Wheel Buyer's Guide - Reinventing The Wheel

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The wheel has come a long way since it first rolled onto the scene. Construction materials have changed from stone and wood to stamped steel, forged aluminum and CNC-machined metals. The precision with which it is manufactured has increased tenfold, and is ever so important as modern vehicles exceed speeds never dreamed of by our Neanderthal relatives.

No other single modification offers the dramatic change that aftermarket wheels can, and their relatively inexpensive price-at least when compared to a paint job and/or aftermarket body mods-is one of the reasons why so many people opt for a new set of rims.

They can set a car apart from the rest of the grocery getters, allowing one to express his/her personality, something American automobile owners spend an enormous amount of cash on.

When choosing a certain look or style, keep in mind that shape, size and design should complement your vehicle's exterior, and not draw attention away from its lines. With regard to wheel design and construction, one should also consider ease of maintenance. Wheels made from billet aluminum or those that are chrome-plated may need frequent polishing to keep them looking their best, whereas a painted or clearcoated rim just needs washing and an occasional waxing.

Ride quality plays an integral part in wheel choice as well. The level of comfort may drop slightly when using larger diameter rims, as they usually require a lower profile (shorter sidewall height) tire. At the same time, some racing-oriented rims, as well as those wheels that use a low-profile tire, may not take kindly to street abuse, i.e., curbs and potholes. Mistakes in this area can be costly if you're coughing up $300-$500 per wheel.

We won't go into the offsets and back spacings that different automobiles use, as most wheel manufacturers generally have this information for their consumers. But it is important to mention that these measurements should be verified before a wheel purchase, or at the very least before you have tires mounted on them. Otherwise you may be stuck with a wheel that doesn't fit, and a wallet that misses the money you blew on it.

Though the trend seems to lean toward larger wheels and lower profile tires, many people prefer 15- and 16-inch variants for reasons ranging from tire selection and price, to the stance and look of the vehicle once the new rollers are mounted. With the smaller diameter wheels, one must take into consideration the amount of room that the wheel provides for braking systems. Aftermarket kits may require a certain size rim to clear larger calipers and/or rotors. Some companies like Baer Racing offer templates that allow verification of the needed space.

Most importantly, the wheels should make you feel good about the money you spent on them. They should serve your purposes-both aesthetic and performance-and hopefully give your vehicle a different personality, unless you are going for larger stock replacements. Hey, some people like the factory offerings, but if you intend to spend the extra money on an aftermarket wheel, you might as well make the effort to refine your automobile's facade. This way you can gain an edge in performance and look cool at the same time.

Check out these bitchin' wheels. We've pulled them from our GMHTP archives because they represent what we think are some of the hottest trends going. They run the range in price from mild to wild so there's something there for every budget. And one final thought: The wheels make the car more than any other visual item, so if you want to get noticed by our roving cameras, it helps to have some hoops that catch our eye!

Racing Hart Type C5
Source:
Dazz Motorsport
5121Commerce Dr.
Baldwin Park, CA
91706-1451
626/962-0033
www.racinghart.com

0211gmhtp_02_z Dazz_motorsport_intro_weld_racing_wheels Corvette 2/12

Vista
Source:
Intro Wheels
4671 Arrow Hwy.
Montclair, CA 91763
877/424-8991
www.introwheels.com

0211gmhtp_04_z Dazz_motorsport_intro_weld_racing_wheels Camaro_front 3/12

Challenger Star
Source:
Monocoque Racing Wheels
10658 Prospect Rd., Suite C
Santee, CA 92071
619/448-2800;
www.monocoquewheels.com

0211gmhtp_07_z Dazz_motorsport_intro_weld_racing_wheels Chevy_camaro 4/12

FM/5
Source:
Fikse USA
2361 South 200
Seattle, WA 98198
206/248-1820
www.fikse.com

0211gmhtp_09_z Dazz_motorsport_intro_weld_racing_wheels Fm5 5/12

Racing Hart M5
Source:
Dazz Motorsport
5121 Commerce Dr.
Baldwin Park, CA
91706-1451
626/962-0033
www.racinghart.com

0211gmhtp_12_z Dazz_motorsport_intro_weld_racing_wheels Red_5_spoke_wheel 6/12

Camaro SS
Source:
SLP Engineering
1501 Industrial Way North
Toms River, NJ 08755
732/349-2109
www.slponline.com

0211gmhtp_13_z Dazz_motorsport_intro_weld_racing_wheels Blue_camaro 7/12

Pro Star
Source:
Weld Racing
888/753-4297
www.weldracing.com


0211gmhtp_16_z Dazz_motorsport_intro_weld_racing_wheels White_camaro 8/12

Torque Thrust II
Source:
American Racing
1275 Davis Rd., Suite 300
Elgin, IL 60123
www.americanracing.com

0211gmhtp_19_z Dazz_motorsport_intro_weld_racing_wheels Purple_camaro_front 9/12

ROH ZS
Source:
Group A Inc.251 E.
Chilton Dr.
Chandler, AZ 85225
480/813-4776
www.groupawheels.com

0211gmhtp_20_z Dazz_motorsport_intro_weld_racing_wheels Roh_zs 10/12

Motorsport R
Sources:
Performance Wheel Outlet
195 E. Redlands Blvd.
San Bernadino, CA 92408
909/825-5242
www.performancewheeloutlet.com

0211gmhtp_24_z Dazz_motorsport_intro_weld_racing_wheels Performance_wheel 11/12

MBA Products (custom center caps)
860/409-7806
www.mbaproducts.com

Telstar
Source:
Centerline Wheels
13521 Freeway Dr.
Santa Fe Springs, CA
90670-5621
800/345-8671
www.centerlinewheels.com

0211gmhtp_25_z Dazz_motorsport_intro_weld_racing_wheels Centerline_wheels 12/12

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The wheel has come a long way since it first rolled onto the scene.
Nov 1, 2002

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