Yes, in some cases it has been true. In the early days of putting 21" wheels on Baggers, the Avon Venom tire was used a lot and they were expanding at high speeds and burning the fender paint. That is because it was a softer compound tire and easily expanded out more so than normal. This problem has been fixed with the release of the Avon Cobra tire and it is also fine to use a Metzeler Me-880. As long as the fender clearances are checked, this should NEVER be a problem.
Harley Fatboy Wheels
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2000-2006 Fat Boy Wheels
The Fat Boy in these years came with 16" x 3.0" wheels on the front and rear. The stock size replacement wheel that we carry in every wheel style on our website is the 16 x 3.5" size. If you purchase this size wheel, you can use your stock tires and will not have to change them.
On these year Fat Boys, you can put a 16 x 3.5, 17 x 3.5, 18 x 3.5, or 19 x 3.0, front wheel without changing anything on the bike at all. As far as the rear wheel, on 2000-2002 models we recommend the 18 x 3.5 wheel with the 150/70-18 Metzeler or Avon Tire with our special pulley spacer. On the 2003-2006 models we recommend the 18 x 4.25 wheel with the 150 or 160/70-18 Metzeler or Avon Tire. This wheel is a GREAT fit for the Fat Boy, looks great, rides great, and doesn't effect the ride height of the bike at all.
2007-2013 Fat Boy Wheels
The Fat Boy in 2007-2009 comes with a 17" x 3.0" front wheel. The Fat Boy in 2010 comes with a 18" x 3.0" front wheel. 2007-2010 years all came with a 17" x 6.0" rear wheel. The stock size replacment wheels that we carry in every wheel style on our website is the 17" x 3.5" or 18" x 3.5" size front and the 17" x 6.25" rear. If you purchase these size wheels, you can use your stock tires and will not have to change them.
On these year Fat Boys, you can put a 16 x 3.5, 17 x 3.5, 18 x 3.5, or 19 x 3.0 front wheel without changing anything on the bike at all. As far as the rear wheel, you can do either a 17 x 6.25 rear wheel with a 200 tire or a 18 x 5.5 rear wheel with a 180/55-18 or 200/50-17 tire. We recommend the 17 x 6.25 because the 200 tire is a better fit for this rim and it looks a LOT better, rides better, and sits at a better ride height.
What's needed to put a 21" Wheel on?
You can install a 21" x 3.5" size front wheel on a Fat Boy but it will require a new fender for it. We carry a wide variety of fenders so call us at 888-926-2793 for help. Other than that, there is nothing you would have to change. The hub for our wheels would be perfectly setup for it.
Well, you tell us... About 95% of our wheel sales for Street Glides are 21" wheels... They ride well, look amazing, and can even help the resale value of your bike.
Yes. The 21" wheel will raise the bike about 1.5" in the front which makes the back raise a bit too. We do NOT recomend the 21" wheels for guys that are struggling to reach the ground on the stock size wheels. The best wheel for you would be the 18 x 3.5 size. The rim is larger than the stock 16" but the tire is a lower profile, causing the outer diameter of the 18" wheel to be the same as the stock 16" size. This will get you a larger wheel without raising the bike up any.
It does ride different but to us here at WanaRyd, it's not a huge change. We haven't ever had customers complain about a huge difference or return a wheel for this reason. Remember that Harley puts 21" wheels on a lot of their bikes so this isn't anything new or different than what many are used to. Chances are that you won't mind or notice the slight difference at all!