Complete Wheels


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How to choose BMX complete wheels: Wheels are some of the most crucial components on a bike. Picking the right set of wheels can mean the difference between having a bike that rolls fast and smooth, and a bike that requires constant maintenance. This article will shine some light on the different components that form a wheel, and how some of the different variations can affect performance.

The front wheel is the simpler portion of a wheelset. It is composed of a front hub, spokes, spoke nipples, and a rim. This wheel is responsible for the steering function of a bike, and generally takes less weight and stress then a rear wheel.

The rear wheel has a more complicated role on a bike, as it is connected to the bike’s drivetrain. It is composed of a rear hub, a freewheel or driver, spokes, spoke nipples, and a rim. Because the rear wheel takes more weight and stress than a front wheel, it is generally built a little differently, with stronger hub designs, more bearings, and heavier duty rims.

For more information on wheel components, check out the following Buyer’s Guide Articles: Rear Hubs, Freewheels & Drivers, and Rims.

Spoke Count and Lacing

Wheels can be laced using different numbers of spokes. The common numbers of spokes used are 28, 36, and 48. A wheel with fewer spokes uses less material, which results in a lower rotational weight. However, there is a trade off for strength. Wheels with fewer spokes have less interior support. Because of this, 28 spoke wheels are usually only used for racing and lighter riders.

36 spoke wheels are the most common in BMX. They have the ability to take the abuse of park, street, and dirt without being overly heavy. There is also a 48-spoke option, although the extra strength is often unnecessary unless a rider is really hard on their wheels.

The term “spoke lacing” describes the pattern used to install spokes into a wheel.

What To Look For

The first thing to consider when purchasing a new wheelset is the requirements that you as a rider need in a wheel. Do you want a super light wheel with low rotational weight? Or are you a rider that finds yourself constantly truing wheels and replacing spokes? Let’s face it, wheels are expensive, so you will want to choose a wheel that will last and perform well, without the need for constant maintenance.

Lighter riders, and those that require reduced weight (such as racers), should look into wheels with 28 and 36 spoke lacing with lighter hubs and rims. These wheels will help to reduce the rotational weight of a bike, which is crucial when speed is important.

People that ride park, dirt and, street should choose wheels that can take more abuse and damage. 36 spoke wheels laced to a more durable rims and hubs will often be enough, although the 48 spoke design is available for those who want a little extra strength and are not concerned with the increased weight.

Always remember that your bike is only as good as the wheels that carry it. Without a reliable set of wheels, your bike becomes little more then a pile of chromoly tubing and chunks of aluminum. Be sure to carefully consider how you ride before deciding on a new wheelset.

How Much To Spend

When buying a front wheel you should be looking to spend between $40 and $250. The less expensive wheels in the $40-$70 range use lower-end components that generally weigh more and will take less abuse. These wheels can be a great solution for a rider who needs an affordable option, but don’t expect these wheels to last as long as the higher priced options. The $70-$140 range uses higher quality materials and designs, which will be lighter and will last longer. This category of wheel is perfect for the everyday rider who needs a solid, reliable setup. The $140-$250 range can be labeled as the “specialty wheel” category. These wheels use high-end components and designs. This range of wheels will often use exotic alloys like titanium to drastically reduce weight without sacrificing a large amount of strength.

When buying a rear wheel you should be looking to spend between $70 and $400. Just like front wheels, the less expensive wheels in the $70-$100 range use lower end components that generally weigh more and will take less abuse. Don’t expect them to last as long as the higher priced options. The $100-$180 range uses higher quality materials and designs, which will be lighter and will last longer. This category of wheel is perfect for the everyday rider who needs a solid, reliable setup. The $180-$400 range can be labeled as the “specialty wheel” category. This range of wheels will often use special engagement systems and exotic alloys like titanium to reduce weight.

Product Reviews

Before buying, be sure to do your research and read product reviews. Reviews are a great way to find out specifics about a particular model, user impressions, and things to watch out for. After you’ve purchased a product and had enough time to thoroughly test it, we encourage you to leave a review for other people to see when they are researching bikes and parts on the web.

We hope you’ve found this information to be helpful. If you have a question that isn’t answered in this guide, our BMX forums are a great place to get advice from knowledgeable riders. Your local bike shop is also a great resource.

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