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Wheels & Tires FAQ

Q:

Will 17" SM wheels fit my non-expert CRF150R?

I would like to verify that the 17" supermoto wheel set will fit the CRF150R (NON-EXPERT). If this is a fit, what else am I going to need to make the conversion to SuperMoto?

A:

The NON-EXPERT model has a shorter swingarm. There will be very little clearance between the tire and swingarm pivot. You may have to run a longer chain to get the axle as far back as possible. I would recommend getting a swingarm from the expert model to allow a better range of axle position for chain adjustment.

Q:

XR650L SuperMoto wheels a bolt-on application?

I have some questions about a set of XR650L motard wheels. Are these wheels a bolt on type of deal or do I need different brake rotors and sprocket to make them fit? Will the front run the stock speedometer?

A:

They are a direct bolt on. We use OEM Honda hubs so the sprocket and brake rotors will fit same as original. The front will run the speedometer but the speedo will read about 20% faster because of the different wheel size. Most of our customers replace the stock speedo with a Vapor speedo/tach that can be adjusted to be very accurate regardless of wheel size.

Q:

SuperMoto wheels available for my KLX140?

Do you have a supermoto wheelset for KLX140 (non L version)?

A:

Sure! Supermoto wheels for your KLX140 are built with silver Excel rims (2.50 x 17" front and 3.5 x 17" rear) with Buchanan's stainless steel spokes with plated nipples laced to new OEM Kawasaki hubs with bearings and seals all for just $999 + shipping. There is approximately a 2 week lead time on custom wheel sets.

Just so you know, the non-L model has a shorter swingarm and it will be a tight squeeze getting a 17" rear wheel in there. You'll have to run the axle as far back as possible in the adjusters and you may have very limited chain adjustability. I would recommend installing the longer 'L' model swingarm ($320).

Q:

Can I build my own wheels?

I just purchased a used 2004 Honda XR650L and during inspection I found the rear wheel (stock) has sustained a hard impact that damaged it beyond repair. I would like to purchase new wheels from you but would need some assistance probably. How difficult it is to lace your own wheels using the current stock hubs? I am mechanically inclined and have a good to outstanding knowledge repairing cars, motorcycles and airplanes. This would be a new adventure for me, so your help on tools and equipment that you recommend would be appreciated. I was looking at a truing and balancing stand and dial micrometer as a start. Are there special tools used for installing spokes, tires, etc.?

I live in Northern California and was glad to see you are located in Oregon. I like doing business with Oregon folks, they always seem so nice and helpful.

A:

Lacing and truing a spoke wheel is not difficult though it can seem a bit of a puzzle the first time around. One thing that you will find very helpful would be to take a few good pictures of your complete wheel for a reference later on. The only tool you will really need is a good spoke wrench. We can supply one although I don't have them posted on the web.

There are a few things to know that will help the job go smoother, but the explanation is a little long to type here. I am always available by phone during business hours to help you get on the right track.

We like our Norther California friends too! You have some great riding down that way.

Q:

Do you make street wheels for the KLX250?

Do you make wheels for the KLX250S? It is my goal to have the original wheels for the dirt, and this new set for the road. Could you please forward me the price & availability of these?. Can the wheels be tubeless? Are tires readily available for these size rims?

A:

Yes we can build wheels for the KLX250. What sort of street wheels did you have in mind? We specialize in supermoto wheels but also build custom dirt or street wheels of any size configuration you want. A set of supermoto wheels for the KLX would be built with silver Excel rims, a 3.5 X 17" front and 4.25 X 17" rear. These would be laced to new OEM Kawasaki hubs (complete with bearings and seals) with Buchanan's stainless steel spokes. Since they are custom hand-built by us, please allow approximately 3 weeks lead time. Sport oriented radial tires are very common in the 17" rim sizes. These tires are from modern sportbikes and there are many choices available from all the tire manufacturers. Give me an idea of what you want and we can install them on your new wheels. When you order a package like this we include rim strips, tubes, installation and balancing for free.

