"Adventure wheels" conversion thread (19" front 17" rear)

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Thanas, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. Thanas

    Thanas Adventurer

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    This thread would be for all the bikes converted to "adventure wheels"
    That would be a 2.15 / 2.50 / 2.75 x 19 front wheel and a 4.00 / 4.25 / 4.50 x 17 rear wheel.

    I've converted my DR 650 to "adventure wheels" and am curious how many others have also done so.

    Here a pic of my bike:
    [​IMG]

    I've used the front wheel of a (european) Suzuki XF 650 Freewind and the rear is a Warp9 rim laced to the standard hub.

    I was first contemplating going to a Supermoto set-up, but I really wanted good performance off-road. I know it's not as great as a true 21/18 set of wheels with knobbies. But 21/18 is definately less than ideal when on wet pavement. To me the "adventure wheel" set-up works just right both on- and off-road. Nest time thoug, i will go with 2 sets of wheels, the 21/18 for enduro/ off-road riding. and a 19/17 set for everyday type of adventuring. I've got a set of COntinental TKC80's on, 110/80-19 front and 150/70-17 rear. Works awesome!

    Let's see some pictures and stories!
    [​IMG]

    I'm specifically interested to see an KTM 690 Enduro or a BMW G 650 X Challenge in this configuration.

    Greetings,
    Thanas
    #1
  2. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Why would anybody trade a 18/21 wheel package for a 17/19? The only reason I can think of is a better selection of street tires. In that case, why not just have a street bike? Certainly the bike will suffer dual sporting and lose much of it's utility.
    #2
  3. griffo1962

    griffo1962 Long timer

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    Here's mine
    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. Thanas

    Thanas Adventurer

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    The point to having a 19/17 set of wider wheels, is to be able to actually DUAL-SPORT, to be quick on-road and be quick off-road. Not one or the other. I tried that with the standard narrow rims and narrow tires

    DR 650:
    front 1.85 x 21 with 90/90-21
    rear 2.50 x 17 with 130/80-17
    I had Heidenau K60 on these rims. They worked pretty well on-road, however, with wet weather, the skinny front would slide pretty easily. And that would have been even worse with real knobbie tires. In these sizes, knobbies would be better off-road, but really limit the possibility to do some real sporty ridng on-road.

    Now i can ride anywere i want, on-road i can drag the pegs. And because off the wider rims, i can have a bit more aggresive tires that work well off-road.

    I've seen this statement before:
    21" is better than 17" off-road
    17" is better than 21" on-road
    And the 19" is the perfect middle ground.

    As stated. next bike will have 2 sets, one will be the 21/18 wheels with true knobbies and the other will be a 19/17 set with wide aggressive dual-purpose tires. I'm confident i can go anywhere anybody with 21/18 wheels can go, i just have to ga a little bit slower.

    And stating you should just get a streetbike...? what's up with that?
    I have only 1 bike, i use it for commuting, all year round. vacations, "canyon" carving, off-roading, anything. That's the hole point to the Dual-purpose/ adventure bike. Go anywhere.

    Griffo:
    Thank's for the pic. at least 1 person that likes the 19" front.

    Greetings,
    Thanas
    #4
  5. lamotovita

    lamotovita Ageing Adventurer

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    He didn't trade an 18" for a 17" rear wheel, he went to a wider 17" rim. A 19" front wheel will provide much better road handling with minimal penalty offroad. Personally I don't seee the point in running a 19" front knobby though, I woulfd think that would take away many of the benefits of switching to a 19" wheel. As long as he likes it, thats good enough for me.
    #5
  6. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Ive got the wider rear 17" and wide front 19" on my DR,I do think a 17" on the front is too small and changes handling too much,they look cool though. DR is no super-moto bike no matter how you slice it.
    I think I can go just as fast around corners on the road with a semi smooth 21" tire on the front but the spare wheelset is very handy. Ive got Shinko 705's on my street wheels and they are cheap and work great for road or fireroad cruising.
    I keep the knobbys on my stock wheels in the closet but hardly use em as I ride my plated DRZe for most off road bashing,or the 300 KTM.
    #6
  7. kubiak

    kubiak Long timer

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    great job! i love the different sets of wheels too. i think it looks tougher and better with the 19-17 setup for sure. having two sets with only one bike to ride is the same boat im in.
    #7
  8. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i like that 19" wheel also for all around capability, here's another converted to the 17/19 setup.

