Saturday, July 21, 2012
"How to" VStar 650 Wheel Swap
Success! Yes, the wheel swap is finally complete. First off, sorry for the slight delay with my last post on the process. We have had severely inclement weather lately, including thunderstorms heavily laden with lightning. Well, my highly conductive metal shed is not the safest place to work while there is enough voltage surging through the air to power a small city. Hence, the slight delay in my completion. I have however, finally finished the task at hand. The wheel, though not a direct swap, is much closer than some of the other conversion methods that encompass changing bearings, or drilling out fork legs. If you remember, I installed a wheel cover on the rear, giving the illusion of a solid rear wheel. Thus, adding the front wheel from the 1100 completes the look of custom wheels. So if you are interested in swapping the front wheel, and using the wheel cover as I have done on the rear, you’ll save yourself literally thousands of dollars. The last time I checked, I had a hard time even finding a company that would make custom wheels for the Vstar 650, and the price was in the 2500-3500 dollar range. The wheel cover, including powder coating it black, and the front wheel with the additional spacers, and paint was roughly a tenth of the cost of custom wheels. So if you’d rather spend the extra coin, and go the 3500 dollar route, you can save yourself some time, and quit reading here. However, if you are like me, and would rather save your money for other mods later, I’ll give you a quick rundown of what to do. To start with, the wheel I used was from a 1978 Yamaha XS 1100. I was lucky and found one on Ebay for a tad shy of 100.00, including shipping. As I’ve already posted, the wheel had both rotors, and good bearings. The price for wheels may vary some, but if you shop around, I’m sure you’ll find a good deal for less than 150.00. I also purchased on Ebay a Shinko, 100/90-19 wheel for about 55.00 with free shipping. The needed spacers, and washers, I picked up at Lowes for less than 10.00. Paint included one can each of self etching primer, gloss black, and clear coat, all were rattle cans that I picked up for about 5.00 a can. That brings my total to around 180.00 for everything. That’s it for financing the project, so now on to the work related element. If you have minimal mechanical skills, you can do this. As mentioned earlier, it’s not quite a direct swap, but with a few simple spacers you’ll be in business in no time. I guess I won’t go into detail for my measurements as they are different than a stock Vstar. I will mention though that my estimation for a stock bike would be around a half to three quarters of an inch per side. Don’t hold me to that though, it’s just a guess. I purchased an inch and a half and used a grinder to cut down the bulk of it, and then fine tuned them with my Dremel equipped with a grinding wheel. So the front wheel setup includes the stock VStar spacer, the stock VStar speedo drive, and the two spacers I made, and that’s it. Not too bad so far is it.The brake was another story though, but still not too bad. The XS1100 Rotors are thicker than the Vstars, so if you can get them “turned” to shave off the tad bit of excess that’s what I would do. I already had the brake on the wheel, and the wheel installed before I realized this. No matter how I spaced the caliper, it continued to scrub. I used the Dremel to shave off a very minute amount of the caliper to prevent the scrub, and called it done.
In brief here are the simple steps, (excluding installation of the new Shinko tire):
A) Purchase wheel, rotors, spacers, and your choice of paint. There are other XS1100 years that fit, but make sure to purchase the ones using a 298mm rotor. Check me on this, but I believe there are a few years of V-Max wheels, as well as older Venture wheels that may also work.
B) Remove Stock wheel assembly, rotor, and unbolt the caliper. You may want to completely remove the caliper, or simply place it on a box or stool next to the bike leaving the brake line attached.
C) Install the XS1100 wheel using the stock VStar spacer, axle and speedo drive.
D) Center the wheel, and take an initial measurement for the spacers. Go a tad on the safe side when making the initial cut, and fine tune the measurements as needed. This step involves installing and removing the wheel several times insuring the spacers slide in place perfectly. At this point, it’s now safe to paint the wheel.
E) After installing the wheel and rotor, place the caliper on the rotor, and hold it in place where it will be bolted to the fork leg. Adding washers as needed, space the caliper over until it aligns securely with the rotor.
F) Make sure everything is tight, don’t forget the pinch bolt holding the axle in place. Now, take your bike out and be proud of a job well done.
This is the method I followed, it may not be the simplest, or the best, but it’s what worked for me. I am no mechanic, and don’t claim to be. I’m just a guy that enjoys working on my personal VStar, and sharing my experiences with you. If you embark on this, or any of my other projects that is totally at your discretion and you are responsible for the safe completion of your project, not me. I am simply providing you with information that you may find beneficial, but ultimately you are the one accountable for what you do with that information.