Forged in Fire: Pros and Cons of Forged Wheels
When talking about performance parts, most tuners focus on big modifications: power, handling, and weight reduction. These turn an average tuner build into a force to be reckoned with on the track. But there is one important mod missing from that list: forged wheels for tuners like MRR Forged, HRE, and BBS. Let’s talk about them.
Form over Function
When it comes to buying wheels, show cars have a completely different list of priorities than racecars. The show car builder is not primarily concerned with their car’s performance or durability; rather, they approach purchasing modifications with aesthetics in mind.
In a show car competition, the judge’s decision may come down to the car’s wheels. For this reason, the builder needs to choose this mod very carefully.
MRR Forged F10
Price starts at $2,520 for a set of 4
The F10 is MRR Forged’s own take on the popular directional split five-spoke wheel.
The spokes are spread aggressively, creating a lot of space in between them to show off the brakes. There are also small pockets placed on the area where the spokes split into two. Combining these things makes the wheel sporty and stylish enough for modern builds.
Because of its 18” to 21” size options, this wheel works best with the wide look of the Corvette C8s and similar-looking cars. You easily have your custom set in just a few weeks after ordering.
MRR Forged FG-13
Price starts at $3,440 for a set of 4
The FG-13 is a stunning wheel with a beautiful split 5-spoke design, not unlike the racing wheels found on GT race cars. The big difference between the GT racing wheel and the FG-13 is that you can order this wheel in a variety of colors – really, in any color you want.
That kind of choice is important to a builder looking to make a big statement, or even someone who doesn’t want to go through the hassle of prepping their wheels for a paint job.
The FG-13 is a wheel you should consider if style is your priority.
MRR Forged MS-6
Price starts at $3,450 for a set of 4
If you find yourself leaning towards a more mesh-like design, but want the MRR custom finishes, then the MS-6 might be worth a look. Available in a variety of colors and finishes, the MS-6 can be flashy or modest, depending on how you spec it.
It can either grab all the attention as soon as you turn up, or be a subtle, yet rewarding, detail only keen observers can appreciate.
MRR Forged PO-2
Price Starts at $3,450 for a set of 4
For those who are partial to more retro designs, the PO-2 offers a style that is reminiscent of vintage wheels commonly found on Italian supercars from the olden days.
Like the wheels of the Countach SV, the PO-2 features a symmetric, non-directional design with circular holes (found on the edges of the wheel face). Unlike the wheels of the Countach, the PO-2 doesn’t have a monoblock design; rather, it has a 5-spoke design.
It also comes in significantly more colors than the typical wheels found on vintage cars.
MRR Forged SS-2
Price starts at $3,440 for a set of 4
If the PO-2 is more for retro vehicles, the SS-2 is more for cars from the ’90s and 2000s. A split-spoke design with sharp, almost dagger-like spokes is very reminiscent of the aftermarket scene during those times.
These days, they’re available in more colors than just chrome. That means the SS-2 appeals to a wider range of enthusiasts and can cater to all manner of tastes and aesthetics. This makes them a worthwhile option, as long as you’re not driving something older than, say, 1990.
MRR Forged FG-X
Price starts at $3,440 for a set of 4
Like the MS-6, the FG-X is reminiscent of a mesh-like wheel that was popular in the ’70s and early ’80s. The FG-X has a more modern aesthetic appeal and sits very nicely on exotic lifestyle vehicles, such as the Urus. But because they’re offered in a variety of sizes, offsets, and bolt patterns, they can be fitted to many other modern vehicles as well.
The mesh pattern on the FG-X has a more symmetric pattern than the MS-6’s web-like pattern, which lends itself well to more angular designs.
And because MRR offers wheels in several finishes and coats, owners can play with colors to their heart’s content. And if MRR’s color list isn’t extensive enough for you, there will certainly be custom shops that can help you achieve your desired aesthetic.
BC Forged HCA384
Price starts at $3,700 for a set of 4
The HCA384 from BC Forged redefines the term multilevel design. Starting at the center, a star pattern turns into a web pattern (burgeoning out), bringing with it a two-dimensional appearance of motion.
This unique image allows for some creative color treatment options. Instead of just painting the rims, you could paint the star in the middle to accentuate the spokes or vice versa. Or, you could paint the wheel in contrasting shades to make it look as though the color is being flung out from the middle.
