
Do it right and build yourself a proper wheel. That means don't use bottom-end Chinese parts. I've done custom wheels on all my hub motors as well as the mid drives. On the hub bikes, the oldest ones are thousands of miles down the road with only a spoke tune-up after the first 6000 miles; still perfectly true.

12g spokes are usually used by Chinese wheels simply because cheap spoke suppliers can't match the performance of a proper spoke unless they beef the thing up. But a good Sapim Strong spoke, which is a butted 13/14 gauge, is more durable than the comparable 12g (and cheaper) Sapim Leader spoke. The same goes for DT Swiss spokes, although Sapim is going to get you better bang for the buck on an ebike thanks to the Strong and the E-Strong spokes.

This pic was taken in March of 2017, and these wheels were both on a daily driver bike for years before I built something else I liked better. Double-walled Weinmann/Origin8 rims, DT Swiss Champion spokes because almost every bike shop in the USA has at least a few Champs in several sizes in a drawer in the back. Long brass nipples for durability. The motors were meant for 12g spokes but the Champs fit just fine with no need for washers. I had the spokes re-tensioned when the bike's display rolled over from 6600 miles to zero a year or so ago. Otherwise they have been flawless with zero maintenance.

View attachment 9790

I built this wheel in 2020. Meant for a cargo bike, I used a really strong BMX rim (Alienation Black Sheep) that is double-walled and has angled spoke holes that are really helpful for strength. But I used 12 ga Sapim Leader spokes and this was a learning experience (i.e. a mistake on my part). The wheel is so stiff the spokes will not flex and a too-stiff rim risks breakage... a survivable rim flexes at the spokes under a sharp impact. Also the rim was a royal screaming b**ch to string because of the short length and the spoke stiffness.

View attachment 9791

The next one of these I built, in 2022, I wised up and used Sapim Strongs. It was a whole lot easier to string and even with the smaller gauge spokes its a much stronger, as well as more road-compliant wheel. Plus I was able to find a 42mm wide rim which is optimal for the 2.40" tire I am using here. Look at the picture underneath this one of the Chinese factory wheel that originally held this motor. Its less than 1/3 the internal width. That tire was barely able to fit on the rim and the only truly safe alternative was to use a smaller tire and lose out on the load capacity and comfort of the larger model that works fine with a properly sized rim.

This is where I get my spokes from, custom cut to my specification. Note that if you do decide you want to go with the really beefy E-Strong spokes, Stoic sells special reduction nipples that let you use the bigger spokes without drilling your rim out. Another benefit of doing up a proper wheel.

You can get the specs for your chosen rim needed to help determine spoke length from the rim manufacturer. From there you either take the specs your motor mfr publishes for the final measurement, or just let your local bike shop wheelbuilder figure it out.

View attachment 9792
View attachment 9793


Building your own wheels, you can do stuff like pick a wider rim so you have a smarter tire profile that is better for riding. Chinese factory rims that are not deliberately made for fat bikes tend to be overly narrow.
Mr. Spock, big fan. Cool pics from the left coast and a wealth of knowledge and work. Thanks much.
most of what you're showing look like the motors are much smaller than what I have. I only chose the biggest motor size out there because of the extreme hilly rural area I'm in. another thing I see is that your project were all fat or motorcycle kinds of wheels that are not what I am doing now with the size restriction of a cheap walmart bike that I could not afford to get from a walmart but paid $20 for on craigslist ;)

My first and only project was a super cheap survival experiment that succeeded for about a year and gained me a wealth of info on the mechanical side (I'm an EE, still learned a bunch of things on the electrical/electronic side of things). It looks now to me that owning a car/truck and maintaining it in operable state with all the fees that go to the lords who own us all is such a waste of money and life time and hopefully someday in the future I will live within the bus coverage on the nearest medium sized town and so that a diy transportation becomes more effective (or at least that will be a good part of my decision making calculations) and only them (when I'll be a lot better financially, fingered crossed) that I'll start doing greater projects like yours.

Thanks a lot for the link. It is great to know about the reduction nipples as that may be a great solution/compromise. Do you have any idea how to measure the diameter of the holes in the rims or the hubs with accuracy and what range of spokes can be used with what diameter to operate safely and long term (too much relative gap between hole and spoke may not only cause all kinds of structural instability, but may increase dangerous friction).
Right now, I am more inclined to using the rim I extracted from the $45 weinmann in place of the voilamart $90 rim that is lighter in weight even though it is deeper. Depending on Stoic's prices and delivery timing, I may just get some spokes+nipples that fit or are a compromise for both the rather big hub motor holes that were made for 12g/a (2.6mm) spokes and the rim holes that came with 1.9mm spokes. I already spent $45 and lost a job and hate to spend another $45 on fancy spokes that may not work instead of just getting voilamart's rim from voilamart and call it aday.

