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An introduction to motorcycle rims: Part I

Posted on 24 February 2017

A lot of a motorcycle's character is in its rims. The size and style make a statement about the bike — and occassionally about the owner. If you’re just breaking into the wonderful world of all things motorcycles, here’s an introduction to the different types of motorcycle rims you’re likely to come across.

Types of Motorcycle Rims
The two main types of motorcycle rims are solid wheels where the rim and spokes are all cast as one unit usually in aluminium. The second type are spoke wheels where the motorcycle rims are "laced" with spokes. Apart from the obvious point that the spokes add strength to the rim, the lacing also gives a design feature to the rims.

Cast motorcycle rims
Made from cast aluminium, these are the commonly stock wheels on a huge number of motorcycle models and usually come with a chrome or polished finish.

Billet motorcycle wheels
These wheels are carved from a block of solid aluminium Using computer controlled carving, some incredibly intricate designs can be produced. It’s completely possible to design your own motorcycle rims in this case. Chrome finishes are the norm but usually come out more expensive than polished motorcycle rims.

Laced motorcycle rims
These are the traditional spoked wheels. The rims are usually made of aluminium, with the structural strength supplied by the spokes which are laced between hub and rim.

Laced motorcycle rims, besides being a real thing of beauty, are much more forgiving.They can bend without breaking, and still work. They are also much more repairable than alloy wheels, and if a rim is bent beyond repair, it can be replaced and re-laced with new spokes.

Carbon fiber/ lightweight alloy motorcycle rims
These motorcycle rims have incredible strength weight ratios, and their light weight give racers a significant advantage in situations where the difference between success and failure is measured in tenths of a second.

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