WOW - Couldn't get over it. I'm sure it's old news to a lot of you guys, but you can get real Magnesium 7-spoke mag rims once again.
Only, what you COULDN'T get back then which you CAN have NOW - are sizes suitable for '90s era Sport-Touring RADIALS on a pair of Magnesium 7-spoke cast rims! Such as 3.00x18" front with 4.50x18" rear.
(like I'm doing in wire-spoke on my Honda "CB900K0 Bol Bomber" - well, wire-spoke Aluminum rims from the likes of Akront et al, there's 4.25" and then there's 5.00" - I've opted for 4.25x18"....)
They've got fronts in 2.5, 2.75, & 3.0" - then rear rims in 3.5", 4.0" - & 4.50" widths, all in 18" diameter. Suitable for 110/80-18 (usually superceded in 120/70-18, from what I hear they're more or less the same tires but different nomenclature - Either way, some brands have brought back the 110/80-18 so it's just as well) Plus 160/60ZR18 Radial - plus 160/60-18 and/or 150/70-18 in bias-ply - rims this size allow you to go bias OR radial that's what clinched it for me personally.
Why, back in the day - WM3 2.15" was pretty typical for a rear wheel and you can still see the odd set of 'em floating around out there, superlight Magnesium and requiring a superlight TIRE while you're at it - probably not that bad of an idea, if you were racing on some enormous OVAL track like the old Daytona sans chicane section etc. Even a 2.50" or 2.75" rear rim was considered pretty hot stuff. If anybody knows when the 3.50"x18" rear rims were first available (and 3.50x16" for that matter) I'd really like to hear about it. Got "Super-Akront" wire-wheels in both sizes, but I'd like o know what specific vintage they'd be "Period-Correct" for! No honestly though, I look at a lot of vintage racing pics, and the widest wire rims I can see on the playing field were the 3.00" Borrani - which I know for a fact to be tube type rims as well, so no distinct advantage over the Super-Akront, plus they're heavier in 3" than 3.5" - I'd think it's pretty safe to say that race teams probably didn't have anything as wide as this by the late '70s maybe 1979-ish? Please send me a PM if you know for sure one way or the other - 4.50x18" DYMAG rims were on the '82 Grand Prix races, 4.0x18" rear on the AMA Superbikes - So at least there's a cap on that time-line. But yeah, looking back at pics from around '75, Suzuki TR750's or RG500's plus Yamaha TZ750's, pics of 'em all sporting 3.00x18" Borrani wire-spoke rims on the rear. MAG wheels, well - a little harder to tell!
See, THIS is the level of detail one would expect from all the snaps folks are taking in the museums these days - if I were at Barber I'd be shooting pics with rulers in 'em - There's actually an "AP" on smart-'phones these days, which will give measurements of stuff in the photo - though I don't know about macro lens close-up pics and millimetre precision ie knowing whether it's a 35mm vs 36mm fork ha-ha. Would be bloody helpful if it did. Tough to say whether I'd risk being kicked out of say, BARBER or thereabouts - soon as they came to get me I figure might as well go whole hog and jump on a bike try & ride it out of there - But yeah, if somebody had PERMISSION a Vernier caliper on the outsides of any mag rims which don't have sizes cast/stamped into 'em? Just a brain-fart!
I realize they're as expensive as hell. Ah but wouldn't it be nice? I suppose I'm spending a lot of $$$ on wire-spoke rims these days, so I shouldn't even LOOK at Magnesium rims. Should be looking at everything else for my bikes, BUT wheels ha-ha. I'm a tad bit obsessed with wheels - like the old Spike Lee Air Jordan's commercial - "Is it the shoes? Is it the SHOES?" Well maybe it's even more than performance related. Unobtainium has a whole sex appeal all of it's own. There's no rhyme or reason ... well not past a certain point.
JL Exhausts have 'em listed as Yamaha TZ parts. Ha! I guess I can see it. But - What better bike to use wheels like this ON though, than a KZ? 'Cause they might not stand out right away - they'd be "stealth" - your bike could be a "sleeper". Gotta love it.
Guess the "webbing" is a lot wider on the spokes than the Kawasaki OEM ENKEI rims. So you'd pick up on that, IF you really squinted at a bike. Safe to say if you painted 'em just right, you could pull up beside a lot of other vintage bike nuts, race 'em for pinks or what have you, and bet on 'em not realizing your wheels were different at all.
