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Sounds like you are doing a great job Blight.

Just to confirm I havent done anything wrong and not missing anything, why do the bearings have to be perfectly flush with the outside of the wheel? I assume you are installing the 0.080 spacer on one side and thinned bearing race on the other is just so your spacers are equal size. As long as the bearings lock the wheel in position (and the internal spacer is the correct length) the wheel should work shouldnt it?

Alternatively could you have omitted the 0.080 spacer and made the other bearing sit in the same amount?

Cheers
Pete
Yes, it will work fine that way too. I just wanted to keep the outer axle spacers the same length, so I'm bringing them both out to the hub edge like they are on the one side.
Cheers,
BLIGHT
 

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Finished!

Hey guys, I finished up the 17" Buell front wheel conversion! Here are some pics of the wheel before assembly, painting, and installation. I found a great deal on some ALTH floating rotors, so they are shown in the pics too. Have a look:


















Last 2 pics show the comparison of the stock wheel & brakes and the new 17" and floaters. The weight difference (including wheel, tire, internal & external spacers, bearings, rotors & fasteners:
Stock 18" XR1200: 34lbs 0 oz.
17" Buell Conversion: 29lbs 10oz.

So, it's a little less than 5 lbs lighter. I'll take that! I went for a short test ride last night, and the steering does feel a tad quicker, and seems to handle bumps a little better. With that much less weight (like a 5 lb HAM on your front wheel) to react to bumps, there is less inertia and rotating mass. I used a Shinko Raven 120/70-ZR17 radial on the front (been using 'em for years and they are terrific tires at a great price) and since it's new, it needs some break-in miles before I can start pushing it in corners, but it felt really good, and solid on my test.

The brakes are incredible. I did a few test stops to seat the pads against the new rotors, but they feel a lot stronger now. The OEM brakes are no slackers, but with the wave floaters, the feel is much improved, and I'm confident I could stop the bike a lot quicker now.

All in all, I'm very happy with the wheel swap, and I did the whole thing, wheel, parts, tire, and rotors for under $400. Hard to beat, really!

I'm too busy to do the "how to" thread right now, but I'll do some drawings and write up the text and resources for parts that I used later this month. Dang! I need to drop that front fender down AGAIN!

See ya'
BLIGHT
 

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That is terrific project and post-up Blight! Give us a full ride report when you get a chance. Bike looks great too! :clap: :clap:
 

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Thanks a lot guys! I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. Went for a 20+ miler this evening to get a feel for the wheel change and to break in the tire a bit. Overall, it feels "sportier" and one thing I noticed was that it's like 'power-steering'. It seems to require far less counter-steering bar effort to turn in and hold the line, which is what I had hoped for. Line changes mid-corner seem easier too. The Sportster steering rake is pretty 'relaxed' by sport bike standards, so we're not breaking into GSXR territory...

Also, the front end seems to react to sharp road bumps and ripples quicker, with less bounce impact to the tire as before. With the lighter wheel, it's almost 15% lighter now, so there is less mass to move quickly when you hit a bump. Conversely, on rebound, the front end will tend to return to the pavement quicker with the fork springs pushing it back down. It's all about road contact and more constant & consistent traction.

Simple mechanics, really, and it works in the real world! Probably more dramatic results riding briskly on our deteriorating public roadways than you would see on a pristine, smooth race-track.

Now... on to the Buell rear-wheel conversion! It's really mostly a cosmetic thing so the front & rear wheels match visually with the 3 hollow spokes. The Buell wheel is 1/2" narrower at 17" x 5", but... the assembly will likely be lighter by 6 or 7 lbs (estimate) so that will justify the reduced width. It's still rated for the 180 rear tire, which is perfect.

See ya'
BLIGHT
 

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Great job Blight!! Looks very good!