Finally, we arrive at the middle ground between track and show. Here, we’ll turn our attention to wheels that can cruise the streets on Friday and race the track on Sunday. These wheels are made for drivers who drive daily — on the road and the track, and who also display their cars at shows.
These kinds of drivers are rare; but if you do meet one, offer to buy them a drink. They have some crazy stories to tell for sure.
HRE Forged P111SC
Price starts at $10,500 for a set of 4
The P111SC is a stylish wheel that looks at home anywhere, be it the Las Vegas Strip or the Las Vegas Speedway.
It has design elements inspired by the phone dial wheels of the ‘80s Countach. Because of that connection, these wheels are never boring to look at.
On the contrary, they dazzle the eye when rolling down a track at breakneck speed. And once you leave the track, the P111SC is still a stylish wheel that turns heads as you drive home.
HRE Forged RS205M
Price starts at $8,460 for a set of 4
The RS205M has a basic 5-spoke design that is at once elegant and minimalistic. Even though most consumers choose flashier wheel designs, the simplicity of this wheel makes it a unique fashion statement.
With that said, what the RS205M offers consumers is nearly limitless finish options. HRE can paint and polish the RS205M in nearly every color on the spectrum. It also comes in silver, grey, and different shades of black, in case green isn’t your favorite color.
BC Forged RT51
Price starts at $11,600 for a set of 4
The BC Forged RT51 has a clean look that works well on and off the track.
Its spokes are what some would call an homage to another popular 6 spoke design that has defined a generation of JDM enthusiasts, while the multiple color options enable drivers to display this car at shows or on the street.
Brixton Forged PF7
Price starts at $8,050 for a set of 4
The PF7 brings a balance of style and substance to the driver looking to show off on the track daily. Its split 5-spoke design exudes classic elegance while providing the driver with strength and durability that will last for thousands of miles of high-speed racing.
It’s no surprise that the PF7 looks at home on more exotic sports cars, such as the Porsche 911 and the Lamborghini Hurracan, even being available with the central locking nut system similar to the ones used on high-end race cars.
But the wheel is not reserved for exotic cars, of course. It can be fitted to any model the enthusiast has in mind.
Driven to the Limits
BBS is a quintessential manufacturer of performance forged wheels. They are by far the best option on the market today.
Because they’ve been in business for so long, BBS has had ample time to test and perfect their forging techniques. In addition, they’ve been able to reverse-engineer their best wheels on the market to produce modern wheels that retain the classic BBS design.
For example, the LM and LMR suit classic cars, such as the E30 BMWs and vintage Porsches. Recently, these classically styled, high-performance wheels have regained their iconic status among enthusiasts. Their perfect balance of form and function has also made them one of the most desirable wheels today.
The FI-R is a modern design from BBS that suits performance vehicles, such as Audis, BMWs, Porsches, and Subarus; but thanks to its split 5 spoke design, it’s not limited to just those brands. The BBS LM and the BBS LMR are two other outstanding options that will help your car reach its racing potential.
Price starts at $9,060 for a set of 4
The FI-R is a thoroughly modern design from BBS that the car scene adopted quite quickly, thanks to how well it works on different kinds of models. From Imprezas and Golfs, to 911s, Huracans and R8s, the FI-R has a certain je ne sais quoi that just makes it work.
Price starts at $5,350 for a set of 4
Unlike the FI-R, the LM is decidedly retro. Modeled after the BBS wheels that were fitted to race cars in Le Mans in the 70s and 80s, the new LM has wormed its way into the hearts of the street scene, partially on that wave of nostalgia that it rides so well.
When fitted to a modern Porsche 911, it resembles the old Flatnose 911 racers. And fitted to modern Mercedes Benzes, it is a tribute to the history of BBS and AMG.
Price starts at $5,300 for a set of 4
While the LM is a faithful recreation of the original design, the LMR is a tribute to the original. For this reason, the LMR is a more versatile design, fitting a wide variety of cars, most notably the modern BMWs.
The LMR shares features of both the LM and the FI-R. It has a retro-inspired design but still looks decidedly modern.
Switching to Aftermarket Wheels
Sometimes, manufacturers limit the capabilities of the model by fitting less grippy tires and slightly heavier wheels on purpose. These usually provide a decent balance between grip and lessened rolling resistance, for fuel economy.