I really dig that type of thing - For so long a time, adding anything on top of the base price of a bike, folks wanted "the audience" to SEE it. Hence the flashy colours and stand-out shapes of parts with any real or purported upgrades. But swap stuff out like an alloy tank or fibreglass tank, some of those seat kits which swap out all of the heavy steel bits under the cowl for thin alloy sheet etc - fibreglass fender with some of that fake chrome spray on it? (Easy enough to pop a fender on and off, so it might fade but quick enough to fix it!) ... MAGNESIUM SEVEN-SPOKE CAST WHEELS ... say, some Aluminum handlebars pegs etc. Single-wall exhaust pipes? I suppose it's tricky to get 'em looking like shiny new chrome - so all the better to paint 'em in CRAPPY looking chrome, with some splattered fake RUST coloured paint all over, maybe a bit of a pigeonpoo motif as though you'd parked it under a bridge? Oooh - and if I'm not mistaken, those old's-cool ALUMINUM BRAKE ROTORS with the electrolysis steel layers are back in production. I dunno that all that many of 'em were even made back in the day, but IIRC there was an advert in one of the classic bike rags a short time back. Guess we're already talking about cast wheels, so I couldn't suggest throwing a Magnesium 2LS rear drum hub into the mix. But folks do that kind of thing. And when you DO, the wire-spoke rims of course they've got to be Aluminum - being careful of the make 'cause not all of 'em are much lighter than the chromed-steel OEM rims - if it weren't so expensive, I'd take some of these vintage NOS alloy wire-spoke rims I've dug up, and get 'em CHROMED, 'cause maybe then they'd sneak under the radar as OEM original steel wheels. Only really feasible when you're talking about the "skinny" stuff - but the non-valanced Akront "TC" profile or San-Remo brand rims, they look similar enough to the OEM stuff. One could see maybe going up from a 2.15" WM3 rear OEM steel rim to say, 2.75" maybe even 3" width in one of those brands/profiles, and chrome the things - sneak 'em in under the radar. MAYBE. Definitely 2.50" to 2.75" - 3" might be stretching the definitions. "Super-Akront" were very very rarely made in 2.50" width and almost as rarely 3.0" width - 3.50" is the most common by far. But yeah, THAT would be the type to do this with. Super-Duper ultra light-weight rims - Well, one would imagine, based on having the 3.5" sizes in hand.
And then of course, you'd want to seal 'em up as TUBE-LESS ... Not exactly Kosher in my book, not with a tube-type rim. Regular Akront rims had the bead ridges to retain a tubeless tire & not let it slip down into the "well", & "BURP" all of it's air out. Would be a total and catastrophic blow-out if that happened. But yeah - find a similar modern reproduction rim WITH the bead retention ridges, and so long as they don't look like all of the new production rims do (ie not at all period-correct) THEN you could run 'em tubeless.
If one were really truly sneaky & RISKY about it, then the 2.15x18" sizes could run the NON-DOT-APPROVED "Tui-Bliss" system, borrowed from the Motocross tool-kit. Still nothing out in greater widths, but I'm sure if you were throwing race-team BUDGET at your machine, one could whip up some facsimile of which, rip off their tech - Not so much about the lower pressure as I'd be interested in the RIM LOCKS - that would certainly help with grip on the roads.....
What else could one "stealth"? Well ENGINE MODS it goes without saying. I suppose the absolute pinnacle ziggurat stealth-sneak mod would be to do as Triumph did when they brought back the new Bonneville - and run E.F.I. through throttle bodies disguised as carburetors. So yeah, modify some old bone-stock factory OEM carbs as an E.F.I. system, NOW you've got the prize for best Stealth bike - of course, the best Stealth bike wouldn't be IN the contest, they'd be out there undetected ha-ha. But yeah - ALL of this stuff intrigues me. Modifying the bike for higher performance, yet keeping as close to a stock appearance as possible.
For instance - on my Honda right now, as well as the "KZ440LOL" which I'm building for my Ex-Daughter - okay, neither of 'em looks factory original ... for THIS Universe or Time-Line let's just say. But I'm still trying the same mods on for size. The THROTTLE pots, handlebar switches what have you. With the lower handlebars, the cables bang into the tank, scratch the paint. Folks tend to use an aftermarket throttle housing and point the cables forward. But then you're not only changing the LOOK of the handlebars, you're changing the orientation of the throttle grip and the brake lever - due to the additional space in between the two. So one can cut off the throttle slide/slot from off the side of the switch-pot - but then you're STILL giving up some space, however small of a smidge, due to the clamps which hold the aftermarket housings to the bar. So - if you've ever seen the DOHC-4 Honda "Sport-Kit" throttle housings - cheap plastic though they may BE, there's a really trick solution.. So I'm welding a blob on top and on front of the OEM clam-shell housings. Only one cable on the KZ440LOL, but even so, it's worth modding it properly. And I'm switching to alloy housings on the Honda for the whole "Bol Bomber" thing - "CB900K0 Bol Bomber" is what you call an '82 CB900F Bol D'Or based tribute to the '65 CB450K0 Black Bomber. DUH. There are folks who dress up their KZ400's to look like the W1, W2, W1SS etc. So it's not completely unheard of in the Kawasaki universe.
