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MX Tire/Wheel Explanation

5278 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  bsilver
This may be a dumb question to ask, but this has been something that I've always wondered. Typically you see MX quads with 19x6x10 or 20x6x10 front tires and 18x10x8, 18x10x9, 19x10x8, or 19x10x9 rear tires. There are others, but I think those are the most popular sizes, correct? What is the benefit of using the different size tires, rims, etc? It also appears that beadlocks are a must? At what point is it necessary to have beadlocks? At which point is it necessary to have them on the front and the back? I would like to start getting into MX and I'd like to see what size of tire and wheel people are using and why. Also, what brand/style of tires and wheels do you recommend? I'm currently running 21x7x10 Kenda Front Max's and 20x11x9 Kenda Gnarly's on ITP Baja wheels. This probably isn't the best setup to use, huh?
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Not sure how much "explaining" this will be, but I'll tell ya what I know. The shorter tires (20" front, 18" rear) will lower your bike about an inch over what you're running now, giving you a lower center of gravity, aiding in stability in your turns. The smaller rears also lower your gearing, which can be useful on an MX track where low-end corner-exit power is more useful than top speed. Some people gear back up to compensate (I do) if they have the motor to pull it, which is useful on higher speed tracks.

As far as the wheels go, you want light and strong. I run the '88 stock rims for MX. They're light, strong, and I haven't popped a bead yet. Now, I'm only at the Novice (or B for you east coast guys) level, so I'm not going Mach 2 yet. The top guys I see running Hiper Beadlocks all around.

Tire brand? Pick your poison man. I'm not good enough yet to tell much of a difference. I'm runing ITP MXR6 20" fronts and Kenda Klaw 18" rears. Looks like the tire setup on the bike at the top of the page on the Forum banner. The fronts are wearing out fast, while the rears seem to be holding up well. I like the Klaws for the reversability of them. One way for loose tracks, the other way for hardpack. And I CAN tell a difference in that. I ran em the wrong way for a loose track Wednesday night and wow! Major traction loss! Gotta flip those things before I go back! ITPs are always good, but pricy and seem to wear quick. Maxxis Razrs are always a safe bet (the Razr MX or Cross), and I'm becomming partial to Kendas now.

The tire set your running now is about what I run for WORCS (off-road and desert stuff) racing. I run 22" fronts on Ult.Blt. Beadlocks and 20" rears on .190s. Strength over weight there, and it gives me the inch of ground clearance back...good idea off-road.

Hope this helps, and I hope someone else can chime in with thier thoughts!
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Thanks for the response Prednizone! That was quite helpful.

I'm actually looking at a set of rims right now. My main concern is what is the difference between the 8" and 9" rear rim? Which is better for what? Thanks!

No problem. As far as rim size goes...again, I'll just tell ya what's workin for me. I'm running the stock 9" rear rims with the 18" MX tires, and 10" rims with the 20" tires. That gives me a shorter sidewall, therefore less sidewall roll in the corners and less of a chance of roling off the bead. Maybe that's why I haven't had any problems with that yet, but iduno. I think you loose a bit of grip, and gain a bit of slide in the corners, but again, I'm not good enough to notice a difference. Most of the other guys run an 8" rim with the 18" rears. Also, it seems there's alot more choices in 18" tires for an 8" rim. All I could find for my 9" when I went to get new rubber was the ITP MXR4 for like $65, or the Kenda Klaw for like $35. Being an eternal cheapo, I went with the Klaws.
Yeah, i hear flipping the fronts is supposed to aid in braking grip. I can't say though, I never tried it. I can nearly stand this thing on it's nose as it is! Kory Ellis ran his "backwards", as well as some others, but Doug Eichner and others ran theirs straight.

As far as 19" vs 20" me man. Everyone I know runs the 20". Maybe it's a regional thing? Iduno. The 19s would get the front of the bike a half inch lower, but I doubt I'd notice a difference. Not much help on that one.
Hmmm. I guess that makes sense. I've only been into MX for about two years, so that must be why I've only seen the 20s.
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