Wire-Spoked Motorcycle Wheels vs. Alloy Motorcycle Wheels

Is there one clear-cut winner?

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 Wire-Spoked Wheels
Kineo Tubeless Wire-Spoked WheelsJulia LaPalme

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.

Marchesini M10RS Kompe Wheels
Marchesini M10RS Kompe WheelsJulia LaPalme

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.