View Full Version : 18 inch wheels front and rear

17th August 2006, 17:56
Has any one tried the flat track look by lacing an 18 inch wheel to front and rear ends of their Sportsters? Years ago I used what I think was a WM3 on the front of a CB 750 and it looked nice. Is WM3 the widest that would work on the front of a Sportser? Anyone got any photos?


18th August 2006, 00:20
I just got the alloy 18" to bring my CH back to what it used to be. (Stainless spokes). If the look of an XR is what you want unless you are going to buy an iron shoe I would stay w 19". IMHO 18" ft is for flat track traction w no brakes. Matt

21st August 2006, 21:27

I was under the impression the F-1 bikes run 18" front wheels. They certainly have a wide profile tire on the front (albeit not as wide as the rear). I'd like to get the look of an XR without going as far as removing the front brake. I was just wondering if anyone else has tried it and what rim width they used.



21st August 2006, 21:41
I have a 110/80 18 avon am23 in the garage new. P.M. me if you need a tire. I would part with it 75$ shipped. It is new I just bought the wrong size in my haste. P.M.

21st August 2006, 23:43
Robin- I wasn't clear with my post. I got the narrow 18" alloy rear. I think the cafe types can help more than I can. I just know the frame and suspension of my '68 would go berserk with modern contact patches and lean angles. It really matters more what you start with and plan from there. Matt

22nd August 2006, 01:03
I have 18" front and rear that is stock

27th September 2006, 17:52
I've run 18" wheels for years. Recently I changed the front wheel back to the stock 19" wheel but on the rear I would never go back.

On the rear I'm running a PM 18" wheel that's 2 lbs lighter than the stock wheel. However, the tire is 6 lbs lighter than the stock 16" tire, for a total weight saving of 8 lbs of rotating mass. You definitely can feel the difference in acceleration and in a roll on. It's like free horse power.

27th September 2006, 18:04
I have 17s on my cafe bike. The smaller the diameter of the tire, the quicker it wants to lean into curves. Weight reduction is nice too.

12th October 2006, 05:08
Where do you get 17" wheels for the sportster?

I have 17s on my cafe bike. The smaller the diameter of the tire, the quicker it wants to lean into curves. Weight reduction is nice too.

12th October 2006, 13:39
I can probably help a little here.

XRs ran 18s back in the day, but in recent years, 19" were more common. You can run either 18" or 19" on your Sportster, but in my opionion, the 18" ends up looking a little on the small side if you're going for the dirt track look. It's one thing on an XR, which is a significantly smaller bike than the Sportster... put the two bikes next to each other and you'll see what I mean. Given that most of the XRs raced in recent years have run 19" tires, that's generally "the look." Also, given the (longer, relative to the XR) length of standard Sportster forks, the 18" wheel ends up looking a little lost out there, in my opinion.

WM3 is 2.15", which works fine at the front, obviously. You can run WM4 (2.5") if you're running a 7" Goodyear racing tire, but it won't fit under your fender. We have plenty of customers who have done it. The Goodyear mounted on that rim will be just under 5" wide, and *just* makes it between the OEM Sportster forks. The Maxxis 7" generally doesn't fit. It's too wide.

The Continental Milestone is one of the narrower tires, but it only comes in a rather hard compound and I don't like them on the street. They fit well though. The 120mm front tire mounted on a WM4 is only about 4.5" wide, and fits easily, even under one of our fork braces.

If you look around our site, you'll see that we generally specify 19" front and 18" rear wheels. The 19" is good general choice for us from a business standpoint because of tire availability. 18" at the rear is once again a good choice, given available street tires, BUT, it also happens that the only DOT approved tire in a dirt track pattern is the Dunlop K180, which comes in one size only - 110/80-19 and 120/90-18. These tires also happen to be made in a rather soft compound which gives good performance out on the street. This is the set-up I run on my own bikes. Without giving too much away, I will admit to running these tires at some rather high speeds from time to time, under varying conditions, and they work quite well. No fitment problems, they're legal, they're a pretty decent street tire, and they work like no street tire ever will on dirt roads.

Now, you can run an 18" at the front, but your tire choices wind up being rather limited. Same thing if you run 19" at the rear. This is why we've settled on the 19" front and 18" rear combination. Still, we build plenty of wheels in all sizes, and there's nothing to stop you from running almost anything you want. You're mostly constrained by tire availability, and this remains true even if you're running street tires.

FYI, my favorite street tire set-up for these rims is the Bridgestone S11, in 110/90-19 front and 120/90-18 rear. Great tire, good for 100+ mph in the rain, dry, you name it.

Here are some photos of one of our bikes with the Dunlop K180s mounted. Looks fairly well balanced, front-to-rear.





12th October 2006, 13:59
Where do you get 17" wheels for the sportster?
I have a GSX-R front end and a matching Bandit wheel on the back. Not your average bolt on modification. But the rear was easier than I thought. The only machining needed on the back was to convert a Harley brake disk to fit the Suzu wheel.

The front took some work. Had to machine a stem, drill for handle bar risers, and weld fork stops on.

13th October 2006, 02:49
Any part numbers out there for 18" rear and 19" front spoked wheels to fit 1986-2003 Sporty? I'm collecting parts for an XLRTT replica.


13th October 2006, 02:59
XRTTs mostly had either Morris or Lester mags or else wire Borranis. A lot of them had drum front brakes. None of that stuff swaps directly over to 1986+ Sportster, and the hubs changed in 2000 anyway, so there are cetainly no part numbers to give you.

If you want to try a drum with a Sun rim, you might be able to pick up a drum from http://www.cosmotor.com

...but I just looked and it appears their site is being redone. You could try calling them. They always seem to have the old Italian drums.

If you want Morris mags, good luck, though I think there is a company in Germany making repros. Expensive, as I recall. If I can remember the name, I'll post it here. If you want to try to get close with some Borrani-style repros, we can help.