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Old 03-15-2013, 04:31 AM   #1
Joined: Aug 2003
Location: canada
Oddometer: 54
wheel size question: 19/17 vs. 21/18

Hey all. Like to tap your collective wisdom regarding wheel sizes.

Assuming all else being equal, are there any significant performance differences between the 19/17" setup as used on most big trailies including the new 1190, and the 21/18" as used on the 950/990 and the new 1190 R?

Curious cause I am considering adding a set of 19/17 to my 1190 R order.

The 19/17s has the advantage of a greater existing range of tire choices. And it should also lower the bike by about 12mm (don't sound like much but its notable to a 1.73m tall rider with an 0.79m inseam :) )

If there are no real performance deficits, I believe it would be a worthwhile switch.

Is this a good idea or am I completely wacko Look forward to your opinions. Thx
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:37 AM   #2
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It's a dirt bike. Dirt bikes have big wheels.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:50 AM   #3
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Location: Athens, Greece
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Some like the smaller wheels on the street, some don't. What is certain, is that switching to a 19 front wheel reduces trail. It changes the way the bike handles. You might like it, or you might not.
If you see carefully the 1190 and 1190R pics you will notice that the lower model has different lower fork boots than the R. This is for a reason.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:04 PM   #4
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Location: ATL, GA
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performance wise the 21" front wheel will roll over obstacles better than a 19" front. that's why your off road bikes have a 21" front wheel. same as newer mountain bikes with 29" wheels vs 26" wheels of the past. less rolling resistance. more off road oriented rubber (i.e. full on dirt tires).

if you are just going down forest service roads and the like and don't think you'll ever find yourself on single track, then the 19/17 is fine and has more street oriented tires available.

but for off road performance, the 21/18 is the way to go.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:41 PM   #5
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I don't think you have more tire choices with 19/17, at least right now and with a 3.5'' and 5.0" width rims. They need a 120 front width and 170 rear and as far as I know you are limited to Trail attacks and Anakee 3 for road use, and the new Karoo 3 ...

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Old 03-16-2013, 06:31 AM   #6
Joined: Jul 2011
Oddometer: 704
Originally Posted by TOHC View Post
Is this a good idea Thx

It's a waste of time and money.

Leave the stock wheels on the bike and learn to ride it
like it is. If the ride height is a problem, different wheels
are the very last method which should be used to lower the

If you want street tires for the bike, Continental Trail Attack tires
are available in the correct 18" & 21" sizes for the OEM wheels and they are
a very good street tire despite their name.

A new 2012 990 with ABS and the OEM lower suspension and lower seat will
get the job done just fine and you probably won't need to lower it at all.
Of course some people like having the latest stuff, but being the beta
tester for a first-year KTM 1190 might not be the best choice to make, if
past KTM history is any guide, which it probably is.


It'sNotTheBike screwed with this post 03-16-2013 at 06:39 AM
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:57 AM   #7
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Location: Jefferson, GA
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You can drop the front a bit in the triple clamps if height is an issue . . . For street riding . . . Raise it back up for off roading etc.
"In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away"
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:54 PM   #8
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First of all do a search - it's been discussed ad nauseam.

Secondly both are really good for different things. If you're going to use the bike off road the big wheels are great for the reasons others stated. It handles nice, rolls over stuff well and works nicely in sand. The big wheels are vague and imprecise on road though and you're limited on what kind of street rubber you can get. The rear is not much of a problem but the 21 front is not a great pavement choice.

The 17/19 is amazing on pavement - it's head and shoulders better than the 21/18 and having done 30k+ on both sets it's always my choice for the bike for a trip or general riding around. You can ride dirt roads with the smaller wheels and you can do gravel and rocks and it's okay - not as nice as the big wheels but okay. It's horrible in sand or loose material. Fit a set of sticky tires (lots of options since this is the BMW GS wheel sizes) and the bike is like a versatile supermoto.

My bike spends about 70% of the time with 17/19 and 30% with the big wheels. Having both is ideal but you should decide based on what you ride more of if you can't swing both.

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