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2013 Wheel Buyer’s Guide

Bead Assist Device Eklipse Wheel
Harry Wagner | Writer
Posted July 24, 2013

The Right Rims For Your Ride

Wheels and tires can completely change the look and performance of your 4x4. However, a set of dubs and low-profile tires isn’t going to get you as far down the trail as some beadlock rims and meaty mud terrains.

While aesthetics will likely play a part in your decision, price, weight, construction, size, offset, and bolt pattern are all factors you need to consider before making a purchase. To make the process easier we have compiled TK of the latest wheel options that are designed for the 4x4 market. Read on to find the best one for your specific needs.

To Lock or Not to Lock?
Beadlock rims continue to gain in popularity with their ability to retain the tire bead at low pressures. Single digit pressures allow the tire to conform to the terrain and can sometimes be the difference between looking down from the top of an obstacle or watching from the bottom. Most beadlock rims use external bolts to clamp the tire bead to the rim with a ring, although some like Hutchinson and BAD go about this in a different manner.

Details to look for when shopping for beadlock rims include whether the rims were originally constructed as a beadlock or converted (available from Champion Wheel and OMF Performance on virtually any wheel), the number of bolts used to affix the beadlock ring, and whether the rim uses threaded steel inserts that can be replaced if they become damaged.

Wheel Construction Basics
Rims can be made from steel or aluminum, and aluminum rims can further be divided into cast or forged construction. Steel rims continue to be the standard on the trail due to their low price, wide selection of offsets, and ability to be beaten back into shape if they bend. Forged aluminum rims are the lightest of the bunch and can be bent back into shape like a steel wheel, but they also result in the lightest wallet after you make your purchase. Cast aluminum rims are like Goldilocks: They aren’t necessarily as light as forged rims or as strong as steel rims, but they strike an excellent balance. There used to be some carbon fiber off-road wheels that were exceptionally strong and light, but nothing in that material currently—maybe someone should reintroduce them.

AEV Savegre
AEV designed the Savegre wheel specifically for the JK Wrangler, not as a one-size-fits-all aftermarket wheel. The Savegre’s JK-specific offset provides the optimal balance of tire clearance, scrub radius, and handling.

Construction: Cast aluminum
Max Load (lb): 2,600
Size: 17x8.5
Backspacing (in): 5.2
Bolt Pattern: 5-on-5
Finish: Argent, silver, or black
Beadlock: No
Source: AEV Conversions, 248.926.0256, www.aev-conversions.com

Walker Evans Racing Beadlock
Walker Evans Racing now offers a true beadlock in a 20-inch size. The wheels are built to order, so bolt pattern, backspacing, and finish options are endless. Don’t need beadlocks? Walker Evans offers “streetlock” rims with the same styling.

Construction: High-pressure cast aluminum
Max Load: Depends on bolt pattern, lug taper
Sizes: 15x9, 17x8.5, 20x8.5
Backspacing (in): 4 3⁄4 to 6
Bolt Pattern: Any
Finish: Polished, satin, or powdercoat
Beadlock: 17-inch uses 24 5⁄16-inch Grade 8 bolts, 20-inch uses 30 5⁄16-inch Grade 8 bolts and steel inserts
Source: Walker Evans Racing, 888.933.7223, www.walkerevansracing.com

Bead Assist Device Eklipse
The U.S.-made BAD Eklipse combines a DOT-compliant internal beadlock with modular versatility. Included are anchor points to secure accessories to the face of the wheel. These are ideal for attaching sacrificial rock rings to combat rock rash, dynamic balancing rings to maintain centrifugal perfection, and mud covers to keep debris out.

Construction: Cast aluminum
Max Load (lb): 3,000 (5- or 6-lug); 3,500 (8-lug)
Size: 17x10
Backspacing (in): 3 1⁄2
Bolt Patterns: 5-on-4 1⁄2, 5-on-5, 5-on-5 1⁄2, 6-on-6 1⁄2, 8-on-170 mm
Finish: Machined
Beadlock: Six 5⁄8-inch studs and cotter pins
Source: BAD Wheels Inc., 864.491.0438, badwheelsinc.com

Dick Cepek Gun Metal 7
The Gun Metal 7 wheel from Dick Cepek is a distinctive gray and machined aluminum wheel with a seven-spoke design. It will not interfere with the vehicle’s OE tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) or brake calipers, making it ideal for late-model 4x4s.

Construction: Cast aluminum
Max Load (lb): 2,500 (5- or 6-lug), 3,640 (8-lug)
Sizes: 17x8.5, 17x9, 20x8.5, 20x9
Backspacing (in): 4 1⁄2, 5, 5 1⁄2, 5 3⁄4, 6, 6 1⁄4
Bolt Patterns: 5-on-5, 5-on-5 1⁄2, 6-on-5 1⁄2, 8-on-6 1⁄2, 8-on-170 mm
Finish: Gunmetal
Beadlock: No
Source: Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, 330.928.9092, www.dickcepek.com

TrailReady HD Beadlocks
The HD Series is TrailReady’s premiere wheel with heavy-duty aluminum construction that is cast in the USA as a beadlock rim from inception. New from TrailReady is the TRylon beadlock ring, a lightweight material that reduces rotating mass and unsprung weight compared to the company’s heavy-duty 3⁄8-inch thick 6061 aluminum rings.

Construction: Cast aluminum
Max Load (lb): 3,000 (5- or 6-lug), 3,400 (8-lug)
Sizes: 15x9, 17x8.5, 20x9.5
Backspacing (in): 3 1⁄2 to 6
Bolt Patterns: 5-on-4 1⁄2, 5-on-5, 5-on-5 1⁄2, 6-on-5 1⁄2, 8-on-6 1⁄2, 8-on-170 mm
Finish: Polished, anodized, or powdercoated
Beadlock: 24 5⁄16-inch Grade 8 bolts and steel inserts
Source: TrailReady, 425.353.6776, www.trbeadlocks.com

Hutchinson RockMonster
Hutchinson RockMonster wheels use internal dual beadlock construction for increased traction, without unseating the tire bead at very low air pressures. They are the only two-piece, DOT-compliant, street-legal rims for the off-road market.

Construction: Cast aluminum
Max Load (lb): 2,300 (5-lug), 2,750 (6-lug), 2,900 (8-lug)
Sizes: 15x8, 17x8.5
Backspacing (in): 3.6, 4.3, 4.5
Bolt Patterns: 5-on-4 1⁄2, 5-on-5, 5-on-5 1⁄2, 5-on-6 1⁄2, 6-on-5 1⁄2, 8-on-6 1⁄2, 8-on-170 mm
Finish: Clearcoated aluminum
Beadlock: Two-piece internal
Source: Hutchinson Ind., 609.394.1010, www.rockmonsterhwheels.com

Interco Birddog
The Interco Birddog wheel features an advanced bead seat retention system that combats low pressure and extreme deflation situations that may pop the bead and result in tire deflation. Two valve holes are provided for rapid inflation or deflation as well as ease of accessibility and are placed safely out of harm’s way.

Construction: Cast aluminum
Max Load (lb): 3,000
Sizes: 15x9, 15x10, 16x9, 17x9
Backspacing (in): 3 1⁄2, 4 1⁄2
Bolt Patterns: 5-on-4 1⁄2, 5-on-5, 5-on-5 1⁄2, 6-on-5 1⁄2, 8-on-6 1⁄2
Finish: Black painted and machined surface
Beadlock: No
Source: Interco, 800.299.8000, www.intercotire.com

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