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FatBike... Fat Tire!

Written by Fatbike   
Friday, 11 June 2004

Reprinted By Permission from FatBike

Since posting the new photo's of my bike with the new, lower and fatter rear end, I have been getting lots of letters from people, asking me to outline how the project went.  Due to popular demand, here are the details.

Swapping the stock rear tire for a larger tire requires little more than a few fairly simple modifications and some spare time.  The result is very desirable.  The fender area screams for more tire and wheel and this combination accomplishes that in spades! 

I chose the RC “Smoothie” rear wheel.  I like the look, and the stock pulley and rotor bolt right up.  There were no spacers needed, and other than the modifications outlined, the installation went without a hitch. 

I used a 180/55-17 Dunlop ‘Elite’ tire on the 17” RC wheel.  This is the largest wheel/tire combination that can be installed on the bike using these modifications.  Larger combinations can be installed, but require custom fenders and the removal of the mount that holds the caliper and bracket in place.  The modifications were as follows… 

Swingarm-    (Click on image for a larger view)

The disc brake caliper bracket mount needed some grinding to increase the distance between the tire/wheel and the bracket.  The mount is actually 2 pieces; A block that is welded to the swingarm, and a round, threaded piece that is welded to the block.  Upon examination, you will notice that the round piece overhangs the block (toward the tire) somewhat.  That overhang is what needs to be ground away.  It should be as close to flush with the block as possible.  The forward edge of the block should also be rounded somewhat.  You may need to reinstall the new wheel/tire and check for clearances.  You won’t get much… maybe a quarter inch or so, but that is sufficient. 

Fender-  (Click on image for a larger view)

Look at the front left side of the fender (the belt side…) and you will notice a bend in the design that jogs the form of the fender away from the belt guard and toward the tire.  That area needs to be reshaped toward the belt guard and away from the tire.  Basically, you are decreasing the clearance tolerance between the belt and the fender, but not by much.  What you really need to do is decrease the bend angle closest to the tire.  When you look at the fender as it relates to the tire, this will make sense.  This modification can be done by hand.  Be aware that the lower edge of the fender in this area runs close to the belt.  If you hear a rubbing, or low speed squealing, chances are that the fender and belt are coming together.  Some slight reshaping will generally do the trick, and chances are that you won’t need to remove the fender or tire once the initial reshaping is done.

Fender Support- Fender Support.jpg (78012 bytes) (Click on image for a larger view)

By now you probably are aware that the rear fender consists of an outer ‘shell’ (the painted part…) and a ‘skeleton’, which actually holds the shell in place and offers passenger support.  The fender support consists of the side rails, and the ribs that connect the left and right sides to one another.  The side rails have an upper and lower ridge that form a ‘C’ shape.  It’s the lower ridge that can potentially come in contact with the wider tire, particularly when the suspension compresses.  That ridge must be ground, or (for those of you with access to a torch…) burned almost completely off.  This provides the clearance necessary for the wider tire.  You will also want to shorten the bolts that hold the decorative rails or the saddlebag supports to the fender.  A bolt that is too long will also risk coming in contact with the tire during compression of the suspension. 

These three modifications are all that I found were necessary to achieve the proper clearances for the new tire. 

Also worth noting… my bike is 2 ½ inches lower in the rear than stock, making clearances more of an issue. 

Despite lowering the rear end (…accomplished by reversing the relay arm…),Lowering.gif (9750 bytes) (Click on image for a larger view) once I did the modifications outlined above, I have no clearance issues, even 2-up.  (…Total weight 2-up is 325 lbs, 125 lb passenger…)

Questions should be asked in our forum (Use discuss link below). The forum is very active and you stand a good chance of getting your questions answered there. If you would like to leave feedback for the author, or have additional information you think will benefit others, please use the comment section at the bottom of this page.

Discuss this article on the forums. (13 posts)

DISCLAIMER: This information and procedure is provided as a courtesy and is for informational purposes only.  Neither the publishers nor the authors accept any responsibility for the accuracy, applicability, or suitability of this procedure.  You assume all risks associated with the use of this information.  NEITHER THE PUBLISHERs NOR THE AUTHORs SHALL IN ANY EVENT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, OF ANY NATURE ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH THE USE OR MISUSE OF THIS INFORMATION OR LACK OF INFORMATION.  Any type of modification or service work on your motorcycle should always be performed by a professional mechanic. If performed incorrectly, this procedure may endanger the safety of you and others on your motorcycle and possibly invalidate your manufacturer’s warranty.

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  Comments (8)
Written by JohnnyB1, on 05-10-2011 18:29
I want to put a 180 on my MM Roadstar. I noticed a 180/55-17 suggested in the article. Could I use a 180/60-16 or 65-16 on a 5.5 x 16 rim? Also, can I have the 5.5 inch rim laced up with the stock hub? Thanks.
Written by LROD, on 02-23-2008 22:16
Will an '06 RS stock with cast wheels take a accept a 160/80 rear tire?
Written by uncle mark, on 08-06-2007 10:15
Hi all, 
long time no speak, been going through a bit of shit lately, divorce (F*****g bitch) and the death of a familly member and by best mates son!!!! god what a year......................Anyway back to business!!!! 
Looking for the name of the supplier that provides the big bore kit (2000cc) for the wild/Road Star, please help. 
Big thanks from the UK.
need some help
Written by acemayo2005, on 07-30-2007 18:00
I just had a Buddy crash my 2000 Roadstar this weekend NO BIGGIE I already have 18 inch solid wheels with a 180 rear tire, I plan on taking them off and selling but now plan to go to a 240 or 250 rear tire Im new to the site and would like to know the best way to go about this and the cheapest i will be getting some insurance money and want to blow it on a fat tire..
tire size
Written by ttip, on 06-13-2006 19:04
I would like to know also,whats the largest tire size that will fit the stock 2006 ROADSTAR SPOKE RIM? WHY LOWER I WOULD LIKE ANOTHER INCH OF HEIGHT? ONLY BIKE I HAVE EVER OWNED THAT SCRAPE PAVEMENT? 
Tire size
Written by julio123, on 06-09-2006 07:56
I want to know if i can put a 180-70 in the stock wheel(16) with the modification
Wheel size
Written by jetjohnnyboy, on 12-06-2005 07:36
I'm thinking of sending in my hub to be rewired to a 5.5 inch 17 diameter wheel. Is that the size you used for your project? I will also be lowering my bike using your mod and don't want any unforseen problems. Thanks for the great articles!
wheel width?
Written by biggame, on 10-15-2005 10:31
fat bike,you mentioned the wheel size you used but didnt say what width.im ready to add a 180 to my r*,i want to order custom wheels but im not sure about wheel width for the rear,also how would i guage wheel size if i want to run a lower profile tire?thanks for any help on this.

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