buying guide to adapted cast wheels

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You will notice adapted cast wheels for motard use being sold secondhand on Ebay and various motard forums. While these have often been done very well, there are some absolute shockers out there that could prove very dangerous.

We'd suggest asking the following questions because your safety could be at stake! It could also cost you a lot to get the kit in a safe working order too, something we learned the hard way years ago.

If they've used disc or sprocket carriers, ask for photos showing how secure and well designed they they are. What sort of metal was used? Is it thick enough and rated for the forces they will be under? We've seen some shockers, and we play it safe by avoiding carriers all together.

Get a closeup of the caliper adapter. Is the alloy or steel thick enough? Are any of the bolt holes too close to the edge of the plate. Have they used mild steel or an alloy with sufficient tempering? These are subject to a lot of stress. Again, we've seen some shockers.

Is there a caliper adapter? The wheels might just have the standard 250mm front disc to avoid an adapter plate. Most motarders find that trail bike disc is too mushy and weak for serious road riding, and it's a pain to remove the discs and refit to the supermoto wheels. And are high tension bolts used? These should have the same pattern on the bolt heads as the stock caliper bolts to indicate they are high tensile for lateral forces.

Do the brake pads sit properly on the discs? Sometimes wheels are adapted where the front or rear discs are a bit too small and the pads aren't sitting completely on the disc; this happens a lot with the common 220mm rear road discs not matching the 240mm rear discs on many trail bikes, but some guys won't tell you this when you buy their kits. On the rear, fixing this will involve getting a new rear disc custom-made may blow your budget out of the water. On the front, fixing any problem means getting a new adapter plate made to position your caliper correctly; not hugely expensive but time-consuming and annoying.

Is the front wheel centred? As you will read below, your rear wheel can be a tad off centre for wider tyres but your front wheel is crucial if you actually want to be able to ride the bike around corners!

Get the seller to guarantee the wheels are true with no dings or damage. That front disc is sometimes a tad bent too, make sure it is straight. Ask about the degree of wear on sprockets, discs, cush drive rubbers, bearings and tyres. If all of these need replacing that cheap kit can cost a lot to get on the road. We indicate all of this and price wheels accordingly so you know exactly where you stand on the overall cost of getting your DRZ motarded for road use.

Have the wheels been machined at all? Sometimes the hubs have been machined to fit bearings with a larger diameter, which might not have left enough of the hub to ensure the strength of the wheel. We avoid machining wheels as much as possible to avoid these issues; if they have been machined in any way, it will be only on the sprocket drive and we'll tell you it's been done too.

Are the spacers (and adapter plate) made from a suitable metal? Alloys are rated for various uses so it pays to know they are rated to holding your wheels in place safely.

Make sure the wheels are at least off a 250 sports bike. We met a guy who bought his wheels on Ebay but found out they were off a 125! It had a very narrow rear rim but the seller had fitted a 140 width rear tyre so that it sounded like a 250 set of wheels. If the photos in the ad only view the wheels side on, you won't be able to tell.

If the cheap wheels you are looking at measure up in all these respects, it looks like a bargain so go for it! Most sellers are pretty honest but it's a case of asking the questions to make sure you are getting a motard kit that will not only be safe but do the job well.

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