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Scott Lear
Scott Lear
1/30/18 12:14 p.m.

All cars have the wheel in common, though the wheels on our cars couldn’t be more diverse in form and construction. There’s an emotional element as well, as personalizing a vehicle often starts with changing the wheels, whether for aesthetic or performance reasons.

In motorsports, there are genuine, measurable gains to be had from swapping out the stock wheels for something lighter, stronger, larger or smaller. Aftermarket wheels can also open the door to other upgrades, like larger brake systems and wider tire footprints.

With hundreds if not thousands of options in any particular size, however, there can be a paralyzing number of choices. Budget plays a factor, of course, and certain wheel types have a reputation for being race-appropriate, but how can you really know what you’re getting? We asked a number of wheel industry experts three basic questions to learn a bit more about what makes the wheels on the race car go round and round.

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Trackmouse
Trackmouse UltraDork
1/30/18 12:51 p.m.

Ok. Now tell us about the cheap wheels we can afford. cheeky

te72
te72 New Reader
1/31/18 12:29 a.m.

Have had a set of XXR 527 on the Supra for a couple years now. Haven't hit anything, so I can't comment on strength in that regard. Last I checked, you're not supposed to hit things anyway?

 

As far as satisfaction goes, they're reasonably light for the size, and were reasonably priced as well. Doesn't hurt that they look good and came with blank centercaps so I can put hello kitty stickers on them.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse UltraDork
1/31/18 1:03 a.m.

In reply to te72 :

So, how have they faired for auto sport use? This is where the rumors, horror stories, and the “buy name brand” stories foment. 

STM317
STM317 Dork
1/31/18 5:05 a.m.

Owning a set of Forgelines is on my bucket list. But spending more on a set of wheels than I did on the vehicle is a tough pill to swallow.

MazdaFace
MazdaFace HalfDork
1/31/18 6:01 a.m.

When I worked at Firestone we had a customer with knock off China te37 on a 370z. Came in complaining of a tire balance issue and we noticed half the spokes were cracked all the way through on his back wheels. He got lucky. Absolute disaster waiting to happen. Totally turned me off even the thought of off brand eBay wheels. 

Rodan
Rodan Reader
1/31/18 6:28 a.m.
STM317 said:

Owning a set of Forgelines is on my bucket list. But spending more on a set of wheels than I did on the vehicle is a tough pill to swallow.

With what I paid for my track Miata, almost everything cost more than the car did! cheeky

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
1/31/18 7:37 a.m.

There are a lot of wheel brands out there -- is anyone keeping a list of reputable makers of affordable flow formed / rotary forged wheels?

freetors
freetors Reader
1/31/18 7:45 a.m.

We have Rota RB25's on our MGB. I have been totally satisfied. Thirteen pounds for 15x6. Totally straight out of the box. I have accidently hit bumps and potholes that physically hurt and thought for sure that it would have damaged the wheels. But they just take the hit and keep on going. 

I think it's important to realize that if you're tracking your car or putting heavy loads on it, any wheel is eventually going to break or crack. And jut the right hit will do the same for any wheel too. The lighter your wheels the more risky this becomes.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
1/31/18 7:53 a.m.
nderwater said:

There are a lot of wheel brands out there -- is anyone keeping a list of reputable makers of affordable flow formed / rotary forged wheels?

Basically everything "affordable" that isn't super heavy is flow formed now. And there are plenty. 

REAL forged wheels are horrifically expensive. Typically $700+ per wheel.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
1/31/18 7:57 a.m.
Trackmouse said:

Ok. Now tell us about the cheap wheels we can afford. cheeky

For what fitment?

Seems to me if you drive anything that is autocross/tracked frequently, there are a ton of cheap options out there.  I usually start with TRM wheels because that is pretty much the target:  cheap, light, motorsports oriented.

Now if only their 15x8 Miata wheels had a higher offset...

russelljones48
russelljones48
1/31/18 8:20 a.m.

