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They tend to be more "forgiving". They flex a little more instead of cracking, and if you bend a rim off-road, they are easier to straighten and you can retension the spokes to aid that process. Usually (not always) they use inner tubes instead of being tubeless in design. Again, if the rim bends at the bead area, that doesn't necessarily mean a flat, like it might with a tubeless set-up.

I'm sure there are other reasons I don't know of.
 

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No way would I trade to a spoked wheel that requires a tube! Tubless is another story.
Completely agree for street use, but the question was for off-road. Hit a 2" high square stone ledge at speed with a cast wheel and get back to me on your preferences. :)
 

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No way would I trade to a spoked wheel that requires a tube! Tubless is another story.
You got that right, I have plugged way too many flats on my Wee. Taking the wheel off the bike and breaking the bead to put in another tube, on the side of the road. Yeah that sounds like fun!
 

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A spoked rim is also lighter than an alloy or aluminum rim, resulting in less unsprung weight. If you're seriously into dirt riding, that makes a difference.

If you're worried about dealing with tubed tires, consider using a wheel with an Akront rim, like the BMW GS series bikes use. It has a raised center that is drilled to receive spokes so you can use a tubeless tire.
 

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Big difference is that if you take a big one you can repair the damage for just the cost of the rim + damaged spokes. A ding in a cast wheel may mean an entire new wheel.

If you ride sensibly the cast DL rims are fine but I'll admit, tubeless spoked rims would tempt me.

Pete
 

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If you get stainless spokes and polish them mightily before installation, you sparkle in the light too.
My '89 BMW GS had spoke rims, tubeless, and 2 up we hit a pot hole with no ill effects, the two bikes behind me with cast wheels both suffered bent rims.
Why do all the dirt bikes seem to be clad with spoke wheels? Must be some good reason that I can't fathom.
 

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If you get stainless spokes and polish them mightily before installation, you sparkle in the light too.
My '89 BMW GS had spoke rims, tubeless, and 2 up we hit a pot hole with no ill effects, the two bikes behind me with cast wheels both suffered bent rims.
Why do all the dirt bikes seem to be clad with spoke wheels? Must be some good reason that I can't fathom.

Spoked wheels are lighter and stronger.
 

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As mentioned,
Lighter
Stronger
Less expensive to repair.

A lot of dirt bikes have 21" front rims. As a cast wheal it would be very expensive and heavy. Moto-Guzzi's also use spokes and tubeless. Tubes on a mostly or all dirt can take a lot of damage before they deflate. Heck, even when they do go flat it isn't a problem on dirt. Half the time I had a flat on one or the other of my dirt bikes and sometimes didn't bothered fixing them till I had time since most have bead locks to keep the tire on the rim.
 

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As a slightly OCD person, I have to comment: spoked rims are are less rigid and absorb punishment, rather than breaking. I suppose they could be stronger too, but I would almost bet most of them aren't. The only way you could test their absolute strength would be to load or spin them until failure, and I suspect the more rigid cast rims would win most absolute tests of strength.

In the real world, spoked rims offer great value for absolute performance and handling if they are lighter and that would mean less unsprung weight and overall mass. This is not a given, as most spoked wheels are steel, so I don't know if that is always true. They will absorb punishment that will cause failure in the standard rim, but they require maintenance, can be hard to balance, and replacing a broken or bent spoke can be a major task.

To me, the amount of real off-road riding you do really determines the need for spoked wheels. I don't need them, but I am glad they are becoming an option.
 

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I am going to have to agree with Dennis. I don't think they are stronger persay, but they are more resilient. They have more pros than cons I would say. Doesn't mean you can do well on a cast wheel, which I think out of all the cast wheeled bikes out there that can touch dirt, the V-strom probably has proven it best.
 

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If they are stronger and lighter then I wonder why high performance racing bikes (i.e. Moto GP) don't also use them?

..Tom
I don't think they are stronger or lighter, at least in terms of handling tangential (braking and acceleration) and lateral loads. Alloy wheels can be very strong and light, when made from things like forged aluminum.

Consider this: the last holdout in using wire wheels (for anything other than fashion reason) in automobiles were sports cars, and even they abandoned them once light alloy wheels were invented. You don't see spoked wheels on off-road vehicles (other than motorcycles), although I would note that off-road tires for cars and trucks tend to have a lot more sidewall to absorb impacts. Spoked wheels would also undoubtedly be quite expensive to manufacture and main in large vehicle sizes (even look at the spoked wheels on an old Jag? Looks like a maintenance nightmare to me).
 

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I am just happy to have tubeless tires. One less thing to fret about going down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
When my front rim was repaired there was an impact dent but also the rim was moved off center, the real problem. Even if the dent was pounded out the rim would have wobbled compared to the axle.

Perhaps spoke rims can be deflected and the spring back.
 

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If you get stainless spokes and polish them mightily before installation, you sparkle in the light too.
My '89 BMW GS had spoke rims, tubeless, and 2 up we hit a pot hole with no ill effects, the two bikes behind me with cast wheels both suffered bent rims.
Why do all the dirt bikes seem to be clad with spoke wheels? Must be some good reason that I can't fathom.
Not intrinsically stronger though.
I got a small ding and the KTM 990 chasing me pacman'd his wheel from the same impact, those were spoked rims, but not particularly strong.

The big plus is that once you have spoked rims there are very good replacements readilly available and the cost to replace is in the 100's rather than 1000 region.

I also suspect Suzuki have been surprised by how well the DL1000 MK2 is stacking up on dirt with reviewers, that may have tipped the balance WRT to coming out with a more dirt worthy DL650 as well.

Pete
 

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Not intrinsically stronger though...
"Stronger" is a complicated subject. Much depends on the type of impact ("forcing function" in engineer-speak), what sort of failure modes are acceptable, and what the pre-failure behavior of the system is like.
 
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