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  #1  
Old 23 Nov 2010
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650gs twin cast wheels!

Hi,

I have a 650gs twin which I plan to ride to russia on! Do I need to change to spoked wheels? Some people say they cast alloys will be fine!

Cheers!
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  #2  
Old 23 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by servdave View Post
I have a 650gs twin which I plan to ride to russia on! Do I need to change to spoked wheels? Some people say they cast alloys will be fine!
While others are certainly more knowledgable than I on this topic the general consensus on rims seems to be that it's dependent upon what you're riding over. If you're going over a lot of bumpy rocky crap (Mongolia), then spoked wheels are going to flex better and aren't going to crack like an alloy could.

On the other hand, it's a hell of a lot easier, and faster, to fix a puncture on a tubeless tire than a tubed one. Yes spoked tubeless are technically available but they're very difficult to adjust the spokes on (or something like that) and no-one wants to touch them it seems.

People have ridden alloy wheels around the world and will continue to do so. The V-Strom, for example is widely regarded as a really good bike for long distance touring, and it has tubeless wheels. Of course, it's also recommended for 90% road 10% off-road type driving.

So, are you sticking to pavement as much as possible, or are you more interested in finding interesting back roads?
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  #3  
Old 23 Nov 2010
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I recently purchased a F650GS twin for my wife and I'm also looking for a possible spoke wheel solution. Love to hear from anyone that has heard of a wheel set that will fit? All this being said I really think that unless you are hardcore off-roading the stock rims should be fine.
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  #4  
Old 24 Nov 2010
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I plan to ride to magadan, taking mongolia on the way! Whilst I don't plan to be making my own MX course round the world, neither do I plan to shy away from off tarmac riding!

Some people say that as long as you adjust your speed with the mind set that cast alloys are harder to repair you should be fine?

Cheers,

Dave
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  #5  
Old 24 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by servdave View Post
I plan to ride to magadan, taking mongolia on the way! Whilst I don't plan to be making my own MX course round the world, neither do I plan to shy away from off tarmac riding!

Some people say that as long as you adjust your speed with the mind set that cast alloys are harder to repair you should be fine?

Cheers,

Dave
Thanks Dave,

I figure since my wife is very petit (115 lbs.), her load on the bike will be kept fairly lite and she rides conservatively the rims really shouldn't be an issue. would be nice to be able to more easily repair them though.
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  #6  
Old 28 Nov 2010
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Alloy Wheels

650gs twin cast wheels!-img_1112.jpgI am currently riding my twin thru Africa with the cast wheels, they have been fine mostly. I did hit a bad deep pothole coming in to Nairobi, I was doing about 70kmh at the time and hit full on as my wife did on her XT250 (yes looks like I follow her everywhere) after going about 300m the old bike got a bit loose and you guessed it flat tyre ! Rim had been knocked out off shape on one side, I simply put it on a truck to Jungle Junction thinking I would need a new wheel but Chis there just hammered (delicately) back in to shape and it was fine. Ridden to Uganda and back with no Problems.
I to was a little sceptical of the alloy wheels at the start of this trip, but mine have coped some serious knocks and apart from that once have come thru with flying colours. Also the benefits of running tubeless tyres is a plus in my opinion.
Happy Riding, Happy Holidays
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  #7  
Old 28 Nov 2010
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Thanks Paul for the info and the reassurance about the rims.
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  #8  
Old 2 Dec 2010
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arrived cape town the other week with f650 & cast alloy, 78,000km on the clock, 63 on my rtw trip.

off topic, clearance is your biggest issue with the f650. i like the 10.5 inches on the f800 over the 8 with f650.

i used a Co2 cartridge to pop the bead back on after the first dent in the front rim caused a slow leak. second dent was more serious & i had to install a tube.

had the dents pressed out at jj's nairobi.

note that i only ever damaged the rim when running offroad in rock with low (1bar) pressure. i hit some awesome potholes at speed from time to time while running at 2.5 bar (front) and had no problems.

never came close to damaging the rear rim.

definately prefer to fix a puncture on the alloy with tubeless.

just carry 3 Co2 cartridges & a front tube, rim will be fine. if you damage the rim & have to install a tube and then can't get the rim fixed, buy a spare tube.

once i pop the bead on the tubeless my slime pump / compressor won't pop it back on - but you can't carry Co2 if you are flying the bike...

happy travels
dave
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  #9  
Old 2 Dec 2010
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Riding with Alloy rims

Quote:
Originally Posted by dajg View Post
note that i only ever damaged the rim when running offroad in rock with low (1bar) pressure. i hit some awesome potholes at speed from time to time while running at 2.5 bar (front) and had no problems.
+1 for alloy wheels

Like Dave says you can bend them, gently back into shape if necessary.

I also point out that Dave's problems would've been exactly the same with spoked wheels.

