View Full Version : 19" or 21" Wheel???

15th December 2004, 01:43
I have an 03' 883 and as part of my upgrades this winter are possibly new rims. I am looking to get mag wheels and get rid of the spokes. I currently have a 19" front tire and have been thinking about going with a 21". Has anyone changed thier front tire from 19" to a 21"? How was the handling? Does anyone suggest this change?



15th December 2004, 01:58
G'day Eddie

The 19's handle a LOT better than the 21's

I've ridden fast big twins with the 21 and they are scary near 200kph

One of the best handling big twins I ever rode was a customers wide glide that he had put a 19" mag on the front....was sweet and stable till it ran out of puff way past 200kph

15th December 2004, 02:49
Don't orget that the fender will have to be changed as well if you go to 21.

15th December 2004, 03:08
My EVO has a 21, my Iron has a 19. Now, the 21 is much more cool, right!? A nice, big, chrome, spoked wheel; very cool. But it does get into road grooves noticably more than the 19. The 19 handles much better. I think it is not so much the diameter, but the skinny front tire on the 21. The 21 might be better if it had a fatter tire on it. Perhaps someone else could comment on this.

16th December 2004, 11:12
Don't orget that the fender will have to be changed as well if you go to 21.

No it doesn't.

Same fender!


16th December 2004, 11:36
Same fender for 19" & 21" wheels. I would change the 19" for a 18" ... :D :D :D

16th December 2004, 12:18
looked at that... tire choice gets limited at 18"

16th December 2004, 12:36
I rode a chopped trumpit with a skinny ass 16" front wheel on a stop-a-chop spool hub and springer and it was the worst ride I ever had but it was the springer that made it so bad the wheel was stable but it did grab grooves in the road and tracking was a bit twitchy

for looks go with the 21" for handling go 19" your the one who knows your riding style

16th December 2004, 18:43
looked at that... tire choice gets limited at 18"
No problems to find the right tire with a 18"x3" ... at least here in Switzerland! :D :D :D

17th December 2004, 02:15
Thanks for all your posts... I have some thinking to do!! :)

15th January 2005, 03:50
I swapped out the 21" spoked wheel on my 04 1200C for a 19" cast wheel. I noticed the difference immediately. Like others have mentioned, the handling is a little better, mainly because of the extra rubber on the road. I noticed the skinnier tire felt a little distant at interstate speeds. Never had a problem with the 21", but I like the 19" wheel and fatter tire a lot more.

Barry Clark
15th January 2005, 13:55
I have the 21" front on my Custom and, in deep turns, she starts to skate a little. It isn't bad, but if you are wanting high speed turns, go for the smaller wheel as the corrosponding tire keeps more rubber on the road.

15th January 2005, 16:54
How much work is involved in swapping out the 21" for a 19"? How is the steering geometry affected? Or is it a simple bolt-on?

15th January 2005, 18:08
I would think a simple bolt on as nothing really changes except the diameter of the rim/tire. The hub and brake disc does not change, so your stock brake set-up remains the same. The front fender should easily clear the tire without any mods.

By the way, a 21", 3.00 or 3.50 tire will roll through a pothole smoother then a 19 or 18 wheel tire of the same width due to its larger diameter. The smaller tire/rim would likely 'turn' easier on tight corners. but for smooth curves and straight on riding, I think the 21" is superior. Also, a 21" rim/tire has a lower rolling resistance...less revolutions of the 21" wheel is also easier on the bearings and longer tire life over the life of the tire.

There will be a differance in the speedo reading for those using a front wheel speedo drive unit. But you can live with it. Hell I never use a speedo...ever!!

Figure that the larger diameter combo will raise the front end slighly, in turn changing your bikes rake slightly. (There is a mathematical Formuala to figure your exact final Rake/Trail...I Post it once i find it in my notes) More rake is good for straight on handling....but not good if your thing is laying the bike into sharp hairpin curves on a Cafe Racer style bike. :smoke Hrdly

15th January 2005, 19:10
i traded a guy my 21" for his 19" off of a dyna, and it was a simple bolt up for both of us.

15th January 2005, 19:24
If anyone else is thinking of swapping a 21 for a 19 let me know. I have a 19 on my sporty with the cast wheel, but I'm looking to get a 21 spoked wheel sometime soon.

15th January 2005, 20:12
I first 'experienced' a 21" front wheel on my 2001 1200 custom - it certainly marred the handling, especially turn in. On the good side, I also felt that the narrower rubber contributed to straight line stability, although this was balanced by the lack of braking permitted by the very small contact patch.

On my 2003 FXDWG I had the front wheel rerimmed with a 19" standard sized rim and took the opportunity to include stainless spokes, thus removing the corrosion problem with the cadmium plated factory offerings. There is very little difference with the rolling radius of the 19" rim with 100/90 tyre and the 21" rim with a 90/90 tyre anyway, so there are no noticeable steering effects, other than increased grip.

My Sportster is a 2005 XL883 standard, so has exactly the same tyres as the wide glide, and feels even more 'planted', especially on January roads.

Michael Howers

15th January 2005, 20:22

Does the fender clearance have to be lowered when you go from a 21" to a 19" or does the fender mount the same for both sizes?


15th January 2005, 20:27
Fender for 21" or 19" wheels are the same .... ;)

15th January 2005, 20:29
I build and run 'Ole Skool' type motorcycles and have used 19" and 21" Avon 'Speedmaster' tires. I could see the actual differance of the two differant wheels sizes on my bikes. The early style tires have a taller sidewall then the newer types.

My current 74 XLCH has a 19" rim with a Dunlop....This wheel/tire set-up was great when I had the '74 set-up as a Drag/Cafe style and running a Dunlop low profile rear 16" tire.

I will be changing to the 21" wheel this year with the Avon 'Speedmaster' as the bike is currently set-up as a 'Bobber' style ride. I will also change out the low profile Dunlop on the 16" rear and go to the early 'Goodyear' 16". This is real 'Ole Skool' and is the only way I would run a 'Bobber' or 'Chopper'.

15th January 2005, 20:35

I want to go from 21" to 19" because i want to add more rubber to the front. I guess my question is what is the largest tire I can put on a 19" and still look good. 04' XL1200C