Got new "street" wheels for the 950

Discussion in 'Dakar champion (950/990)' started by kirkmoon, Mar 10, 2004.

  1. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    After several months of messing around, I finally got my new wheels on the bike and got a chance to take it out on the road this evening for a short ride.

    I built a 17" x 4.25" wheel for the rear and a 19" x 2.5" wheel for the front. Silver Excel rims. Stock 950 hubs, rotors, cush drive (got them from Munn Racing via the KTM Talk web site.) Buchanan Spoke and Rim built the wheels using their stainless steel spokes and nipples. For starters, I mounted V rated Tourances front and rear - same size as on the BMW GS - 150/70 R17 on the rear and 110/80 R19 on the front. I used heavy duty tubes. I plan to put Amerseal in the tires, but haven't done this yet.

    I haven't added up the total cost but it wasn't cheap. The hubs, rotors and cush drive were in the $400-500 range. Buchanan charged a bit over $800 for the rims, spokes and building the wheel. The tires and tubes came to over $200. Total cost in the range of $1500.

    I just got the wheels on the bike this evening just before sundown so I couldn't take the bike out and really test the new wheels out. I did get around 20 miles in and can say for certain that the handling of the bike is quite different and is pretty much what I was hoping for. The bike feels like a street bike, which is to say it feels more stable and solid and has more grip on the road. Small bumps and grooves and holes in the road don't push the front end around as much as with the skinnier 21" wheel. The head angle is a bit steeper so the bike turns a bit easier. At slow speeds the front is less inclined to go in a straght line and requires a bit more attention, but this is relatively subtle and not annoying, just different. The precise scalpel like sensation that the 21" wheel creates on the front end is gone (too bad) but the positive is that the front end feels much more sold than before without feeling dull or unresponsive.

    Based upon my very limited experience, I am quite sure that this arrangement has made the 950 a significantly better street bike. I will do more testing and report my impressions once I have had a chance to put on some miles. I haven't had a chance to take any pics, but I will post them when I get the chance.

    I took the stock wheels and mounted some Karoos for off road use.

    I'm going to try mounting some TKC80's on the "street" wheels some time in the future (they will the be same size tire that all GS off roaders know and love) and will try them out off road. It will be interesting to see if this combo will fit the bill for long distance adventure touring in the same way that it has in the GS world.

    More later.
    #1
  2. Doug Matson

    Doug Matson Long timer Supporter

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    Did you notice any change in the height with the new wheels?
    #2
  3. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    Yes. I haven't measured it, but the bike seems to be about an inch lower to the ground.
    #3
  4. Stephen

    Stephen Long timer Supporter

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    Kirk, this sounds very good. Like so many of us, I've wondered why the non-S didn't come this way from the factory, at least as an option, though two sets of wheels doesn't sound too bad for this bike. Good onya for pioneering this trail. Of course, my interest is largely academic unless I hit the lottery. Still, I'm fascinated.

    Oh yeah, pics--we want pics!
    #4
  5. teabagger

    teabagger Been here awhile

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    I bot my Adventure from Wilson's with 17" (3.5" F & 5" R) Excel rims mounted w/ 207GP's in addition to the stock set-up. It has Ducati Monster Carbon Fiber cans, the hard luggage & tank bag. Needles in #4, and larger jets, Etc. After reading all the threads about the airbox, I decided to ventilate it w/ swiss cheese drill holes covered w/ my wife's tights.....Man! Did that motor want that air! After first ride the mesh was darn near sucked into the velocity stacks, so I zip-tie'd it thru the holes in a + pattern...Runs like a whole new bike, while still keeping the low-end. I do have 3 more teeth on the back however. And the computer reset for the smaller rims does work, and is necessary for any kind of realistic speed indications. This bike is flat screaming fun, and a I have Graves prepped R-1 for comparison...
    Teabagger
    LA, CA 90049
    #5
  6. Flanny

    Flanny Flanny-it-up!

