Why are wheels so expensive? - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2002, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Why are wheels so expensive?

I've been looking at lightweight wheels for motorcycles, and they are sooo expensive! Almost $2000 for a set of wheels!!! That's 25% the cost of the whole dang complicated bike!!

The online catalogs etc don't describe the weight either, that seems to me equally if not more important than looks.

Anyone know how much stock rims for R6/R1/GSXR600/6R etc weigh?

Thanks for the info!

PS. What are the most common brands of wheel for sportbikes, and why aren't harley/bicycle style spokes used on sportbikes??

Last edited by badchad; 08-18-2002 at 10:30 AM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2002, 06:47 PM
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I think the high price has to do with all the R&D that has to go into making them round.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2002, 07:06 PM
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Re: Why are wheels so expensive?

Originally posted by badchad
....why aren't harley/bicycle style spokes used on sportbikes??
well, for one, that would look retarded. For 2, you can't (with a few minor exceptions) run a tubless tire on spoked rim. Running a tube in a high performance tire wouldn't work. The friction between the tube and the tire would develop too much heat (among other problems).

But, I think the biggest is, that would look really really really really stupid.... Unless your wearing a Huge gold necklace with your name as a pendant, and flashing signs.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2002, 07:53 PM
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Also, have you noticed the materials and processes of aftermarket wheels?

Most aftermarket wheels are made from magnesium, for weight reduction... basically for racing. Magnesium is a "flamable" material, so the process for making them is different than... say stock "casted" wheels.

Some wheels, like OZ wheels are forged. Remember "forging" pennies when you were a kid? Take your hammer and make it about 5,000 times bigger. Then try machining a forged metal after that.

So the cost is in R&D (as mentioned), material, and process.

On the spoked wheels thing... like Kevlar said... it would look REALLY REALLY stupid.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2002, 08:16 PM
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Plus a spoked rim would have massive wind drag. A racing bicycle only goes about 35 mph and they use solid disk wheels for wind resistance. Imagine the drag of all of those spokes chopping through the air at 180mph.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2002, 09:07 PM
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Regardless of the matterial (forged or cast aluminium, carbon fiber, or magnizum) another advantage sportbike wheels have over spoked (also called laced) wheels are that they are more rigid and let the suspension do it's job better as well as being more stable and providing more feedback in turns.

In addition to all of the above mentioned reasons for the prices there is also the fact that it's a small market requiring more of the companies overhead to be put on to each item sold.

Let's just create a hypothetical example. If it takes 10,000 man hours to R&D a wheel at $20 an hour and you only sell 1,000 of them (500 bikes) that's $200 a wheel in R&D. If it's a car wheel the market is much larger and lets say you can sell 100,000. (25,000 cars) That's only $2 per wheel.

Not to mention labor, operating costs, materiels, capital, and make enough profit to be able to make it worth doing again next year instead of working at Kentacohut.

Last edited by Black_Snowman; 08-18-2002 at 09:10 PM.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2002, 10:31 PM
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Mostly they cost so much because we'll pay it.

Try getting some used from a racer classified add??

And yes, I will put weight savings over looks when I finally build my keeper. Gonna be MAXED out with Ohlins front/back, cf bodywork, maybe cf wheels cause by the time I do this they'll have those figured out, everything that'll make it faster and handle better.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-19-2002, 07:04 AM
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Question Another question

As regards to weight, and replacing items with lighter ones- what is better to replace first, unsprung weight (i.e rims)or sprung weight? Besides affecting suspension, reducing weight for more HP, what is the difference between the two in terms of gained benefits?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-19-2002, 09:04 AM
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I had a pair of 3 spoke magnesium Dymags on my track SV. Not that my ability justified the $ but they sure did look good. A few weeks ago I was in Putnam T4, a left, I have no idea 75-80 mph? A front end low side, I separate from the bike cleanly and weíre both sliding, no problem. Then the bike goes onto the grass, catches, and starts violent tumbling. Lots of damage all over the bike, the worst is a big hunk out of the rim of the rear Dymag. When an aluminum wheel reaches itís limit it tends to bend and is often repairable. Magnesium breaks.

The front end took a hit hard enough to break the steering stop and bend the forks. The front Dymag seems ok, but might have cracks that can only be found by expensive testing.

For now the stock wheels are going back on the bike, this winter Iíll have them powder coated Dymag yellow. If I was sure itíd take 5-10 years of track time to break another Dymag then thatís what Iíd get. 1.5 years for an $800 wheel isnít enough.

And remember this was a lowside in flat area with nothing to hit at a speed a lot of street riders do. S___ happens. If you canít look at your bike scrapped and say ďokĒ then you either have too much $ in it or you should have kept the bike in the living room.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-19-2002, 09:23 AM
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With the last in mind.................My opinion is to go with the "forged" OZ WHEELS or the "forged"/"spun" PERFORMANCE MACHINE WHEELS!

Choices, Choices, Choices

Team No Limit Racing &#169 1996-2002
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