Wire spoke wheels need to have tubes. Modifying them to run tubeless is possible but is not really practical for road use. There is a company making a product for converting a spoked wheel to tubeless, but it is not recommended for street applications and is only available for very limited off-road wheel sizes.

Q:

Would you share your wheel building secrets with me?

Hello there! I was wondering if you can help me. I would like to build some supermoto wheels for my Husky 610. I have never done this before. Once I learn, I have many friends wit moto-cross and enduro bikes and I could do theirs. Supermoto wheels are pretty expensive and as I have plenty time on my hands, I thought I would build my own. I just need some answers. I have looked on the internet and can’t really find much out.

  1. Is it cheaper to buy all the gear (hubs, spokes, rims and all the fiddly bits) and build them yourself rather than buy them ready to put on?
  2. Apart from the rims and hubs etc, what equipment do I need to start off ( ie: to lace them and true the wheels, etc)?
  3. Once I got the gear I needed to build them, and saying I’m on a budget, how much are a set of hubs, rims and spokes (each)?
  4. Obviously I need rims, spokes, and hubs. Apart from tires and tubes, what else do I need? Someone told me it would be more trouble than it’s worth. They said I need all sorts of special tape, valves and lots of other little bits and pieces.
  5. Is it a pretty straight forward procedure? Do think it is worth learning to do this, bear in mind I potentially have at least 10 sets to make up.
  6. I have noticed you can supply wheels and rims, but I don’t see any mention of spokes or hubs. Can you supply these too?
A:

Here are answers to your questions.

  1. Yes, it is definitely less expensive to build your own.
  2. You need some sort of stand to hold the wheel firmly but still allow it to spin freely. A balancing stand works OK for occasional use. The swingarm or forks of the bike they are for can be used to hold the wheels for truing. If you are going to build lots of wheels you will really want a proper truing stand. You will also need a dial indicator and some type of holder for the dial indicator.
  3. Most rims are $150 - $300 each depending on size, color, brand, etc. Hubs usually run $150 - $350 each depending on which model. Spokes are typically $3 each.
  4. We use a special lube on the spoke threads. It is handy to have a dial caliper and a 2 foot straight edge. You also need rim liners ($1 each). You should probably also have a balancing stand and some balance weights.
  5. It’s pretty straight forward after you have done a few. Sometimes lacing your first few wheels can be a bit of a puzzle.
  6. We typically sell the spokes with the rims as a package. This is because each rim has to be drilled in such a way as to allow the spoke holes in the rim to align perfectly with the holes in the hub. So for any wheel order we have the rims custom drilled and the spokes custom made for the particular year and model bike.

We build all our wheels on original equipment hubs. We can certainly supply hubs but it would probably be simpler for you to order the hubs you need from your local dealer.

Q:

Why does it take so long to get a set of wheels?

Why is it taking so long for the new wheels for my KX85? Doesn’t anybody have these things sitting on a shelf?

A:

All of our wheels are built to order, and like any custom item, that takes time. Depending on the time of day we receive your order, we call our rim and spoke supplier that day or early the next to order your rim letting them know what size and brand of rim we want. We tell them what kind of hub this rim will be laced to as well. They start with a blank (undrilled) rim and drill spoke nipple holes at the correct angles for your particular hub. They also make the spokes in the necessary lengths and bend them to mate the hub to the rim. This process typically takes 5-10 working days, and then a couple of days to ship them to us.

While the rim and spokes are being produced, we order the hub from the appropriate vendor. Once the rim and spokes are done, we assemble and true the wheel. We usually do this the same day we receive all of the wheel components, but occasionally it takes us an extra day. Once the wheel is built, we install the tires (if they come with it) and then box them all up and ship them. Shipping takes 2-10 days depending on your location and shipping method selected.

So, you can see, it is just one of those things that takes some time to pull together. We do our very best to get them to you as quickly as possible.

Q:

Do you have wheel building instructions?