The Buell wheel is 1/2" narrower at 17" x 5", but... the assembly will likely be lighter by 6 or 7 lbs (estimate) so that will justify the reduced width. It's still rated for the 180 rear tire, which is perfect.
Wise man. :)

Looking at the pics it looks like your bike has the stock height/length suspension? The 17' has dropped the front about a half inch reducing clearance the XR doesn't have much of. No problems with that yet?

Richard.
 

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Scaring the crap out of Sportbikes everywhere.
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Great Job Blight, bike looks fantastic.
This is a great thread, one of the best, I can't wait for the rear wheel write up; it has me pricing Buell wheels but the only machining I know how to do is with a die grinder and a big hammer, so I'll probably have to save my money for store bought wheels.:eek::(:mad:
 

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Great job Blight!! Looks very good!
Wise man. :)Looking at the pics it looks like your bike has the stock height/length suspension? The 17' has dropped the front about a half inch reducing clearance the XR doesn't have much of. No problems with that yet?Richard.
Thanks... actually I raised the forks up about 1.50" (put a spacer under the handlebar clamp) AND I have the smaller front wheel. The rear shocks are about 1/2" longer than stock. The front forks are just TOO long. Still, I may pull them back out 1/2" to compensate for the smaller rim.

When I made my exhaust, I tucked the headpipes in closer to the engine/frame, and I haven't experienced any contact yet. Maybe I just don't ride as hard on the street as is required to drag hard parts. The outer edges of my boot soles drag occasionally, but I'm a 'hanger-offer'. When I want or need to go faster I do hang off and reduce the required lean angle a bit. I don't have much of a chicken strip on the edges of the back tire (~1/4") and I'm sure the bike will corner faster than I give it credit for... it's just the thought of this gigantic 550 lb bike (and me) sliding down the road makes me ill. I'd rather take it a little easier and truly enjoy the ride.

These bikes are just not ever going to be as fast as a GSXR or CBR on the twisties, so why push them to the point where they start grinding hard parts, and potentially crashing? The XR1200 are surely more form over function... although they are styled like a 'flat-tracker', I'm sure you wouldn't win any flat-track events either with these 550 lb Harley Sportsters. You might drop 50 lbs in race trim, but it's always gonna be a porker.

That said... I wanted to be able to use 17" sport-bike rubber which gives you a huge selection. 18"?... not too much of a selection. The steering is easier now, and changing lines mid-corner is effortless. The OEM front wheel is pretty heavy, so reducing weight on such a critical component is worthwhile.

The brakes are another department where money is well spent... especially on such a heavy bike. There is a definite improvement in feel and braking power with the new floating rotors.

See ya!
BLIGHT
 
G

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hi blight, i'm still waiting for rotor spacers shipped to me.........
when you have some time. please can tell us the drawnings for the parts?
thank you!!!!
 

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17" Buell Wheel Parts Measurements

hi blight, i'm still waiting for rotor spacers shipped to me.........
when you have some time. please can tell us the drawings for the parts?
thank you!!!!
Hi Gianmarco... sorry but I'm too swamped with work right now. As I recall, you ordered 1/2" spacers. Those are too wide and the rotors won't line up with your calipers. You need to narrow them on a lathe to 3/8" (or easier, return them and order the 3/8" ones!)

Also there is a recess on the backside of each spacer (against the wheel hub) that needs to be made. The recess needs to be 2.360" x 0.100" deep. The boss on the Buell wheel is just a little too big for the H-D rotors. At least the 5 bolt pattern is correct. You'll need 10 ea. 5/16" UNC Grade 5 or 8 capscrews x 1.25" L. The XR rotor screws will be too short with the new spacers installed. Sorry for all the non-metric measurements, but that's the way we roll over here.

For axle spacers, I ordered two ea. aluminum 1.25" wide x 1" bore from the same company that makes the rotor spacers. When installing the new wheel bearings make sure they are 4.50" wide where they touch the outer spacers. The final total made-up length with these spacers is 7", the same as the original XR wheel.

