Woody's 21" vs OEM 19"

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by BMW-K, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. J Lewis

    J Lewis Numb Nuts

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    I have the three different sets of wheels that I'm currently testing and just recently got my rotor situation dialed in so that I can switch back and forth simply. I wanted to have two bikes at the same time but that has not happened.

    So yes, soon I'll tell you what I think but from looking at the post here I have to agree with most of the comments about the performance and changes to the ride feel of the bike.

    Right now I can simply say that if off-road is more of a priority there is no reason to stop you from upgrading to a 21" front. Then the 18" rear balances the bike and gives a much better tire selection to match the better front knobbies.

    What I'm feeling and need to compare is the stability of the bike in relation to the wheel flex as I feel a change even when I go from the stock wheel to a Woody's Superlace of the same size. But that is pretty detailed stuff most riders would not pick up on, yet I like to know in case I'm questioned about it. This takes a back-to-back comparison on the exact same conditions.

    Hope this helps answer some of the questions.

    JIMMY
    #61
  2. outsidein

    outsidein Been here awhile

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    90/90-21 on the front gives you better off road abilities but at the cost of worse on road handling due to higher trail and smaller contact patch up front due to loss of 30mm width with a 90mm tread.
    #62
  3. nanotech9

    nanotech9 ** Slidewayz **

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    Isn't it a little tough to notice a difference in WHEEL flex through those goofy mounted pivoting forks the 12GS's have?

    How can you tell its not just an augmentation of the forks flexing (which is way to much!) caused by varying weights of the wheels/rotational mass/etc, which would have a direct effect on the amount the forks flex side to side as you turn the bars?

    Just Curious.
    #63
  4. J Lewis

    J Lewis Numb Nuts

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    Don't know till I test them back-to-back.

    I'm not talking about what you feel through the bars but how the bike reacts to the ground in a similar condition.

    And a lot of this is the tire, which or course is very different as well. But this is why I try stuff out in the real world.
    #64
  5. CannonsvilleRider

    CannonsvilleRider Been here awhile

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    but I thought he explained it well enough.

    "I feel a change even when I go from the stock wheel to a Woody's Superlace of the same size. But that is pretty detailed stuff most riders would not pick up on, yet I like to know in case I'm questioned about it. This takes a back-to-back comparison on the exact same conditions."
    #65
  6. bigdave-gs

    bigdave-gs Explorer

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    DAMN IT ! ! ! If I could afford to do this to my 1150 Adventure, I'd do it in a heart beat. Regular forks,21" front, jacked up suspension with my 7.8 gallons of fuel........ The lose of the telelever front has got to shave off 20+ pounds of weight. That bike would fit my 40" inseam perfect ! ! ! :wink:

    I wonder what it cost to convert the frontend like that?

    [​IMG]
    #66
  7. fudgypup

    fudgypup Banned

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    So if i want to upsize to 18" in the rear, what should i do to protect my shock? I already wore a half dollar sized hole in the Meier inner fender running the 140/80/17 Mitas E09 Dakar so I'd imagine an 18" wheel is going to tear that thing up.

    [​IMG]
    #67
  8. woody's wheel works

    woody's wheel works Built to Last

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    hi fudgypup,,,i#m chiming in from BMW-land,,in old Bavaria,,,am just down the street from the big kahunas,,,no one over here seems interested in talking about there perfekt mmororrad,,,,so,i'll just keep on providing the discriminating riders some better solutions...:wink:

    ya may want to give my guys in the shop a call,,,the place is constantly awash in folks wanting to trade/upgrade etc,,,they'll include your needs i our ne newsletter on the new website... telll em hi from the ol man
    :freaky
    woody

    PS,,so hint hint...yesterday,spent lunch in an amazing old cloister Klosterbräustüberl Reutberg...this lil pub making homemade brews for hundreds of years...tried this unfiltered,natural cellar beer as they described it,,a classic festival beer that was standard fare in other times to celebrate Aegidius...hence the Aegidius Trunk vom Fass...ie the Aegidius brew from the keg at cellar temperature on a hot day,,looking at the Bavarian alps,,over olling green meadows...it moved to the top of the list of my many beer discoveries over there...hint hint try all the local brews from the keg...ya won't be disapponted:deal
    #68
  9. Quirky

    Quirky Been here awhile

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    #69
  10. fudgypup

    fudgypup Banned

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    Thanks for the tips, guys. I will call over there and see what I can work out. I will ask them about an inner fender solution as well as 18" rubber options. 18" TT is very common, TL not so much.

    I also have the Wilbers upgraded suspension (beemershop.com) and want to protect that investment.

