Could you take the time to explain the difference between all the different Alum wheels out there. Cast, Forged, Billet, rotary forged and so on. Thanks for your help!!!!
In order of strength, it's Cast, Rotary Forged, and Billet/Forged both being the same. Billet is just a term more commonly used in the american wheel industry, but it's essentially the same as forged .
Cast is your most conventional method of manufacturing wheels and it's how most of the OE wheels are made. The process is comprised of creating a cast of the wheel design and pouring molten aluminum into the cast and letting it cool to take shape. This process is inexpensive and easy to manufacture. While not as strong as the latter options, it's not weak by any means, and fairly inexpensive to replace.
, or also called flow-formed
is in between a cast wheel and a forged wheel in terms of strength. The manufacturing process shares some of the theories from the cast process, but incorporates a "spinning cast" and pressure to reduce the porosity in material at a microscopic level to increase strength without adding weight. Normally these wheels cost a few hundred more than your cast selection. These make great track wheels as they are stronger and aren't going to break the bank if you damage one.
, or Billet wheels are both the strongest and also most expensive option. A forged wheel is made out of a solid aluminum block, also known as a billet, which is where the term comes from. Instead of a cast piece, this is actually machined/CNC'd out of a solid piece of aluminum. Due to the process being a custom setup for each wheel basically, the bulk of the cost comes from the excess of material required, the machining process, and also each individual finishing process. The beauty of Forged is that you have the choice to customize the exact offset, width, barrel type (step/reverse), and finish. The price per wheel can easily be three to four times of a cast wheel.
This below is a 3-Piece forged wheel and it consists of the front lip, rear barrel and face. Along with the hardware, you can practically customize each component in finish, color, and even texture. This example would be a Brushed Grigio Face, Polished Step Lip, Titanium Hardware, and a Red Anodized center cap.
Keep in mind that while each wheel in context may be stronger than the other, all the wheels we offer meet and exceed a certain quality standard and are all road worthy wheels. It all comes down to your budget, needs and availability.
As a reference, cast wheels can range from $800-$2000 for the set. Rotary/Flow formed wheels range from $1500-$2300, while fully forged wheels normally start at $3000 and up easily reaching $6000 or more if, for instance, you opt for 24k plated gold hardware, or other exotic touches.
Everyone has different needs and this is the beauty of this selection. Potholes and curbed wheels happen with any wheel, cast or forged. Some may find it more convenient knowing that they can simply replace a wheel for $350 and be done with it. This is more difficult to swallow on a forged wheel when they run $800 or more a wheel where you may want to just repair it. Then you want to think about the convenience of taking the wheel and tire off, sending it in, waiting, and then re-installing.
Lastly, availability. Cast wheels normally only come in per-determined offsets and bolt patterns. Some cars don't receive as much love as others, so you may be limited to a few or no wheel options in cast wheels. Most rotary/flow formed wheels have custom bolt patterns and offsets. This way you can get designs for your car when there are no cast wheels out that you like, at an offset that accommodates what your suspension and tire choice goals are, as well as your final look. Of course, that's where we come and research to make sure you get what you are looking for.