At Stotfoldengineering a large part of our work comes in from other restorers who do not have the machinery or skills to do the job, this work includes aluminium welding , reboring, grinding, and wheel building, to name a few. We have always prided ourselves in having the machinery to do all jobs that come our way and to accomplish all work to a quality finish and to high degrees of accuracy. One job that came our way was a simple pair of wheels that needed breaking down and new stainless spokes fitting also chrome plated alloy rims needed reconditioning and lastly the wheels needed truing. The offsets on the hub in relation to the rim where noted and the old spokes were removed. The nipples were put to one side and new spokes were ordered. While waiting for the spokes we ground the flaking chrome plating away form the rim to give the best finish we would get. We have found in the past that putting the alloy rims in a chrome stripping bath would always come out pitted and the chrome only partially stripped, leaving us with hours of finishing work.
We finished the rims and lacquered them and then we started spoking them up. This is reason BMW thought it a good idea to fit tiny grub screws inside the nipples to lock up on the ends of the threaded part of the spoke also the chrome plating aluminium rims on these wheels is a crap idea as well. But the spokes naturally lay in there correct positions unlike a lot of wheels where the rim spoke dimple angles can lead you up the garden path.
BMW made the rim truing a sole destroying task. After several hours pissing about with one of them we decided to phone Hagons who said they don’t do them anymore due to the time it takes, they went into detail about how the truing process on that particular wheel is seemingly illogical and went on to say about his suspicion of BMW not even truing them up “properly” as they came out the factory. After many hours of though and dial testing for trueness breakthroughs were achieved, but it wasn’t good enough. I read a few things on the web and found anyone taking on the task were doing it to get there bike back on the road, they were having to do it themselves as no wheel builder would undertake them and if they did they would charge between £350 – £450. per wheel.
Thanks BMW for producing a shitty set of wheels. apparently, speaking to several wheel builders that have been bitten by BMW wheels they have cut there losses and given up or they finished the wheels and got them to run truer than the original as the originals never ran true and vowed never to do another BMW wheel. I can gladly say we can do these BMW wheels but they take time and Bob “our wheel builder who knows a thing or two about spoking wheels” gave the wheel a try and succeeded at producing true wheels in good time.
I’ve never known anything like these wheels here is some of the specification.
- Chrome plated aluminium.
- Chrome plated spokes.
- Grub screws inside spoke nipples.
- Non standard truing.
- Special jig for doing rear wheels as it is a single sided swinging arm.
I don’t consider there to be anything right about these wheel. And I found building them, soul destroying.
This all happened when a dealer had a potential buyer. The customer with the BMW said he would have it if the rims were refreshed with new spokes. The dealer probably rang Hagons or Central wheels and didn’t get any joy, so he phoned me and my rely was a “wheel is a wheel”, we do hundreds of them, “Bingo”, he’s consigned himself to me inadvertently by purchasing the required spokes I requested. Unknown to me it’s a shitter of a job.
He paid for prepping and painting the rims and also paid out £170.00 for stainless spokes. The rims were a bastard to paint as they had to be as silver as I could get them and powder coating wasn’t going to achieve the desired silver and they also wanted lacquering. The materials for the paint and lacquer job minus labour was £95. The labour was about £160 per wheel as the acid etch primer coats needed rubbing down so many times. After a host of expected delivery times from me the dealer found it prudent to pass his customer onto me to take the pressure off his back.
The customer duly phoned me and I said it would be about a week as it all depended when the rims were coming back from the painters who were 2K lacquering the rims for £30. The rims came back to me and I got a call from the dealer who asked if I had built these wheels before I replied “Yes, as they are like any other spoked wheel”, he signed off sounding quite happy, but I’m sure he knew that I was going to have problems. After 12 hours at £55 per hour equating to £660 of solid shit and soul destroying demoralisation the wheels were finished at a total cost of £1115 or £557.50 each when I quoted £430 for the pair and the dealer allowed me to up it to £460per pair. What a shitty deal and I won’t get hooked into the situation again and I will never own a BMW unless it’s a vintage one. If you ever purchase a single sides BMW swinging arm yourself. Use some rattle can silver and spray the wheels on the bike, they aren’t worth removing although they don’t look bad when there done.
There are the 3 things you should never buy, boats, plains and women, you only rent them, and don’t forget modern BMW’s. Enough said.