Single Wall Rims vs. Double Wall Rims


BMX bikes come with two different kinds of rims. These are double wall rims and single wall rims. The quality difference is massive between these two type of rims. Most low level complete bikes or low level wheels are single wall. They do not last, but they are usually cheap. I really recommend double wall rims for everyone. Even beginners, here’s why.

Single Wall Rims

single wall rim construction

In a single wall rim there is only one “chamber”. These rims do not have very much strength to them, but are usually the least expensive. Single wall rims come on most cheap entry level bikes.

Pros

  • Light
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Very Weak
  • bend over time

Double Wall Rims

double wall rim construction

How to tell if a bmx rim is double wall? The only way to do this is by removing the tire and tube and looking through the valve stem hole. If you see two layers of rim it is double wall. If there is only one layer.. It is single wall.

A double wall rim has 2x “chambers” making up the rim. These rims are usually the best strength to weight ratio. You will find double wall rims on most mid to pro level bikes. They offer a huge performance advantage to single wall rims and I recommend them for any level of riding.

Pros

  • Very practical
  • Good strength to weight ratio
  • Holds up well for most riding

Cons

  • More expensive than single wall
  • Can be heavy

Triple Wall Rims

Triple Wall rims are pretty rare to be honest. Most riders can get away with double wall rims, and very few people ride crazy enough to need triple wall rims. These rims are really expensive and pretty heavy. However, you will get extreme strength.

Pros

  • Strongest rim available
  • good luck breaking it

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy

Choosing the Right Rim for You

Each rim has different price points, weights, and durability. Learning about what kind of rim you need for the level of riding that you want to achieve is important. There is no sense in buying triple wall rims if you are just starting out. Learning to understand what rim is perfect for you will help you a lot as you move through bmx.

36 hole vs 48 hole rims

36 Hole Rims

36 hole means the number of spokes that your wheel has. Back in the day, bikes had 48 hole rims. As the quality of parts increased, we found that 36 hole rims still provided enough strength and it weighed a lot less. 36 hole is the most common for sure.

Pros

  • Light
  • cheaper to build because you need less spokes

Cons

  • Weaker than 48 hole

48 Hole Rims

48 hold rims are pretty old school. They offer a ton of strength, but you trade it for extra weight. For the most part, 36 hole rims will withstand most riding. Only get 48 hole rims if you like to do huge drops and gaps.

Pros

  • Very Strong

Cons

  • Heavy

Pinned Rims vs. Welded Rims

There are two ways to seal a rim together. One option is cheap but causes rims to fall apart. The other option costs a little more, but makes a much better rim.

Pinned Rims

A pinned rim is when the rim is held together by little pins. This is kinda hard to explain so I put a video above. Pinned rims are cheap and usually fall apart over time. Almost all single wall rims will be help together by pins.

Above you can see a pinned rim starting to fall apart. This happens over time as you ride harder and harder.

Pros

  • Cheap

Cons

  • Not durable

Welded Rims

Most quality bmx rims come with a welded seam. This keeps the rim together and makes it more durable. Welded rims are the way to go. I recommend it for all types of riding.

Pros

  • Best quality

Cons

  • a little more expensive

Conclusion

A lot of choosing a rim is up to preference. But understanding the different makeups of a bmx rim will help you understand the best option for you. Make sure to get a rim that holds up to your riding and a spoke about that doesn’t blow up mid session.

Leave a comment below and let me know if I missed something.

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Douglas Laird

Douglas is a 23-year-old BMX rider who got his first true BMX bike for his 13th birthday and has been riding nonstop for over 10 years. “Bmx has taken me too well over a hundred skateparks across multiple states and countries.” Dougsterbob.com was born to help people understand the sport that has changed my life for the better. My goal is to help you with everything BMX related. With over 200 BMX posts and counting, dougsterbob.com is quickly growing to be one of the best bmx related websites.

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