    As for beer, thats good info! I cant stand the beer over there normally; its all Heineken, Stella, etc... Euro-budweiser. I finally found some of that finer stuff at a restaurant in Berlin, Augustiner am Gendarmenmarkt. You definitely have to look for the better stuff. Ive been to more northern cities (Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Berlin) but not Munich or southern Bavaria yet.
    #70
  11. EScott

    EScott Adventurer

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    If you'd prefer a rather cheap/simple solution to protect your shocks (I had Wilbers on my R1100S and they were great) you could consider a "shock-sock" solution.. These are pretty much just a neoprene sleeve with a velcro closure that wrap around the shock to keep the crap out. Had one on a MTB and it worked great. Thinking about getting one to help preserve these silly expensive ESA shocks..
    #71
  12. J Lewis

    J Lewis Numb Nuts

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    Well, I said I would get back to you guys on this and it took some time but here is what I found out.

    If you have any specific questions post them up here and I should be able to answer them specifically.


    With the varying sizes of wheels on adventure bikes and the availability of options to change the sizes on your bike, here are some of the performance affects you can expect with an off-road bias as tested on a 2008 BMW GSA 1200.
    The wheels were provided by Woody’s Wheel Works so I could do the testing in a back-to-back fashion as to feel the differences while riding over the exact same terrain on a 15-mile loop I set up that included all types of dirt and a bit of twisty pavement. I tested with 26 PSI front and rear and used tires that I’m very familiar with as to eliminate that part of the influence on the wheels. Especially on the 21”/18” set. Then I rode with each wheel set for an extended period of time to get use to the character and further evaluate the ride.

    Stock wheels: 19” front, 17” rear with Continental TKC 80s

    -They come with the bike, they don’t cost extra.
    -All around performance will be considered standard or average and comments will be compared to this setup.
    -These wheels felt the heaviest and the least stable but some explanation is needed. Being heavy, they like to stay in line when the speeds increase, but during slow speeds they are more difficult to initiate a change of direction, it takes more rider effort. Then when you are at higher speeds it also takes more effort to change direction of the front wheel. The stability issue has to do with the weight getting out of balance as it goes farther out of balance before you feel it, then there is more work involved to get it back. Basically it takes longer to notice that you are slightly out of line and then it isn’t as easy to get back in line. For a rider who is not that aware of the balance, the heavier wheel will mask some of the out of balance feel but when it shows up it is more drastic. If you hit something at slow speed that deflects the wheel, it deflects easier too.

    -The bump compliance was the worst of the three sets. You feel more through the bars and the wheels “bounce” more on the impacts. None of the wheels changed the performance of the suspension to a significant matter but I felt some slight tuning of the rebound damping could optimize each setup. This setup tracked the ground the worst.

    Woody’s Superlace with Superlight Hubs, 19” front, 17” rear with Continental TKC80s

    -The biggest advantage is the reduction in weight. Four pounds front and three pounds rear. You can feel it in two ways. First is in the changing of the direction and turning in the front wheel. It is a noticeable amount easier, especially at mid-speeds around 15-30 MPH. Then there is the reduction in bump feedback. Especially in the front the wheel does not feel like it pounds the ground as hard as the stock wheel does. It tracks better and worked the best with a lighter (less) rebound damping in the shocks.

    -The GS feels lighter especially when it gets light on its wheels and during the rare times when it is in the air.

    -The brake performance felt better and more initially responsive. But some of this could be attributed to newer Galfer rotors on the wheels.
    -For the most part the performance was very similar in every other aspect.

    Woody’s Superlace Superlight 21” front, 18”rear with Metzeler Karoo (and Pirelli MT21s)

    -The advantage here is that the larger wheels are able to roll over bumps better and also give a wider selection of off-road tires too. And for sure the bump compliance is vastly improved and the front wheel feels more planted and rolls over rough terrain so much better it was shocking. The improvement was so good that if I did not have a KTM950 for my more “adventurous” riding, I would run this setup all the time. But beware; many knobbies are not even close to being up to the task of dealing with a 500+ pound machine, not to mention the high horsepower as well. The Pirelli MT21’s did some pretty funny things, mostly in carcass roll and that is why I switched to the Metzelers to eliminate variables.
    -The disadvantage list includes a loss of contact patch for the front tire. It is most noticeable under breaking on the dirt where the brakes easily overpower the tire. For street performance the tire choice is more important since the knobs don’t deal with the weight too well. The more aggressive of a knobby you run will have an even bigger affect that the change in size alone. It is not as dramatic as I first suspected it would be but I did prefer a less aggressive knobby for all around riding due mostly to the compromise on the street. Off-road the 21” bites the ground better and grips harder and longer before sliding out but it goes out more suddenly when it does. In soft sand or mud the tire bites in better and because it rolls over things easier it also steers in these instances as opposed to floating and sliding.