Unfortunately, I read this article as a series of "buy me" pitches from the vendors.  Except for the TR explanation, I learned little.  I doubt that GRM has the resources for exhaustive race testing of the durability of wheels but if the readership can be reasonably objective the wisdom of the crowd might offer some decent direction.  A general and widespread survey of race hours for various wheel types might point to a vendor or manufacturing process that provides the best value.  i.e good grass roots data analysis might provide some illuminating results...  

MazdaFace
MazdaFace HalfDork
1/31/18 8:21 a.m.

The breytons on the e46 have held up to absurdly bad roads with what I'd consider rubber band tires 35 series in the rear). Had them refinished about a year ago. Well worth the $450 the refinishing cost. Rears needed a ton of weight to balance but now it's barely any. To be fair, I'm pretty sure they are at least 10 years old and have had a hard life. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
1/31/18 8:35 a.m.

I'm having a hell of a time figuring out what the bolt patterns are for TR motorsports wheels. There are several in five lug (in the pictures anyway) but I can't find the numbers. I know TR wants me to shop by vehichicle, but sometimes I want to look at wheels "off label" if you will. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
1/31/18 8:41 a.m.

Yeah, you can't really do that easily.

 

What pattern are you looking for?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
1/31/18 8:41 a.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

You can call them or use the chat thing on the website and they will search by wheel specs for you- it's annoying that the site itself doesn't have that function, but it is available if you get a hold of a person who works there.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
1/31/18 8:45 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

I hate talking to real people so much......

In reply to ProDarwin :

5x114.3. Accord offset, whatever that is. I'm not completely sold on the idea of getting brand new wheels for the car, but the prices on TR wheels make them hardly more expensive than used ones around here. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
1/31/18 8:55 a.m.

Ah.  Search for a WRX STI, S2000, NC Miata, or RX8.  They make pretty solid fitments for all of those.  Not sure what would work best on the Accord, but my gut says NC Miata is in the right range.

Austincrx
Austincrx New Reader
1/31/18 10:16 a.m.

What about prolonged use on-track and developing stress fractures?

Also, don't powder-coat your aluminum wheels, or you'll know a lot about stress fractures very soon.

yupididit
yupididit SuperDork
1/31/18 10:39 a.m.

I tend to keep oem wheels on a car unless I can afford to pay for the good stuff.  I have no issue buying the high-end stuff used. 

My favorite brands are hre, ssr, oz, enkei, work, old school ronals, competitive.

I think Mercedes makes the best looking wheels especially some amg wheels. 

mazdeuce - Seth said:

I'm having a hell of a time figuring out what the bolt patterns are for TR motorsports wheels. There are several in five lug (in the pictures anyway) but I can't find the numbers. I know TR wants me to shop by vehichicle, but sometimes I want to look at wheels "off label" if you will. 

My understanding is that TR got tired of dealing with returns/exchanges from people selecting wheels and not knowing wtf they're doing doing. And naturally blaming TR for it. I can understand why they took the no-vehicle wheel shopping away.

8valve
8valve New Reader
1/31/18 1:10 p.m.

The flexibility/stiffness part I find interesting.. other qualities are pretty straightforward and easily measurable.  Is there any industry standard for comparing it?

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
1/31/18 1:17 p.m.
Austincrx said:

What about prolonged use on-track and developing stress fractures?

Also, don't powder-coat your aluminum wheels, or you'll know a lot about stress fractures very soon.

Wheels, when used for HPDE/Racing, are a wear item. And should be frequently inspected for hairline cracks/fractures. 

Trackmouse
Trackmouse UltraDork
1/31/18 1:17 p.m.

How about a set of 15x7, in 4x114.3 and ALSO in 5x114.3. Oh, and zero offset. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
1/31/18 1:24 p.m.

In reply to Trackmouse :

Enkei Compe comes in both of those bolt patterns, 15x7, 0 offset.

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