Just because a concept is rooted in simplicity and tradition doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. Whether chiseled out of stone, cast out of bronze, cut out of wood, or forged out of steel, wheels are as necessary today as they were 5,000 years ago (but still no flying cars in 2014, argh).
And to the off-roading crowd, nothing trumps durability. Flying over whoops, crawling or rocks, or simply speeding through a sandy wash is incredibly harsh on a number of systems, from suspension and chassis to driveline and brakes, but the wheels are one of the first components to take damage from a nasty patch of terrain.
Weld Racing has been in the business of making wheels for almost half a century–its 50th anniversary coming up in 2017–and off-road wheels have been a part of its operation since the early ’90s, starting with the Super Single line. As a forged aluminum, two-piece design, the wheels made waves in the truck market and spurred the company to push the envelope in off-road-centric engineering.
Fast forward to 2014: four-wheeling customers were blown away once again when Weld debuted the REKON line, showing off some incredible innovations not just in style, but in design as well. Nick Rickels, Truck & REKON Product Manager, was on hand to explain some of the finer details about the flashy yet functional wheels.
“The REKON line is one of our most advanced and painstaking products yet,” said Rickels. “It starts with forged alloy, which gets spun and heat treated in-house. We use our own CNC machines to mill and carve the wheel to its desired shape and look, and then have it’s anodized.”
The anodizing process increases the oxide layer found on the outside of aluminum-based alloys, which acts as a natural barrier against particulates and contaminants that would otherwise be able to damage the metal. “We infuse the layer with our signature black dye, which is actually a lot tougher than a powder coat finish,” explained Rickels.
Following that step, the REKON wheel is given a thorough cleaning to prepare it for the next phase, which is the ATC coating. “The Advanced Tactical Coating is a nano-ceramic clearcoat that sprays onto the anodized layer and adheres with the aluminum,” said Rickels. “It’s extremely slick to prevent dirt and brake dust from clinging to the wheel, and a big part behind how we were able to make these wheels into ‘four-season’ ones that can drive all year long and have zero problems.”
Testing is done through an on-site laboratory, and includes radial, drop, and rotary examinations. “Where some companies will out-source their products to third parties, it helps with quality control that we can do it here, by ourselves, and see how well our products hold up,” stated Rickels.
We installed a set of the popular B57Bs on our beloved Project Sgt. Rocker before heading out on the Easter Jeep Safari, and we’re proud to say that these wheels do not quit. The functional beadlock was a much-appreciated feature while out on the trail, especially on some of the rocky inclines and declines we had to negotiate.
The easy cleaning nature of the wheels was also top-notch, just as expected. The ATC coating did the job of keeping the REKONs dirt-free for much of the trip, and still looked brand new when we got home and hit it with some soap and water: proof positive that Weld can and did deliver on the features of its product.
To find out more about these and other wheels, visit Weld Racing on the web or contact them by phone with the number provided below. You can also Like them on Facebook, where you’ll find tons of new pictures, promotions, announcements, and more.