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Is Wheel Weight Important?

Fitment Industries Author | | June 18th, 2018 |

  • - Hello YouTube, today we're here to talk to you about if wheel weight is important, and I am your host. That sounded really creepy, but I actually am Alex from Fitment Industries and for the low, low cost of subscribing, we're going to learnt you some things. So I don't know if you guys know or not, but we see it a lot here on the wheel side of things, that if you're going to buy wheels and tires or you're talking about wheels and tires online, there's a lot of people that argue about wheel weight and how important or not important it actually is. If you're one of those guys that build your car for a car show, you may not really care about wheel weight or you might be talking smack towards the autocross people that care way too much about half a pound shaved off their wheel. Then you have the autocross people that are obviously talking smack about the car show people, because they do care about the pound savings that they could get if they went with a Hypergram versus just a normal Cosmis wheel. And then you also have the HPD people that are like, "Wow, you go around a parking lot with traffic cones, "that really doesn't do a whole lot. "We need to make sure that we're saving as much weight "as possible, which could be a quarter pound."

    And it's just a big controversial subject. And so we decided to talk a little bit about it, because there's a lot of myths and things that we think are a little bit twisted for the convenience of whoever's arguing with you about wheel weight. So let's talk about it. So the first and most common misconception about wheel weight is that you have sprung weight versus unsprung weight. And for everybody out there, we're gonna keep this super, super simple. So sprung weight is obviously weight that is, well, sprung. Sprung weight is just the weight that is held up by the suspension. A lot of times what people will say is, "Any weight that's above the suspension components "is your sprung weight." So anything from your chassis to your motor to your interior to your subs to anything that's above your suspension is going to be your sprung weight, while anything below that, or your suspension components themselves, are your unsprung weight. That would be your wheels, your tires, your break rotors, your break pads, everything in between. Now, what you see a lot of times on the internet is people trying to make ratios for unsprung to sprung weight and how much weight it can save you if you are shaving a pound off of your wheels, that it equals around 15 pounds of weight shaved if it's above your suspension component. And that is probably the biggest myth. And the big answer to that question is (dial tone) No, it's not true.


    Sprung weight versus unsprung weight is obviously important, because your sprung weight is what's gonna keep traction on the ground. A lot of times if you loosen up a lot of your sprung weight and you don't have the correct characteristics to match it with your unsprung weight, you're gonna have issues with traction, turning, and all that sort of fun stuff. So there is a ratio in terms of making sure that you're maintaining the correct traction path, but that is super fancy stuff and you really wanna know about it, let us know in the comments, but we won't talk about it right here. What you do need to know is that sprung weight ideally is something that you wanna minimize because a lot of times if you have less weight, you're gonna have more vehicle responsiveness. Now this is where it kind of dives into probably the most important part of this whole thing, which isn't sprung weight versus unsprung weight, it's rotational mass. So rotational mass is exactly what it sounds like. And if you were a highschooler, you probably remember science class when we talked about rotational mass and that is essentially just mass that is rotating and how it actually is more of an effort than it is if it's just standard weight, or static weight as we like to call it. So if you were to take a pound weight and attach it to a 12 inch string, it'd probably be a little bit harder to keep in tune than it would be just holding a one pound weight. The easiest, simplest way we can explain rotational mass, I know there's somebody in the comments that's gonna call us out on it, just hear us out. Rotational weight is probably the most important thing when it comes to wheel weight, because with wheel weights, you are essentially spinning the wheels. So the heavier the wheel, the more rotational mass you essentially have, and ultimately that can be more difficult on your vehicle. Now if you have a 32 pound wheel, everything's gonna be tough on your vehicle in terms of braking, stopping, going, any sort of power steering fluid, you can kiss that goodbye, because it's just gonna be a huge pain in the butt. On top of that, if you've ever ran diamond Steelies, that are 32 pound, 15 by 10s, without power steering, you know how terrible and difficult it can be to actually turn wheels that are heavy. You may ask me how I know. I know because I did it; terrible idea. Rotational mass is important to take into effect if you really are trying to shave a little bit of weight off your wheels. But it doesn't have a huge ratio attached to it. You see, rotational weight is what's gonna affect your car from being able to slow down, go, or turn, because of your corner responsiveness, especially connected to your steering. So really, is it important?

    Absolutely. And rotational mass is what you should really be looking at, versus the sprung weight and unsprung weight and that whole ratio, because the whole one pound to 15 pounds or the one pound to three pounds or the four pounds, the 20 pounds, it's just not true. And there are ratios for rotational mass in terms of deeming how much you can save on the overall scheme of things, but it's gonna be pretty minimalistic. What you do need to know is that if you are looking to shave weight for rotational mass, you should shave the weight furthest away from the hub bore. So you should go with rotary forced wheels because the wheel is actually farther away from the hub bore. The more weight that's spinning around that center is ultimately gonna have more of an effect than if the wheel weight was closer to the center, like your center cast. So is wheel weight important? And that's a really big thing that a lot of people ask. And the answer to that question is obviously yes. But is it as important as what a lot of people make it out to believe? And the answer to that is no. Rotational mass is important, yes; wheel weight is also important. But if you're looking to shave a pound or a pound and a half off your wheels and it's the difference between spending $1,200 and $2,400 and you're trying to keep everything in mind, it really isn't that big of a deal. And 99% of people will not see a difference in their overall driving quality if they even shave two to three pounds off of a wheel, and that's per wheel. What you are gonna notice is you might get a little bit more responsiveness and that's a good thing, but unless you're a very avid track autocrosser HPD person, you're really not gonna even notice.

    You're gonna get way more of drive time reduction if you just become a better driver. So that's one of those things where if you're looking to get a set of wheels and the wheel weight is not that different, get what you want. And if you don't really want to worry about weight, you don't have to. But just remember that if you are going above five, six pounds for a wheel, that's when you're gonna start to see a difference. But don't expect any sort of wheel weight ratio or anything like that, because that's even tripped us up in the past before and it just simply isn't true. So I hope you guys enjoyed. This is what we think about wheel weight. Let us know in the comments what you'd like to see us talk about next and of course, if you're looking at wheels, tires, or suspension, check out fitmentindustries.com. We have 30,000 wheels, tires, suspension. We have everything that you could possibly imagine. It's pretty neat. And we have a gallery, so add your car to the gallery if you want to. But I'm Alex from Fitment Industries. We'll see you later, peace. I'm not gonna drop it this time, whoo!