Many motorcyclists prefer a cruiser's ergonomics, handling, and aesthetics to those of street motorbikes. Cruisers resemble older, American-style motorcycles. They offer plenty of opportunities for customisation. One area where cruiser owners can change the look and handling of their motorcycle is in the wheels. Buyers may also need to replace a cruiser's wheels if they become damaged. Buyers can select from either factory replacements or aftermarket wheels, which come either in spoked or solid cast styles. Buyers have many looks to choose from. A good understanding of the different characteristics of each type of wheel can help buyers make an informed decision.
Buyers who need to replace a damaged wheel can choose either a factory replacement or an aftermarket wheel. Factory, or original equipment manufacturer (OEM), replacements offer the same handling and performance characteristics, and are designed specifically for a particular motorcycle by its manufacturer. They are also identical to the original wheel designed for the motorcycle. Aftermarket wheels can deliver performance improvements, but buyers should make sure that the wheel is designed for their particular motorcycle. Aftermarket wheels can also drastically change the look of a cruiser by offering custom designs, ranging from retro designs to modern castings, giving buyers much more control over the final result.
If you are looking for aftermarket wheels for your cruiser, you have several options. The two major types of motorcycle wheels are spoked wheels and solid wheels. Solid wheels can be made in various ways, including casting and carving.
Spoked wheels are very common in cruisers because they are true to the look of the motorcycles that cruisers are designed to mimic. Similar to bicycle wheels, spoked motorcycle wheels use tensioned spokes to keep the rim balanced and in shape. Most spoked wheels use tyres with tubes, but there are some that are designed to use tubeless tyres. Spoked wheels also tend to flex and return to their original shape, allowing them to absorb more shock when used in rough conditions. The spokes can be difficult to clean well, and the wheels themselves need to be tuned if the rims are not true (they do not spin in a perfect circle). If spokes are not maintained well, they may fail because of corrosion, resulting in damage to the tyre or rim.
Most cast alloy wheels, whether for motorcycles or cars, are cast from aluminium alloys. They usually have a chrome finish, and can be cast in a range of different designs. Some wheels are made from magnesium alloys, another light metal alloy. Cast alloy wheels are usually lighter than factory wheels (unless the original factory wheels were also cast alloy wheels). They are easy to clean and maintain, and are designed for use with tubeless tyres. However, they do not have the flex that spoked wheels offer. As a result, they can suffer damage when driven hard over rough terrain.
Billet wheels are solid wheels carved from a single block of metal, usually high-grade aluminium alloy. Computer controlled machining can produce intricate designs. Billet wheels can be very expensive, especially when custom designed. Like other solid wheels, billet wheels are easier to clean and maintain than are spoked wheels.
Carbon fibre motorcycle wheels are another solid wheel, manufactured from carbon fibre composite material. They are lightweight and very strong, but are very expensive and not as common as other solid wheels. They offer performance gains in speed, braking, and handling.
Buyers seeking aftermarket wheels must select a set compatible with their cruiser. Although this is usually just a matter of finding wheels of the same, or similar, size, buyers should also consider how other parts of their cruiser's wheel assembly fit with the new wheel. If they are not certain, they can contact the manufacturer of the wheel, a respected mechanic, or the cruiser's user manual. Buyers should also make sure they replace the wheels correctly;front wheels and rear wheels are not interchangeable. Two other important factors to consider are the cost of aftermarket wheels, and their quality.
How much to spend on wheels is up to you. However, keep a budget in mind, since costs range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Solid wheels are costlier than spoked wheels, and billet wheels are usually more expensive still.
Owners should have wheels tested and certified. Two respected certifications for wheels and other vehicle parts are the Japanese JASO (Japanese Automotive Standards Association) certification and the German TUV (Technischer Uberwachungs-Verein) certification. Wheels certified to either standard perform safely and last a long time.
Though changing a wheel is not a major modification, make sure you follow all the regulations in your area for motorcycle modifications. Some territories require prior approval before making changes. Ensure that all modifications are within regulations before buying; it could save you a lot of time and money.
When replacing a damaged wheel or shopping for a new type of wheel for their cruiser, buyers have many choices. Factory, or OEM, wheels replace a cruiser's existing wheel with one that is equivalent in every way. Aftermarket wheels, on the other hand, can change the look, feel, and handling of the cruiser. Both factory and aftermarketmotorcycle wheels are available on eBay.
Buyers can find what they want by using the search box found on every eBay page. They can filter results by condition, price range, and seller location. Buyers can also look for deals on motorcycle parts. Before committing to a purchase, buyers should ensure they are buying quality wheels, and that they are following any relevant regulations concerning motorcycle modifications.