Thanks for your wisdom and I hope that there is an easier/faster way that I can talk to you on skype/zoom/phone/voip and put an update here for everyone.
 
This shows the difference between the 2.6mm silver spokes+nipples that came with the kit and the 1.9mm spokes+nipples that came with weinmann replacement. If the nipples of the thick nipples were a fraction of a millimeter smaller in diameter (or diagonal of their square cross section) they could've worked with the weinmann smaller holes, only a 5mm spokes longer.
photo_2023-07-21_07-08-00.jpg


I think I can go down to 2.3mm spoles that are 16cm long and some special nipples that go through the holes of the weinmann rim.
 
Unfortunately, AliEx delivery is never quite the same as Amazon.

Here in Brooklyn, there are at least two shops that I know have the spokes & nipples that you may need in stock, able to service & repair most e-bike related issues while you wait at their store front. Reasonably priced, even.

That Weinmann rim without eyelets is going to wear out as your original rim, maybe not before your rim brakes wear out the braking surface.
If you're using this e-bike regularly and need it to remain operational and reliable, consider disc brakes & eyeletted rims.. or may even cast alloy wheels with motor.
 
That Weinmann rim without eyelets is going to wear out as your original rim, maybe not before your rim brakes wear out the braking surface.
Thank you for your input, but what does that sentence mean? What are outlets? The original nameless rim lasted over two thousand miles before it become untrue (actually I made measurement this morning and found real reason, it was not circular after all that use and the rim diameter was ranging from 56.8-57.2 cm) and started loosening and sometimes braking spokes and finally my ignorance with not replacing the brake pads at the same day that i hit a very bad hole on the road cracked the rim. I could've made it a couple more thousands of miles I guess.

Can you please explain that?
 
Eyelets, are metal sleeves that cover each spoke hole on the rim,
they can be single or double eyelets,

They may add extra weight to the rims, but they are tried & true method to stronger rims that allow spoke tension to be higher and not have the spoke nipple pull through the aluminum rim and cause cracks from spoke hole.

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Picture of double eyelet rim:

18968e_9d6998d1-523d-4204-b5cb-a9f12e73cdd5.jpg
 
Ooooh! like on some leather belt or shoes. The double walled one looks badass.

Every new thing I see makes me more wanting to buy the original chinese thing even though it is overpriced and I don't know how long it takes to get to me.
 
another thing I see is that your project were all fat or motorcycle kinds of wheels
The first two I showed - and more I didn't - were indeed fat 26" rims in both 80mm and 100mm widths. But the last three pics are all relatively narrow 20" BMX-sized wheels. But I get it the eq I am talking about would be worth more than your bike. I saw the miles you were putting on and the fact its a bike with a job and not a toy. Riding at that level, you can expect to just have to live with problems if your budget has to stay bargain-basement.

I'm not certain what wheel size you need, but regardless, its really tough to find a strong rim that is also meant to be usable with rim brakes. Thats the kicker right there. The only one I can think of that is the widest for a decent tire is the Weinmann DM30. Those are about $50 a pop. 24mm internal width so its good for maybe up to a 2.3" tire. And if rim brake compatibility isn't tough enough, you alsdo need 36H right? The Weinmann has that. It will also take 12g spokes as its used a lot for hub motor builds.


Next maybe would be an Alexrims EN24. Narrower but still a strong budget rim. No idea if you can find it in 36H.

If you had disc brakes it would be the SunRingle MTX39 hands down (about 32mm inside width). I have a few wheels built with that rim and they are every bit as strong as a DT Swiss downhill rim meant for rock gardens... but half the price (and twice the weight). Perfect for an ebike going fast and hitting potholes. The MTX33 would be the candidate if a narrower rim is needed... but both the MTX39 and 33 are disc only.

