by Steve Finberg
An excellent instant replacement for worn or missing spoke liner can be made from an FR14 inner tube cut 2″ wide. This can be made from an old “dead” tube, probably available for free, in the tire shop’s junkpile. This is especially convenient when the need is discovered at the last moment. For those who haven’t had the “pleasure” of servicing real wire wheels as fitted to some of our Alpines, the spoke liner is a rubber band that keeps the center spokes from punching holes in the inner tube. Any time a tire is changed an inspection of the inside surface of the wheel is called for. All surface rust should be wire brushed off (yes. it rusts in there due to water entering via the spoke holes) The spoke ends should be felt for rough spots and any filed smooth. A few minutes at this point will make a world of difference in inner tube life and reliability. Years ago the tire station mechanics knew to do this, but today we are lucky to find someone even willing to touch a wire wheel, and it may be difficult to talk them into letting you interrupt their work, but it is worth it.