Installing aftermarket wheels on your dirt bike offers some performance gains, but who are we kidding, it's the slickest and quickest upgrade possible that turns your ride from a stock wannabe into a racing machine.

Color combinations abound with your choice of spokes, spoke nipples, the rim and hub. And, don't forget that oversized front brake rotor and a set of stylish sprockets. Just imagine the oohs and ahhs when you rip a lap on the local track with some stylish Warp 9s or Marchesinis. Even if you can't ride worth a damn, the intimidation factor is, at least, worth a few placements.

Yes, yes, yes, an upgrade in wheels helps shed some weight and provides far greater strength than stock. Consider that double you once cased on the track or the boulder you slammed into on the trail, riding aftermarket strength wheels keeps you from limping home. So, it's not all vanity.

Now for the catch. Actually, there is no catch. But user error certainly exists which is often mistaken for crappy wheels and the rider taking their frustration out on the wheel manufacturer. "These things suck!" What owners of shiny, new, rockin' wheels often overlook is maintenance. This maintenance is different than "engine maintenance" but maintenance, nonetheless.

Often, usually with much zeal, once the package of wheels arrive, the newly proud owner immediately pops them on their dirt bike and heads to the nearest track or trail. The boost in riding esteem crashes nearly as fast as the rider does after the new wheels (and not to mention the hundreds of dollars spent) fall apart. So what happened?

Like all things dirt bike, individual primary parts seemingly have other smaller components that make said part operate efficiently and properly. The wheels on your dirt bike prove no different. Before you ride those shiny new wheels understand the rest of the parts:

  • Spokes
  • Spoke Nipples
  • Rim
  • Hub

As a whole, these comprise the dirt bike wheel. If one is out of sync or not installed correctly you've got a wheel trued for disaster. Speaking of trued...

Wheel maintenance includes tightening the spokes, lubricating the bearings, installing the seals correctly and of course, truing the wheel. If this sounds taxing it's really no more work than changing the tire, you're just now changing the wheels. Oh, by the way, unless you've got mostly new tires on the stock wheels - replace the tires at the same time! This is something else riders also tend to forget. It's another expense but you'd be surprised at how little great rims make bad tires feel like good tires. And, if you're installing new tires, give them some new tubes, as well. Check out How to Change a Dirt Bike Tire for any help.

Tighten those spokes before every ride

Once you've correctly installed the new tires onto your new wheels, tighten the spokes. Therefore, you'll need a spoke wrench. Tighten every third one until you've tightened them all. You've already installed the hub seals by now and lubricated any related bearings. Next, true the tire. You can look for any wobbling with the bike on a regular stand but using a truing stand offers optimum results. Now you're ready to ride. But not for long...

After a lap or two, or five or 10 minutes on the trails, stop riding and tighten the spokes, again. Now you're set for the day. However, you're not set for life. Following every wash OR before every ride (whichever is most convenient to remember) tighten the spokes. Include it in your nuts and bolt tightening regimen. This routine maintenance should hold up the life of your new wheels.

We should note, and not solely because we're MotoSport, equipping your new tires with old roached-out parts makes little sense and only saves you a few dollars. So, consider starting from scratch and grab new rim locks, rim strips, rim lock nuts and valve caps. Unlike sticking with the worn tires, using these old components won't affect performance or the integrity of the new wheels but considering the investment get the best out of your new wheels and grab the whole package. Find these extra details on our Dirt Bike Wheel Accessories page and on our Dirt Bike Rims and Spokes page.

And now that we've titillated you with new wheels for your dirt bike, check out our line of Dirt Bike Wheel combos.

Written By: AndrewT