For the center bearing spacer I used 1" aluminum 6061 S40 pipe, which has a 1.030" bore. I cut it to length on the lathe: 3.590"

You will need to make some bearing spacers to get the 4.50" installed width, since the new bearings are narrower than the OEM M2 Buell bearings. One the shallow side the spacer is 0.081" x 1.850" (47mm) OD.

On the deep socket side, the spacer is 0.510" x 1.850" (47mm) OD.

When the bearings are installed with the center spacer and the bearing seat spacers they need to just touch the center spacer, which is required. If the center spacer is loose, pull a bearing and adjust one of the spacers until you get the bearings inner races to contact the center spacer. That way, when the axle is tightened the bearings won't have any lateral stress which could cause them to fail. Take your time here to get a nice fit.

I bought a bearing driver set from a local discount tools company (Harbor Freight) and it's shown in the photos from a few posts ago. It makes it easy to drive the bearings in straight using the outer races. NEVER drive or hammer on the bearing smaller inner races. You'll damage the bearings if you do so!

Just a little info from my notes, so I hope that gives you enough to go on for now. Maybe I'll get a little time to work on a drawing this weekend.

See ya'
BLIGHT
 
G

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thank you very much.
actually, i've done all as you said .

but i'm in trouble with rotor spacers, bacause they still don't came from u.s.a.!!!!
the same thing for the screws more long!!!

but for the parts of the bearing spacer and assemby it' done as you says.
thank you very much without your "diy", i couldn't do this thing!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Wow, $400 all-in for a 17" front seems like a steal. Interested in selling kits?? haha
Hi guys, yeah, it's really true you can do the Buell 17" front for well under $400 including a new 17" ZR radial tire. Actually, it's closer to $300 if you use your stock rotors! I got a steal on some bitchen' Italian wave floaters for under $100 for the pair and couldn't resist!

But... sorry, I don't think selling kits would be a way for me to retire early. I will however, make some mechanical drawings up for the minor machine work and post 'em here. I have all the notes I took, but I'm just too busy with work to do it right now. Once I see some daylight in my business work load I'll do it, I promise.

It is safe to say, however, if you can get a good deal (under $100) and want to go ahead and buy a 17" x 3.5" Buell M2 wheel on eBay just to have it ready (here's a guy with 6 available):
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Buel...1085020QQptZMotorcyclesQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories

You could also buy a 120/70-VR17 radial tire of your choice... the other stuff is all pretty easy to do. You can even use your OEM brake rotors with some longer mounting bolts to save some dough!

On another note, the rear wheel is going to be a real bugger! The M2 Buell rear wheel is a full 1" wider at the hub than the XR wheel. That means an offset rear brake rotor and/or a Buell rear caliper, and probably a Buell rear pulley. Doesn't look like the hub can be narrowed either, because it's pretty 'lacey' in the casting out at the ends, and besides, the bearings both sit out at the outer ends of the rear hub. It appears it's better to adapt the rotor, caliper and pulley to work than it is to mess with the wheel hub width. I'll get 'er done one way or the other. The wheel is really nice looking, and I can hardly wait to get it on the rear! It should easily knock off another 5 or 6 lbs from the back end too!

Update: The Raven front tire is 'broken-in' now and I have been able to start pushing it a bit. Happy to report it is sticking very well, and the steering is much more neutral than with the stock setup, and requires far less bar effort in countersteering into a sharp curve. Just tip your head over a bit into the turn, a light push on the bars, and you're cornering! I'm very happy with the feel, and haven't had any issues with handling or ground clearance.

The roads are a bit damp here and there in the shadows, with wet leaves and pine needles, so I'm not going full tilt, but pretty close, where it's safe. I want to get the matching 180 Raven on the rear because it has a far rounder profile and identical rubber compound that matches the new front tire.

Cheers,
BLIGHT
 

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Yeah, I bought one of those NOS Stardust Silver Buell front wheels from St Paul H-D last week. It sure looks sweet! I won't be doing the mod anytime soon though, just collecting the required pieces as Blight said and looking for a decent machine shop for some rework of the shims and spacers.
 
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