Bicycle wheels are one of the most important components of a bike, as they affect its speed, stability, handling and comfort. But what are bicycle wheels made of, and how do they work? Below, we'll give you a brief overview of bicycle wheels and bike wheel parts, so you can understand their function and choose the best ones for your riding style.
A bicycle wheel has three main parts: the rim, the hub and the spokes. The rim is the outer circular part of the wheel that holds the tyre. The hub is the central part of the wheel that connects to the axle and allows it to rotate. The spokes are thin metal rods that connect the rim to the hub and provide tension and support to the wheel.
The rim is usually made of aluminium or carbon fibre, depending on its weight, strength and durability. Aluminium rims are cheaper and more common, but carbon fibre rims are lighter and stiffer, which can improve aerodynamics and performance. Rims also vary in width, depth and shape depending on their intended use. For example, road bike rims are typically narrower (18-25 mm), shallower (20-40 mm) and rounder than mountain bike rims (25-35 mm), deeper (30-50 mm) and flatter.
The hub is usually made of steel or aluminium alloy, depending on its weight, strength and durability. Hubs also vary in size, shape and design depending on their intended use. For example, road bike hubs are typically smaller (100-130 mm), lighter (200-300 g) and simpler than mountain bike hubs (135-150 mm), heavier (300-500 g) and more complex. Hubs also have different types of bearings that reduce friction between moving parts. Bearings can be either loose ball bearings or sealed cartridge bearings.
The spokes are usually made of stainless steel or titanium alloy, depending on their weight, strength and durability. Spokes vary in number, thickness and pattern depending on their intended use. Spokes also have different types of nipples that connect them to the rim and allow for tension adjustment. Nipples can be either brass or aluminium alloy.