UTV Beadlock wheels
Looking at new wheels for you UTV or ATV? Let's dig into what the differences are between a beadlock UTV wheel, and a non-beadlock UTV wheel. Choosing the right option(s) for your specific terrain is incredibly important. Selecting the right tire is arguably the number one most important decision, your wheel choice come in a close second.
Anatomy of a beadlock wheel
- A: Wheel face (Inner Beadlock). This part of the wheel looks very different than a traditional one-piece or non-beadlock wheel. A true beadlock wheel does not have a lip to help seat the tire bead because the beadlock ring (B) smashes the tire bead between the wheel face (A) and the beadlock ring (B), creating an air-tight lock and preventing any worry about the tire ever popping off the bead or coming off the wheel.
- B: Beadlock Ring (Outer Beadlock). This is typically made of a high strength material such a billet aluminum which is why if you want to replace one down the road it will be surprisingly expensive (most times close to the price of the wheel itself). We plan to do a post specifically on types of material used in the UTV wheel world but for now check out this great post from the guys over at SuperATV for a quick introduction: Billet Aluminum
- C: Hardware. All beadlock wheel should come with hardened bolts and assembly hardware to professionally assemble your wheels. The bolts must have no less than five full thread engagements to ensure a secure, proper assembly. Some bolts may have a zinc or magnesium coating on them to give a unique visual quality like a bronze or rainbow coloring. Before assembling your beadlock wheels, hold a bolt to the side of the mounting face of the wheel and gauge the length of your bolts to ensure they are the correct length. NEVER install beadlock bolts with a hammer or impact drill. ALWAYS hand tighten and finish the bolts to correct manufacturer's spec using a quality torque wrench.
Great.... so we know how it works, now why do I need it?
- You can air down. Like, way down, allowing you significant traction boost because your tire now conforms to any obstacle, increasing surface area and boosting your vehicle's ability to crawl over anything.
- Billet ring is stronger than traditional aluminum which means you can punish them in areas you wouldn't dare take a one-piece.
- They look awesome.
- Because beadlock wheels are bomb-proof, there is more engineering, hardware and parts. Unfortunately, all of that adds up to more weight for your machine. We're talking a few pounds, however add a few pounds across all your vehicle's accessories and it can add up over time. Check out our post to learn why lightweight matters. Pick parts you're willing to sacrifice a little extra weight on as long as you can identify a performance improvement. Beadlock wheels are a no brainer, if you think you need them, get them.
- Because there are several parts to a beadlock wheel, your price is going to go up also. Expect to pay much more for a beadlock wheel compared to a one-piece aluminum wheel. You're not just paying for marketing, however, your new beadlock wheels have built in qualities that more than justify the steep prices.
Do I need beadlock wheels?
We recommend asking a few questions to yourself before you purchase beadlock wheels (well, really ANY aftermarket UTV accessory). It's important to make a decision based on needs instead of wants otherwise you'll sink too much money into your machine that you could've otherwise used for routine maintenance and inevitable damage/parts repair/replacement.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Where will I be driving my UTV/ATV? Do I NEED any of the beadlock wheel attributes?
- Do I plan to periodically/permanently air down your tires to tackle rough terrain?
- Do I have an onboard air compressor? If you air down to crawl, you're going to need to air back up to manufacturer's specs to send it at 65MPH other wise you'll experience a potential catastrophic blow out.
- Do I know how to reseat a tire bead on trail?
- Do I enjoy wrenching on my machine? Beadlock wheels require routine maintenance to ensure all bolts are correctly torqued.
- Have I discussed this purchase with my partner (haha, just kidding...kinda).