My 17" front wheel conversion. 5th April 2010
After years of reading different and confusing reports on this, I decided to take the plunge and replace the 16" front wheel on my 1997 CBR 900 RRV Fireblade with a 17" and this is how I did it. No fuss, no bother. No bullshit. This was a straight replacement using, besides the wheel, standard RRV parts. The wheel I used is a straight replacement for a CBR 600 FS-FW. On this premise, I assume an original CBR 600 FS-FW wheel would do the trick as well.
 

So, the first thing I did was get a new wheel from Delkevic. It even has the same spokes. Here's a link to their site.

 

 

 
This cost me 130 and was money well spent in my opinion. I also bought new wheel bearings, dust seals and also a new inner wheel bearing spacer. And because this was a new wheel, I also decided to treat myself to new brake disks and brake pads. It turned out that I needn't have bothered buying the spacer as there was already one included with the wheel.  But  what was not included with the new wheel was a fitted  valve. All parts purchased were standard CBR 900 RRV replacements and everything fitted perfectly. There was no problem with disk hole alignment or brake caliper clearances. EVERYTHING FITTED PERFECTLY. Here are some pictures.
 
Overall view with old 16" in background
Yes, I know it needs a wash. But this is one of the consequences of living in the middle of beautiful, picturesque Wales. We get regular and unlimited quantities of liquid sunshine, all year round.
 
The tyre is a Pirelli Diablo Corsa 120/70 ZR 17. I was concerned that there would not be enough clearance under the mudguard, but my fears were unfounded. The gap between tyre and mudguard is about 1/2" (12mm) so there is still plenty of room. A 120/60 would leave even more clearance.
 
Right and left spacers.
Okay. I confess. I got new spacers as well. WHY? Because I could. I didn't need to but I did. All the front is new so I thought "what the hell, why not". But they are standard RRV spacers and have not been altered in any way.
 
I may end up replacing the Diablo's with some other, stickier compound tyre. But that was the whole point. Now I can give my Blade the tyre it deserves and am no longer limited by the short sighted policies of tyre manufacturers. After all. This is the bike that put the word "Super" in "Superbike"
 
When I try this setup on the road, I will be reporting back here.
   
10-04-2010:
 
 
I have now done about 100 miles and can say that after lowering the fork legs through by 5mm, the bike feels less nervous on the front and cornering feels more stable. As the tyres scrub in, I can actually feel it getting better, mile by mile.
   
All in all, I'd say to anyone thinking of doing the same to go ahead and do it. You won't regret it.
 
Update
06-06-2010
 
 
 
After two months and almost 2000 miles of dry riding later, I have decided that I need stickier tyres. There's not much wrong with the Diablo's. The back is wearing down almost with a round profile, but I can feel them trying to break away under quicker, more "committed" cornering. So I'm going to try a pair of Michelin Pilot Power 2CT next. I've read good things about these tyres and have been recommended to me by other users.
   
  I've also decided that for me, 6mm of fork leg sticking through, feels better than 5mm. It's only a difference of 1mm but it seems to me to give a better balance of steering and stability. I did try letting more through but under some circumstances, it felt like I was falling over the front of the bike. Not good.