    -The front brake strength is minimized a little bit and this is noticeable on and off road. The brake does not overpower a less aggressive knobby like the Metzeler on the road as easily.

    -The stability goes up, especially with speed but the steering seems to fall between the stock set and the Woody’s Standard sized wheels in stability. In slow speed the 21” front is easier to turn and it will shake, or become unstable easier when you are moving. The sensation is that the bike feels lighter yet it lets you know if you are out of balance quicker. The wheelbase gets slightly longer with this setup and the trail is slightly longer which plays into the stability’s favor, despite what it feels like to the rider. I tried the 21” front with the 17” rear and the bike felt too front end high and would take some ride height adjustment to get the balance where it should be. And it was very unstable like this.

    -You must remove the under fender for proper clearance and this throws up mud that you may not be used to.

    -With the different sized tires, especially the rear, the paralever ratio is a little off compared to standard. When on pavement setting into turns and then getting on the gas you can feel the rear of the bike rise ever so slightly. With a looser tire (carcass or due to knob flex) on the back it can even feel like the bike is setting up to go into a slide. The front end’s feeling of being loose in the connection between the bars the front tire on the BMW is lessened ever so slightly since the contact patch is smaller.

    -One advantage/disadvantage is in the gearing because of the rear wheel size. I really likes the higher final drive ratio as it let the bike pull along faster and smoother at a low RPM on the highway, plus it spaced the ratios out so I got more out of each gear. The bike has plenty of power for this. The issue is the increase in first gear’s ratio gear being taller. In slow speed, very technical riding it takes more use of the clutch which for a lot of riders, especially off road, can be an issue.
    #72
  13. J Lewis

    J Lewis Numb Nuts

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    One correction to the above is that the wheelbase does not change with the 21/18 set, but it feels like it does (gets slightly longer) and the seat height goes up just a bit. I did not measure the increase but I could tell. The bike does lean over just a little farther on the side stand but not enough for concern.

    JIMMY
    #73
  14. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

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    Excellent write up ;)
    I have the "Woody’s Superlace with Ultralight Hubs, 19” front, 17” rear" and I agree. Good analysis.

    Oh yeah !

    that's true...oh very true !
    But Woody's will find a solution...:evil
    #74
  15. 3horsepack

    3horsepack Adventurer

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    I know this might be alittle late to pipe up but being the proud new owner of a 96 R1100GS I fixed that kickstand issue buy drilling a hole thru base of Kickstand to allow a for a 3/8 bolt to go thru and then welded a 3/8th bolt to the top and them attached the 2" dia 1" thick rubber stop off a horse trailer ramp and bolted it to the bottom. This increased the footprint as well as adding some length to the kickstand. Looks very similar to the one in this thread. Took about a half hour to install. Thanks
    #75
  16. fitenfyr

    fitenfyr Dirt is Good

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    Jimmy,
    Curious did you run or have you plans to run TKC's with the 21/18 setup?
    Currently I am running the TKC front with a Heideneau K60 rear and am really happy with the feel
    Solid predictable wet/dry street feel and tractable enough in the dirt for now. Even at street pressures.
    Haven't done enough dirt with this to have a sound opinion but with the TKC'S front/rear I have and found them to be very predictable in all terrain.
    I ageee with the MT21. That was the first front I ran and it worked well but you sure could feel it at the limits when riding hard. It also was chewed through in no time...:D
    I am still running the 21/17 setup but am leaning towards the 18 when I have Woody relace this rear end of the year.
    I agree the ride height takes some getting used to but honestly it still feels pretty balanced to me.
    Course I am certainly not the rider you are so hell it could have square wheels and I might still like it :D
    #76
  17. woody's wheel works

    woody's wheel works Built to Last

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    hi folks,,just got home safe n sound from a 3 month sabbatical so to speak:wink:

