In general, bikes have two types of wheel rims: the solid wheel rims and the spoke wheels. The solid wheel rim is made of one-piece past and the unit is cast in alloy of aluminum usually. They are cut by machine using high-pressured water. In spoke wheels, the rims are woven with spokes that support the rim. The rims here are made of alloys there are steel spoke rims as well.
That said besides aluminum lately even carbon fiber is being increasingly used in the making of solid wheels especially as a custom option on sporty and racing bikes. One advantage that comes with the carbon fiber option is it is light in weight which makes handling and controlling easier especially at high speeds. The carbon rims also enable enhanced heat dissipation during braking, and help brakes to work more efficiently. These are high-priced option though and not everyone's choice.
Most solid wheels are still cast aluminum and because aluminum is clean metal, the rims are factory finished and they kind of get chrome look, although biking enthusiasts won't mind forking out more for the real chrome thingie. Chroming is electrical charging of metal and then plating it with chrome by placing the metal in the chrome-containing tank. The chrome gets electroplated to the rim, and the end result is a marvelous finish.
Whatever be the metal the rims need to be taken proper care. Any bend to the shape of rim can result in a nasty fall or accident. Also rims contain the bearings and other parts that enable smooth movement of the bike. So to ensure you get years of smooth riding pleasure from your rims, there are some DIY care and maintenance tips that can help you.
- Always keep the tyre air pressure optimum and complying with manufacturers recommendations.
- Wash the wheels at least once a fortnight to prevent the brake dust and dirt settling on. Should you ignore to clean the brake dust with salts and dirt spoil the finish and the moisture from the atmosphere might well react and eat away the chrome plating.
- If you stay in a place where humidity is high with salts, it pays to clean the wheels more often.
- Use warm water and mild detergent for cleaning and never use abrasives for polishing and cleaning.
- Do not opt for hot steam washing as it can ruin the wheel finish.
- Use manufacturer recommended tools to remove the tyre. Never use tools like hammer to remove tyre/s.
- Avoid driving on pothole laden roads as it can spoil the rims faster.
- While these are DIY tips, if you are very new to auto parts and repairing and have never indulged into one, do not attempt doing it by yourself, it is possible that you may end up in some kind of a mess.
Treat the wheels with respect, the aforesaid tips help the wheels to last longer and be fitter longer besides giving the bike enhanced looks.