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What Makes a Wheel Real?

Fitment Industries Author | | April 18th, 2018 |

  • - Hey guys, what's going on? It's Alex from Fitment Industries and today we are going to be talking about something that's a little bit controversial. Now, there are a few things in the car community that people tend to get a little bit feisty about. rota in general So, today we decided to talk about it because there's really nothing else to do cause Wisconsin just got 18 inches of snow. So, before we dive into this the first thing that we want to talk about and cover are the definitions because a lot of people confuse almost every single definitions in terms of fake, rep, real, and everything in between. So first and foremost would probably be just fake wheels and what we kind of define fake wheels is that it's an exact copy of another wheel, there's no margin for error, there's no adjustments to the design, there's no adjustments to the lip or anything like that. It is a straight on copy that is attempting to be another wheel. So, second up we have the rep wheel. Now, replica, I know sounds bad, but just hear me out because it is kind of a step up from being just an overall fake wheel.

    In our eyes, a replica wheel would be something that is taking inspiration or design cues from an original wheel and then twisting it into their own way to actually re-publicize it, repost it, re-promote it, and then sell it as their own wheel. Now, this is where that whole line in the sand can get a little hazy because there are a lot of wheels out there that borderline between being a replica wheel and being just an all around fake wheel and it can be tough to decipher. Now, I just want to say that I don't like it when people make an entire company a rep company. So, a lot of times there's a lot of companies that have been founded off of taking inspiration from another wheel. There's not a lot of wheel companies, if any, out there that started making wheels with their own original designs, almost every single one started as a copy of a previous wheel that's come out in the past.

    For instance, one example would be Rotiform. Rotiform has taken inspiration from their original Lamborghini wheel to actually found the Rotiform company and brand. Now, Rotiform is not a rep company because that's blanketing every single wheel that they produce out there to date and the line really doesn't get drawn there. There's a lot of international companies that also take designs from other manufacturers, put their twist on it and then sell it to another domestic or international market. ENKEI is a brand that's done that in the past. There have been other brands out there that have done it just to test to see if the design would do well in the market segment and if it does they'll actually put a further twist on the wheel and then resell it and rebrand it for that specific market, and finally we have the real wheels. These are the static three piece, multi-piece, stance guys that are talking a whole bunch of smack on the internet every single time they see a ROTA Grid get posted or something of that. Now when we talk about real wheels, we're talking about companies like Work, RAYS, Volk, Avant Garde, companies like that that have their own original designs, their own original quality control, their all original reliability and testing, and rigidity testing, and manufacturing plant, and they have history, they have heritage behind the brand.

    So there's a difference between what we've talked about in the past and what we've talked about now because the real wheels kind of have their own history, they're kind of the like the cool kids on the block, they're the seniors in high school, they're the ones that you want to go to when it comes to going to a fraternity party.
    (record scratch) I can't believe I just called it a fraternity party, it'd be called a frat party, but you can tell how many I went to, and real wheels are just what they say they are, they're original, a lot of their designs weren't copied or mimicked from anybody because they were there when the thing first began, they're the aftermarket original company. But, that's not always the case, there are original wheel companies that have taken designs in the past, but for the most part, they mostly stick to themselves.

    A lot of their wheel brand is pretty much similar in what they make, create, maintain, and test, because it's just what they know and they know that it works. So what makes a wheel real? Three things, in our eyes. I would say, the design aesthetic, the actually integrity of the wheel, and the company's reputation. So the first one would be design. Now, there's only so many ways that you can make a single five spoke or double five spoke wheel. I'm sorry, it's just the way that it is and it'll continue to be that way forever. But, how can you make it different where you're adding step lifts, or concavity, or different material, or colors, or sizing to make it unique to what you're trying to sell as a wheel company. So, there are companies out there that already do that. Rota is one of those companies where they take a look at a design and they try to change it at least 20 percent before redistributing it and reselling it and we can see how well that's going for them. I would say 50 percent of the wheel needs to be different, overall design aesthetic, whether that's with step lifts, designs, rigidity testing, things like that, colors, twists, and all that sort of stuff, that's really going to make a wheel original or just different and a lot of wheel companies are trying to get to that point and obviously with simple designs you can only do it so many ways, but, it's something that you just have to fight when you're looking at becoming an original wheel company.

    The second thing is going to be the integrity of the wheel. Now if you don't know, there are certain designs that work very, very well when the wheel is forged, but forging wheels is much different than low pressure cast, or just gravity cast wheels, so when you're looking at a design that's been replicated or copied in a forging matter and it's then put into a low pressure cast or gravity cast, you can actually have a very dangerous side effect of having non-safe wheels because the technique on producing that specific wheel for forging is a lot different than if the material is just gravity cast or low pressure cast. So when we talk about integrity of the wheel we're talking about the reliability, we're talking about the safety, we're talking about how is the wheel made, the strength of the wheel, what sort of testing has the wheel gone through, all sorts of reliability and just overall testing because it doesn't matter if you have an expensive wheel if the wheel in fact is garbage. But, if you have a wheel that you can look at, that looks different more than 50 percent, that has integrity, that's gonna really hold on to what you're suppose to do and it's not gonna break, it's not gonna bend, it's not gonna do anything bad while you're just going up and down the road, then, we're almost there. But, the last one that probably matters the most to a lot of people, is the company's reputation. So, you might be wondering why is the company's reputation important in terms of making a wheel real. Well, it's the same reason that when XXR came out with their own single fully-forged wheel, nobody trusted it.

    It's the same reason that ESR can sometimes have troubles with launching their new rotary forged line, because it's ESR. The company reputation is huge in this game, especially when it comes down to who they're selling to. A lot people that are selling and buying after market wheels are the younger crowd. The brand loyalty is severe. If a company's reputation is that of quality, is that of standards, is that of having good quality control, and listening to it's customer base, and has great customer service, and has great response rate. Those are good things for a company because it shows that they care about who they're selling to. If a company doesn't have any of that or a company just is really, really bad at it, it really doesn't matter if the wheel itself is good or if the integrity of the wheel is good as well, because you're not gonna get the wheel in the first place.

    We've seen companies like Art in Motion and WCI sometimes have troubles with those sort of wheel problems just because of the service aspect of the entire community. So, why does that matter? Well, because if you don't have the first two you're probably not gonna get the third, if you don't have the second two, you're probably not gonna get the first. It's just how it works, but there's a lot of other fake wheels out there that exist solely just to look like the original wheel, but instead of it being a rep like most people would say, fake wheels are exactly trying to replicate or copy the original wheel manufacturer's design with the center cap and all. But, that's our case on what makes a wheel real. Let us know what you think in the comments if you agree or disagree. It's probably already on fire down there, but I'm Alex from Fitment Industries. Let us know what you would like to see next, but we'll see you later, peace.