    1,,,when the bike is set up 21 / 17 the front end rises circa 1'' which essentially increases the trail theoretically making it more stable ie track easier in a straight line,,,the seat raises circa 3/8 inch....i myself have reverted to this set up,,namely because,,i have a short inseam,,and in the technical rocky stuff,,,the 18 rear raised the the gearing thus necessitating a lot of clutch action,,and when i can't dab the ground ,,well ,i hate falling over,,,so for me the 21'' sealed the deal in how i prefer the bike to handle in the dirt,,,and i'm no sloooow poke,,so in the context of how and where i ride,,,i"m a happy chappy,,,OBTW,,i dig the street legal Dunlop Rallye Raids running 34PSI,,,,i like em on the street and dirts as well,,,caveat:,,,what you read in our reports are the feedback and impressions of folks ranging from world class champions like Jimmy to my local hot-shoe side kick /assistant/wheel build ace zach,,,my self and hosts of other ADV riders using this set-up...i am positive Jimmy ran these set-ups above and beyond my current skill sets...the point i'm trying to make,,is that just because i feel comfy does not necessarily mean jimmy feels comfy with it,,,same goes for tire selection,,,What i do KNOW,,is that their is more solid info in Jimmy's post,,for all of us to make better decisions with...Thanks again Jimmy <label for="rb_iconid_24">[​IMG]</label><label for="rb_iconid_24">[​IMG]</label><label for="rb_iconid_24">[​IMG]</label><label for="rb_iconid_24">[​IMG]</label><label for="rb_iconid_24">[​IMG]</label>

    2,,,the seat height goes up circa .5-1'' depending on which set up ya use

    this of course will make the bike lean over a little more,,which can be compensated for by:

    3,,,we have offered adjustable or modified side-stands for years,,i"ll see if i can find a link to the thread about em,,,i believe we will modify your side-stand to the range you want ,,weld a nice big foot on it to boot for $99 plus S&H or extend yours with big foot for $60 or if just needs shortening for $40,,,those prices are off the top of my head

    FYI;;;here's another company that makes a nice unit circa $350,,haven't seen or tested one:deal
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=726974


    what's neat about the adjustable unit is its versatility,,,BWOE,,it's a no brainer that going from 17 to 21 and back again will cause the bike to lean over at a different angle,,,NOW visualize the difference between solo riding and fully loaded and fully loaded with a big passenger BWOE,,,i noticed that the bike with standard side-stand will lean over more and sometimes it get's too vertical ,,,no sweat,,i just put the bike on the center-stand grab the foot of side-stand turn counterclockwise to take pressure off the jam nut (i never tighten the jam nut with a wrench) and re-adjust it for optimal lean angle.

    and thanks Jimmy for taking the time n energy to throw some experienced light on the 21'' issue. <label for="rb_iconid_24">[​IMG]</label>

    :freaky
    woody

    PS,,,i have been taken to task by some in other forums that my wheels and or suggested sizing diameters and widths to accommodate any type of riding you want to do are the end all /do all solution to your bikes performance,,,,that BWOE i should have a forewarning disclosure statement like: 'suspension improvements would serve you better..'.

    Folks,,,it's Woody's Wheel Works...NOT woody's suspension or anything else works:wink:

    'The chain is as strong as the weakest link'....

    i know certain bikes have all kind of other issues that need upgrading and/or replacement,,,Zach just spent a grand for some Ohlins
    on our shop bike because he could ride it so much faster and easier on the 21/18 setup... the stock suspension couldn't handle it,,thus it became the the next weakest link,,,

    the ultimate trick is to have a well balanced machine,,all systems working harmoniously together for the kind of riding you do,,,

    all i want to do is give you wheels that have been designed and tested to enhance your performance and enjoyment,,,OBTW and 'bult to last' and while we're at it why not make em purty:deal
    #77
  18. fitenfyr

    fitenfyr Dirt is Good

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    Totally agree with Woody on the suspension...
    My next investment is a spring rate change then eventually a shock body change when my suspension guy Alex at Konflict motorsports sorts out an ESA setup.
    The wheel change just happened to be my first step.
    #78
  19. J Lewis

    J Lewis Numb Nuts

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    The Metzeler Karoo is pretty similar to the TKC 80s just a little better off-road and quicker wearing on-road. Since the goal of the 21/18 is off-road performance I went with the Metezlers but overall the difference is small. The Hideneau is not agressive enough in the open spaces between the blocks for me to feel safe when I'm asking a lot of the tire on the dirt. It makes a huge difference for me off-road. But they last a long time...

    It was very interesting to me how the stability went up with the 18" rear when it gave the bike less rake but I ride pretty balanced and not over the back so maybe it let me relax more to still have the weight I want on the front?

    I run Race Tech GS3 shocks front and rear, FYI. These are the best of the replacement shocks I have found. It is a big improvident over any others I have tried especially in the damping control available from the shock and they come valved and sprung correctly.

    JIMMY
    #79
  20. fitenfyr

    fitenfyr Dirt is Good

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    I agree the K60 is 50/50 at best and certainly not an ageessive off road tire. I was just wondering if you had played with it at all.
    #80