Do you have any idea how to measure the diameter of the holes in the rims or the hubs with accuracy
I would (and do) use calipers. The tiny little jaws on the back of calipers are meant to fit inside of holes and measure inside diameter. The rub is getting metric calipers as the General brand plastic dial calipers you get at Home Depot are in 100th's of an inch only. They sell a digital set that will do mm, but then you have calipers that need batteries. No help for that unless you are willing to spring for some serious Mitutoyo dial calipers or similar.
and what range of spokes can be used with what diameter to operate safely and long term (too much relative gap between hole and spoke may not only cause all kinds of structural instability, but may increase dangerous friction).
This is part of the individualized measurements you have to take that will apply only to your individual rim and hub combo. You will need to learn your ERD (Effective Rim Diameter) measurement for the rim you choose from the manufacturer, and the spoke offset (distance from rim center) if any.

Here is a link to the QBP spoke calculator that many bike shops will use. It lets you plug in rims by model from a list, or put in your own values.


Here a link to another one that gives you a visual of the stuff you are supposed to be able to know. This is helpful as you are pretty much going to have to manually measure your hub motor to get the numbers you need to get correct spoke lengths cut.

Right now, I am more inclined to using the rim I extracted from the $45 weinmann in place of the voilamart $90 rim that is lighter in weight even though it is deeper. Depending on Stoic's prices and delivery timing, I may just get some spokes+nipples that fit or are a compromise for both the rather big hub motor holes that were made for 12g/a (2.6mm) spokes and the rim holes that came with 1.9mm spokes. I already spent $45 and lost a job and hate to spend another $45 on fancy spokes that may not work instead of just getting voilamart's rim from voilamart and call it aday.
You might consider buying cheap pre-cut spokes with the expectation that you are not going to actually use them. Figure out what size you think you need. Buy the cheapass kaka spokes in a length as close to what you think is right as you can guesstimate. When they come in, see how far off you are. You want the spoke to fit in as far into the nipple as it can without protruding out of the nipple's inside threads (at all!) inside the rim. After you have ballparked it with cheap spokes, you have a much better idea of what you need. Stoic's turnaround is usually a week or so. Its all mailing time.

BTW if you do have them protrude by up to say 1mm or even 2, you can double-wrap the rim with Velox cloth rim tape. Remember also that spoke nipple length matters. If you have shorter spokes, depending on your spoke pattern you may not be able to get away with using the longer 16mm nipples that are better for strength. I've only been able to do them once on the big rims I pictured above. Otherwise I've had to use 14mm.

Go to Ebay and look for 'custom length spokes' and you will find other sellers, but I was seeing prices of $40 for 36 unbranded 12 ga spokes and thats not enough of a price break to put up with no name vs. top quality in my book.

If you buy silver instead of black spokes you save a fair bit of money usually.
 
what does 36H stand for? The highest thing I know is Schrodinger's equation and that does not look like a solution. Is it 36-hexadecimal?

I thought about calibers but didn't try them. I thought rim holes are too small to get accurately with a regular digital caliber (unless there is a very expensive one for very small holes).

I wasn't asking about a calculator or using trigonometry to find the Length of the spokes that may work for me, I was very clear and asked about range of thicknesses in a given hole (both on the nipple side and on the nail side).
 
I finally pulled the plug and paid a small fortune ($90) for a rim from the kit seller and I'll be praying that it arrives before I become homeless and right before I get a new job that I can get to on a bicycle. Now I'll have to rebuild the weinmann rim to use for the front and start looking for information on how centered the hub motor is with respect to the rim to make it work. I'm debating if I'll have to buy me a truing stand for all of that or save the $35 and do it without.

The first thing I will do when I can afford will be to buy at least one of those kits and resell it in parts and post it here and all over the internet and both make a small profit and help people who run into an issue like this by braking their monopoly and providing parts at half the price and faster USA arrival time. I totally encourage every one who reads this to do the same. The parts can be resold on ebay as follows:
motor $80+shipping
spokes $30+shipping
rim $50+shipping
1500W controller $50+shipping
Display $35+shipping
Throttle and brake handles $20+shipping
cadence sensor $10+shipping
and the total is obviously higher than the kit's price but half what they charge for parts (it's insane!)

The second thing I'll do, is save for a small engine scooter and/or build another bicycle and battery and consider disk brakes more seriously, at least for the motor wheel.

In addition, I have learned a few thinks and a few new links (to me) that I can help others here who run into the same issues. Thank everyone who taught me something.
 
what does 36H stand for?
36 spoke holes on the rim, designated to be used with 36 spoke holes on the hub..
You can lace the 36H rim onto hubs with less holes, but need to even up the spoke tensions & empty spoke holes need to be plugged up.
 
