View Full Version : What Size Wheels To Make My Bike Level?

07-15-2017, 6:21 PM
I recently got my first bike and I need some advice. It's a 2002 Sportster 883 and the stock shocks are terrible, so I bought some 13" touring air shocks to replace them. Now I'm thinking about getting 4 over fork tubes and spoke wheels, but I don't know what size wheels to get. I would like the bike to be level, or as close to level as possible. With 13" rear shocks and 4 over front forks, what size front wheel should I get? Also, do most people leave the stock 16" rear wheels or is there something better? Any help would really be appreciated. Eventually I want my bike to look similar to this:


07-15-2017, 7:55 PM
^^^^ That bike is nice, but just in case you didn't notice it.... ^^^^^^ That bike isn't sitting level............ It's about 2" high in the front.......

07-15-2017, 8:42 PM
Yeah I know, I was just showing the style that I'm going for.

07-16-2017, 7:19 AM
Yeah I know, I was just showing the style that I'm going for.

It might be easier to answer your question if you posted a pic of a bike you want to copy.... Not just showing a style...

So to answer your question with that style bike and that length front end and the bike to sit level..... You will have to rake the neck on your bike regardless of the tire size.........

07-16-2017, 11:57 AM
Tire/wheel changes aren't very dramatic in height, and you only get half of overall affecting your ride height. You're looking for the wrong solution.

07-16-2017, 1:02 PM
Is there any other way to keep the bike level besides raking the front end? The bike in that picture looks 6 over. Would it be more level if I got 2 over or 4 over fork tubes? Also, do you guys prefer 19" or 21" front wheels and why?

07-16-2017, 1:11 PM
Stretch the frame up. Sure, stock will be even more level....

Both, better tire options/handling with a 19, but 21s just look right on certain bikes.

07-16-2017, 2:24 PM
Is there any other way to keep the bike level besides raking the front end? The bike in that picture looks 6 over. Would it be more level if I got 2 over or 4 over fork tubes? Also, do you guys prefer 19" or 21" front wheels and why?

2 over is less level than stock which is level..... Anything you do to the front end without doing something to the frame makes it less level..........

Your going about this totally wrong......

07-16-2017, 4:42 PM
A bike that sits level when parked will sit lower when loaded. I suggest riding your new acquisition for several thousand miles at least instead of looking for ways to break it. Unless you just bought it to look at...

Ride and get good at riding without throwing money and parts at it while you study hard and long to get the result your accumulated experience suggests. Choppers are wonderful folk art but they generally function LESS well than stock machines and the rider gets to compensate.

It's MUCH smarter and less painful to ride what ya got and build a different motorcycle at leisure so you don't become a pedestrian while learning.

You'll enjoy motorcycling much more that way, and bikes don't get jealous of other bike.

07-16-2017, 5:49 PM
Why do I get the feeling I should have omitted first bike and 883... From what others have told me, within several thousand miles I'll sell this and buy a Dyna. I just want to do some upgrades soon so I can enjoy my bike more. Also, I should have mentioned that I have the Hugger model, which I was told has shorter forks. So the rear end is currently 1.75" higher than it was. Does that mean that 2 over fork tubes would even it out?

If I'm going about it the wrong way please tell me the right way. I just hope there is another solution besides raking because I really like the stock rake. I'm basically going for Indian Larry style with my own twist. I love the look of his bikes and he used a 30.5 degree rake, which is why I'd like to avoid changing mine. He also used an 18" rear wheel, which I would like to also do if it's not a huge pain.

07-16-2017, 6:15 PM
You told the truth and are being given advice others learned the hard way! 883s are excellent machines and the only reason they displace 883cc instead of 1200 is insurance reasons. (No one will know if you bore it out in the future.)

Enjoying motorcycling requires motorcycling hence the advice to ride.

As for getting more ground clearance if raising that rear looks odd with the stock front


shows stock part numbers. Looks like you'll need a side stand but I never personally compared the length.

2" over "typical stock" Sportster would be ~4" over Hugger. That small amount of extra length is no problem.

You can use stock springs with PVC spacers (many people add those anyway to stiffen the front suspension) or buy aftermarket

You can usually find complete stock non-Hugger Sporty front ends for the cost of tubes if returning to stock height.

Many people go Sportster for life because they are agile and weigh much less than big twins. You can add as much horsepower as your wallet can stand.

07-16-2017, 7:16 PM
I appreciate the help! Ideally I want to keep my 883 and get a bigger bike later, but I'll see how my wallet looks when I get there. If I am able to keep this bike a Hammer 1275 kit is in its future for sure.

07-16-2017, 7:47 PM
There is nothing wrong with a 883 and my answer wouldn't have been any different if it had been a panhead.....

Man just enjoy it as it is now..... This is all a learning curve....... Most here will give great advice... It might not be what you want to hear but it's advice from lessons learned the hard way.....

I started riding Harley's in early 1970s and back then there was no one to ask questions so we learned everything the hard way... You are lucky if you will listen to wisdom.....

But it's your choice..... I will help all I can............

07-21-2017, 3:39 PM
Bump for more opinions.

2002 Sportster 883 Hugger with 13" air shocks

1. 2 over, 4 over, or 6 over fork tubes?
2. 19" front wheel or 21" and why?
3. Is it okay to have a mag wheel in the rear and a spoke wheel in the front?

07-21-2017, 7:17 PM
2 or 4 over would probably get you close to level. 19 or 21 doesn't really matter as most of the tires are gonna be the same over all diameter or really close. And mag and spoke doesn't matter except for looks and weight. My 02 883 has solid rear mag and 21 spoke up front. But I have short shocks in rear and 6 over in front. Definitely not level haha.