Supermoto wheels are a big investment, when you factor in that your old dirt bike may have a low resale value anyway. Quality 17-inch supermoto wheels that will last are going to expensive, because they’re not in massive supply and they’re for serious riders.
So why do supermoto riders look to use 17-inch wheels? The answer is simple – speed.
Smaller wheels let the tires rotate quicker so acceleration is snappier. Smaller wheels also have less centrifugal force so the forces making the bike stay upright aren’t as strong.
The smaller diameter front wheel has an impact on the geometry of the bike. You’re effectively lowering the front, and with that the rake angle and trail. If set up right, you’ll get a quicker-steering bike – too much though and it’ll be unstable, especially at higher speeds and with a heavy throttle.
The size of your wheels is largely determined by what kind of riding you do.
For street duty, or for amateur racing, a 17 x 3.50 front and a 4.25 x 17 rear is a good choice. This will give you ample choice when it comes to tires and it also minimise any tire rubbing from the chain.
If you are a budding racer and your bike is a dedicated supermoto race bike, you’ll probably want a 16.5 x 3.50 front rim and ideally a 5.00 x 17 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.
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