Motorcycles are favoured over cars for many reasons. They are easier to repair, thanks to their smaller bodies, can stop anywhere, and are convenient to park. With a motorcycle, it is possible to beat traffic jams because the bike can squeeze through between the cars. Motorcycles are also cheaper to buy and to maintain. Besides being functional, motorcycles are also fun to ride. Motorcycles are often used to look cool and make a statement. If customised, they can look really stylish.
All vehicles require maintenance from time to time and should be repaired if and when any damage occurs. Some parts are also replaced when the owner wishes to customise the motorcycle. Wheels are extremely essential and should be kept in order to ensure safety, and they can also be used to enhance the appearance of the vehicle. Motorcycle wheels can be bought from bike repair shops or even from online auction sites, such as eBay. When buying wheels, the types, materials, and applications should be studied beforehand in order to make an informed decision.
What Are OEM Motorcycle Wheels?
Before looking into the types and materials of OEM motorcycle wheels, these should be defined and explained. "OEM" stands for "original equipment manufacturer" and this means that the wheels are made by a producer who combines them from components bought from other companies. Quite often, the company that sells the motorcycles has not produced all the parts itself, but has purchased them from other manufacturers, although it may sell these parts under its own brand name. In any case, OEM wheels should meet safety standards.
These parts are made specifically for a particular motorcycle make. In essence, OEM wheels are replacement parts for the motorcycle. For instance, Yamaha motorcycles can use OEM wheels that are specifically designed for Yamaha, and quite often for the specific make and model as well.
The motorcycle wheel refers only to the inner metal part. This means that the rubber tyre is generally not included when talking about wheels.
OEM Motorcycle Wheel Materials
The material from which an OEM motorcycle wheel is made has a great effect on its performance. The material determines the wheel's reliability, durability, and the speed at which it can be used. Common wheel materials include cast aluminium, carbon fibre, forged magnesium, forged aluminium, and billet aluminium.
Cast Aluminium OEM Motorcycle Wheels
Cast aluminium wheels are made by pouring molten aluminium into a mould. Compared to other materials, cast aluminium can be rather heavy. However, these are the stock wheels that are used on most new motorcycles when they come out of the factory. Most OEM wheels are also made of the same material. The finish of cast aluminium wheels is either polished or chrome.
Carbon Fibre OEM Motorcycle Wheels
Carbon fibre wheels last for a long time, as they are designed for heavy-duty use. They are also very lightweight and are therefore commonly used by racers, who need to make their motorcycles as fast as possible. Lighter wheels also make it possible to stop more quickly. All these features are reflected in the price, as these wheels are rather expensive. This material is more often used for upgrades than for OEM wheels.
Forged Magnesium OEM Motorcycle Wheels
Forged magnesium wheels are made by forging the magnesium, meaning that the material is heated and then shaped by hammering. These wheels are very strong and durable. However, compared to forged aluminium wheels that undergo similar manufacturing process, they are lighter.
Forged Aluminium OEM Motorcycle Wheels
Forged aluminium wheels are quite common on motorcycles. They are made by shaping the aluminium by heating it in a fire and hammering it. Usually, these wheels are categorised as middleweight.
Billet Aluminium OEM Motorcycle Wheels
Billet aluminium wheels are carved from a solid block of aluminium by using a computer application. This allows for the creation of intricate designs. However, such wheels are usually custom-made, and therefore not part of the OEM motorcycle wheel selection, although exceptions may occur.
OEM Motorcycle Wheel Types
In order to find the correct OEM motorcycle wheel, it is also important to know the type of the wheel in order to find one that has similar structure. Spoke, solid, and billet wheels are the main types available.
Spoke OEM Motorcycle Wheels
The spoke wheels contain spokes, wire rods and bars that are placed between the centre of the wheel and its edge, the rim. The spokes are usually laced, creating a unique design effect. This layout also strengthens the rim.
Solid OEM Motorcycle Wheels
Solid OEM motorcycle wheels are made of one piece of metal, meaning that both the spokes and rim are produced from the same unit. Cast aluminium is a common material for such wheels.
Billet OEM Motorcycle Wheels
Billet wheels are carved with special computer software, and this allows for the creation of intricate designs. Therefore, these wheels may vary in appearance, with only one's imagination being the limit.
Finding the Right OEM Motorcycle Wheel Size
Acquiring OEM motorcycle wheels of the right size is crucial, because the wrong size may lead to many problems. The size of the tyre should be matched with the wheel, because otherwise the tyre or the wheel on which the tyre is mounted may become damaged. The rim width value on the tyre should be followed closely.
The height of the rear and front ride affects the motorcycle's rear and front weight bias, rake, and trail, and thus the matching circumference is necessary. Otherwise, poor grip or handling may occur. If the wheel is too narrow for the tyre, the tyre profile can malfunction and causes the loss of footprint. The tyre may also rub against the motorcycle and thus cause damage. On the other hand, if the wheel is too wide for the tyre, mounting the tyre may be impossible from the start, or even when it succeeds, the tyre may break soon because it is stretched out.
Measuring Motorcycle Wheels
In order to find the right size OEM motorcycle wheel, the specifications of the old one can be checked, or the old wheel can be measured. For the measurement process, the wheel should be placed on a flat surface and then set into a position similar to the one in which it is mounted on the motorcycle. The wheel should be held in position with one hand to prevent it from rolling. The measuring tape is placed inside the bead seat area at the top. This area is located inside the outermost flange of the wheel rim perimeter. The rim is then measured from the top to the bottom. This provides the diameter of the wheel. The width of the wheel rim can be measured by placing the measuring tape on the bead set, in the area where the edges of the tyre meet the rim inside the first flange. The tape is placed on the bead set area and then stretched to the opposite side.
Buying OEM Motorcycle Wheels on eBay
When you start looking for OEM motorcycle wheels on eBay, you can begin by typing the keywords into the search box that you can find at the top of any eBay page. You can use general search terms or add some more specific details to your search. For instance, you can specify the motorcycle wheel manufacturer or the make of your vehicle. However, not all sellers may have such information in the item name, so you may be better off by not including such details in the search. In order to ensure that the OEM wheels fit your bike, read the detailed item listing. In case of any questions about the wheels, you can contact the seller for more information. You can ask about refunds, exchanges, payment methods, and delivery.
As the wheels may be quite heavy, you may want to pick them up yourself to save on postage. If you find a local seller who is comfortable with arranging a local pick-up, this is another option.
Compared to cars, motorcycles are convenient to use because of their light weight and the ability to beat traffic jams. They are also cheaper to buy and maintain, and many people favour motorcycles over cars. However, these vehicles are safe only when all the parts are in working order. When something breaks, it should be replaced immediately. The same goes for the wheels.
"OEM" stands for "original equipment manufacturer" and OEM motorcycle wheels are replacement parts that are made by the same company that produced the wheels in the first place. The wheels comply with certain standards and work well on the motorcycles for which they are designed.
Most OEM wheels are made of cast aluminium, which is quite heavy, but some other materials may also be used. Forged magnesium and forged aluminium, which are slightly lighter, are also sometimes used. The lightest wheels of them all are carbon fibre wheels. These are a common choice for racers.
Depending on the wheel structure, the motorcycle wheels can be divided into three. Spoke and solid wheels are the most common types, but intricate billet designs are also produced.