Are bicycle-spoke style wheels for cars still made?

I’m sort of fed up with the Wagon Train look seen on the roads of America, you know those big wheels w/the wide open spokes all the car vendors use on their newer models these days? I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something about the appearance I don’t like.

I was thinking, sitting in traffic having to look at all these Wagon Train wheels on most every car in sight, if I wanted some really cool looking wheels for my trust 'ol Corolla, I’d install bicycle spoke wheels. Lightweight, reduced rotating inertia makes for quicker accelerations. Seems sort of trendy too. But I’m wondering if anybody even makes this style wheels for autos any more? You can see sort of what I’m talking about in the photo of one of Jay Leno’s cars below.

Here they are…$$$$:

I wonder if a design like that can stand up to the torque that can be applied by today’s engines.

Correctly constructed and strung, those things were pretty strong actually.

Woody’s Wheel Works, Denver, Colo. Woody can lace up anything you want if you have enough money…Be warned, spoke wheels require periodic, expensive maintenance…

Fake spoke wheels are the way I would go if inclined. Excuse me, replica spoke wheels.

What the rare 76 Granada,with the wire wheel covers?-Kevin

The OE wire wheels on T-Birds and Corvettes weren’t much lighter than pressed steel and they required inner tubes. The British wire wheels were fitted on heavy splined hubs with threaded knock offs and the old Coats tire equipment wasn’t able to handle them. They looked great but were to be avoided on a daily driver.

I too am tired of the “wagon wheel” look of many modern OEM wheels. Those cast-in plain radial spokes are boring.

Spoked wheels can be beautiful on the right car, but they’re expensive to buy and tough to maintain. Ever try cleaning a spoked wheel? Properly laced, they are amazing ly strong. Tortional lacing transmits torque as tension along the spokes, and the tortional strangth of the spokes is very high. The hub actually hangs from these spokes, just as the hub on a bicycle wheel hangs on its spokes. It’s distributed as compressive force among the upper half of the rim’s arc.

Anyway, there are other great options to the wagon wheel look. Check vintage wheel websites out. There are slotted deep dish wheels, 5-spoke mags, “Keystone” mags, and countless other options. I like the wheels on the new 2014 Alfa Romeo.

The important thing is to be sure that the bolt pattern, offset, rim width, offset, and other key parameters are correct for your car. Visit a,d for tech details.

Good luck.

+!, TSMB. Long before I’d be looking at wire wheels I’d be on, say, the Tire Rack web site, looking at alternative alloys. They even let you look at how they’d appear on your particular car.
After having the spoke-look wheel covers stolen two times, I asked the insurence guy if he could just write me a check with which I would buy rims that would lock on and he’d never have to write another check. With a ‘‘dummy’’ receipt he did that and I put TruSpoke wheels on my 78 Chrysler Cordoba.

  • all the local homies would ask me what I did to lower it…it was factory original except for the wheels and they were the o.e. size both rims and tires.

Texases, I wholeheartedly agree except for the Tirerack suggestion. They have an extensive selection there, but I was on there recently and was unable to find any old style wheels. I was looking for slotted dish mags. Vintage wheel sites, that target hot rodders, have much better selections for those of us whose “younger days” predate the wagon wheel look.

Tirerack is a great site, but perhaps not for this specific question.

Maybe you should get a retro motorcycle that comes with spoke wheels. The only drawback is that you have to use an inner tube, even on a tubeless tire.

TSMB - you’re right, I checked out Corolla wheels at tirerack, there’s about 3 basic looks that you can get from a dozen different vendors in a half dozen colors. Pretty boring…

When I worked for Nissan, we had a few customers who opted for spoke type wheel covers and it opened up a real can of wheel balance worms. Those covers were godawful heavy and had an inherent imbalance due to the cutout for the valve stem. The only way the entire assembly could even be balanced was with an old bubble balancer and with the cover in place.

Think those car spoke wheels are pricy? A friend in a metro area who runs a custom bike shop mounted a couple of custom spoke wheels on a chopper about a dozen years ago. Those wheels had something like 240 spokes each and the price was roughly 10 bucks a spoke; 2400 dollars each. That didn’t include the tire, tube, mounting and balancing.

I’ve laced a lot of stock 36-40 hole MC wheels but the thought of lacing and truing wheels like that would make me cringe.
The wheels were impressive to look at but a little much for me both as to price and looks.

Just to be a wise guy, cause I can’t help it…l
Let’s discuss why we might want to dress up a Corolla. A Miata, I can see. I had several of these cars and the idea I thought, was to buy them to save as much money as possible. New spoked rims is a lot of extra gas and a lot of attention for a car made to be inconspicuous.;=)

@dagosa, yes, I see your point. An early 90’s Corolla might look ridiculous with spoked wheels. The people’s car should be kept stock I guess. It’s like those 50’s - 70’s VW Beetles, modified with the so-called “Cal Look”. You know, strung low to the ground. To me the stock Beetle with plenty of road clearance is a lot more attractive, and practical.

Anyway, spoked wheels for cars seem like a cool idea at least. Besides the purchase expense, from what I see here, I guess there’s a lot of maintenace. I true my own bike wheels, don’t find that partiularly difficult. And rarely had to do after the original spokes seated. But my bike weighs – what, 30 pounds max? Keeping a spoked wheel for a 2000, 3000 lb car true is probably a lot more difficult.

I think you are correct though, a true Corolla look should be completely stock.

What about painted steel wheels with moon hubcaps?

Throw in some whitewall bias ply tires …I’m there…

Actually, you can buy rims with Wide Whites built in. But you have to use lower profile tires.