I don’t know if you noticed or not, but in the past, all motorcycles came with spoke wheels, but now only off road motorcycles and adventure motorcycles come with spoke wheels? What is the reason behind Why do Dirt Bikes have Spoke Wheels? There are some adventure motorcycles, enduro, scramblers, ADVs that also come with spoke wheels and some modern cafe racers also come with spoke wheels.
The reason behind dirt bikes using spoke wheels are more flexible and durable as compared to the cast wheels. It can absorb shocks better while riding on rocks and dirt, spoke wheels are easy to repair if they bend or if spokes broke apart. These are the three main reasons why dirt bikes still use spoke wheels.
But they are not perfect, yes, we agreed, spoke wheels have some benefits and some problems as well, and today we are going to show you all the benefits and problems of spoke wheels.
Which is better Spoke wheel or Alloy wheel?
Look, both wheels have some benefits and issues with them, it totally depends on your motorcycle and the terrain on which you want to ride. Both of them are better in their own way. And if you are the person who loves to ride off-road and loves mud and dirt as I do, then you don’t need alloy wheels at all.
If you use alloy wheels on your dirt bike or adventure bike and you go offroad and if something goes wrong and you hit a big rock, then because of the shock the wheel will easily break or bend, and then you have to buy a new wheel for your motorcycle because you cannot repair alloy wheels or cast wheels. But spoke wheels can easily be repaired, and if you learn how to set the spokes then you can do that as well.
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But if you love to ride on roads and on highways reaching top speeds, then alloy wheels are perfect for you, because alloy wheels are more stable and rigid as compared to the spoke wheels and if you ever got a flat, then alloy wheels use tubeless tires, and because of that you can easily repair the puncture with just a small puncture kit.
And this is not the case with the spoke wheels, they come with tubes inside the tire, and if you got a flat, then you cannot repair it easily. So it is better to go with alloy wheels for roads and street riding. And alloy wheels are more affordable as compared to the spoke wheels, but if something breaks with your alloy wheel, then you have to buy a new wheel again.
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So, before asking about which is a better spoke wheel or alloy wheel, first ask yourself, how and where you are going to ride your motorcycle, and then decide which suits you and your motorcycle.
Benefits of Spoke Wheels
As we told you about which one is better, Spoke Wheels or Alloy wheels now it is time to understand all the benefits of having a spoke wheel on your motorcycle. There are lots of so we are going to make bullet points so that you can understand it better:
- Flexible: Spoke wheels are flexible as compared to alloy wheels, they can absorb all kinds of shock while doing off-road, or high jumps. They can easily flex and bend to small degrees and absorb all kinds of shocks. They can absorb all kinds of lateral, axial, and radial force and don’t break easily.
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- Durable: The Spoke wheels are more durable as compared to the alloy or cast wheels, that is why many old motorcycles are still using their original spoke wheels, they can last for a very long time.
- Easy to Repair: If your spoke rim will get bent or damaged, you can easily repair it with just a hammer and some block of wood, and if any of your spoke got broken, then you can easily replace them as well. That is why their life is more than cast wheels.
Problems of Spoke Wheels
There is nothing which is perfect, and the same applies to the spoke wheels, there are more problems than benefits of using a spoke wheel. Here are all of them:
- Heavy: Spoke wheels require many parts to make a wheel, and this makes it heavy as compared to the cast wheels, and this is the reason why racing motorcycles use alloy wheels to save extra weight that can reduce their top speed.
- Costly: You can make cast wheels or alloy wheels without the need of a human, machines can manufacture alloy wheels easily and quickly, as it doesn’t require hundreds of parts to make, but to make a spoke wheel you need to hire humans, which increases its final cost.
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- Difficult to repair flats: If you got a flat tire with spoke wheels, then you have to replace the tube, which makes it difficult to repair flats while riding, there are some spoke wheels that can be fitted with tubeless tires, but those are more costly.
- Requires skills to repair: If you want to repair your spoke wheel then you need to learn that first, as it is not so easy to repair a spoke wheel, it needs serious learnings, but you can repair the bends easily, but to make it into the original shape you need some serious skills.
- Cannot Handle Bigger Tires and Power: Spoke wheels cannot handle big and wide tires, and they cannot take the power of a sports motorcycle, as it is not as rigid as cast or alloy wheels.
- Cannot handle high speeds: Spoke wheels cannot handle high speeds, it is flexible which makes the motorcycle unstable at high speeds.
- Requires More Maintenance: Spoke wheels require more maintenance as compared to alloy wheels, it is difficult to clean them and repair them, and you need to take care of the spokes, are they tight enough or not.
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Are spoked motorcycle wheels Dangerous? If you are using spoke wheels on your street motorcycle then it can be dangerous but if you are using spoke wheels on your dirt bike, adventure motorcycle, or in ADVs, then it is completely safe, spoke wheels cannot handle high speeds, and it cannot take handle high power motorcycles, so don’t use spoke wheels other than a dirt bike, adventure motorcycle or in ADVs.