XLADV Project Bike: Woody's Wheel Works

Woody's Wheel Works

 

I am very honored to have Woody's Wheel Works as a sponsor on this project.  I have my own set of Woody's wheels on my GSA that I've had for four years now and I can tell you from first hand experience how amazing they are.  I did this video a few months ago and for whatever reason, I've noticed it going viral in the last few weeks.  It seems every time I look there's another 1,000 views!  Check here at the 2:02 mark where I talk about these amazing wheels and why you'd want them:

 

The bottom line for me is that I like riding my big bike off road mostly and you will find most oem wheels just won't stand up to that level of use for long.  You can destroy your oem wheels if you like, or you can invest in an extra set of Woody's wheels and then you'll have a street set and a dirt set!  I actually did destroy my oem wheels and had Woody re-build those too :)

 

They are STRONGER.  Woody uses the best rims in the industry (I have Excel Takasago) as well as very strong spokes and are specially laced like no other wheel.  They are LIGHTER too.  These billet Superlite hubs look fantastic and will out-perform anything from the manufacturer.

 

A year or two ago, our friend Isaac Feliu did an AMAZING trip through Africa down and up and then all the way up to Nordkaap and back down to Spain, stopping at the Nurburgring to do a blistering lap!  Afterwards we were talking about how his wheels didn't stand up so well and how he was looking to replace them with something better.  I recommended Woody's Wheels and they rest, they say, is history.  Isaac is now a sponsored rider by Woody's as well as the Euro retailer for Woody's Wheels (and many other fine mfg's) with his company, Twin Trail.

 

Woody's Wheels have been proven in the Dakar and are also featured on Lyndon Poskitt's bike.  Kim Krause is another Woody's rider.

 

A couple things you might not know about Woody's is that they aim to be a bit of a sanctuary for traveling big bike ADV riders like us.  Stop by and check them out and camp at their shop grounds.  They even have showers!  Plans are in the works as well for a New England rider training and guided rides operation.

 

What has been your experience with your oem or Woody's wheels?

I had a great conversation with Woody the other day and I'm glad I did because he made some fantastic recommendations for our wheels in terms of rim width, hub type and even color.  He says he has the front wheel basically all ready to go but for the rear wheel, he wants to use a special new hub he's designing.  I will hold off on those details until later because I don't know if he's made that public as well as me simply not knowing right now exactly what makes them special.

 

Getting to work with Woody has been a huge treat.  I have even more respect and admiration for his deep knowledge and experience in this industry.  I mentioned above that he supplied wheels to Lyndon Poskitt and I got to hear some pretty amazing stories of their performance so far.  Maybe we'll get lucky and get Lyndon to tell us himself?  The bottom line is his wheels have taken him through Dakar and nearly all the way around the world and still RACING in regional rallies; even at one point riding the remaining 70 miles of a course with no tire on the back!  And... they're still going strong.

 

That is what sets Woody's apart.  They do not want to mass produce a bunch of crap like some wheel factory, but specialize, keep it simple and do the best work in the world.  I knew we were lucky to get these wheels but I'm feeling even more fortunate the closer I get to work with them.

 

I need to write this down here as a reminder:  I need to be sure and weigh the stock wheels and then the Woody's wheels to see what our net weight savings will be.

Woody let us know that we are the first to get his all-new in-house only SUPERLITE 950/990/1190 hub on our wheels!  I am going to ask him to tell us more about those, why they are special, etc...

In the name of all that which is glorious and wonderful in all things moto... I present...

 

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Woody says: Our latest Superlite hub for all KTM 950/990 Adv ... 1.85x 21" Superlaced weight = 9lbs 10.5oz damn near bulletproof :>)  I'm sitting here wondering what in the holy hell went on in my head that i didn't retrofit that hub 6years ago..all i needed to do was swap out bearings seals n spacers to fit KTM specs...how many hundred RAD hubs did i sell instead of mine??? Sorry folks ,,i've just had too many distractions on my plate

 

Lots of new stuff here, folks.  I will be expanding on that later.  Basically even lighter and stronger than Woody's Wheels has done before.

 

Woody isn't the Kia of wheels.  More like Rolls Royce.  Everything is hand made and bullet proof quality.  Dakar-spec.

 

Can't wait to get these on the bike!

 

This is me right now...

 

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Front wheel done and ready to ship (Galfer Wave rotors coming separately) along with some nice Woody's Wheel Works swag for our High Sierras ride!

