Vintage Wire Wheels
Photograph - Print
The rims of wire wheels, wire-spoked wheels, or tension-spoked wheels are connected to their hubs by wire spokes. Although these wires are generally stiffer than a typical wire rope, they function mechanically the same as tensioned flexible wires, keeping the rim true while supporting applied loads. The wheels have been called "suspension" wheels. This is not to be confused with the more common term vehicle suspension.
Wire wheels are used on most bicycles and still used on many motorcycles. They were invented by aeronautical engineer George Cayley in 1808 and first used in bicycles by James Starley.
Bicycle wheels were not strong enough for cars until the development of tangentially spoked wheels. They rapidly became well established in the bicycle and motor tricycle world but were not common on cars until around 1907. This was encouraged by the Rudge-Whitworth patented detachable and interchangeable wheels designed by John Pugh. These wheels owed their resistance to braking and accelerative stresses to their two inner rows of tangential spokes. An outer row of radial spokes gave lateral strength against cornering strains. These wheels were deeply dished so that steering pivot pins might lie as near as possible to the centre-line of the tyres. Their second feature was that they were easily detachable being mounted on splined false hubs.
A 1957 MGA with wire wheels
A process of assembling wire wheels is described as wheelbuilding.
April 13th, 2012
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