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    Are your Excels mounted on the stock hubs?
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  7. Greg Minor

    Greg Minor The Trespasser

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    I want to see pictures
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  8. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    Here are some photos of the wheels on the bike. Still haven't had a chance to take the bike out for a long ride. Will do it this weekend. Full res pics can be seen here.

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    FYI, the seat on this bike is a loaner from Scuderia West. They made a custom seat as an experiment to see if they could improve on the stock seat and are letting me use it for a few days. The saddle portion of the is filled in with gel and the seat is a bit higher. I actually don't mind the stock seat. This one is fairly comfortable but I don't think I would get it as a replacement for the stock seat.
    #8
  9. Doug Matson

    Doug Matson Long timer Supporter

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    Pictures please! Teabagger when your in the L.A. area I would like to see your bike. Kirk I am looking forward to your longer rider report, the bike looks good, I like the silver rims.
    #9
  10. KTMax

    KTMax Ninth of the Nazgul

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    Looking good Kirkmoon! :nod

    Your experience is about the same as mine I wrote about here on a friends bike back in November. Only two unanswered questions keep me from ordering a 19-17" combo too.

    • What exactly accounts for the bikes' different feel and steering? The different tire size, the slightly changed geometry and last - but definately not least - different tires
    • A good solution for the large gap between the front fender and smaller wheel as the pictures show
    Only if Tourances - or Anakees like on the bike of my friend - will come available in the stock sizes we'll know. I think the tires themselves play a big part here too. From semi-knobbie to a near street profile does make a big difference in the bikes' handling and feel. Not to mention grip and cornering stability. I think it's just a matter of time before tires like these will come available for the 950. I hope... :bow

    Great mod! :thumb It's still on my wish-list!
    #10
  11. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

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    Great mod on that KTM! Not sure why you would want to run TKC's on the 17/19 combo. Hell, use that one for the street with Tourances or Anakees and keep knobs on the stock tires. The best of both worlds.

    I'm in the process of doing the same thing with my F650 Dakar. I just picked up some used F650GS wheels in 17/19, which I am mounting Bridgestone V-Rated BT45's and then I can keep dirtier type tires on the stock 17/21 combo. I should have the new tires and wheels mounted up for testing this weekend. Now I can put that Dakar on the Track.
    #11
  12. Taki

    Taki Waiting for Godot

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    Do you know which jets were changed, and the sizes? most of the posts I read indicated a needle position change of one step richer. Did the Monster cans bolt on? Any details greatly appreciated. I am about to make the mods and want to save myself a few headaches.

    Thanks
    #12
  13. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    Thanks KTMax. Your earlier report is what motivated me to try this!

    In my brief experience with this setup, I think that the change in front end feel is not due to a single variable.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the tire is playing a big role. The contour of the 110/80 19 Tourance is very different than the stock 90/90 21 Scorpion tire. The Tourance is wider and less radiused and therefore has more rubber in contact with the road when the bike is tipped over, giving a greater sense of solidity and grip. But the different shape and width of the tire is not just a result of different tire design but is also a consequence of the wider rim on the 19" wheel - 2.5". So the wheel itself is playing an "enabling" role. But I am fairly certain that a Tourance made in a 90/90 21 size would have a narrower, taller profile and would probably feel less secure. It might be more glued to the road than the Scorpion, but I doubt it would feel the way the 19" tire does.

    I am quite convinced that the wider/shorter wheel/tire combination is responsible for the loss of the "scalpel-like" feeling on the front end. One of the nicest handling characteristics of the bike in stock form is the turning precision. I am convinced that this is a consequence of the thin, tall front wheel. I'm not sure if it is lost due to the wider tire, the shorter wheel or the changed head angle, but it is gone.

    The increased head angle also results in less straight line stability at slow speeds. Under 10 mph the front end tends to want to turn. I assume that this is due to the decreased trail. I may be able to dial this out with a change in the preload on the rear shock to drop the rear end a bit. Haven't had time to experiment. I can't drop the front forks in the triple clamp to raise the front end because the fork legs are already flush with the top of the clamp.