 

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You need to know something about this front wheel hub...  Apparently this is a first-ever Woody's original hub that he's been meaning to do for some time now.  It's basically lighter and stronger but I'd like to get him to tell us in his own words at some point.

 

Don't forget what you're looking at here is a piece of fine wheel mastercraft!  These are DAKAR-spec!  These wheels are built to last too.  Very fortunate to get to work with such a giant in the world of ADV as Woody.

Some new Galfer rotors from Woody's Wheels came today along with new Galfer semi metal pads.2c8428de1089b291b07f072f81429ac7.jpg

I received the front wheel Friday and spent some time installing the new Galfer rotors and then putting the new Vee Rubber VRM401 tire on.

Looks great huh?

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I need one of those, going to have to call woody, my factory rim is slightly bent and I want to go to the 1.85 size also, wonder if he offers them in blk.

Edited by TN Traveler

Spoke vs. cast wheels?  Listen to this cool never before heard audio interview with Woody from Woody's Wheel Works on Adventure Radio.

 

Fast forward to the 30:20 mark for the interview w/Woody.

 

My notes:

 

Quite a bit of history here, as Woody's Wheels goes back to 1973.

 

Some spoke patterns are better than others...

 

"Superlace" is a strong lacing pattern that he adopted and perfected.  The wheels he built in 1973 are still rolling and have not had to be tightened!

 

His wheels have never caused someone to have a DNF is any race.

 

He knows what works and doesn't work; what is bling and what is crap.

 

He asks the rider how they ride and what they want to do.  Some actually do want bling, which is fine.

 

He has a few Bonneville world speed record holders!

 

Some factory rims are just butter to start out with.  The material wasn't designed for that type of riding.

 

How about for a BMW f800 GS?  Where do you ride?  How hard do you ride?  That motorcycle is a wannabe Paris-Dakar replica.  It's an illusion that it could do that; it's a road touring bike for fire roads.  There are people who muscle them around, however.

 

For the bigger bikes, he recommends going to a 21" wheel for strength, tire selection around the world, etc...

 

He built some famous wheels for Max BMW's HP2's that have won many competitions; running on the same wheels for over five years!

 

What is superlace?  It's his term for another guy's spoke pattern w/big fat spokes, but an art of blueprinting your wheel; taking the whole package.  He picks and chooses the components that make the wheel work.  He puts the lace patterns for the types of riding you do...  What makes the wheel go together easy isn't always what makes the wheel work; it makes it come apart quicker!

 

He takes the bearings and re-packs them w/waterproof grease assuming you're going to run the Dakar or Baja 1000!  If you don't have to worry one thing about the riding, he'll build you those wheels.

 

Certain aftermarket mfg's do it really poorly.  He re-checks the bores of the wheels, the spacers having the right OD (outside diameters), wear on the seals, etc...  He fine tunes and modifies what he gets and/or builds his own version.  He has total control over the QC (quality control).

 

He's making a new and improved hub for all the KTM's (also the F800 GS's).  He cross-polinates and will machine his own stuff if he needs to.

 

Spoke vs. cast:  Most casting have the energy to absorb a crash impact.  But you don't want a wheel that deforms.  Cast wheels have no resilience.  A wired wheel acts like a shock absorber.  The motorcycle actually hangs from the upper spokes; that's how it works.

 

Difference is like being hit in the face with a bare fist vs. a boxing glove.  A wire wheel can flex, absorb a shock as well as true a wheel, whereas a cast wheel can't be fixed.

 

Woody's Wheels eliminates the "seating in" process.  They do that for you.  The likelihood that you ever have to tighten a spoke after you take delivery of a wheel is nearly zilch.  Street wheels are guaranteed for 5 years.

 

Racers say his wheels have "precision" of a mag wheel but has resilience.  A mag wheel feels dead but his wheels feel alive; like riding a sports car vs. a Cadillac.

 

Take a listen for more...  You don't want to miss what he has to say about BMW's cross-laced tubeless rims.

Great video! I need to get a set to put some good knobbies on.

So you've probably been wondering "hey, what about the rear wheel?"  

 

Well, that's taken a bit extra time than normal only because this is an ALL NEW rear hub that Woody wanted to take time to design FROM SCRATCH (like the front) so that I would have ONLY THE BEST!

 

Here it is as a blank ready to be turned by the CNC machine...

