Big Bottom

When I first started looking at wider wheels and better tyre choices I wasn't a fan of it's looks. But after I looked at more and more and more I started to love what it did to the profile of the bike, the wide choice of tyre options it opens and the view from behind...

Lovely stuff. The guys on the SR500 forum have been answering some of my stupid questions and they seem to say that changing to 17"s was the best handling change they made to their bikes. I think they were coming from the bike 19" loops, but hey, most new sportsbikes run 17" rims, so there's gotta be something to it anyway.


And some more examples...

It's not all that often the Japanese will relace a wheel. Most of the time they seem to do straight swaps with XJR400's or something similar, changing swingarms as well as mags. That way they seem to be pushing 4.25-4.5 inch rims and that opens up Pilot Powers and all sorts of stuff.

When they do change rims the standard sizes appear to be 3" fronts and 4" rears. Any wider than around a 140 rear and you start to get clearance problems with the chain.

I found the one below on a blog somewhere. This one is actually running a 110 front. It looks like they've just laced the rear 18" wheel to the front. Makes sense actually, but you'd be losing out a little by not changing it to a 17" as well.

And here's a bit of a more traditional style cafe SR with the wider rims...

Anyway, half out of curiosity and half with the intention of changing my bike over to wider wheels i'm doing a bit of research about building some wheels. Thankfully I've got a mate who has built a fair few over the years while racing motocross who would be able to help me out.
Either I can spend a couple of hundred bucks up front and get a set of DID rims and stainless spokes from Japan and use my hubs...
Or alternately, and maybe more likely, I'll start searching around for some SR400 front and rear hubs that I'll tidy up, get powdercoated/painted and start looking for some cheapo stainless spokes and 36-hole rim. I'll have to do some more research on what spokes etc, but if I've just got a spare set of hubs sitting around I can do it in my own time.
More musings on tyres and wheels coming shortly.


  1. Anonymous25.8.10

    your a bit off with your rim sizing (4" rear ahh hum).. If doing a 17" mod better check ya sizing for rims.. 3.50 is the most commonly used rim when doing a 17 R

    Quote: Most of the time they seem to do straight swaps with XJR400's or something similar, changing swingarms as well as mags.

    Back in the late 90's maybe, but rare to see such mods done now days, only a few guys still do the TZ / FZ swap now days..

    A few hundred for DID rims? If you can get em that cheap buy em.. Good spokes cost more than that..

    Also keep in mind the smaller frt rim dia (17") with a wider rim can limit brake upgrades (spokes can touch upgraded caliper like Brembo's etc that is).. Even with wider 18" rims issues with brake upgrade kits made for stock wheels can have clearance probs on the later SR wheels so if thinking of getting some brakes that work later on, check your wheel building specs first.. Just sayin (I know ya know stuff and all)..

  2. Anonymous, you're a great help! At the moment so much other stuff has gotten in the way and I've hardly ridden the damn thing. I've noticed the Japanese seem to be using VTR250 wheels lately too?

  3. Anonymous24.12.10

    Nah, not common for such wheel swaps now days here. 21" front spoke with 18 or 16 rear on everything or straight 18 / 18 is the most common with old skool tires.

    Retro styling is in, trying to make a sports bike out of your SR with tri spoke wheels or GSX / TZ 17 inch is way out !!!!!!
    So 1995 hahaha... no one does it now days (no one!)Like using billet cut parts, no one likes it or uses such parts in Japan, use cast part only! old style - No square billet like those ebay sellers have outside Japan.... that is going back ten years in styling.

    Trend for SR's in Japan is a few styles now 1, customs which are chops or bobber styling - this has almost done though after three to four years, new styles starting soon i think - 2, street trackers and retro tracker styling 3, cafe / customs 4, traditional style cafe racers 5. Standard.

    In the old days 17 inch wheels and sports bike wheels were the thing to do, but now, only laugh if you do that... Even 17 inch spoke is not popular, but can be ok if wide..

  4. Interesting stuff! So I guess the guys like bore-ace and some other guys that do the mag swapping thing with lots of cooling fins on everything are having a hard time at the moment?

    The more I look at the SR the more I start to realize that they are so damn pretty stock. It's good to hear the Japanese are going full circle in that regard...

  5. Anonymous10.7.11

    Bore ace make many good parts - but some look like they are made just to make something.. crazy stuff stuff some times, no purpose part (but they make some good part and some of the best rear sets available with bearings and good styling etc).

    Mag swapping can be OK if done right, but why take an SR and put wheels like that on it? If you want a Duc monster, buy a Duc monster..

    Trying to turn an SR into a sports bike is poor styling choice. Fit wide spoke wheels, or use original mags.. If you want to use three spoke mags, big wide XJ swing arm (or cheap Thai swing arm) & TZ forks etc just buy a sports bike - don't be gay..

  6. Without doubt - Bore Ace have a CNC machine and seem to be looking for an excuse to use it. They'd put cooling fins on cooling fins.

    Mag wheels aren't really my thing. But I guess it flicks a switch for somebody. As soon as you start going down a "just buy a sports bike" avenue it's a slippery slope.

    Want a classically styled bike? Buy a classic. Want a fast single road bike? Get a KTM Duke. Etc. The SR fills its own niche, that's for sure, but I think the real beauty of the bike is that it's such a great blank canvas and people can do what they want with it.