    [​IMG]

    the diameter of the 19" with tire is not much different than the 21" with tire. i normally run TKCs, currently scuffed over near the edge, no problem with highway manners.
    #8
  9. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    I watched a Supermoto race put on by NASMoto a few years back. Watched some guy on an old XR600R smoke some newer KTM SMs with 17s. He was running a Dunlop K591 Sport Elite on the 18" back wheel and I think a Metzler Laser ME33 on the 21" front wheel, pulling the lead longer with each lap.

    I personally have done both off roading and some really HARD road riding with my Duro Median HF903/904 dual sports in a 17 rear 21 front combination. I can run with my friends on their DRz SMs, XR650R supermoto'ed, and Aprilia 550 Supermoto (not on acceleration and he's stronger in the corners) without much problem. There are a few corners where I've drug a toe. The Aprilia rider, who is much better than I, commented that he has no idea how I ride that KLX that fast after we swapped bikes for a bit. I told him 10 years and 45,000 miles. I have 25,000+ miles on that brand/model tire with lots of riding in all conditions pushing hard. Never had the front slip and the only problem is serious mud and toughest off road conditions. That calls for a pair of knobbies. I have no idea about the Heidenaus, after first riding the Duros (bought them when I couldn't afford anything more expensive) I found them so good in all conditions I never tried any others.

    I guess what I'm saying is there is really no need for a 19 or a 17 for the road, except for tire selection and that's even questionable with the availability of the 21" road tires now out for all the customs with 21" wheels. With 45,000 miles on that bike of mine both commuting and play riding on all sorts of road conditions, I have no real functional need to alter wheel sizes. There truly isn't enough difference between the 17 and 21 on the road on a dual sport single. If anything the advantage is totally for dirt/gravel where a 21 will knife down through gravel and dirt along with the larger rolling diameter for rolling over obstacles. So advantage on the big single is totally 21 front.

    That said, I am doing a set of 17/17 SM wheels for one particular reason that even a 17/19 can not deal with. I hate wearing out good dual sport tires on the road and know the road tires won't work well on loose dirt/gravel. It only takes about a half hour to swap out. I ride the road tires on the good paved roads from home to my friend's to do some dual sporting for a few days, swap out wheels, ride for a few days on dirt/gravel, then swap out and head home. Maximize wear from both sets of tires. That can not be done with any one set of wheels/tires. Plus I like the look of the supermoto wheels, I just know they aren't better than the 17/21 OEM set with the Duros.

    Besides, probably much like you guys doing the 19s, I think the 17s will look cool, much as you guys do the 19. That's likely the only reason to swap out from the 21, there is no other good reason from a stand point of dual sporting. The guys with the desert sled Triumphs and such already had proven that. You don't see many, if any desert or Dakar racers running anything other than a 21 on the front. Even the desert racers are using the 21s now. For those of us who change out, it's all about looks if we have done the research and are honest with ourselves. And that is all good too, to each their own.
    #9
  10. Thanas

    Thanas Adventurer

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    OK

    Is it possible to run with "faster" bikes on 21/18 wheels, Yes. Certainly with road tires on the 21/18. But why have 21/18 wheels and put road tires on? You could go with 17/17 and put roadtires on, and have a Supermoto. But then off-roading through mud and sand etc. would be very difficult. Gravel and hard surfaces, it really doesn't mather what wheels or tires you have.

    With the 19/17 wide rims, you can mount aggresive tires, which work well off-road, but because they are wider, also stick well on-road. And why care if the tires wear, that's what they are made for.

    The point is. If you ride all types of roads in all types of conditions, and can have only 1 set of wheels, i think the 19/17 wheels are awesome.

    As said before. Next bike I will definately have 2 sets of wheels. the 21/18 with knobbies for enduro/ off-road riding and a set of 19/17 with TKC80's for everything else.

    That said, YMMV?

    Greetings,
    Thanas
    #10
  11. SamM

    SamM Jeep Overlander

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    Here's a previous setup that I used on my 2008 KLR650. These wheels were made by Woody's Wheel Works. Woody does all my wheels, for good reason! The wheels were Superlaced with heavier stainless steel spokes and nipples. They worked great on the road and in the dirt. The bike was set up for Adventure Touring with SW-Motech racks and Pelican cases from Caribou Cases, a vendor here on AdvRider.

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    My point is I can ride aggressive enough on a KLX650 to drag my foot with a 21/17 and Duro 60/40 dual sport tires. It has a tread that can do all off road short of a full on knobby, yet hang very close with radial running SMs. No 2" drop in diameter or 1/2" increase in tire width is needed. It doesn't wash out the front and corners like on rails. That is on the strongest dual sport 650 single from Japan in spite of being out of the line up in the US for 16 years and outside the US for 10.

