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New Wheel Buyers Guide - Rolling On

Posted in Product Reviews on June 1, 2013
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If you are looking for a set of wheels for your Jeep and have heard things about this new wheel or that new feature but find it hard to keep track of who did what where, we hear ya. In a typical five-day work week, we get two or three “new” wheel product releases. Some of them are rehashes of other wheels. Some of them are as simple as a color change. But every so often we get a product release that we think is enough of a departure from the norm that we stash it for later.

All this time that we’ve been doing so, we’ve been thinking, “Oh, I’ll use that on something someday.” But here, about a year into it, we’ve got more wheels in the file than we are likely to use, so we figured we’d introduce you guys to them. Some are new companies who have brought out a lot of new designs, some are new companies with a breakthrough design, and some are companies you already know that went thinking outside the box and came up with some great idea while they were out there. Enough from us—here are some cool wheels you might want to check out for next time you are in the market.

Mickey Metal
What: It might sound a little bit too much like Mickey Mouse, which some people use to derogatorily describe a poorly done job. In this case it is Mickey Mouse, because someone should have done this sooner. Most of us running steel wheels today are rolling on wheels designed for cars and pickups in the ’60s and ’70s. That means 40- and 50-year-old ideas about what is heavy-duty. A 1⁄2-ton truck today can out-haul a 1-ton truck from then, so why not get heavier-duty wheels? Mickey Thompson basically started from a clean sheet and figured out how to make every part of its steel wheel better at the same steel wheel price.
Material: Steel
Sizes: 15-, 16-, and 17-inch diameters, many bolt patterns and backspacing
What’s new: Heavier center, more complex stamping (stronger), better welding technique of center-to-outer hoop, valve stem further inboard
Contact: Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels

What: ProComp’s new La Paz wheel is styled after the company’s race wheels. Let’s face it, we don’t all need beadlocks even most of the time, and running beadlocks on the road is almost always illegal. And, we aren’t a fan of many faux-lock wheels because then you get all the pain of mounting, dismounting, and most of the maintenance without the actual lock. These wheels combine the look, without the pain, and add a couple of neat things that all Jeepers should have.
Material: Aluminum
Sizes: 16- and 17-inch-diameter, five- and eight-lug patterns
What’s new: Extra-thick outside bead and extra-thick spokes and hub for maximum durability.
Contact: ProComp

What: We know Trail-Gear as a company that makes great parts. Many of them cause us to smack our heads in a “Why didn’t I think of that?” kind of moment. The Creeper Lock addresses some of the things we’ve seen and not liked in other aluminum beadlocks. They have steel thread Time-Sert inserts, for example. But the features go on beyond there. These are cast one-piece and then machined to what you see here. But they aren’t machined too much. Each wheel weighs 45 pounds and has a 2,800 pound weight rating. The wheels are available in eight-lug only with a center bore of 51⁄8 inches, and wheels include 24 Grade 85⁄16-inch-diameter bolts.
Material: Aluminum
Sizes: 17x9, 41⁄4 or 5 inches of backspacing
What’s new: Thicker where it matters, better inner bead design, steel inserts
Contact: Trail-Gear

What: A new take on a beadlock, the Eklipse 17 moves the actual lock ring to the inside of the tire, putting it out of harm’s way. Three lock rings go inside the wheel and cover 1⁄3 of the bead each. They are attached to 5⁄8-inch-diameter studs and the nuts are retained with pins. No worries about loosening bolts or snapping bolt heads. Backspacing is 31⁄2 inches, while bolt patterns are 5-on-41⁄2, 5-on-5, 5-on-51⁄2, 6-on-51⁄2, 8-on-61⁄2, and 8-on-170. The five- and six-lug wheels feature a 3,000-pound rating while the eight-lug wheel boasts a 3,500-pound rating. A Rapid Air Deflator allows quick air downs and is way inboard for protection.
Material: Aluminum
Sizes: 17x10
What’s new: Internal locks, standard RAD, available sacrificial rock ring
Contact: Bead Assist Device Wheels

Birddoggin’ It
What: New wheel from Interco designed with the wheeler in mind. The wheels feature deeper bead seats with redesigned profiles to better hold the tire at low pressures. The wheel lacks detail on the face by design to better self-clean. Thicker “abrasion ring” on the outer edge of the bead designed to take a beating and available, with two valve stems located towards the center of the tire. It is available in many bolt spacing patterns and widths.
Material: Aluminum
Sizes: 15-, 16-, and 17-inch diameters
What’s new: 3,000 pound rating, bead seats, thicker edges, lug nut accessibility
Contact: Interco Tire Corporation, 337/334-3814,

What: Shown is the LRGRims LRG 106 but all of the company’s wheels feature similar break-the-mold designing. However, unlike many such designs, your tire guy won’t have problems getting your tires on them, and they are heavier-duty than many other breakthrough designs. Intended for heavy trucks with big tires, these would be good for Jeeps. However, there are no 15- or 16-inch sizes available so you hardcore 15-inch guys are out of luck. There are many common bolt patterns and widths available.
Material: Aluminum
Sizes: 17- through 22-inch diameters
What’s new: New casting technology, designed for big tires, and heavier trucks
Contact: Large Rim Group

Take the Pulse
What: Got a vintage Jeep and tired of beating your head into the wall looking for the uber-rare and too-expensive vintage slot wheels? Check out the Pulsar from Summit Racing. Available with a polished finish, these wheels evoke that classic styling we like without breaking the bank. There are many bolt patterns and wheel widths to choose from, and prices range from $96.95 to $134.95 each.
Material: Cast aluminum
Sizes: 15-inch-diameter, many widths
What’s new: Slot-like styling in a brand new wheel
Contact: Summit Racing Equipment

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