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  #1  
Old 27 Apr 2012
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BMW Spokes on Not on RTW

Hi all

Not sure if this has been mentioned before, but I can't find it... (post link if it has?)

Is it better to have standard little spokes that can be changed relatively easily anywhere in the middle of nowhere on a RTW? Or are alloys/aluminium wheels (not sure what they are actually called) so durable that they won't break in any case, not matter how hard going and pot-holey it gets?

Which are better on a RTW?
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Old 27 Apr 2012
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I'm definitely no expert, but I'd think spoked wheels would be the way to go.

If alloys get a very bad knock they'll probably break.. and that's the end really.

Wires on the other hand would probably bend out of shape/snap spokes, which in theory could be repaired/replaced.
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Old 27 Apr 2012
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Any wheel will get deformed and need to be repaired or replaced if it gets hit hard enough. The trick is to avoid hitting anything hard enough to damage the wheel. Alas, that is not always possible. It is easier and cheaper to repair a spoked BMW wheel than an alloy BMW if that is what you are asking.

I have taco'd a BMW spoked wheel and was able to reuse most of the spokes, the hub, rotor and just replace the damaged spokes and rim. With an alloy wheel you would be facing the expense of a new wheel. That said, alloy wheels are very strong and if they break it is usually the least of your worries as the forks will likely be bent as well.

Many people prefer spoked wheels for rough tracks. Dirt bikes come with spoked wheels for a reason.

Many other people prefer the convenience of tubeless tires and alloy rims and ride mostly pavement.

There is no right answer to this question.

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Old 27 Apr 2012
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Cast aluminum alloy wheels are on the Vstrom, which is a pretty popular bike for long distance touring. They hold up to hits very well, can't imagine hitting hard enough while touring to actually break them other than an outright crash.

A likely worst case scenario is hitting hard while your tires have low air pressure (for riding in sand) and you'll end up two nice flares in the outer edges of the rim. This may or may not have some impact on the ability of the tire to seat against these edges and therefore cause a small leak. This can be solved with a judicious use of plyers, or for the very brave, a visit to the local small bike repair shop who will happily pound your tires back into square with a mallet and and block of wood.
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Old 28 Apr 2012
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Spoked wheels (those little spoke things) are actually much much stronger than cast allow wheels ... thats why they are on all off road bikes and rally bikes.

They are often heavier and more expensive to make than cast alloy wheels, but they are used because they are much much stronger.

Its why BMW uses cast wheels on its regular 1200GS and spoked wheels on the adventure version.

Cast alloy wheels can and will crack and break under the sort of stresses that extensive off road riding deliver.
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