Ever since off-roading jumped off the bandwagon of extreme automobile experience enthusiasts and made it to the mainstream, there has been considerable debate on how the size, material, and make of off-road wheels impact performance on some of the worst terrain one can imagine.
In the end, it all boils down to the elementary laws of physics and some geometry!
You would hardly be surprised to know that DIY off-roaders often end up choosing rims that are not up to the mark. Such long drives almost always end up being mere sojourns without the adrenaline pumping at all! That’s why it is so crucial to select the correct set of aftermarket rims for drives off city & suburban roads when the asphalt tracks call.
Fuel Wheels, established in 2009 by the legendary MHT Luxury Alloys, was set up with one purpose only. That was to manufacture cutting-edge off-road rims. MHT had already realized they were lagging behind several major brands. Fuel has since become one of the world’s most acclaimed off-road experts.
Scroll down for a few points to remember when selecting rims for tricky and even dangerous surfaces.
Selecting off-road wheels like a seasoned pro!
These are some of the simplest bits of information and advice that work wonders.
1. Choose aluminum over steel: That stainless-steel wheels are always a lot stronger than other alloy wheels is undisputed. Steel was the first material ever used to manufacture rims, come to think of it. Over several decades, aluminum alloys have become better and more durable than ever before.
From the likes of American Racing to Enkei and from simple XD rims to bleeding-edge customizable Savini models, all major manufacturers use aluminum. The 6061-T6 and the A-356 alloys are used worldwide. These are currently the best options in constant use although R&D has come up with several other alloys that are hardier.
2. Lightweights are the heavyweights here: This is a no-brainer. For example, if we assume that you have bought aftermarket rims 2 years ago and are purchasing a set of new Fuel Wheels for the New Year, the difference in weight will be significant enough to be noticeable. Every year, companies strive to make their tentpole models as light as possible without cutting corners.
That said, going for the lightest set of off-road wheels available at your trusted retailers’ is a terrible idea. A full-size SUV loaded with supplies for a trip will not function at its fullest in such circumstances. Even worse, if you are driving an ATV, modded Wranglers and Fortuners, or even an F-150 Raptor on frozen roads, these lightweight wheels can be disastrous.
Professionals recommend that you seek advice from your favored outlets on all aspects including the preferred weight and size keeping your vehicle and intended terrain in mind.
As an aside, we often visit AudioCity USA, a 34-year-old retailer of rims and sundry automotive parts in California’s Santa Fe Springs. As bloggers, we have come to rely on the everyday wisdom and experience of the staff.
3. Be wary with rim sizes: There is a lot of material on the Internet about how smaller rims are better for off-roading than larger ones – and vice versa. It makes no sense without the correct context which, in this case, is the tire size. Wheel diameters have been increasing ever since the tire sizes have gone north. Accommodating the braking mechanism, TPMS, and other gadgets means you will require a large-enough rim.
The best way out is choosing a model that’s half the size of the tire. In other words, if you are using the latest Goodyear or Continental all-terrain or mud-terrain (A/T or M/T) that is 33-inches in diameter, stick to 15-inch rims. Or if you have opted for 35-inch off-road tires, a 17-inch wheel will be perfect.
That’s why professionals recommend you select the tires first and follow them up with the set of off-road wheels that appeal to you.
For backspacing and offset options, please ask your retailer for opinions.
4. Go for beadlock wheels: Some major brands manufacture simulated beadlock rims. For best results, however, beadlock wheels are truly the way to go. At its most basic level, a beadlock wheel from a reputed brand can help you handle any terrain and retain control of your vehicle even if the air pressure in the tires dip drastically.
Without beadlock rims, you might have a forgettable experience on the asphalt.
Beadlock wheels have another great plus; they help you use bigger models. While we just mentioned how smaller rims gave more impetus to performance, bigger sizes are far better for traction and a better grip of the surface.
Often, off-roaders prefer these latter attributes over sheer performance. Fuel Wheels sells a range of rims that are available in several sizes that mostly start at 16-inches and go on to 24 or more inches. Now you know why!
I see. What are my best options?
The list of the best off-road rims keeps changing as more models hit shelves across the United States. At this moment, the best off-road wheels are the following:
- Anthem Equalizer. These are the most competitively priced rims in this segment.
- Assault from Fuel Wheels. The most aggressive models.
- Method Wheels MR-305. Arguably the most stylish of the lot!
There are several other extremely capable off-road wheels as well from brands like Moto Metal, Icon Alloys, and Motiv Deluxe.
What’s keeping you?!