[INFO] Choosing Wheels

YetiWoodz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2019
Messages
1,172
(At the bottom are links to the wheels)

Other than the engine, the rear wheel of your motorized bike is the most crucial piece. All of the engine's power is applied to the rear wheel. It can be full of failures, be a serious safety hazard, and a big money pit if you get stuck with the wrong one(s).

I put this post together from mine and others' experiences.

The hub of a wheel is the center. The mechanism. Its the source of the most problems.

Lets go over what hubs are not recommended or have the potential to be unsafe.

COASTER BRAKE HUB:
Image

-Not Recommended. Found on cruiser bicycles. This hub design is not capable to withstand braking from high speeds along with the weight accompanied by an engine. The bearing cages will break, the brake arm will no longer lock in place, and the wheel will start wobbling and will soon seize to rotate. I personally went through four of these all different brands and qualities too.

QUICK RELEASE AXLES:
Image

- Found on freehub mountain bike wheels (not to be confused with freewheel). Some people had problems with the skewer snapping if its really tight then hit a pothole or something harsh. Another problem was the wheel disconnecting due to the quick release not being tight enough. Not recommended

MOTOR SPROCKET ADAPTERS

CNC HUB ADAPTER:

The cnc hub adapter will damage your wheel if its not modified.
- Will slip even if you rough up the contact points and tighten it as tight as possible.

Modification - Pinning it to the hub
Get a roll pin. A roll pin needs to compress a bit to work effectively. You won't need more than a 1/2" of pin, 1/4" in both sides. Drill a hole in the adapter and a slightly smaller hold in the hub. Put the pin in the adaptor hole and inline with the hub hole. The pin gets pressed in as you clamp it down. As long as the pin clears the axle it will work.
- Chainlube & StreetRyderz successfully done this and recommended it.

RAG JOINT:
The rag joint is debateable. It usually works fine if installed correctly and if its on a strong wheel. Not recommended on heavily modified/fast motorbikes.
- Clamped on only to one side of the wheel which equals half the spokes. Too much stress on those spokes may pull the rim to that side over time or even snap them off if you got inadequate spokes or incorrect spoke tension.

Modification - Dual Rag Joint
You can install a rag joint on both sides and connect them as one adapter with long bolts running through them. Will be very frustrating to install but it requires no modification to the wheel itself.

AXLES:
- Bolt on/thru axles are best. They are the strongest type of axle as they are solid.

SPOKES:
- You want steel, stainless steel, or alloy steel construction for strength. Spokes must generally be 12 gauge or larger (smaller # is larger) when paired with a single wall rim. Spokes may be 14 gauge or larger when paired with a double wall rim since they're much stronger. Depending on spoke quality, a 14 gauge may be just as strong or stronger than a cheap 12 gauge. Tighten the spokes with a spoke tool if they arrive loose. Do not over tighten.

RIMS:
Rims you want to be at least 1.5" wide. This is for strength and ability to put on bigger tires. Steel, stainless steel, or alloy steel for spoked wheels.

TIRES:
1.95" and 2.125" wide are great options. More comfortable ride, grip, and better wheel protection. Make sure the tread is appropriate for your riding conditions. Keep tire pressure up with spoked wheels to help prevent bending of the rim and regular or slightly less tire pressure with mag wheels for cushion to help protect the rim from cracking when hitting potholes/bumps.

DISK BRAKE ON REAR WHEEL:
Disk brakes go on the left side of the wheel which means it needs to go next to the motor sprocket. But the disc rotor needs a spacer so the motor chain doesn't hit it. All of this changes the fork dropout spacing which means it'll be too wide to fit on certain bikes like cruisers. Some people were able to widen their fork using force but only if its a steel fork, aluminum will break before it bends like that.

BEST WHEELS TO BUY

1. The Grubee HD
Ebay.com link
Pros
- No hassle easy to install, made for motorized use.
- Freewheel
- 12 gauge spokes
- Steel
- Disk brake compatible
- Directly mount your motor sprocket to hub
Cons
- Expensive at $160

2. Bikeberry Freewheel Bikeberry.com
Pros
- $45
- easy to install
- disk brake compatible, just needs rotor adapter and you can install sprocket.
Link to rotor adapter


3. Mag Wheels Ebay.com link
Pros
- No spokes
- Disk brake compatible
- Lightweight thick aluminum construction
- need a mag adapter to attach sprocket. No modification needed. Amazon.com link
Cons
- They have a chance of cracking if you ride in an area with lots of bad potholes or if offroading and you have a high speed bike. Spokes act as a shock absorber since they flex. Mag wheels are completely rigid.
- Narrow width, can still fit 2.125" wide tires but it looks weird.

4. Freewheel Ebay.com link (freewheel in link has a 7/8" OD hub. No cnc hub adapters I've seen are made for that size).
Pros
- cheapest option
Cons
- to mount sprocket, you need the rag joint.
- not disk brake compatible

Front Wheel
- I recommend getting a disk brake wheel. You will need a disk brake compatible fork with that though unless you can weld or fab something fancy together. Non disk brake forks will bend or break sending you over your handlebars because they aren't designed to handle the braking forces of a disk brake. Triple tree forks are a great option.
- Front wheel with disk brake and rear wheel with rim brake or disk brake is a good setup.

