The first time we bumped into the folks at Allied Wheel Components was at the 2005 SEMA Off Road show in Indianapolis. To be honest, we figured their “new wares” were nothing more than a makeover of the same old beadlock rim you’d find from just about any off-road wheel manufacturer, which seemed to be the case for every other wheel we saw that day. That was until we spent a few minutes with Greg Muskey from Allied and he schooled us.
Greg explained that the American-made Allied Rock-A-Thon beadlock series of off-road wheels have been reinvented from every conceivable angle. When we took notice of the massive center section of the rim, and many other innovative aspects, our skepticism quickly diminished, and we promptly ordered a set of RockCrusher RT’s for our project Land Cruiser.
What’s so new and different about the Rock-A-Thons?
Knowing that standard aluminum castings were subject to fractures, Allied uses a brand new, state-of-the-art casting process called ‘vacuum casting’, where the molten aluminum is drawn UP through the cast, instead of being forced down into it. This allows the grain of the aluminum to be much tighter, which makes it more consistent and considerably stronger.
But they didn’t stop there. Another common theme they found with the other broken rims was that the center section would snap apart if enough lateral force was exerted. Knowing this, they built the center section of the rim several inches thick (as compared to ½” or so thick center section of many other aluminum rims), which adds considerable strength. Because the center section is built so thick, they can build offsets ranging from 3.5″ to 5″ – good news for us off-roaders who run wheel spacers.
Allied paid special attention to the bead lock ring too. They use their 5-year, off-road racing tested 32-bolt bead lock rings and created a ring that is bent and roll-formed in such a way that gives the outer edge greater strength, and is also designed to protect the bolts. It’s also designed with an aggressive 5 degree angle face, which literally locks the tire to the rim. Other beadlock rims can still allow the rim to twist and move on the wheel, which allows the tire to become off centered and off balanced. Even the high-tensile strength, grade-8 bolts with captive washer are made to Allied’s specifications.
When it comes to the actual bead-lock portion of the rim, Allied surfaced the wheel to better match the tire, and use a replaceable, hardened steel insert with 50% more thread than other manufacturers and each wheel comes with two extra inserts just in case something goes wrong. Other manufacturers either tap the aluminum rim itself or use helicoil inserts.
Now that the outer bead is locked securely to the rim, Allied looked to the inner bead lip too. They beefed it up by making it wider, and tightened up the tolerances. This allows the tire to stay on the rim much more securely than other rims, especially when sidewalling on non-bead lock side.
So, How Well Do They Work?
We had a few chances to wheel our project Land Cruiser at a few off-road parks in Indianapolis. One of these trips was a two-evening off-road adventure which sported extremely steep mud and rock hills that pitched our Cruiser onto it’s side several times. The trails were carved in such a fashion that we couldn’t extract our rig normally, which meant we had to literally drive on the side of the wheels and tires – a feat that would certainly pop the bead off of any wheel.
Later, we headed over to our local 4Wheel Part Performance Center store and borrowed their rock garden for a few hours. To really put these wheels to the test, we took the valve cores out of the tire to run them with absolutely zero air pressure (we don’t advise this obviously) and wheeled the wee out of them. Severe side-walling and a heavy right foot couldn’t pop the outer or inner bead lips off the rim – impressive.