 

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His caption: "Top Secret preview SUPERLITE rear for Eric Hall's project X bike,, on its way ... First cut...more to come !!!!"

From Woody:

for you amigo,,day two results,,,now on to lightening rear of sprocket carrier and start mill work on the hub itself....will keep you all posted ,,spokes rim are all being handled

Sneak preview #2 new Superlite rear hub assy for Eric Hall's special project 1/2 lb removed from cush drive ,,, next the back side :>)

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Sneak preview #2 new Superlite rear hub assy for Eric Hall's special project 1/2 lb removed from cush drive ,,, next the back side :>)

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Another update on this rear hub prototype...

 

this from Woody:

 

Sneak preview #6....What a difference a day makes!! We re-configured the prototype machined another .436 lbs/ 6.976 oz out of it ie,,, from 2.772lbs down to 2.336 lbs,, off to the anodizer8

 

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Another update from Woody on the new rear hub prototype coming together:

Here we go the final secret preview #7 ,, consisting of preview of new Superlite sprocket carrier and the final Superlace up of Eric Halls new rear wheel ,,, Dialed it in ,, satisfied

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Finished product ready for sealing for tubeless Monday morning

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The new rear showed up yesterday so I took some time to install the new sprocket (45 tooth vs stock 42) and the new Galfer floating rotors. I forgot to put the new brake pads on but I may just wait until the old ones wear out. $$

I went ahead and ordered a new front sprocket as well (17 tooth oem) from Rocky Mountain ATV with the $10 gift card I got from LAB2V. With free shipping it was just $17!

Wanna see?

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Lisa Morris wrote up this lovely company profile of Woody's Wheel Works over at Expedition Portal

 

 
Driven by the philosophy that the wheel is no less than the mother of all inventions, Woody’s Wheel Works understands the wheel on a profound level.  The company ethos is founded on a strong belief that perfecting wheels, which are capable of spinning straight and perfectly round, is an art.  Recognising the harmony between man and machine—as much as the importance played by the wheel in the locomotive process—every craftsman at Woody’s Wheel Works is dedicated to provide the customer with a comprehensive wheel service, irrespective of the vehicle’s brand or model.
 
Humble beginnings
Having left Germany at five years old, Trautman Gregory Witte, “Woody” for short, soon became Americanized on U.S. ground.  In search of being useful to society, he joined the US Marine Corps in 1960.  Eight fruitful years were spent in aviation electronics and teaching survival Vietnamese to the pilots heading to Vietnam.  Hungry for a new path, he returned to college and pursued his interest in early childhood development.  This took him to Colorado in 1973 seeking employment in that field.  Not finding work with adequate pay, Woody turned to his passion for motorcycles and landed a position in the servicing department at a Yamaha dealership.  As the damaged wheels started to stockpile, Woody dutifully took them to the local Harley Davison shop for repairs.  He came unstuck when the staff refused to work on the “rice-grinder” garbage.
 

I have a call slip in at Woody's after reading this.

 

What part did the ABS hardware play in this? I ask because I have 2010 990 with ABS. However, I've pulled the ABS pump and lines off, and removed one of the front rotors. It looks like your still running the rear ABS speed sensor ring, is that for the speedo? I'm waiting on new brake lines so I'm still working off the impression that I needed to retain the front ABS ring to maintain the speedo. Until I have time and courage to dissect the ABS wiring harness I've left the majority intact.  

I have a call slip in at Woody's after reading this.

 

What part did the ABS hardware play in this? I ask because I have 2010 990 with ABS. However, I've pulled the ABS pump and lines off, and removed one of the front rotors. It looks like your still running the rear ABS speed sensor ring, is that for the speedo? I'm waiting on new brake lines so I'm still working off the impression that I needed to retain the front ABS ring to maintain the speedo. Until I have time and courage to dissect the ABS wiring harness I've left the majority intact.  

Yeah, you need to retain the front ABS ring for the speedo/odo.  This front hub is an early prototype and wasn't milled perfectly so that I could re-attach my ABS ring, so it's still off meaning I have no ABS (pump still intact) or speedo/odo.  I use my GPS to keep track of that.  I kind of miss the ABS though, especially when I had to stop suddenly on the freeway splitting lanes!

 

You will love the wheels though.  Bottom line is they are stronger and lighter.  They'll last longer and your suspension will work better given less unsprung mass.  You can also gain a rear tubeless.  Tell Woody I sent you ;)