Vintage shot courtesy of the Getty and Bob T. collection.
Over the past three years our team at Biker Pros has produced over 35 custom bike shows. We seen 1000+ custom bikes from Los Angles to Daytona, and we noticed a major critical custom bike element, the wheels. Over and over a dominating competitive factor in a custom show are wheels and one brand consistently turns up at the top of the winners’ list, Ridewright Wheels.
In 1999 Sam Wakim founded Ridewright Wheels. He got started in the business when he was looking for a set of wheels for his bike and stopped in at Roadwing to evaluate their selection. He talked with management and then, bada-bing, bada-boom, he was consulting for the company. A short time later when the parent firm decided to sell, he bought the wheel business.
The hot aspect of the Fat 50 is the size and strength of the spokes.
Since then Ridewright Wheels has been on a steep ramp of innovation, customization and market acceptance. Their signature product and best seller is their Fat Daddy spoke wheel, now called the Fat 50. And by looking at it, one would be surprised by the amount of technology pumped into building this wheel.
This Fat 50 wheels shows off the Twista spokes.
First off, it contains the industry’s first replaceable hub for spoke wheels called the MHE system. MHE, Modular Hub End, is a replaceable and interchangeable hub system. This system allows a Ridewright wheel to be adapted to any specific late model Harley-Davidson by changing out the hub.
“We use the Ridewright MHE system because it gives us the flexibility that is required when building ground up customs,” explained Gary Maurer, Owner Kustoms Inc. “Customers change their mind during a build and we can accommodate them by changing out the hub instead of replacing the wheel. For example, going from single to dual brakes or from a hydraulic to a springer front end is a snap instead of being a time consuming and costly event.”
40-spoke wheel with Soft lip technology in the aluminum rim.
Second is their Soft Lip Rim technology, which is a rim composed of 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum and enhanced with silicon. An extrusion process is used to manufacture it, delivering a close to finished product that is light and durable. The extruded rim delivers a 3-to-5-pounds weight savings over competing products. With the inclusion of silicon, the rim provides greater flex in the wheel and reduces the chances of breakage or fractures. The weight reduction reduces un-sprung weight, which means that your suspension can work more efficiently and can provide greater handling characteristics.
Here's a 50-spoke wheel with a conventional steel rim.
Another component of the FAT 50 includes four spoke options: Smooth spokes, twista spokes, diamond spokes and jewel spokes. Last but not least is an almost limitless color pallet applied to each component of the wheel including: rim color, nipple odd color, nipple even color, spokes odd color, spokes even color and hub color.
The Fat 50 wheel is designed for late model Baggers, Dynas, Softails and Sporsters.
Ridewright Wheels offers the soft lip rim technology in 40, 50, Fat 50, 60, and 80-spoke wheel configurations. Steel rim options include 40, 50, 60, 80 and 120-spoke wheel configurations. Currently, Ridewright also provides a full range of engraving options, including spoke wheels, mag wheels, and other components offered by the firm.
The Ridewright Wheels website has a visual design tool called Wheel Builder. It allows you to easily custom design your Fat 50 wheel separately or with a silhouette of your Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Each component of the wheel can be color selected allowing you to create a contrasting, or matching design to your bike. Wheels designed in this manner can be shipped within two to three weeks from time of order. Engraving requires additional lead time.
Engraving is available on the soft lip rim of the wheel as well as on hubs, handlebars, risers, heat shields, derby covers, air cleaners, primary, inner primary and crash bars. The engraving is based on four pre-set designs. Custom designs are also available and require additional time for the creative process and fabrication.
A billet straight spoked Twista styled wheel.
Mark Daley is the creative mind behind Thunder Struck Custom Bikes and considers wheels to be critical to overall bike design. He starts a project by clamping down two custom wheels on a lift. He then creates his next world-class custom motorcycle around the wheel design.
Updating a stock Harley-Davidson with a Ridewright Wheels is an ideal weekend project. “We walk guys through updating their motorcycle with our wheels daily. On average it takes 3 -4 hours,” explained Wakim. “There is nothing more rewarding for an individual than designing their wheels and then installing them in their own garage.”
“I believe in Ridewright Wheels and Sam Wakim,” explained Rick Fairless, Owner of Strokers Dallas. “We are proud to provide their innovative spoke wheels to the Dallas marketplace.”
“We build American-made Bobbers and Choppers at Brass Balls Bobbers and selected Ridewright Wheels because of their quality, custom service, and I like working directly with Sam,” said Dar Holdsworth, Owner. “There are only a few American spoke wheel manufacturers, but Sam is the best of the best.”
Sam test-rides any new wheel design for 600 miles first, and then takes them to standard testing Lab to pass the JASO, DOT and the TUV standards. This provides clearances for sale in Japan, the United States and the European Union. All manufacturing is conducted in-house so everything can be researched, evaluated and checked on premises. This allows for great quality assurance and quicker supply to the customer.
When asked, Wakim talked about his wheels like a Zen mantra. They are integral to the rider’s wellbeing and he feels responsible to provide the best American made, best-engineered product at the best price in the market. He also feels that Ridewright Wheels have so many options, they become a blank creative canvas for riders to craft an expression of their creativity through their custom designed wheels. Wakim talks in terms of a spiritual line that runs through the process of designing, manufacturing, installing and enjoying his masterpieces.
So what is currently popular? The 240 and 300mm rear wheel craze is no longer on the hit parade. The most popular cruiser size is 200 rears and 17in rims. Bobbers are running 16-inch spoke rims with 156 rears with black spokes on black rims or red rims on black spokes and an 18 or 21-inch front. Choppers are almost exclusively running 21-inch front spoke wheels. Baggers are going 21, 23, or 26 fronts in both spoke or billet, and 16.5, 17.5, or 18.5 wide rear spoke or billet rims.
26-inch spoked wheel
Ridewright is known for their spoke wheels. They also have a growing reputation for billet wheels. Back in 2007 the firm bought the machines and dies from Boyd Coddington Wheels and now has a growing range of billet wheel designs, and the capabilities to color code any wheel to the motorcycle, just like the spoke wheels. They are available online in the wheel builder program.
In addition to wheels, the Ridewright provides design-matching pulleys and rotors to complete the theme of the bike.
The firm’s Mission Statement is to offer the finest wheels, best support and fastest turn-around for the investment. And for an enthusiast wanting to create a significant look, Ridewright Wheels offers a wheel solution that just may fit any wallet.
Click on the image for more info