A common question that dirt bikers ask is whether different brands of dirt bike wheels (or indeed, the same brand) are interchangeable.
Are our dirt bike wheels interchangeable? The quick answer to this particular question is that yes, they do interchange – but only sometimes!
There are several specific instances where you can swap out one kind of wheel for another and gain an instant improvement. But there are also instances where it could actually be to your detriment.
As is the case with so many things in the motocross world, there are certain bikes that have been designed around a specific wheel type.
By swapping out one kind of wheel for another without making allowances, you run the risk of damaging not only your dirt bike but yourself as well.
The Best Way to Balance Your Dirt Bike Wheels and Tires
The structure of the dirt bike wheel is the first thing you should think about. Although there are some slight differences in their designs. Most dirt bike wheels consist of a hub and rim section attached by means of spokes that radiate out from the center.
These spokes attach to an inner disc (which hold captive by the axle) and an outer disc (which attaches to the brake caliper). They design in this way for maximum strength, stability, and durability.
“There is no such thing as a “universal dirt bike wheel”, so always remember to check compatibility before making any decisions regarding your purchase”
Some dirt bike wheels have more spokes than others, so keep that in mind. For example, one design element of a certain brand of motocross bike has been six-spoked wheels. Which designs to be incredibly strong.
Others come with eight spokes while some use ten or more. The benefit of using fewer spokes is that the weight of the wheel can reduce.
The drawback is that the spokes are typically thicker. Thus, potentially weaker than those found on dirt bike wheels which boast more spokes.1
1. Dirt Bike Wheels with Spokes
The question then arises on whether you can use dirt bike wheels that have fewer spokes than your current set-up.
As has already been mentioned, putting them on will very likely weaken the wheel but it may also give it more flex.
This decreased stability can sometimes result in a feeling of increased responsiveness in the handlebars through certain turns.
But it could also result in over-flexing of the wheel through certain turns. This can lead to cracking of the rim or even failure under pressure.
The same risk does not exist when using dirt bike wheels that have more spokes than your current set-up. In fact, these can actually be used to stiffen up a wheel that is otherwise too weak.
If you are not sure of the number of spokes on your current wheels, you should count them before making any changes.
2. Dirt Bike Stock Hub
You need to consider whether or not your current dirt bike has stock hubs before attempting to switch out its wheels for another set. Wheel hubs come in two main types; standard and center-disc.
The only real difference between them is that center-disc hubs have a larger recess on the inside of the wheel rim to accommodate a disc brake rotor. Standard hubs use by most dirt bike riders, but some models come with center-disc hubs as standard equipment.
This means that if you swap out your wheels for another set without considering this particular point. Then, you run the risk of damaging your brake rotors.
3. Width and Offset Wheel Design
The final aspect that needs to consider is the width and offset of the wheel design itself. If you were to put a dirt bike wheel with a lot more offset than that on your current bike (for example), it would look as though some of your spokes were missing.
Similarly, the width of the rim on one dirt bike wheel could be greater than that of your current wheels. This would result in your chain rubbing against the spokes when you are riding at certain speeds. Make sure that you consider all of these factors before making a decision as to whether.
It is prudent to swap out one type of dirt bike wheel for another. Your current set-up is almost certainly designed to work with your specific dirt bike. So be aware of this before making any hasty decisions that could damage it.
4. Replacement of Wheels with Set of Spokes
Also, you should bear in mind that switching out wheels can work both ways. For example, if you have a set of eight-spoked wheels which you would like to replace with a set of dirt bike wheels.
That boasts more spokes than your current ones, this will increase the stability and durability of the hubs and rims. However, it is important that you match up the offset of the rim to those on your bike as closely as possible. So as not to damage your brake rotors through excess rubbing.
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Generally speaking, dirt bike wheels are not interchangeable unless they belong to the same brand or are of an identical make. The number of spokes on one wheel design could be vastly different from that on another.
Resulting in them neither fitting onto your bike nor working with it properly. Alternatively, if the offset and width of a new set of wheels are slightly different from that of your current one. They could rub against your brake rotors and fail under pressure.
5. Dirt Bike Wheels Compatibility with Another Brand
A good way to tell if your current wheels are compatible with those belonging to another brand or model is by looking at the distance between the fork and axle. If these two distances match up then it is likely that you could use them. Bear in mind that the same applies to dirt bike rims.
Check that they also share this distance before taking any chances and fitting them onto your current dirt bike. Also, you should inspect the mountings on each wheel and ensure that these line up exactly with one another before installation takes place.
It goes without saying that you should take care when buying dirt bike wheels. If you are looking to save money, there is no harm in checking out second-hand options first before deciding whether or not to splash out on a new set.
You can find many dirt bike riders who have overspent on their preferred brand of the wheel and are now willing to swap them out for something that does not cost as much. This could be the perfect option if you are looking for affordable dirt bike wheels without compromising on quality and performance.