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Discussion Starter #1
I picked up a 2001 Honda XR650R last week with the plan of it being a one bike solution for me. I want to do light touring (needs to be able to hold 65-70 on the freeway for 40-50 miles max), gravel roads and light trails, canyon ripping, and commuting. I know I'm greedy but lets see how it goes. I'm delighted with the bike, the torque is intoxicating, it's nearly invincible, starts in one or two kicks, and it came plated with tags and clean title. It came with the stock 21" / 18" wheels wearing a set of knobbies, and a set of shinko 705's. I swapped on the shinkos and the road manners improved but once I hit about 65-70 there is quite a bit of shake and shimmy. The rest of the bike is just fine but i'm afraid the wheels may be a bit too wonky from dirt riding for doing the light touring I'd like to do.

You can see where this is going.

The question is, for improving on road manners and highway riding do I just try to get my wheels straightened up or do I buy a set of Warp9's and some shinko 700's.

ka-ching, it is a bit heavier than your guy's bikes but woof, that torque.
154674
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I put then on the balancing stand and they seemed pretty good. Obviously I should try again and be more precise. In your opinion, is a well tuned 21" wheel or a 17" wheel a better choice for the riding I'm planning?
 

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17''. I had Excel rims laced onto my stock hubs by Buchanan's. You want 17x3.5 in front and 17x4.25 rear.Front tire will be 120/70-17 , rear will be 160/60-17. The so called dual sport tires are a pitiful compromise that sucks both on and off road , as long as you aren't riding in sugar sand , sportbike tires are fine. I've got Michelin's on both of my bikes. If you stay with the tire sizes above , it'll pretty much keep you out of shitty tire models , they tend to have higher profile sidewalls. I've gotten my last few sets of Michelin's from Dennis Kirk , after price shopping.
 

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I've ridden an XR650R off-road and they have really raked out, stable front ends. I run my WR450F and my SMR510 on 21 inch fronts and knobbies and they are fine up to 70 mph. A little shaky at times, but not too bad. I think you really need to check out all the components. I don't suggest going to a 17 inch front unless you only want to do supermoto stuff. I ran 17s off-road for several years and when I went to a 21 inch front it was a huge revelation. It's so much better even in light stuff. Yeah, the 50/50 tires are crap in most conditions. I don't think tires are your problem. Definitely check out wheel bearings, alignment, dogbone bearings and bushings, steering head bearings, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Duly noted. Even if I get a set of 17s I need to check all those things out anyway better to get it all tight before I go dumping money into bling.
 

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I bought a 2001 DR650SE in really good condition. I noticed the same as you about front end wobble - I thought I had problems with the Michelin Anakee tires on it, but after I checked it closer the front tire was not seated all the way around. I popped the bead and cleaned it and lubed it good and put air in it and it made a big difference in road manners. Some of those tires are really hard to get seated all around - and on dirt only it doesn't show up so much - get on the pavement and it becomes very apparent.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That's a good thing to look at, from the responses i've gotten the 21 should be just fine at the speeds i'm planning so i'm thinking it's balance, a warped rim, bearings, a poorly seated tire, the usual suspects. The 17's may happen too, having set of wheels with knobs for the dirt and sticky rubber for the street would be really nice.
 

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Those are a nice hub set! Where are you located? I see they are made in England, are you in Europe?


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