    The bike is VERY solid in corners and the greater stability and stickiness of the front end is very confidence inspiring. I think this bike can be pushed significantly harder in the twisties without fear of losing the front end.

    More experimentation to follow. I'll keep you posted as I learn more.
    #13
  14. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    I agree, but the problem with knobs on the stock wheels is that you still can't ride the bike any distance with knobs on without destroying them. Using hard core knobbies would work great if you lived near dirt and could limit your riding to dirt only, but it would not work well if you wanted to go on a long distance tour that included both dirt and asphalt. Putting TKC80s on the "street" rims would give you that capability just as it does in the world of the GS. The TKC80s, in the 17 and 19 inch sizes, are solid long distance dual sport tires. They work very well on asphalt and should (?) last longer than the Karoos or narrower TKC80s that fit on the stock 18/21 wheels. I am sure that the 17/19 TKC80s would not perform as well on dirt as 18/21 knobbies, but I am guessing that they might be better than the 18/21 Scorpions. I am not sure about this, and look forward to testing it out.
    #14
  15. LC12JT

    LC12JT Adventurer

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    How's that seat working out? Still leaning toward the stock setup?
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  16. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    This custom seat isn't perfect for me. I don't actually dislike the stock seat. If I could change one thing about the stock seat, it would be to give me more distance from seat top to the footpegs. I am 6' 1 1/2" tall but have long legs and I would like a little more legroom. This custom seat gives me that, but not much. It is a bit softer but the contour isn't a whole lot better for long distance riding. I think for real comfort on long distances it will be necessary to get a wider touring style seat. Might be nice to have one seat that is tall but skinny for off road stuff and a full out touring seat for long distance riding.
    #16
  17. Greg Minor

    Greg Minor The Trespasser

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    My first TKC 80 rear tire only lasted 1800 miles Of course my weight (290)always makes my tires wear fast I go on 300-500 mile rides that are about 20% dirt I'm getting a new one today These tires work so much better in the dirt that its worth the cost to me. PS my front tire will last at least as long as 2 rears

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    #17
  18. teabagger

    teabagger Been here awhile

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    I'll get some better pics up this weekend, with the cans in view (they look bitchin'.) No they didn't just bolt on-Wilson's fabbed the head pipes. I can't get the answer on what jets are in there yet, but I'm going to dyno it again in few weeks to meaure the difference w/ the ventilated airbox lid. Want to be sure I haven't leaned her out too much. Does seem to run hotter, but it's also making more than the 111 RWHP they got I'm sure. The hubs are stock so I don't have to worry about gearing-the cush drive and sprocket fit either rim. My Excel rims are black not shiny. I think I may be sensing some clutch slip...not certain but just a slight sense of excess rev on the upshift initially....maybe the extra twist requires an adjustment to cope w/ it.
    I'm running down to the Sat AM Crystal Cove car show between Laguna Bch & CDM tomorrow as my buddy has '41 Lincoln Panamerica racer for sale (Flathead, Etc.)
    Teabagger

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  19. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    I assume that you are running them on the 18" rim and that they are 140 width. Is this correct? I would guess that the 150/80 17 would last even longer due to the increased width of the tire.

    I am not sure about this, but I think that Continental designed the 17/19 TKC80s specifically for the GS and they may have better wear characteristics than the other sized TKC80s. Also, if I remeber correctly, I think that most GS riders were saying that they got around 1500+ miles on the rear TKC80. Since the KTM 950 weighs 120# less than the GS I was thinking that it might not be unreasonable to expect to see at least 2000 miles from the rear 17 inch TKC. Sounds like your experience might validate that.

    Just guessing here. Time will tell. If I could get 2000+ miles from a rear 150/80 17 TKC80 I would be happy. They are very versatile tires and work very well on the street and are reasonable in the dirt.
    #19
  20. teabagger

    teabagger Been here awhile

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    Here they are. Teabagger

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