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Bead-lock Wheels

Steel Vs Alum: Either can (if engineered properly) work well.

Cast vs forged: Today's casting techniques puts casting on par with forging and especially so in wheels.

Cast vs welded beadlock ring: see above

Locking ring, recessed vs protruding bolt heads: One school of thought says the protruding bolts will only aid in getting over rocks etc. Another school of thought says it only creates friction and stops you from getting over, plus you need to change them regularly and they may get bunged up so bad they are difficult to remove. NOTE: I replace my bolts at every tire change. I use grade 8 gold-zinc plated.

Thick or thin locking ring: Thick is generally found on regular wheels that have been converted to BLs. Gives the wheel added strength and resistance to rock and trail abuse. Thin is generally found on wheels that are engineered as BLs from the start. The thin allows better lock ring conformation as it will "wrap" to the tire and wheel interface much better.

There are several brands of BLs that have established themselves as top quality. Allied, Marsh Racing and a few others that you will also find in the winners circle.

One wheel that was designed strength AND to hold the tire to the wheel is Walker Evans. WE builds and campaigns Baja racing trucks (among other things) and he wins and wins often. Baja racing along with a few other types of racing venues are mostly won by the rig that lasts the race. WE designed and built his own wheels. The beating wheels take on returning to the ground after a 40 foot jump at speeds of 100 mph is hard and very hard on wheels.

WE crossed those over to the Jeep and rock crawling world and has become a top seller because of strength and quality. It is a cast wheel, thin lock ring with protruding bolts. I run them and have for the entire time they have been on the market.

That said, let me clear the air now, before it comes up later: The WE wheels are now made in China and have been for some time. I personally spoke with Walker and he told me: Yes they are and they are made in a state of the art factory to our exacting specifications. The materials are top quality and the same as the original WE wheels were made of. I expect them to preform as well and they have.

I agree that China has a bad rep for producing junk. But as a computer engineer I can tell you that "trash in = trash out". I place the blame squarely upon the shoulders of companies trying to make a fast buck by lowering standards, altering specs and accepting less than quality products...WE will not!

Drawbacks: BLs take some caring for. They need to be kept clean, bolts need to be changed at least on every tire change and the need to be installed using a TORQUE wrench. If you torque them to specs and come back a week or two later after some use) and check your torque you should not have any issues at all. I have never had the bolts come loose and on the re-torque only a very few will turn and "torque-click" again.

The WE BL are heavy, but WE built the wheels to take a BEATING so there is strength in the weight, but remember it takes HP to spin them.

Click here for how to take care of your BL wheels:

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