Know your wheels before choosing your next bike
Cast Wheels vs. Spoked Wheels. Which are the best? Well, it depends on what kind of ride you prefer. Basically, you should choose spoked wheels for off-road and cast wheels for circuit. But this is not all. Here are the main differences.
The first motorcycles of the last century were all equipped with spoked wheels. Even the cars built those days used spoked wheels. Now we still find them on newer bike models, especially when it comes to adventure, enduro and scrambler motorcycles, but in a different shape.
There’s a big difference regarding the production costs. The cast alloy requires expensive materials and procedures. The spoked wheels are mostly built out of steel and steel is an accesible material. The latest adventure wheels are made using a combination of steel for the spokes and aluminium for the hubs, so they can feature tubless tires.
The steel is a very elastic material. This one and the tens of pressure points are the main characteristics that makes them more resistant and suitable of enduro. All adventure motorcycles or mud bikes are fitted with spoked wheels. But they lack one important thing: stability at high speeds. For this reason, you find cast alloy on all the street bikes.
The spoked wheels are heavier than cast alloy wheels. This is one of the reasons you'll see only cast wheels on racing bikes. The difference comes in the overall weight – the tire adds up a lot to the total mass. Moreover, less weight means better handling. Fit some magnesium alloy Marchesinis on you're street bike, and it will become more nimble.
If you are into big adventure bikes, you can cut some weight with the tubeless spoked wheels. This is the new fashion when it comes to heavy dirt bikes. They are made using a different holding point instead of puncturing the rim. The new system helps reduce the mass and helps you get rid of the tube.
Here's the tricky part when it comes to spoked wheels. Is pretty hard to stick your fingers between the spokes. And if you leave them dirty some rust or corrosion may occur. The alloy wheels are easier to clean.
When it comes to real maintenance, the spoke wheels need some adjustments from time to time. The good part is that when you end up with some broken spokes, you can easily replace them. The bad part is that it's not easy to find a guy specialised on this type of service.
When it comes to alloy, there's nothing you can do if the wheel is damaged. You have to replace it.
The looks are in tight relation with the riders taste. There are the ones that are really into the alloy and buy themselves some shiny chrome wheels or some lightweight Marchesini. And there’s also the other half that prefers some shiny spokes.
Usually, the new-retro and adventure bikes look better when fitted with spoked tubeless wheels.
If you build yourself a theme bike, let's take for example a scrambler, the bike would bike incomplete without a set of spoked wheels. But there are also bikes that can be fitted with spoked or cast alloy depending on the owners taste (especially choppers). No matter what you choose, it has to keep its glossy shine.