Alloy wheels & wire-spoke wheels; Which is best for two-wheelers?

We know the two-wheeler segment has an important role in the overall growth of the automobile sector. Today, we can see a lot of various models of two-wheelers, from the low-end and less-featured models to the more expensive feature-packed bikes.

When looking at the specifications of a motorbike, we give much importance to its tyres and wheels like other specifications. When comes to its wheels, there are two types, alloy wheels and Steel Wheels according to the material used to make them.

Now we can see these two types of wheels on vehicles whether it is a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler. In the case of two-wheelers, the spokes are construed in the form of wires in steel wheels. So the steel wheels used in the two Wheeler are called wire-spoke wheels.


Today, we can see alloy wheels, from the basic entry-level to the highly expensive superbikes. On the other hand, most adventure bikes, dirt bikes and classic bikes are still using wire-spoke steel wheels.

How do these two types differ? Why are these two types are using in different situations? Beyond the differences in external appearance, how do these both differ in practicality?

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Steel Wheels (wire-spoke wheels) in motorcycles

In a wire-spoke Wheel, the rim is made up of either steel or aluminium and the rim and hub are connected by steel-made wire spokes. These steel-made wire spokes are comparatively flexible and stiff in nature. Generally, these types of wheels are used in motorcycles and bicycles.

In the early years, the commonly used wheels in two-wheelers were steel-made wire-spoke wheels. But the arrival of alloy wheels made a change to it, now alloy wheels are available from entry-level bikes to superbikes.

On the other hand, adventure bikes, dirt bikes and classic bikes are still using wire-spoke steel wheels. It is due to the certain advantages of alloy wheels on these kinds of terrains. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of wire-spoke steel wheels are listed below.

Advantages of wire-spoke wheels

   Wire spoke wheels are less costly than alloy wheels.
   The steel-made wire spokes are flexible, which is capable to reduce the impact from the road to some extent while used in off-road conditions. It improves the stability of the vehicle.
   These types of wheels are easy to repair, because It does not break due to an impact, just only bend.
   The wire-spoke wheels are light in weight compared to the alloy wheels of motorbikes.

Disadvantages of wire-spoke wheels

   Normally, the wire-spoke wheels are not capable of using tubeless tyres. The construction of wire-spoke wheels which is capable of using tubeless tyre is highly expensive. 
   There have limitations to the use of tyres with a large width compared to an alloy wheel.
   Wire spoke wheel has a standard design, there is no scope for any attractive design changes.
   It is very difficult to clean the wheel properly compared to an alloy wheel.

Alloy Wheels in motorcycles

Today, the majority of the motorbikes that we can see on the road are using alloy wheels, which are more stylish and good-looking than the conventional wire-spoke wheels.

We know that alloys are a mixture of metal and other elements, and the added elements help to improve the properties of that metal. The case alloy wheels are made up of alloys, commonly alloys of aluminium or magnesium. 

Although, most of the alloy wheels are made up of aluminium alloys rather than magnesium. The alloys are stiff and rigid compared to wire-spoke wheels, which improves the stability and cornering of the vehicle even at high speed.

Advantages of alloy wheels

   The alloy wheels are suitable for using tubeless tyres.
   These are suitable for using tyres with a large width.
   There are no limitations on design, it is capable of doing any attractive design changes. 
   Alloy Wheels are very easy to clean compared to wire-spoke wheels.


Disadvantages of alloy wheels

   Alloy Wheels are more costly than wire-spoke wheels.
   Repairing is not possible in alloy wheels because it breaks when facing a big impact.
   Alloy Wheels are stiff and more rigid than wire-spoke wheels, so it doesn't provide good handling and stability in off-road conditions compared to wire-spoke wheels.

Alloy Wheels provide better handling, better stability and good cornering on normal road conditions. When looking at the wire-spoke wheels, provide better handling and better stability in off-road conditions.

Through this comparison, we can find out that the alloy wheels are better in normal road conditions and wire-spoke wheels are apt in off-road conditions.

Carbon Fiber is another material that is used to make automotive wheels. This is a strong, lightweight and costly material, which is used in sports cars, sports bikes etc.

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