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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
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  #1  
Old 30 Dec 2006
*Touring Ted*'s Avatar
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17" or 18" rear wheel ? Alloy or steel ?

Tried searching but found nothing specific so thought id start a new thread !!

Im trying to work out if its worth changing the chromed steel 21/17 wheels on my XT600 to Excel alloy rims.

More importantly, if i did, should I go for an 18" rear wheel ? I know an 18 rides better but im worried that I may not be able to find suitable tyres on my Alaska-Argentina trip.

Iv heard reports of 18" road biast tyres being hard to find unless going for mud pluggers.

Thanks in advance, ed
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Old 13 Mar 2007
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The XT's steel rims are sturdy and easy to fix if buckled.
Going for Excel is a waste of money unless you want to build an Enduro racer or showbikle.
The 18" rear also only is of advantage for very serious trail or offroad riding, makes very little difference to a 17 in general DS use" (not like 19" and 21" in the front).
You have realized already that 18" DS tires with good tarmac capabilities are rare.
17" / 21" is the ideal combination for a DS bike as it gives you by far the widest choice of tires from full offroad (ex. Metzeler Karoo) to full on road (ex. ME55A / Me33Laser)
18" rears are available en masse in pure road patterns.
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Old 14 Mar 2007
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What ever rim/tyre combination you have .. you're certain to run into the situation of having to order it in .. so the size of the tyre/rim matter less.

Suggest you estimate on your tip where teh tyre will expire .. find a phone number for a bike shop a little ways before the tyre expires - ring them up and order in a tyre .. should have this orgainised say a week or two before you get there ..
If you cannot find anybike shop .. then ring the previous bike shop and have them send on on to you a week or two infront..
Only in some places will you have to carry a tyre with you..
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Old 14 Mar 2007
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Iv got a couple of contacts in Souther America, north and south, and they say i will not have any problems getting 18" road biast tyres anywhere..

I think I will go for the 18" and the wheel rebuild. Especially as I want to do Aus and maybe Africa too.

Im really not a fan of the originals. The spokes are too thin, the rims flake and rist badly and the factory built quality aint that good.


Excel rims are fantastic and iv used them for supermoto racing and MX. Heavy duty spokes too.
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Old 2 Mar 2009
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Hello,

Can I ask the same question? I'm rapidly runnning out of money so have to be choosy about what I spend it on.

How much do I need a replacement rear wheel? Will the standard one cope with the stans (pamir highway), russia and mongolia?

Any advice?

Cheers.
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Old 2 Mar 2009
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Hey Ted,
I am going though the same thing on the AT.

Just to note ..What width are you looking for... on the rear.. My AT is 3.0 and Excel dont make 18X3"

here check out this tread
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...emo-rims-41088

I have decided to go 18" due to the ease at which you can get DS tyres.. and even my favourite tyres (TKC80s) are upto £30 cheaper... then at 17"....
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Old 2 Mar 2009
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Disregarding tyre choice at the moment, unless you are doing serious offroading, then there is no reason to change the rims.

The XT has chromed steel wheels are are strong and easy to repair. As long as you keep an eye on spoke tension (take a few spares with you just in case), you wont have a problem. I've not heard anyone having problems with XT rims.

Excels are sweet rims but they are alloy. If you hit anything hard enough, they will crack rather than bend and then you will need to find someone who can cleanly weld alloy rather than just hammer the shit out of a steel rim with a hammer.

Tyre choice... Hmmm ! Fair enough, 18" will give far more choice of offroad rubber buts its much harder to find road tyres for an 18" anywhere in the world.
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Old 2 Mar 2009
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Well, that clinches it. I'll stick with the original. My bank balance appreciates your advice!

Cheers
Al
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Old 3 Mar 2009
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Ditto Ted Magnum. I have an XT and changed to Excel rims front and rear (18"). The Excels are lighter and look great, but the original steel rims would've been adequate for overlanding. I'd just change the spokes to heavy duty and keep two spare spokes for each rim. I wouldn't even bother with rim locks: IMHO they just add weight to the rim and unbalance them. I think it's very unlikely I'd ever need rim locks regardless of terrain.

Disco
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Old 3 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discoenduro View Post
Ditto Ted Magnum. I have an XT and changed to Excel rims front and rear (18"). The Excels are lighter and look great, but the original steel rims would've been adequate for overlanding. I'd just change the spokes to heavy duty and keep two spare spokes for each rim. I wouldn't even bother with rim locks: IMHO they just add weight to the rim and unbalance them. I think it's very unlikely I'd ever need rim locks regardless of terrain.

Disco

Aye...

With rim locks I kept getting punctures where the tube nipped and chaffed on the locks..

Without, I went the length of South America without a single puncture !
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Old 3 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discoenduro View Post
I'd just change the spokes to heavy duty

Is that as easy as just swapping them out one by one, or does it require professional wheel-building skills?
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