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Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Steel Beadlock Competition Wheels

By Shawn Pagan

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High Impact Has Allied Rock-A-Thons!

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While I do not intend to run these tires on the road, I have found that many events - even those considered extremely hard core, require some road travel and I wanted to make sure that I had done a decent job in getting these mounted properly.

Duane at The Shop Off-Road Specialist in League City, Texas did a great job balancing my tires, and I will admit they had to take two of them back off in order to get them properly centered. This adds emphasis to following the above steps exactly if you want your tires mounted correctly on your beadlocks.

I was anxious to get out and play, so we took a group out to a local wheeling spot to see what we could do. The area we chose to play in is mostly red iron ore covering hard jagged rock. This would be a great place to test rims designed for rockcrawling. We might even find a few more challenges as well.

Without beadlocks I usually run my TSL Radials at around 11 or 12 lbs. of pressure when on the trail. At 11 lbs. the tire only begins to flex against the rocks on this steep hill climb but doesn't grab enough to pull me up.

Once I lowered the pressure down to around 7 lbs. the tire conformed much better to the surface of the hill and seemed to grab a hold and walk me right up.

If you notice in the photos, one of my buddies (the picture of the chrome rim without beadlocks) has the same problem on the hill. His BFGs are running at 10 lbs. of pressure and they simply don't grab as well as if he were running at the lower air pressure.  Though not a completely scientific test, as the tires and the Jeep were different, it was still evident that running a lower air pressure made a difference - at least on this obstacle.

We spent the rest of the day hammering the tires against as many rocks as we could find. In the process, we found that the lower air pressure is also helpful in wooded areas where you are running over downed logs and stumps, as the tires were able to conform better to them. The lower air pressure also seemed to help in areas where the rock was covered with soupy mud, as well.  

After running these beadlocks I can now answer some of the questions that were raised, and maybe I can even disperse a few myths.

Here are the positive, intrinsic things I have found. I have more confidence running lower pressures. I am not worried about a bead coming off at a bad time (like while climbing a jagged vertical wall). I also wouldn't be worried in that same situation if I did lose air pressure because I'm not worried about the tire coming completely off the rim.

A few of the things that I heard as the downside of running beadlocks I have not experienced with these rims.

  1. I have heard of problems getting to valve stems because they are too close to the beadlock and of having it ripped off when getting caught between rocks and the beadlock ring. The valve stems are up and out of the way, so airing up and down is as easy as any other rim. 

  2. The tires centered fairly easily on the rims and installation was pretty simple. It took me a weekend to do all five tires but I only worked on them for a little while each day. 

  3. The rims and tires balanced out and run at street speeds with no problems (although I would not recommend running non-DOT Approved rims on your street vehicle).

  4. The way these rims are designed, the beadlock bolts are protected by the rolled rim and some extra material in the shape of the outer edge.  In fact, I found it rather difficult to get even a scratch on the area around the bolt heads.

  5. The beads are held in place with 32 bolts and while that takes some time to put on, I have not experienced any of them coming loose. I have checked the torque after each run and so far nothing has worked loose.

  6. I have had no air leaks with these beadlocks.  I have heard this is a problem with many other beadlocks and purposely checked them everyday for a two week period.

  7. Allied uses threaded inserts that the bolts attach to.  If one of the inserts gets damaged it only requires a little force to push them out and they can be replaced in moments without un-mounting the whole beadlock ring.

  8. I have heard complaints of different manufacturers' beadlocks shearing the retaining bolts.   I have been told that this is because the outer rings don't line up exactly as they should and there is too much pressure on the bolts which causes them to sit at a slight angle to the outer ring.  This isn't a problem with these wheels because the bolt holes on the outer ring line up directly with the mating surface on the wheel.  The bolts go in straight and flush against the ring even before any torque is applied.

  9. My tires (36x12.50x15 TSL Radials) mounted and balanced out without too much work.  It did take someone that knew the proper way to balance truck tires with the proper equipment, but it rides as well now as it did before.

  10. As I have been told before, quality is probably the key factor in getting a beadlock you can live with.  I believe no one can find a fault in the quality of the "Rock-A-Thon" Competition Beadlocks. The quality of the fit and finish is exceptional and they have been working flawlessly.

Of course, some of the negative of beadlocks are true with these wheels as well:

  1. Yes, they do collect mud and other debris between the outer ring and the mating surface.

  2. They are heavy. The welded surface and the outer ring do add unsprung weight to the vehicle.

  3. They are not DOT-Approved, so be sure to check all applicable laws BEFORE running these wheels on the street.  

I don't believe that any of these issues would deter someone from purchasing them for competition purposes or for any other reason that a beadlock is deemed necessary as the Rock-A-Thons have many other advantages.

One other factor that I have found is the security in knowing that even at zero air pressure (like losing air pressure in the middle of a climb), the tire stays on the bead and allows you to clear the obstacle before changing a tire. In the pictures, it would have been very difficult to change a tire without multiple winches and a couple of friends.

(Click on Photos to Enlarge) 

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
You have to admit, they look pretty cool!

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
Ledges like this make you appreciate low air pressure. As you can see, at 11 pounds, the tires do not conform to the rocks very well.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
See how much better it rolls over at 7 pounds.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
The tire envelops the surface much better.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
Without a beadlock, this Jeep's tire has too much air to wrap around the rock.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
With a beadlock, even if you puncture a tire, you can still finish the obstacle and get to flat ground to get aired back up.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
We found every sharp rock we could to test the rims.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
Even completely deflated, the tire stays on!

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
With the tires completely deflated, the tires stayed on the rims, even with heavy side pressure.


Information direct from Allied
Allied Racing Wheels are assembled using state-of-the-art manufacturing technology with 360 degree welds.  They are constantly testing their wheels using in-house cornering and radial fatigue testing machines to guarantee high quality and consistent beadlock wheels.  Their manufacturing facilities have grown to over 320,000 square feet utilizing 57 punch presses, 4 rim lines and 8 precision high wheel assembly lines.  Every painted beadlock wheel is first E-coated and then finished with a high-quality powder coat.  Their in-house engineering department utilizes the latest in CAD/CAM technology providing new and innovative beadlock wheels.  With world-class design and manufacturing technology, Allied is committed to providing the customer with the highest quality beadlock wheels on the market.

Allied currently offers these wheels in 15x8, 15x10 and 15x12 sizes; 5 on 4-1/2, 5 on 5, 6 on 5-1/2 and 8 on 6-1/2 bolt patterns; 3-1/2 is the standard backspacing; either circular or Daytona (D-hole) pattern centers.  The rims are available in Chrome, Black or Mossy Oak Camouflage. The outer ring is black.  They will take custom orders and additional rims sizes will be available soon, including 17" rims, which are due in late April, 2002.

Note: Allied beadlocks are "For Competition Purposes Only" and each wheel has a sticker stating so.

RESOURCES
Allied Racing Wheels
(a division of Allied Wheel Components)
123 Edison Way
Garden Grove, CA 92841
Phone: (800) 52-WHEELS
www.alliedwheel.com
The Shop Off Road
430 Perkins
League City, TX  77573
Phone: (281) 332-7911
www.offroadshop.com

 

Shawn Pagan

Shawn Pagan is a staff writer for ROCKCRAWLER.com as well as Our Land Use Editor. Shawn resides north of Houston, TX.

Contact Shawn at thepagan@rockcrawler.com

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