    If you had some tank of a twin the extra grip might be needed for dual sporting, but it seems even the big twins came with 21s when they were set up for some dual sporting. Seems the 19 came in when it became obvious the trend was more street and less dirt. A 375 lb or less single just doesn't benefit in any great way, especially when you bring in the TKC80s, which are essentially DOT knobbies for adventure bikes stuck with the 19/17 wheels.

    As I said, it is more about looks than reality. Same with the 17s on dual sports for handling. The standard 21/17 (or 18) can do the job very well on the street. Maybe not racing, but on the street. My only reason for doing 17s isn't due to handling and function, it's due to tire wear. I figure I'd rather wear out the dual sport tires in dual sport riding and have a set of purpose built road wheels to wear out street tires when riding the plain flatstraight highways and streets of central Ohio. That's why it's taken 14 years and 45,000 miles before doing the spare wheels. I never really needed them until about 5 years ago. I just hate to ruin good dual sport tires on street riding when I know I'm not going to get into any sort of dirt/gravel to speak of. Heck they could just as easily be a regular 21/17 combination with road tires and serve the exact same purpose, but that wouldn't look as cool.

    If you like the adventure bike look of 19/17 great. It just doesn't really offer any advantage, except maybe psychologically. That is what I learned about 17s when riding with the supermoto riders, they don't give any real street advantage over the wheel/tire combination I have. And I know the bike/tires can be pushed further yet. I just won't take the added risk on the public roads.
    #12
  13. Thanas

    Thanas Adventurer

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    Ok, some calculations:

    90/90-21
    Diameter: 695,4 mm (27,4")

    110/80-19
    Diameter: 658,6 mm (25,9")

    Difference of 36,8 mm (1,45")

    that means the ride height wil drop with half the difference: 18,4 mm (0,72")

    To me that sounds like almost no difference at all. The tire width however is increased with 22%!

    Going from the 90/90-21 to a Supermoto 120/70-17, the front axle will drop by 47,8 mm (1,88") that a bit more.

    All in all, i'm very positive about the difference. I will confirm that with the standard skinny tires, even with dual-purpose tires, on dry pavement, you can really ride hard on the road. However, throw in some cold, winter weather, rain, etc. and those ties can become a bit iffy. And i have had the front slip a few times. None of that with the current wheels and tires, so far. Perhaps the looks are nicer with the wider tires, but have you seen my bike, I don't really care about appearance. I'm function over form.

    Anyway, who else has some positive stories about these wheels?

    Greets,
    Thanas
    #13
  14. freetors

    freetors Long timer

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    When I was planning on getting a WR250R I had also planned on getting a set of 17s. When I actually got it and started riding it on the street I found even DOT knobbies provide more than enough pavement cornering grip for all I wanted to do. I have no intentions of getting street wheels now.
    #14
  15. The Letter J

    The Letter J Long timer

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    I have a complete spare 18x2.5 rear wheel/rotor/cush hub/sprocket for my 690 enduro and I have been using it to swap back and forth from trials tire to knobby. I find that I never use the knobby anymore so I could put a 90% onroad type tire (pirelli MT90?) on my spare rear wheel and use it for my short daily commutes and running around. That being said, I've been keeping an eye out for a complete front wheel to put a street tire on and came across a bare front hub. I was originally just going to run street tires on 21/18 wheels but being that I'd have to buy a rim and spokes for the front anyway, is there any onroad benefit to running a 19" front if I still have an 18" rear? Should I just stick to my original plan and lace it up 21"?
    #15
  16. Thanas

    Thanas Adventurer

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    It depends on how you ride on-road.

    If your just using the road wheels, to get down the road and don't need better road holding, the 21" would be just fine. But with only a spare hub, you could go for the 19" front.

    However, the Pirelli MT90 is not available with a proper size tire for the 19" front. You would need a 100/90-19 or 110/80-19 front tire. So you would either mix and match tire models/ brands, or look for another brand.

    You could definately keep the spare stock 2,50 x 18 rear wheel. You could then go for a MT90 for the rear in 140/80-18 and a Scorpion Trail 100/90-19 for the front. For normal road riding, those sizes would be good enough.

    There are a few bikes that come standard with similair front/ back wheels. The advantage of the 19" front would be the availability of more road tires. The 2,50 x 18 rear is a bit more difficult to find road tires for. However, there are still plenty off road tires available:
    On the 2,50 x 18 rim, you could also fit a 130 width tire (130/90 or 130/80 or 130/70-18)
    With the standard wheels (21/18) you could also mount Heidenau K60 Scout, very good on the road, ok for light off-road.