Dual brake lever: Amazon.com link
- lets you control both front and rear brake at the same time all in one lever. Very useful since the clutch lever takes up one side.
 

Attachments

  • s-l400 (1).jpg
    s-l400 (1).jpg
    10.8 KB · Views: 104
  • H09531dd97d744fcfa07e7c759b1843984-1.jpg
    H09531dd97d744fcfa07e7c759b1843984-1.jpg
    84 KB · Views: 96
Last edited:

DAMIEN1307

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
2,283
You WILL need a disk brake compatible fork with that though. Non disk brake forks will bend or break sending you over your handlebars because they aren't designed to hand the braking forces of a disk brake.
I agree with most everything here with one minor exception...Mounting front disk brake to a standard front fork, (Though i think my front fork appears to be beefy-er than most ive seen for a stock system),...Mine is adapted to the fork through use of a Military aircraft "Adel" clamp as pictured below...guaranteed by my buddies at the base that my frame would have to disolve before this clamp ever shakes loose from the fork...lol...All else is a great, well thought out and written tutorial on choosing wheels for a decent motorised bike setup.

The only other thing i could mention as well is tire inflation when using mags.
My kevlar tires recommend between 40 to 60 PSI inflation...If i have them at just 40PSI, they are hard as a rock and you feel every pebble and road crack...With the mags, i set them at 33 PSI...This gives them just enough flex due to the hard, rigidity of mags, so as to be more forgiving and are riding beautifully for me...YMMV...lol...DAMIEN
 

Attachments

  • Adel clamp holding front caliper adaptor to fork. IMG_0349.jpg
    Adel clamp holding front caliper adaptor to fork. IMG_0349.jpg
    108 KB · Views: 77
Last edited:

Sidewinder Jerry

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2011
Messages
2,256
3/8" thorough axle??? Unless you dealing with an old American made bicycle it won't have a 3/8" through axle. Since bikes are made outside the US the most common through axle is a 12 mm which generally has 15 mm nuts on them.

Then not all through axles are created equally. Often the cheaper bikes use low quality metal in their through axles; making them prone to bending. You can buy cro-molly through axles which can handle more stress. As for multi cog wheels a cassette design is less prone to through axle bends than a freewheel through axle is.

I'd also suggest that double walled rims be used.
 
Last edited:

Spare_Parts

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Messages
2,028
Tons of bad info.

Left out the best sprocket adapter which is often called a top hat. Bolts directly to the disc flange.

Thicker spokes are not necessarily better. Fist issue is spoke quality. Take a DT Swiss 14g spoke and compare it to a no name 12g. The DT Swiss will be stronger. Probably stronger than the available 11g spokes. Also many bicycle hoops cant take a fully tensioned 12g or larger. Check endless sphere.

Thru bolt axles are strongest. Most people would be fine with 3/8 and if they are bending axles should look at cromoly often called Cro-Mo or Cro-Moly.

Where did the 1.5" wide rims size come from?

Freewheel/ freehub is the only option for disc brakes!

Freewheel has absolutely nothing to do with rim brake compatibility! The hoops dictate that. My downhill mtx39 are disc only and laced to a freewheel hub. Plenty of hoops are disc only now.

The Grubee wheel is so completely over complicated it laughable.
 

YetiWoodz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2019
Messages
1,172
Tons of bad info.

Left out the best sprocket adapter which is often called a top hat. Bolts directly to the disc flange.

Thicker spokes are not necessarily better. Fist issue is spoke quality. Take a DT Swiss 14g spoke and compare it to a no name 12g. The DT Swiss will be stronger. Probably stronger than the available 11g spokes. Also many bicycle hoops cant take a fully tensioned 12g or larger. Check endless sphere.

Thru bolt axles are strongest. Most people would be fine with 3/8 and if they are bending axles should look at cromoly often called Cro-Mo or Cro-Moly.

Where did the 1.5" wide rims size come from?

Freewheel/ freehub is the only option for disc brakes!

Freewheel has absolutely nothing to do with rim brake compatibility! The hoops dictate that. My downhill mtx39 are disc only and laced to a freewheel hub. Plenty of hoops are disc only now.

The Grubee wheel is so completely over complicated it laughable.
1. Why would you need a top hat adapter when you could just directly bolt the sprocket to the 6 bolt hole disk brake mount?

2. I'm talking about stock wheels, how they come when you buy it. Of course you can swap out a different rim.

3. Freehub and Freewheel are not the same thing! A freehub has a spline, and it has a quick release axle. Freewheels have thread on cogs and generally do not have a disk brake mount. They have bolt on axles.

4. What is so complicated about the Grubee wheel?
 

Sidewinder Jerry

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2011
Messages
2,256
My coaster brake, freewheel, and my 2 mountain bikes all have 3/8" (9mm) axles.
Then let's call it what it actually is a 9 mm axle. 3/8" is about half way between 9 mm and 10 mm. The reason I'm bring this up is because I don't want a new builder getting a piece of 3/8 threaded rod and using that as an axle. One could get a case hardened 3/8 bolt cut the head off and thread that end.
 
Top