If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


I read once, not sure how true it is, that the bicycle wheel is the strongest structure, weight for weight, in the world. I have ridden many bicycles over much rough terrain, I am far from being anorexic, and I have never buckled or even bent a wheel, so there must be some truth in this. And then I saw this picture on Facebook. Awesome, if genuine (and I wouldn't be surprised if it was).


  1. Extremely strong in a radial direction but extremely weak under a twisting effect. I would bet that the picture is real, in effect it would be like hitting a flat piece of tin with an axe. I got tail ended once while waiting to pull out of a junction (Honda 400/4 vs. Talbot Horizon). It took out my rear wheel (cast, Lester), rear mudguard and light, bent the seat up at a right angle and catapulted me over the bars into the middle of the main road. The Horizon had both front wheels off the deck and was sitting on top of my rear end, holding the bike upright. Damage to the Horizon was front sill, radiator, grille and bonnet, same effect as in your picture. Apparently the driver had gone for the brake and stamped on the accelerator instead.

  2. I have my suspicions.

    Even if its rider was "far from being anorexic" (love the admission!), and the front wheel was up against something solid, the inertia of the car & its driver would have bent the front forks.

  3. I once hit a deep pothole whilst riding my BMW R65, denting both rims and buckling one wheel as well. These were the "Spiders web" design cast alloy wheels fitted as standard. Discovering the price of replacements, and seeing as how Dad's R100S had traditional wire spoke wheels, I did some investigating, and bought a complete S/H rear wheel from a standard R80, and got a friend to "import" from Germany a hub from the then new R80GS.

    I took these to an old boy in Essex who had been building wheels for Speedway riders for donkeys years. He expertly assembled the hub with a new alloy rim, and rebuilt the complete wheel with a wider rim. The combined cost was less than a single new cast wheel! They were also lighter, and gave a smother ride. I suspect your picture is partly down to the "give" in a spoked wheel, rather than my experiences with cast ones...

  4. Don't forget that most cars now have only thin plastic bumpers.The bumpers on my Micra flex with only a moderate push with one finger,the real shock absorption in a big shunt is taken care of by deforming the body.

  5. Hmmmm would that the wheels were that strong.

    I will reserve judgment, but if true it is nice to know the car suffered more damage.


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