Am hoping to do the same thing with the rear-sets. Likely gonna have to weld the frames, 'cause the KZ frame doesn't lend itself well to rear-sets, and well the Honda I'm going for a certain aesthetic. But yeah it's KAWASAKI which gives a very good over-the-counter answer here. One of the early big-bore MX-ers I don't recall the model exactly. Has some peg pivots which mount with a "Hirth Spline" faced inwards, the frame itself doesn't have one to match however there's a "dog bone" of a sort, which mounts to the frame and can change it's own orientation over a certain sweep of angle - between the two arms there's gotta be a HUGE range of adjustment, especially when you consider that they bend like scissors and thence any rear-set off-set needn't be simply around a circle from the mounting point - the circle can also be made smaller/larger etc.
Definitely cool when you can throw lower bars and rear-sets onto a bike, without creating too much of an "aftermarket upgrades" or "Special/Custom" aesthetic.
This is what's so cool about these 7-SPOKE MORRIS MAGNESIUM RIMS - And keep in mind, you don't HAVE TO fit 'em onto an actual vintage model. I suppose if you're careful with the steering geometry, one could even swap some 18" wheels onto a MODERN 'cycle, ideally something with the right character - How cool would it be to style a ZRX like a Z1R? WOW. Of course, myself I'd wanna take that one step further and do it up like a ZED heh-heh. Too bad there are no FINS on the head, but a true artiste wouldn't let that stop 'em! I've always wanted to add some fins onto a liquid-cooled model. At the cheapest, a dress-up panel mounted to the sides of the barrels - like Honda SOHC CB750 was most famous but other models too had the aftermarket "Fin Guard" chromed panels. Odd stuff - made the engine look FUGLY IMHO - but to each their own. A superficial dress-up panel just wouldn't do it for me though. Let's say you're re-building the engine as well. How about CUTTING grooves into the existing block - just into the outer walls of the "water-jacket" - and only if they're a "non load-bearing wall" ha-ha. Dig it though - so long as you've got forced circulation in the coolant not an early siphon-feed type of system, you could add intrinsic cooling capacity to the engine via this extra surface-area. And thereby, possibly even shrink down the minimum required radiator surface area. It's all surface area for air cooling, when you wrap your head around it. Why SHOULDN'T all engines have beautiful fins on 'em??? Preaching to the converted right there. But the question is whether you can DO anything about it. 'Cause much as you could dress up the ZRX as a Z1R, it's not gonna look the part not REALLY, until you give it an "air-cooled" engine!
Okay, so that's a little far-fetched perhaps. But once you've considered all of the time and energy and $$$ going into something like THAT, the expense of the Magnesium rims doesn't seem so impossible anymore ha-ha.
I didn't read your entire post, but are you aware that true magnesium wheels have a tendency to sometimes crack so are not really appropriate for use on the street where potholes and other road irregularities may damage them? Ed
I didn't read it all but didn't see anything about cost but I'd bet
for the same money I could get a set of BST carbon fiber wheel's and be way lighter
and way stronger.
1980 KZ650 F1
Wiseco 810cc kit.
Zukiworks racing ported head.
VM 29 smooth bore's.
Dyna 2000 Ign. w/Dyna mini coil's
APE cylinder stud's and nut's.
APE valve spring's.
APE Track King clutch.
V/H KZ1000 sidewinder.
3.5x18 laced to a KZ1000 disk hub.
150/60/18 Shinko 006 Podium.
63" wheel base.
1980 LTD 1000..,1976 LTD 900, have the 1000&900 now. the rest are previous= 1978 KZ 650 B.., 1980 Yamaha XT 500..,1978 Yamaha DT 400.., 1977 Yamaha yz 80..,Honda trail ct 70.., Honda QA 50...5-1/2 hp brigs & straton CAT chopper mini bike...3-1/2 hp mini bike (WHEN GAS WAS ABOUT 45 CENTS A GALLON)!!!!
Good Idea if you have the passion to waste money ,
But Have you looked into investment casting ?
I'm making spondon calpiers currently ,the billet mold alone was $8500 + all off my time for design on top off that I have to pour 100 calpiers at a time .Also Magnesium can't be poured in many states now days .
Don't forget everything needs to be x-ray and crack tested due to legal issues ,the time and costs that these products were made and sold for back in the day is a fraction compared to today due to lawsuits,material costs ,man power & there costs and in general the ERA they were built.
So say you need 4-6 different sizes ,as you need a range of products like for Tz's through to superbikes to recoup some money in the next 10 years .Each mold will cost say 9-12k to make and you need to pour at least 15-20 wheels per mold at one time so the foundry makes money also ...thats 80+ wheels to machine and prepare ,Marvic can be brought through Yoyodyne (fred) here in the states ,if you call him he will tell you he has sold 3-4 sets over the past 5 years .
There is also other brands like Dymags and 2-3 japanese brands that replica mid 70-80's wheels ....just comes down to your wallet