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Old 04-01-2011, 10:30 AM   #1
jscottyk OP
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Rear Wheel Follow Up - 18 inch or 17 inch - 2.5 inch or 3.5 inch

Questions for you all folks that have upgraded you rear wheels. Any comments on the 18 inch or 17 in question? Same goes for the 2.5 inch or 3.5 inch wide decison.

I'm considering a new rear wheel that will be used in 50% street, 50% dirt scenarios and am looking for some feedback now that you've got some miles on your upgraded wheels.
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:41 PM   #2
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For 50:50 riding a 3.5" would be fine, better selection of knobbies in 18" and better selection of street biased tires in 17".

If your off roading is hard and you want the strongest rim available, then I'd go with a 18"x 2.5" DID Dirt Star or Excel. This will work great with 140 width dirt and dual sport tires, but of course it won't handle the same in the twisties.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:07 PM   #3
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I went with a 17x 3.5 Excel from Woody's. I've got about 32,000km of mixed terrain on it and it's been great. The lack of road rubber for the 18 made me go with the 17. Of course the lack of good dirt tires in a 17 is issue too. I thought about a 2.5 but I decided for me, my riding and a heavy bike that it was just too narrow (just an opinion). The 3.5" is great because you can run 150, 140 or 130s if you need.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:17 PM   #4
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I've also got the 3.5 X 17. I figured I was finding enough decent rubber in 17 that I didn't need to worry about going to 18" and then dicking around to get the gearing where I wanted it... Woody also sealed it to run tubeless, which I have been enjoying as well. Nothing beats plugging the tire and riding on in the middle of a long trip. (Unless you steal Oso's golden horseshoe!)
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:27 PM   #5
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I went with Woody's 18x3.5 Excel set-up on the rear.

For rubber I went with the K60 140 rear. No shortage of 50/50 rubber for that size. I also kept the original wheels so if I really want to dig into some pavement I'll just swap out.

Overall, I like it so far ~ 2500 miles on the new rear - 50/50 riding.
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:57 PM   #6
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(Unless you steal Oso's golden horseshoe!)
No horseshoe involved, it's all skill
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:55 AM   #7
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3.5" woody's excel rim here. I've also got a 1.85" front excel from woody as well.

I've noticed that the bike is more "flickable" in the twisties and not as stable in a lean requiring more handlebar input.

There is a small advantage off-road, but for me it's almost negligible. Probably the greatest advantage is I'm not going to bend my rims as easily like I did with the factory rims, which is why I sent the factory wheels to be rebuilt by woody in the first place.

Woody's excels with the super-laced etc., are almost bulletproof now.

I also like the fact that I can run the 140 tires since there always seems to be a plenteous supply.

I'm happy with the conversion.

God Bless,
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:56 AM   #8
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I stuck with 17x3.5 as well. At the time I was worried that there would be clearance issues with 18" wheels, but I also wanted to keep street tire selection availability. K60s hadn't been "discovered" yet. If I had to do it again it would be a tough call, but I would probably still go with the 17".
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:16 AM   #9
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Thanks for the input folks!

Keep it coming.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTown View Post
David,

did you change your gearing at all in the process going to the 18"?
If not, any changes in MPG or highway RPM's?
Why would it need different gearing? Its a 150/70-17 going to a 150/70-18. What's the real difference in diameter or circumference though?

Specification 17. 18
Sidewall 4.1 in. 4.1 in
Radius 12.6 in 3.1 in
Diameter 25.3 in. 26.3 in
Circumference 79.4 in. 82.5 in
Revs/Mile 798. 768
Difference. 0.0%. 4.0%

By my math gearing change for a 52 tooth would be 2 teeth bigger. Thinking just going to a 15 up front would keep it the same almost. Maybe a touch better off road.

Side note I've gone to running a 15/42 and the gearing is a bit narrow. I've been thinking a 15/41 would be perfect. A 150/70-18 & 15/42 even better. :-D
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:50 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the input everyone. My long term plan is two sets of wheels; a 17R/19F and a 18/21F. With that in mind I think my next step will be to have Woody modify the OEM rear with a 3.5"x18" Excel.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:17 AM   #12
Apostolos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTown View Post
David,

did you change your gearing at all in the process going to the 18"?
If not, any changes in MPG or highway RPM's?
I'm sorry, I should have been more clear, even though I went with the 3.5" rim, I stil kept the 17" diameter.

God bless,
David
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gangplank View Post
Why would it need different gearing? Its a 150/70-17 going to a 150/70-18. What's the real difference in diameter or circumference though?

Specification 17. 18
Sidewall 4.1 in. 4.1 in
Radius 12.6 in 3.1 in
Diameter 25.3 in. 26.3 in
Circumference 79.4 in. 82.5 in
Revs/Mile 798. 768
Difference. 0.0%. 4.0%

By my math gearing change for a 52 tooth would be 2 teeth bigger. Thinking just going to a 15 up front would keep it the same almost. Maybe a touch better off road.

Side note I've gone to running a 15/42 and the gearing is a bit narrow. I've been thinking a 15/41 would be perfect. A 150/70-18 & 15/42 even better. :-D
Personally, I'd like to roll a little slower through the rough stuff without so much clutch work. I've got the 17" rim and a 15 tooth c/s sprocket and that's about right for me. (Actually, I'd be happy with a little larger rear sprocket, maybe in the 45 range.) Rarely do I travel fast enough to worry about the loss on the top end. I certainly wouldn't want to raise my bottom end speed by 4% though, that would seem contrary to the reasons behind the better rubber available in 18", no?
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:16 PM   #14
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Larger wheels take more power to spin them. Same on motorcycles as trucks.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTown View Post
...did you change your gearing at all in the process going to the 18"?
If not, any changes in MPG or highway RPM's?
I've got the 18x3.5 Woody rear (and the 21x1.85 Woody front). I went with a 46t rear and a 17t cs. My top end(lower), rpm's(a little higher), and gas mileage (a little less), has suffered a bit but I don't need to go 110 on the interstate ~ especially on 50/50 or knobbier tires. I accept the slower top end and have enjoyed my offroading more. Not too many instances where I was at a loss for a gas station either. If I had planned a lot of long stretches between fuel I would probably swap out the cs for something smaller. Otherwise, it works out pretty well for me.

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