In the United States, off-roading became a way of living more than 2 decades ago. It is a classic representation of the love affair between Americans and cars. As more people try &breakfree of their city and suburban driving routines and start participating in amateur off-roading contests and camps to learn the ropes, the demand for aftermarket off-road wheels has never been greater.
Consider this: the market size of the off-road vehicle segment only in the US was well over US$ 12 billion by end-2022!
Studies peg this segment to be worth around US$22 billion globally, meaning that the US leads the off-road vehicles segment by a huge margin.
With the introduction of all-electric cars and pickup trucks, the environmentally conscious consumer now has several choices too. Overall, this is great news for the domestic off-road wheels market.
This trend is expected to continue as the sales volumes of such vehicles are estimated to rise by more than 8% per year.
With so many people joining the off-roading enthusiasts club, here’s a brief buying guide to high-quality off-road wheels.
How do I choose the best off-road wheels?
These are the 5 most crucial points to keep in mind.
- Opt only for branded models: You must have seen hundreds of models at your local retailers’ that are unbranded and carry very attractive price tags. But unbranded rims are dangerous; they do not undergo rigorous quality testing processes, are usually made of spurious materials, and might even break apart on challenging terrains.
Only branded off-road wheels should be on your radar!
- Go for aluminum alloys over steel: All off-road rims were once made using stainlesssteel, and some still are. Steel wheels are tougher than any alloys- regardless of how good the latter is. However, modern aluminum alloys (industry standards like 6061-T6 and A356 besides even more superior 6061-T9& experimental jet-age 7075/2024-T6) offer almost identical strength and resilience.
Alloy off-road wheels can be lifesavers on any surface and are easier to manufacture. But if you are looking to go old-school and don’t care much about the fashion angle, steel rims are for you.
Just ensure they are hub-centric; else, it will be tough to mount them!
- Smaller wheels are better: On snowed-out & sleety roads or on dangerously hot surfaces, it is the tire that assumes the utmost importance. You can easily go for smaller wheels, starting off at a mere 15-inches, while purchasing high-tech tires.
Most experts agree that off-road wheels between 15 and 17-inches are the best. These provide you with enough space to fit tires with enormous sidewalls and sipes for preventing aquaplaning.
- True Beadlock wheels rule: There’s nothing better than a branded Beadlock wheel since it can maintain its composure and prevent accidental de-beading if the tire pressure (in PSI) goes down drastically. Most of the best brands have such models available.
It’s best to steer clear of simulated Beadlock wheels.
- Try buying wheels in person: While we do understand the many advantages of purchasing such rims online, it is a good idea to actually visit your preferred retail outlet and check out the set you plan to buy.
Online product descriptions can often be misleading.
The 3 bestselling off-road wheels (as of February 2023)
Try out any of the models mentioned here to start off on a high note!
- Fuel Wheels D508 Octane: Developed by Fuel Wheels, the D508 Octane is one of the best models money can buy. While it looks somewhat similar to the Fuel Contra (both have a chrome finish and have muscular spokes), the Octane is a lot more versatile. The 20-inch Octane looks as awesome on a heavily modified & lifted GMC Grand Sierra or a Chevy Silverado as it does on a Porsche Cayenne or a Hyundai Palisade.
This is one of the top off-road wheels in terms of units sold. If you are new to the off-roading way of life, go on and tee off with the 20-inch Fuel Octane in chrome.
- XD Wheels XD811 Rockstar 2: XD Wheels is another giant brand in this niche and has numerous fans spread across the United States. XD is a pathbreaker in terms of design philosophies and engineering wizardry. The XD811 Rockstar was so popular that this model, the XD Rockstar 2, was launched to provide more buying options to the brand’s loyal clients.
Try out the 18-inch XD811 in a black satin finish. This 5-spoked rim might seem unimpressive at a glance; but when outfitted with off-road-worthy tires, its muscular nature comes through as does the fine machining on the central façade.
This is one of the few off-road wheels that can be customized to an extent. You can ask for modifications to the color scheme and bore spacing.
The XD811 Rockstar 2 is often seen on Jeeps, Humvees, and lifted trucks.
- Hostile Wheels H116 Jigsaw: This is the most expensive of these 3 models, but with good reason. The 20-inch chrome-covered H116 Jigsaw has the highest load and speed ratings of these models. It comes with several advanced features, some of which are patented.
This is a true-directional rim capable of withstanding immense damage on the trail. The H116 Jigsaw is the flagship of the cast rims segment of Hostile Wheels. Perfect for heavy-duty pickup trucks and full-sized SUVs.
Another reason why it’s more expensive is the high quality of the chrome. The rim is easy to clean & maintain.
Trust only reputable and recognized retail outlets when you’re purchasing off-road wheels; the market is filled with counterfeit rims. We suggest you pay a visit to an agency we trust- AudioCity USA in Santa Fe Springs, CA!