Monday, April 30, 2007
Hardware: Supermoto Wheels Explained
Supermoto wheels are a big investment, when you factor that your 2-3 year old dirt bike may have a resale value
in dirt form in the $4-5K range, if that. We get calls from guys all the time who say "well, I'm not really racing or nothing, so I'm just looking for the cheapest wheels you have to convert to Supermoto". Well, the real reply there is that there really isn't a cheap way to get into Supermoto unless you're going to go Sportsman about it and ride on knobbies or some type of dual-sport tire. Quality 17-inch supermoto wheels that will last are going to set you back between $800 and $2000 depending on how deep you're going to go at this and whether you want quality and performance or just a good price.
Motostrano is a full scale supermoto specialist and we've been involved in Supermoto since it's re-birth in the United States in 2002. We offer complete supermoto wheels made from the finest materials and built by experience wheel builders. All are made with the best, strongest and lightest aluminum rims and hubs and stainless steel. You won't encounter rim bending, spoke or hub problems for many miles under normal heavy duty wear. We keep wheels in stock and can turn around most wheel orders in less than a week.
It should also be said, that over the course of the past five years, Motostrano has had the opportunity to handle, sell and test, virtually every type of supermoto wheel available. Being so involved in supermoto parts over this time, nothing has escaped us as far as testing and trying out. Our current catalog represents products that have withstood this test of time and endurance. We have learned a lot about durability, availability, parts, construction, fit over the years, both from selling direct to consumers who've had problems with other products, as well as from racers who've given us direct feedback coming directly off the track- and we are talking feedback from both top world and national pro riders like Travis Marks (who also happens to be a salaried Honda Factory Test rider), Gerald Delepine, Micky Dymond and a host of others. It's this knowledge that you the customer get to take advantage of when working with Motostrano. Lastly, we not only offer a huge selection of wheels, we have the largest dedicated supermoto catalog of parts in the world.
The benchmark wheelset is really the Excel rim laced to a Talon hub. Both Talon and Excel have been around for ages in motocross and flat track and set the standard for quality in the spoked MX wheel world. Both have years of experience in metal making and cutting and we've yet to see a failure in any of these products on the street or the track.
The vast majority of wheels rolling out there use Excel rims on Talon hubs. This goes for street and for race. New comer Warp9 Racing, began making wheels about two years ago and has really come on strong in the budget market, producing a wheel package that is approaching Excel/Talon. Warp 9 Supermoto wheels are a good budget oriented package that actually comes with a front 320MM rotor, a rear rotor and rear sprocket so you all you need next is tires and you have a ready set of Supermoto wheels yearning to canyon carve. If you are "not racing or nothin" and just want a barebones kit to get your bike on the street in Supermoto, Warp 9 is an easy choice. The brake rotors and sprockets are nothing to wright home about, but they'll do the job.
The size of your wheels is determined by what kind of riding you do. If you are a budding racer and your bike is a dedicated supermoto race bike, you'll want a 16.5x3.50 front rim and ideally a 5.00x17 rear rim. The 16.5 gives you noticeably quicker turning action and the fat rear gives you the most amount of contact patch at the rear wheel. Once you go the 16.5 front route your only tire choice will be a supermoto slick tire.
For street duty, or for amateur racing, we'll usually recommend a 17x3.50 front and a 4.25x17 rear. This will give you ample choice when it comes to tires and it also minimize any tire rubbing from the chain.
If properly made, your rear wheel shouldn't cause significant chain rub on the tire. Correct offsetting will space out the rim away from the chain in most cases. A little tire rub is ok. A chain bashing your rim is not!
All of our standard wheelsets are built with stainless steel heavy duty spokes either from Buchanan or Bull Dog.
Marchesini has been offering cast wheels for many years and supermoto wheels in the last five years. The Marchesinis are technically the lightest supermoto wheels available. Being cast, they tend to feel more stiff than a spoked wheel and are more difficult to service. I remember the first time I saw a set of Marchesini supermoto wheels five years ago. It was on a factory Vertemati race bike in Italy that was being used for testing purposes. It was very hush-hush at the time. They've since come to be known as one of the top wheels used by pro SM race teams in the US and Europe.
Although we wouldn't recommend letting color direct your wheel choice, Motostrano does offer custom anodizing of both rims and hubs for an extra cost and wait. Motostrano offers a custom list of common colors and you can even dream up your own.
Our wheels are built to last. They've been tested over the largest Urban metal ramps the folks at All Access can dream up and they've been run on tens of thousands of miles of public roads and trails, over pot-holes and up and down concrete steps.