On the track, though, lessened rolling resistance may lead to a negative outcome: understeer. So the experts usually recommend that the first thing you spend your hard-earned cash on is a great set of tires and a lighter set of alloy wheels.
More often than not, the aftermarket manufacturers do indeed make lighter wheels than the original OE set. This is because heavier weight means more momentum when coasting, which enables the vehicle to get more miles per gallon. This is a good thing when you’re simply using your car for transportation.
But if you’ve decided to turn your car into a track performer, then MPG is now probably the least of your concerns.
Cast vs Forged Wheels
Now that we have gone through some of our choices of forged wheels, let’s find out more about some considerations before pulling the trigger on a set.
Cast wheels give entry-level buyers a great place to start, drivers who decide to go into the more competitive racing series are probably looking for something extra. And they’re probably also willing to spend a little extra to get it.
Unlike the cast wheel, the forged wheel is made out of a single, huge block of metal, often aluminum or an aluminum alloy. This is then heated and machined to form the desired wheel design.
The advantage of the forged wheel over the cast wheel is that the former is significantly stronger than the latter. Because it was crafted from one block of metal, the crystal structure (at the microscopic level) is stronger and more durable than that of a cast wheel. That perfect crystal structure also gives the wheel its ductility.
A forged wheel is also light. Take, for instance, the BBS FI-R. It weighs around 16.5 lbs, which makes it the same weight as a cast wheel; but its superior strength makes it a better wheel for your racer.
Advantages of Forged Wheels on the Track
As mentioned earlier, the advantage of forged wheels is only noticed and appreciated on the track. Their strength and weight make them excellent choices for those willing to push their cars to the ragged edge, enabling them to chase down and pass the car that stands between them and a first-place finish.
Their prominence in racing made them the darling of the street scene as well. Not long after achieving racing stardom, forged wheels found a new home off the track and in car shows.
Speed is Sexy but Expensive
If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then show car enthusiasts really love the look of tuners. It’s common for show car builders to style their cars to look like the fastest racers on the track. Why? Because speed is sexy, and they look so damn good!
As you might expect, forged wheels are much more expensive than ordinary cast wheels. For this reason, buyers must put a lot of thought into buying them.
Before purchasing a set of wheels, the consumer should consider the wheel’s weight, size, and overall design. Is this wheel going to handle high-speed curb hugs or the occasional gravel pit? How often will I need to buy replacements?
In addition, professional drivers need to consider whether the wheel suits their car? Yes, your car performs like a beast on the track, but if you’re rocking steelies, you might as well be racing in the 24-hour long Le Mans, my friend.
You need to be able to perform well on the track. It’s no use having an awesome-looking set of wheels if they don’t give you the edge on the race track.
Striking that balance between form and function is what’s important. With this in mind, let’s turn our attention to several wheels that are pleasing to the eye and fast on the track.
To Buy or Not to Buy Forged Wheels
When it comes to purchasing these luxury items, the intelligent consumer will begin by considering both their budget and their particular needs.
Before purchasing wheels, you should do a cost-benefit analysis. Do you go to the track often enough to justify this expense? If you are not racing regularly, then these wheels may be an unnecessary extravagance. However, if you are racing often, these wheels could give you the edge and make the difference in a race.
Finally, can you live with the possibility that your wheels, no matter how expensive, are bound to get damaged on the track? If a driver makes a mistake, there are areas on the track called speed traps that decrease a car’s momentum safely using gravel or sand. The downside is that they usually do it at the expense of your wheels and suspension.
Are Aftermarket Forged Wheels for You?
Most high-performance cars — such as Porsche, BMW, Audi — come with forged wheels. So, changing them out would be purely an aesthetic decision. But for most tuners, forged wheel options are aftermarket only.
If you are consistently putting down good lap times at the track, and you've accepted that mistakes on the track might cost you a lot of money, then a set of forged wheels might be beneficial for you.
When choosing your ideal set of forged wheels, it’s important to note all the positive and negative features of several wheels. Then, after carefully weighing the pros and cons for each one, choose the one that best suits the design of your car and your specific goals.
You may look at a wheel and say, “I like the specs, but I’m not sure I can live with the design.” You may say of another, “This would be a great wheel for me if it came in another color.” There are a number of questions you need to answer before pulling the trigger.