The Complete Guide to Buying Wheels for Your Trail Bike

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The Complete Guide to Buying Wheels for Your Trail Bike

Riding a trail bike through rugged wilderness terrain can be one of most enjoyable adventures for avid motorcyclists. However, trail bikes require constant maintenance to ensure safety and high performance in the backcountry. Trail bike wheels typically possess small knobs that allow riders to dig deeper into dirt trails and rough terrain. Riders use knobby wheels for both trail riding and motocross racing. Since trail bike wheels have shorter than average wheel lifespans, it is very likely that trail bike owners need to replace one or both trail bike wheels at least once during a bike's lifetime. Before shopping on eBay for trail bike wheels, learn about the wheel size specifications and the factors that play a significant role in determining which wheels riders purchase.

Trail Bike Wheel Specifications

No other factor has more relevance when choosing the right trail bike wheels than size. Wobbly, undersized wheels can toss riders from a trail bike on the gentlest of turns. Stiff, oversized trail bike wheels can prevent riders from making sharp turns, which is a must-have capability for off road motorcycling. Every motorbike manufacturer presents the same specifications for trail bike wheels. Search for a series of large numbers followed by at least one capital letter.

The first number in a trail bike wheel series presents the width of the wheel in millimetres. Measure the width from the end of one sidewall to the end of the opposite sidewall. The aspect ratio follows the width measurement and expresses the height of the wheel as the percentage of the wheel width. For example, a wheel that measures 100 mm in width and possesses an aspect ratio of 90 is 90 mm tall. Measured in inches, the final number describes the diameter of the wheel. The capital letter that ends the series of numbers defines the purpose of the wheel. All motorbikes should have an M printed on the side of the wheels.

Considerations for Buying Trail Bike Wheels

Although size represents the most important trail bike wheel buying factor, trail bike owners also must consider several other buying factors. The importance placed on each of the following factors often depends on how often riders plan to use their trail bikes. As with wheel size, trail bike wheel buying factors all determine the level of safety and performance.

Better Traction vs. More Mileage

One of the first things beginner motorcycle owners learn concerns the tradeoff between accruing more mileage or receiving better traction. The tradeoff becomes more perceptible for trail bikes. Trail bike wheels that contain harder rubber knobs last longer on dirt trails, but they offer poorer traction on the trail surface. Trail bike riders should consider softer rubber knob wheels to provide protection against nasty spills and crashes. Trying to cut financial corners can cause a serious accident.

Purchase by the Pair and Match

Most motorbike manufacturers recommend replacing both wheels at the same time to ensure compatibility. However, this may not always be pertinent, since the larger rear wheel tends to wear out faster than the front wheel. If only the rear wheel requires a replacement, make sure the replacement wheel is the correct size and has the same construction as the front wheel. To receive optimal balance, replace both wheels at the same time, even if one wheel still has considerable tread left.


Even trail bike wheels that possess the correct size and functional attributes require alignment. Proper wheel alignment prevents vibrations that cause the wheel to wear prematurely, as well as impede steering and making sharp turns. Trail bike owners can take the bike in for wheel alignment or remove the wheels and bring them to a motorbike repair professional.


Since trail bikes take more of a pounding than any other type of motorbike, it seems reasonable to declare that trail bike wheels take a similar degree of pounding. Travelling over rocky terrain and through thick can cause premature wear on the trail bike wheels. When shopping for trail bike wheels, examine the wheels or the photograph of the wheels to determine if the wheels possess noticeable wear. The types of wear to look for include front left side, rear centre, and cupping. Trail bike wheel wear indicates the wheels are in used condition. Even shoppers on tight budgets cannot afford to blow a used wheel out in the middle of backcountry. Buy new , and preferably name brand, wheels for a trail bike.


Trail bike experts differ on whether it is better to replace wheels with wheels constructed by the original manufacturer or another manufacturer. Since trail bike owners must obtain precise size and alignment measurements, buying trail bike wheels constructed by the original manufacturer ensures measurement accuracy. Some of the top companies, such as Honda and Yamaha , produce aftermarket trail bike wheels that work fine on other motorbike company trail bikes.

Buying Trail Bike Wheels on eBay

eBay provides buyers with several tools to vet potential sellers. The first piece of evidence is the enlarged photograph that prominently displays the trail bike wheel for sale. Search for defects and closely examine the tread. Each seller also lists the accepted payment methods and delivery terms. You may find one of eBay's top sellers, but that means nothing if the seller does not take your preferred method of payment. Search for trail bike wheel sellers who live in Australia to reduce delivery time. eBay also compiles customer feedback on seller product pages. Consider trail bike wheel sellers who have earned positive reviews over the past year for selling motorbike parts and accessories.

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