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17" Front Wheel Conversion

While many C10 owners are interested in taking advantage of the latest tire technology, the dwindling selection of high performance tires available in sizes to fit the C10’s 18” front wheel has made this increasingly difficult. Manufacturers heavily favor 17” front wheels on sport and sport touring motorcycles, evidenced by the fact that at the time of the writing of this article, only one new sport touring motorcycle was offered with an 18” front tire. The rest of the current sport and sport touring motorcycles are equipped with a 17” front tire. A cursory look at tire availability during the writing of this article indicated that there were nearly twice the amount of front tires offered in the 120/70-17 size alone than the total number of 18” tires that will work on the C10. These and other factors have led to a desire by some owners to convert to a 17” front wheel. Fortunately for 1994-2006 C10 owners there is a bolt-on option for converting to a 17” front wheel, using the wheel from another Kawasaki model.

Here’s what you’ll need for the conversion:

-   Tools for removal/ replacement of the front wheel, including removal and replacement of the front brake rotors, and removal/ replacement of the front wheel bearings, if required.

-   A front wheel from one of the following:

Kawasaki ZR750 C1-C3 (1990-1993)
Kawasaki ZR7/ ZR7S F2/ H1-H5 (2000-2005)
Kawasaki ZX6 D1-D4 (1990-1993)
Kawasaki GPZ1100/ZX1100E (1995-1997)

-   Front axle spacers for your model wheel.  Most used wheels still have the wheel bearings installed, and therefore will include the spacer between the wheel bearings, as will a new wheel.  The right hand (brake lever side) spacer for the ZR7 F and H is Kawasaki part number 92152-1160, while the other models all have the same part number, which is 92143-1335.

-   The speedometer gear drive from a Kawasaki ZX6D.  The speedometer drives from the other donors will fit, but will introduce more speedometer error than the ZX6D speedometer drive.  The Kawasaki part number for the ZX6D drive gear is 41078-1070.

-   New wheel bearings, if you plan on replacing them, Kawasaki part number 601B6203UU.

-   Your choice of tire in the 120/70-17 size.

Here are the steps for the conversion:

-   Remove and replace the bearings in the conversion wheel, if necessary

-   Mount the new tire

-   Remove the stock front wheel

-   Remove the brake rotors from the stock front wheel

-   Install the brake rotors on the conversion wheel

-   Install the conversion wheel, using the stock front axle, the spacers and speedometer drive acquired for the conversion.

-   Go for a ride!

Yes, it really is that easy, though you may find that you want a 17” rear wheel to go along with the front, if you haven’t already done so, but that’s for another article.  Steering will be slightly quicker, due to the lighter wheel and reduced steering angle resulting from the smaller diameter tire.


Article By: Gary French (GFinCA)
Contributors: Many

March 2011

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