Ver­sus

It’s a ques­tion of dura­bil­ity or rigid­ity

Motorcyclist - - Contents - —Ari Henning

IN THE 1960S, nearly all bikes rolled on wire-spoked wheels. Then, in the ’70s, one-piece al­loy wheels ap­peared, and th­ese days, the vast ma­jor­ity of mo­tor­cy­cles come equipped with cast-alu­minum hoops.

Even if sus­pend­ing the tires from steel wires is old tech­nol­ogy, spoked wheels are still manda­tory on mo­tocross bikes, dual-sports, and se­ri­ous ad­ven­ture ma­chines be­cause they are more durable. Spoked wheels han­dle im­pacts bet­ter and are eas­ily re­pairable, un­like al­loy wheels. There’s also a style as­pect. Many of to­day’s cruis­ers and mod­ern-ret­ros run spoked wheels be­cause they suit the aes­thet­ics of those ma­chines.

Alu­minum-al­loy wheels are what most man­u­fac­tur­ers turn to, in part be­cause they’re af­ford­able to build en masse but also be­cause they are sig­nif­i­cantly more rigid than wire-spoked wheels, and that has a lot of ben­e­fits for road rid­ing. Al­loy wheels are also uni­ver­sally tube­less, sim­pli­fy­ing tire changes and punc­ture re­pairs.

Ki­neo wheels, newly im­ported by Brock’s Per­for­mance, are as cut­ting edge (and premium) as spoked wheels come. The com­pany brings the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to a clas­sic de­sign, of­fer­ing thor­oughly mod­ern wheels for a wide range of ma­chines. A forged hub sup­ports a rim that’s sealed for use with tube­less tires, and the unique spoke de­sign al­lows in­di­vid­ual parts to be re­placed with­out dis­as­sem­bling the wheel or even re­mov­ing the tire.

While most OE al­loy wheels are cast from molten alu­minum, March­esini spares no ex­pense when mak­ing its alu­minum and mag­ne­sium per­for­mance wheels, re­ly­ing ex­clu­sively on forg­ing pro­cesses. Forg­ing yields a stronger ma­te­rial so that the rim, spokes, and hub can be thin­ner and thus lighter. Ex­cep­tional strength cou­pled with light­ness are two rea­sons that March­esi­nis are the wheels of choice for Mo­togp and World Su­per­bike teams. Street rid­ers can pur­chase the same stuff the fac­tory teams use through T.A.W. Per­for­mance, head­quar­tered in North Carolina.

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