Chrome wheels can make a big difference in the looks of a Harley Davidson. The factory-installed ones have their own charm, but the aftermarket options leave room for improvement. There are different chrome rims that fit on a Harley, and choosing from them can pose a challenge.
With some knowledge about wheel chroming, the types and the designs available on the market, choosing a rim becomes a lot easier. This knowledge combined with some useful tips on how to select the right size can lead a buyer to a successful purchase. It is a matter of simply building a profile of type, design, and chroming preferences and looking for it amongst the vast selection on the market.
One of the basic facts that buyers should be aware of is that not all chrome rims are of the same quality. The manufacturer can add one or several layers of chrome and nickel, and though one might be sufficient, each added layer increases the quality. Always look for detailed information on the chroming, and use it as a basis for comparison. The standard thickness of the chrome-nickel layer is around 0.25 mm, so the buyer should make sure that the rims have at least that amount. The smoothness of the metal underneath also plays a part in the appearance, but when there is a problem in that layer, it is usually visible on the outside as well.
Several rim types are present on the market, but the one-piece rim is predominant when it comes to Harleys. These bikes run on a smooth surface, and the one-piece rim is ideal for those conditions. The multi-piece rim is more applicable on heavier vehicles and off-road bikes. It is important to look for security features on the one-piece rims. Some rims have safety humps extended inward to secure the tyre.
Buyers can find three main rim designs that fit a Harley Davidson. The design itself does not offer any benefits other than an improvement in aesthetics, so it is purely up to the buyer to select the ones that he finds appealing. The solid design has two variations that are are both carved out of a single block of metal, but they do not look much alike. The solid disk design has a smooth surface with little or no spaces in it, while the solid spoke design has a spoke texture. The laced design is an entirely different concept. Manufacturers first create the wheel and then weld spokes onto it. The laced design is traditional, and it gives the bike a custom look. It fits well with the overall Harley Davidson image, but it is harder to maintain. The surface of the solid designs is easier to clean, and there are more chromed models available on the market. A solid spoke design represents a cross between the traditional and the modern.
There are advanced levels of customisation when it comes to the laced design. Buyers can even choose their own wheels and create a laced design using software. The spokes support the shape of the rim, so there are some limitations to the design, but there still is a lot of room for creativity. These types of rims do cost extra, but the end product is as unique as it gets.
Two crucial measurements express the size of a wheel. The first one is the wheel diameter, which expresses the distance between the bead seats measured in the plane of the rim through the axis. The second one is the effective width, which stands for the distance between opposite rim flanges.
Rim sizes vary from one model to another. Even different-sized rims on the same model produced in a different year are not that uncommon. There are several ways for a buyer to determine the size of the rims he needs. Using the rims that are already on the bike is a tested method. The Harley's original wheels have markings that show rim diameter and width. Even if they are not easily visible, a mechanic is capable of determining the size of the rims.
The user can determine the dimensions with a sizing chart. Many extensive charts are available online, covering different Harley Davidson models and their features. The format of the size values is standardised. It appears as two numbers separated with an 'x' in between. The first number represents the diameter, the second represents the width. Every chart should contain sizes for the front and the back wheel separately.
Harleys often have a wider back and a larger front tyre, so one must never assume that they are the same. Always check the dimensions to avoid making a costly mistake. The same goes for those who wish to determine the size from the existing rims. A difference in size is usually clearly visible, but looks can be deceiving. The user must look for the markings on both rims or measure them individually.
eBay offers a nice selection of chrome rims. There are plenty to choose from, and they are all easy to find by using the search functionalities available. A buyer can try to track them down through the category menu, but the search bar is still one of the more efficient ways to get a nice, manageable subset of relevant listings. Using a general query, such as 'chrome rims', should be sufficient. Buyers can then select subcategories and use filters to narrow down the choice. It is also a good idea to check the used market and the deals page. These are both good places for buyers working with limited budgets, and the offers there should not be underestimated.