I am converting a 1986 XR600 to a Supermoto bike and would like to purchase parts from you but lace up my own wheels. Can I order the parts and get some instructions to help with lacing the new rims?

A:

Sorry, we don't have any instructions for wheel building. It is definitely an art that can take a while to learn. I can sell you a video made by Buchanan's Spoke & Rim that runs through the basics. It is mostly oriented toward Harley wheels but most of it will apply to any rim. The video sells for $25. If you have never laced a wheel it is money well spent.

The most useful tip I have for people doing this for the first time is to take several photos of the spokes and hub before disassembling the old wheel. Referring to pics of the stock wheel can take some of the puzzle out of lacing up the new one.

If you decide you want us to lace and true it for you we can do that for $80.

There is approximately 10 days lead time getting your rim drilled and the spokes made. That should put the parts in your hands in about 2 weeks.

Q:

Building a CR125 as a street legal super moto machine!

I want to build a supermoto style 2002 CR125 for puttering around town and getting to work and school and back. This is my first motorcycle and I want to learn on something CHEAP and manageable. I am planning on buying a set of wheels (3.5 x 17" front with a 4.5 x 17" rear) and spokes to lace up to the OEM hubs. Can you tell me which other models and years would these rims might fit, if any? When I decide to upgrade to a bigger bike, it would be nice if I was able to swap the wheels (minus the hubs) over to the a new bike.

Also, I’m planning on making this thing street legal so it will need a headlight. I have found a headlight 90mm Halogen that I really like, I just need to know if your coil will put out enough juice for it. I’ll be rigging up a minimalist LED brake/indicator setup so it won’t need much more than whatever this light draws.

Lastly, I will need a set of cheap, grippy, street tires that would fit the rims. What do you recommend?

I’ll be needing more stuff than what I have outlined above, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Your time and expertise is greatly appreciated.

A:

Rims drilled to match the CR125 hubs should work fine with other Honda CR or CRF hubs. I can't tell you exactly which years and models but most Honda motocrossers used the same hubs in the last several years.

The Hella H9 bulbs draw 65 watts and the lighting coil puts out a maximum of 60 watts (at high RPM). So I don't think your choice of lighting is going to work. You really need a headlight in the 35 watt range to work well with a 60 watt stator.

We have several choices for tires. I think the Shinko Stealth tires would work well and they are only about $175 a pair. The Avon Distanzias are pretty nice too at $220 a pair.

Good luck with your project!

Q:

Are spokes available with different angles to match rim?

I thought spokes are available in different angles so can be selected to fit any drill angle of the rim? Might not be optimum for strength but can be made to work correct?

A:

With very few exceptions spokes only have a bend where they come through the hub. This is done to keep them from spinning in the hole while tightening the spoke nipple. You would have to have a second bend in the spoke to align with a rim drilled at different angles.

From the hub the spoke should have a straight pull to the rim. The hole drilled in the rim has to be directly aligned with this angle. The spoke nipple slides straight through the drilled hole. It might appear to be some sort of 'ball and socket' joint where the nipple sits in the rim but it is not. It has a definite angle with only a couple of degrees freedom. If the nipple is not aligned properly the spoke will have to bend.

Think of the spoke and nipple as a bolt and a nut (which is exactly what they are). You wouldn't expect a bolt to thread into a nut at an angle and still give reliable holding strength. No, the bolt would eventually bend or break.

The angles required for the nipple holes will be determined by the width and diameter of the hub. The pic below shows an example of an old style conical hub. The spokes on the close side run almost directly toward the axle while the spokes on the far side have to run at a much wider angle. This hub is also quite a bit wider than say, a modern front hub. The spokes have to angle outward from the rim.

If you look at a DR650 rear hub you will see it is also conical. The cush drive side of the hub is larger diameter than the brake side. You couldn't take your rear rim off, flip it side to side and lace it back up and still have a strong reliable wheel. None of the nipples would align with the spokes.

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