The 'real' problem as I see it (and it hasn't happened to me) would be if the alloy wheel snapped. You can't weld alloy wheels (as far as I know). With spoked wheel you could replace spokes and bend the rim into shape. That said it is almost impossible to true a spoked wheel without full factory conditions.

The point is if you have a big enough accident or issue then no matter what wheel you are using you would probably need a new one.

For smaller issue the jury is out because it becomes a debate about tyres, tubes, plugs and running on low pressure.

After 65,000kms RTW so far no issues with alloy rims on my GS, 80% on road, 20% off road. IMO you can ride anything with alloy if you are careful and go slowly.


On a separate note, I was able with my 12V air compressor to pop the bead back on my wheels (more than once) but when I tried with a friend who had spoked wheels there wasn't enough pressure (displacement to be exact) so I think I will also take a CO2 bulb for this possibility in future. Not for me but for my friends.
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  #10  
Old 2 Dec 2010
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I'm starting to think that I should swap some alloys on to my 800, kidding of course but the reassurance that my wife's bike won't be a big problem to deal with is very reassuring. THe tip about the CO2 is a biggie.

The low bike clearance I've always known will be a problem in some areas but what can we do she is only 5.1" with a 37" inseam.
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  #11  
Old 2 Dec 2010
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Great information! We too are planning to ride across Russia (albeit to Vlad) and my wife has just bought herself a beautiful F650GS Twin.

As an aside, I recently swapped the spoke wheels on my R1200GS for alloys for a couple of reasons. The alloys are lighter, they stay true and they're easier to clean. As the spokes on the 12 are already tubeless this wasn't a reason for the switch but it played a factor in choosing the F650 over lowering an F800.
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Old 3 Dec 2010
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Ekke,

That road looks familiar is it the Mayole-Marsibit section, I read your blog and got allot of info off it re: where to stay etc. We are doing the Cairo to Cape Town trip, I will have to read from Tanzania on as thats where we head next.

Cheers
Paul
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  #13  
Old 4 Dec 2010
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The main advantage if you are going to swap wheels is that you can use narrower rims which will help more than just using a better alloy or spoked vs. cast.

For the front you can use a F650GS single cyl. hub, on the rear the one from an F800GS (RAD makes a nice billet replacement). I would get them laced up with a set of DID Dirt Star rims in 1.85"x21" front and 2.5"x18" rear for best off road performance and durability, that's what the KTM 950 Super Enduros run and they hold up great.
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  #14  
Old 8 Dec 2010
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The Wheel Truth

Okay I admit it I've become obsessive about the idea of cast vs. spoke wheels. So I thought that I would share the truth that I have discovered. First I emailed a lot of people including dealer service departments, motorcycle tour companies, wheels builders, etc. Without exception they all responded with the same message and that is that the cast rims are not meant for overland touring type travel. The rims will bend or crack under a bike that isn't loaded even on just marginal roads. Mick at compass expeditions has kindly let me know that their 650 twins have had many rim issues and their tour groups ride with no luggage on not overly nasty routes. He says change them if you can.

Solutions aren't cheap but they can be bullet proof if done correctly. Thanks to Woody and Zach at woodyswheelworks.com and also Mike at touratech for correct info on wheel solutions that will work. As stated in the previous post the the hubs are available and excel rims can be sealed to maintain the use of tubeless mounting. Again not cheap but considering the fact that you could easily damage one of the OEM rims beyond repair with zero option to put on a new rim in the middle of you name it, I say its a no brainer.
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  #15  
Old 8 Dec 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BcDano View Post
lot of people including dealer service departments, motorcycle tour companies, wheels builders, etc.
Did you ask if any of these people have actually done a full RTW trip on their OWN motorcycle? If they have first hand experience.

You came supposedly on the HUBB looking for advice from people with first hand experience when actually you were only looking for confirmation of your own opinion. Then you're right, go back to TouraTech and your dealer and spend lots of money on changing your wheels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BcDano View Post
The rims will bend or crack under a bike that isn't loaded even on just marginal roads.
Did you ask who was riding the bikes with the problems. You're only getting half truths and not the full story. Were the bikes ridden by people on short tours that are loaded with money? Were the bikes rentals? Were the riders inexperienced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BcDano View Post
Again not cheap but considering the fact that you could easily damage one of the OEM rims beyond repair with zero option to put on a new rim in the middle of you name it, I say its a no brainer.
You're right about one thing, wheels are not cheap to fix, but the mentality of believing dealers trying to sell you a bullet proof solution is even more expensive in the long run. At the end of the day it's your money and you'll be the one riding the bike. All I'm saying is a little common sense goes a long way ie don't thrash you bike with alloys at 15psi along a stone track and expect no damage.

Let us know how carrying spare rims and spokes for the spoked waterproof hub wheels works out for you.
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