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Wheel size on police r1100rt

Robert Mayrand

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Robert Mayrand

I just realised that some police force r1100rt had wirewheels, and strangely the 18" is in front and the 17" in the back, is there any advantage to do so? Why did the police prefer wire wheel? what are the advantage of wire wheels and why the bigger wheel in front?





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Evening Robert


Wire wheel (laced spokes) offer stronger wheels as far as hitting pot holes & road debris. The spokes also offer a little springiness & the rims are usually stronger. (reason that most serious off-road bikes use spoke type wheels)


The downside to spoke type wheels is usually the need for inner tubes in the wheels as spoke sealing is difficult. BMW did find a way on later bikes to place the spoke to rim attachment outside the tire rim area so the wheels could then be made tubless.


Spokes have some advantages but also have some disadvantages as they need to be trued to spin without wobble & spoked wheels are a REAL PAIN to clean.


As far as 17" vs 18" go, not a lot of difference in function (it has more to do with tire circumference not rim size) but good performing 17" tires are easier to find.





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In the police bikes. It was an option that was used to sometimes suit a bid spec or a particular "look" on what a police bike should look like.

Way back when CHP had the bid out for bikes and bmw took a run at it (successfully) with the R1100RT-P the bid was so archaic that it called for a right hand operation throttle and the clutch to be hand operated by the left hand.

It was amended to allow conventional footpegs as originally it specified floorboards.


Some of the "special models" of the R1100R came with the spokes to give the bike the classic look.


So many customers pranged the wheels of the early 1100's that bmw superseded them to a "hardened" wheel in wow, 99-2000? (There was a casting mark one could look for) and did replace a number of the early ones on a case by case basis as a courtesy if the dealer squawked to his area service rep.

The hardened wheels, on a durometer would read more like a extra sharp cheddar while the early wheels were more of a room temperature Velveeta.

Most helpful, bmw.




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I broke my r1100gs in half when I had an accident in 2009. The front wheel had no problems, it did not need to be trued or anything.



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