    In short.
    With the 19" you have even more choice for road oriented tires. But unless you go with a matching wider rear wheel, you might not benefit from the 19" wider front rim for the road. Considering resale of the spare wheels later on, going to a 3.50 x 17 front wheel and using the spare rear wheel to relace that hub to a 5.00x17 wheel, you could have a Supermoto set, for road riding, which are easy to sell again, the 19" front, althoug I really like it, might not be so easy to sell.

    The choice for me to go with the 19/17 wider wheels, was to have the choice to mount aggressive tires, that work well both an- and off-road. For pure street riding at moderate pace, the 21/18 are more than adequate, for aggressive road riding, go with 17/17 Supermoto. Or 19/17 with sport-touring tires.

    Good luck with your choice.

    Regards,
    Thanas
    #16
  17. hunter_greyghost

    hunter_greyghost XS650 Allroads Traveller

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    120x18" D606 Dunlop rear, 100x19" Trials front on the XS650 works a treat! :eek1
    [​IMG]
    But I could see that on a lighter bike, what the initial post said would apply, I can remember being on my arse more than once when I lived in Canberra, black ice & 21" knobbies don't mix well when you're riding a DT175 to work! :lol3
    [​IMG]
    K70 350x19" front - 120x16" K460 rear, works well in most conditions,
    [​IMG]
    including this white shit!
    [​IMG]
    Thinking about changing this 23" to a 19" on this XL500S & doing a 'special' build of some sort - maybe Motard?
    Cheers
    Baza
    #17
  18. Thanas

    Thanas Adventurer

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    @Hunter_Greyghost
    Australia, your lucky to live there, for off-road riding i think that woul dbe a great country. We have a lot off off-road places in the Netherlands, however, most of those roads are closed for trafic. And off-roading through forests is treated almost as iff your some big criminal.
    Once considered moving to australia, just after i was finished with my studies. But never happened.

    ..............

    So after almost 4000 km (2500 miles) on the current set of Continental TKC80, which i bought second hand. I'm starting to look for a replacement tire. Really really really like the TKC80, for me they work great both on- and off-road. But now ther rear is getting near to having to be replaced. Well, probably will get another 1000 km or more out of the rear before it is really at the wear bars, but no harm in having a replacement tire ready.

    So at first i would just get a new or near new TKC80 to replace the old tire. I replace tires myself, so can save quite some money that way.

    However, i would consider some other tires, why not.
    Anybody have some experience with these:
    All of course in the 150/70-17 size.
    (101,64 euro / 127,59 Dollar) Mitas E-10
    (118,63 euro / 148,92 Dollar) Continental TKC80
    (88,10 euro / 110,59 Dollar) Metzeler Karoo T
    (81,29 euro / 102,04 Dollar) Metzeler Karoo
    (116,60 euro / 146,37 Dollar) Pirelli Scorpion Rally

    These are prices when i buy them from my regular place of the internet. Tried on marktplaats.nl (e-bay like site) but currently nothing available.
    Also looked at other makes, such as Shinko, Sava, Kenda, Maxxis, Mefo etc. But nothing available.

    Use the bike in all conditions, on-road, off-road, rain, cold, hot. etc. So good road manners are wanted, but also want nice off-road abilities. Tire wear is not that important, as long as it is in reasonable, if it lasts 5000 km that's fine with me.

    I'll keep you informed what i end up going with.

    I've also used Heidenau K60 Scout before, but the 150/70-17 seems like it won't handle off-road that well.
    #18
  19. Idle

    Idle Been here awhile

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    I'm looking to go the other way. I'm getting to a point where my speed on the straights on rocky trails is fast enough to trash my 17" rims. I need more sidewall for the square rocks. Also some knobs would give me a faster corner speed I think.

    Have 3.5 and 5.0 x 17" rims and air down to 15 to 18 psi for trail work. It works very well for what it is. Phenom braking and little wheelspin on loose climbs. The 160 rear has a massive footprint at 15 psi. Can climb slow or fast without hardly any kickout.

    [​IMG]


    To keep my forks and radial caliper I'm thinking of getting a 19 x 3.5 complete front wheel and a 4.25 x 17" rear rim. I've already got spokes and a Kush hub. The 4.25 would give me many d/s tire options. A 21" wheel has caliper/spoke interference problems.

    Or I could just get a tire changer and go with a taller front 17" for trails. Mark where the weights and valve stem are so balancing is a non issue.

    Not going up these at speeds. Just tractor up slowly and pick a good line. The street tire hooks up well and can loft the front up easily.

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. speedmaster

    speedmaster Been here awhile

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    649
    I'm enjoying mine seems like the perfect combo for 20% hard pack/ gravel and 80% pavement type riding.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    :clap
    #20