19" front wheel, or not?


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Non-VOC Member
Regarding the recent thread on the problems associated with finding 20" tyres and tubes, I cannot ever recall a time when these were as easy to obtain as the more common size of 19". As most of my riding from U.K. was on long tours (C Shadow with sidecar and without, but long ago) through Eastern Europe/ Middle and Far East, where 20" size was even harder to find, my wheels were both rebuilt with heavier gauge spokes and 19" rims. No doubt the standard set-up of 20 front and 19 rear was originally used to give better solo handling, but at the speed a heavily laden touring bike is ridden and the somewhat unbalancing nature of panniers, top box and gear piled on dual seat and tank, high speed handling is not likely to be as much an issue as the difficulty of replacing tyres ripped on gravel roads. To this day the bike is the same (less sidecar) but ridden less and without the touring luggage, but after many years using it and now thoroughly familiar and happy with the handling, I would be interested to know the affect a 19 x 3.25 or even 3.50 section front tyre theoretically has on handling, and more importantly why? The Rapide was offered in 20" or 19"x 3.50" front, so was it a real issue or not, as the 19 x 3.25 must be close to the same diameter as 20 x 300. Would someone supply the answer? There may be be many other interested owners who have taken this wheel change path for similar reasons.


Alan J

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VOC Member
I've ridden with and without sidecar for longer than I care to remember-I would stick with 19 wheels for all the reasons you have mentioned.Touring bikes had I believe 18 front and back, or maybe I'm dreaming!! Vins are not the best handling bikes in the universe anyway--that will bring a host of "angry of Stevenage" replies on my head!! Alan j.

van drenth

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VOC Member
At mine black shadow i put at the rear 18 inch WM 3 rim for the reason more better tyers can be put on, overall diameter is nearly the same as one 19 inch. and there is just enough space to fit. It steers very good.
In front i put one 21 rim and enough tyers iner and outer are available.