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...and your MT buddy has choosen the more common 21" front wheel for off road riding. As far as I can see on the picture. Thank you for sharing, nice to see both bikes and your useful upgrades.
yes: KLR650 front and rear wheels (21" and 17") with SV650 rear shock (retuned)

Drew's uber-sled by gnarlydog, on Flickr
 

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Yeah, I agree. I’ve not seen an MT mod’d in such a way, but I dig it!…and there are a ton of MTs here. It seems one of the most common bikes on the road!
 

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Was the rear wheel a bolt in? If not, what work was needed? I'd really love to get an 18/19 wheel set, but not willing to blow $3000 on a set yet.
unfortunately the wheel was NOT a straight swap (as you call it bolt-in).
An axel spacer was needed and an adaptor for the brake rotor as well as one for the chain sprocket needed to be custom machined as no "off-the-shelf" conversion kit exists.

I know that a wire spoke wheels looks incredibly cool but not necessarily an easier or sturdier option. Cast wheels are stronger and can run tubeless tyres, with much easier repair in case of a puncture.
 
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