When it comes to wheel technology, it’s not often that you see a huge leap forward in the processes used to create them. While there have been incremental increases in the tech over the years, the same methods have been in use now for decades. Sure, carbon fiber wheels are all the rage, and use all of the newest tech, but who can afford a wheel that can be as much as $30,000 a wheel?
Even forged wheels are hard to justify for even the most avid autocrosser or track day enthusiast. That left many to settle for cast wheels—at least until now. Rocket Racing Wheels has developed an all-new processes that jumps wheel technology ahead while keeping costs in check. The technology is referred to, by Rocket, as dual-direction flow forming and is featured on all of its Track & Touring Series wheels. But what does that mean exactly?
For the answer, we turned to David Coker, the owner of Rocket Racing Wheels. He explained that Rocket’s new method of producing wheels is a technology never before seen in the automotive industry.
“We are relentlessly looking for faster, better, and cheaper ways of doing things,” Coker said. “Our dual-direction flow forming process results in a semi-forged wheel that offers the strength of a forged wheel but without the substantial cost.”
You may have already heard of flow forming, as it is a common process used in wheel production. But where Rocket’s technology differs is its ability to flow material bidirectionally instead of just in a single direction, differentiating it from the technology the rest of the industry has been using. Not only does this add strength to the wheel, but it allows Rocket to produce wheels of varying widths, with multiple back spacings, all from one mold.
When all is said and done, the process provides similar weight and metal strength characteristics as a fully forged wheel. And it allows Rocket to produce more sizings, for less money, since they don’t need a separate mold for each individual offering. And though the wheels are still technically partially “cast,” the pressurized flow forming used to create them ensures that the aluminum is densely packed and free of porosity, leading to a much stronger wheel than traditional casting methods would allow.
With the proprietary technology, Rocket is capable of making a wheel ranging in size from 18×7 inches all the way up to 18×12, with up to four separate backspacings (or custom if they so choose), all from a single wheel mold. The cast center can be moved within a wide range of offsets inside a spun forged outer barrel. This is obviously a huge factor when it comes to cost to the company and, according to Coker, Rocket passes the savings on to the consumer.
The wheels have been put through extensive testing as well, passing the SAE J2530 testing for radial, cornering, and impact with flying colors. The wheels themselves have been designed to clear large calipers making them perfect for almost any Pro Touring application. As of this writing, Rocket has over 120 part numbers in stock, offering both the Titanium Machined and Hyper Shot wheels in a myriad of bolt patterns, offsets, and diameters.
So, if you’re looking for the strength of a forged wheel at cast-wheel prices, Rocket Racing wheels has what you’re looking for. And you can rest assured that they were made with the most advanced technology on the market.