The conversion kit e-bikes are not the best for reliability if you depend on your e-bike for getting to & from work, or if you depend on the e-bike for your income, such as deliveries.

Invest at least $1-$2K for a reliable, complete e-bike, similar to Lectric XPLite ($800) or XP 3.0 ($1000).

You can get replacement part much easier and maybe little bit of support.

If you are handy with tools, and time to wait for your next e-bike, get an e-bike with cast wheels that don't require spoke maintenance, that could be found under $2K, too.

I don't know what kind of hill you have to ride up, but if you can conserve a bit while climbing, not have to climb up hills at top speed with motor, you can save yourself some battery range and maybe even less spoke maintenance if hub motor is not constantly cranking out the highest torque to climb hills and torque up the spokes/rim.

I'd avoid small engine scooter or home built scooter if you want reliability for long term, BTDT, it's fun to ride, but not reliable, may save a little money up front, but in the long run will cost you more.

If you just want to hop on a bike and get to your destination safely with decent performance, reliable, cheap e-bike are available, but you have to specify your needs to get better suggestions.
Certain threshold for cost is present, but doesn't mean you have to spend $3-4K (or more) to get the high performance e-bike that only perform 5% better in conditions that you may never encounter.
 
If for any reason you need to get custom length 12g spokes, I did purchase 2 sets from this seller on Aliexpress for custom length black stainless 12g spokes. They were perfect length and perfect thread engagement. Sapim and DT make better spokes but not 12g and sometimes you just need to match something and these work fine and very reasonable price. Lately orders have been only taking 2 to 2-½ weeks.

Customized Custom Made Spoke Stainless Steel 12G 13G 14G Black Sliver Bicycle Electric Bike Copper Nipple
 
Very valuable education and insights. Thanks A.
So H is Hole in new speech? I'll have to add that to my dictionary and pocket notebook for future reference before I start looking for the meaning of BTDT. It's either the mechanical engineering department that encourages bastardizing known words or the english department is doing more inventions than the whole engineering school these days. Sorry for my ignorance.

As for the prices, if I had 1000-2000 I'd get me a "beater" car/truck or rebuild my car's transmission or get a scooter that comes with no range anxiety or civil/nuclear war anxiety.

I don't think (my personal opinion) that any rational person (who does have money that is not going for food or shelter, or much more wealthy than myself) should pay more than $20-30 for any bicycle (e.g. a walmart bicycle from craigslist or a dumpster) and then add a kit and get some 20-80 cent 18650 cells from batteryhookup.com and get at least 2000 miles for $200 or less which is what just happened to dumb me (given that the cost of charging is negligible relative to the depreciation, I get 20 miles for 7 cents of electricity central PA kWh prices). I don't think, either that a $1000 "(rocket science) made" bicycle would do 10000 miles (or that one $1000 bicycle is better than five $200 bicycles). I think that the arithmetic is pretty clear.

For $500, I would get a Honda or Yamaha, ...etc scooter that gives me about 100 miles a gallon that is about to need a 400-600 engine rebuild that may do 10000 miles after the rebuild (remember, range anxiety gone, and side of roads dangerous driving gone).

The "reliability" marketing is very much overrated because the internet is the best free school these days and there is a video/picture that solves every repair even for the unknowing. It is in some sense similar to the question of how much Robin Hood keeps as overhead cost for his crook operation from the money that he steels from the "evil" rich to give to the "unfortunate" poor or how much the "deep state" keeps of the money they steel from everyone of us by force (they call it taxes in the 20/21 century) for every "social program" or enriching a dictator in a foreign country as operational or overhead cost (that goes indirectly to their pockets and the pockets of their family members, friends, gangs of thugs, ...etc).

Here, I may hire a chinese sweat shop and give their product a westernized name and have them paint it feminine pink (like when uber or it's owners invented a controlled competitor/opposition and called it lyft).

It's a bicycle, the required tool reservoir build up is quick because it is simple. I just bought a "truing" stand for $35 and with the $90 rim I am planning on buying much less beans and flour this year or move to a tent, but that's much cheaper than what you are suggesting. a similar tool for cars/trucks cost thousands and a dedicated space that most do-it-yourself guys don't have.

Thank you hsdrggr. I already mentioned above that I buy stuff from china all the time, but this time, I'm looking for faster arrival. Thanks for the link, I added it to my browser favorites.
 
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