A good pair of off-road wheels are an integral part to consider during any severe touring machine. The quality and size of the rim ensure peace of mind. To attain such peace, having the best item from a reputable brand and respected manufacturer is necessary because no one wants to get stuck in the middle of a trip due to an unusable wheel. Here the question arises: which kind of wheels are better for off-roading and what sizes are suitable for off-roading? What is the best rim size for off-roading, and what are the benefits of different compositions?
The best rim size for off-roading falls typically in the category from 15-20 inches. The larger the diameter, the more impractical they become, and multiple sizes are available. The most common size used for off-roading is 16 and 17 inches which makes the tire’s sidewall absorb the impact and shock.
The diameter of the wheel is recommended to be lesser than half the tire height.
Small Off-Road Rim Diameter and Explanation:
- Tires having bigger sidewalls provide more protection to the rim, and it is only possible due to the size of the rim itself. Wheels having a small diameter allow a bigger sidewall and protect the rim from a hit. Tires with lower profiles have less sidewall, and in this case, the wheel is less protected, and the force of the impact directly damages the wheel.
- Wheel size depends on tire choice and OEM wheel size limitations. For this purpose, 17-inch is considered the most incredible variety for tire choice and can cover all sorts of terrain, including rocks, sand, and mud.
- 18 and 20-inch wheels are probably not the best ideas because, with these choices, a person will feel every bump. But nowadays, there are 18-inch off-road tires available for vehicles having larger OEM wheel sizes that cannot downsize. Consumers often run into some clearance issues whenever they increase the tire’s diameter and lower the offset. For this situation, it is advisable that you also lift the vehicle whenever you increase the size.
- Limit the tire sidewall size too when you increase the diameter of the wheel. This thing is necessary as it might harm the quality of the ride and the ability of the tire to flex over other objects.
Here we will discuss some best off-road wheels having the best rim size:
- KMC KM 708 Bully Off-Road wheels
- Method race 701 Wheels
- Pro Comp Steel Series 51 Wheels
- American Racing Baja Wheels
- Helo HE878 Wheels
KMC KM 708 Bully Off-Road Wheels:
If you are looking for an off-road wheel that can elevate the performance and look of your adventure ride, then the KMC Bully Off-road Wheels is the best option to consider.
The most common option from KMC KM 708 Bully Off-road wheel is the 17-by 18 inch diameter, although other rim sizes are also available. It is advisable to look at the model and make of the vehicle to ensure that you get a proper fit.
Other than this, this product comes with some unique features too including:
- The diameter, weight, width, and offset of the KMC wheel depend on the selected wheel size and come with a 5-lug pattern.
- It is recommended not to go for downsizing as usually the smaller size of the wheel won’t fit over the brake’s calipers.
- This wheel comes with a money-back guarantee.
- Lift-kit is required to clear the larger tire and is necessary if you want to size up from your OE wheel size.
Method Race 701 Wheels:
If you are looking for an undeniable sleek-looking wheel, then this item is worth considering! You can choose these method race 701 wheels from among the color of bronze or matte black. It depends on your personal preference. There are a variety of sizes associated with these wheels, which range from 15-18 inches in diameter, having different widths and offsets.
Other than this, these wheels offer some unique features, including:
- Method Racing 701 is an aluminum wheel with a painted exterior and a corrosion-resistant wheel with immense durability.
- This wheel is equipped with bead-grip technology, which helps in lowering tire pressure during off-roading.
- Method race 701 wheels offer a lifetime structural warranty, but you will need to purchase after-market lugs separately.
Pro Comp Steel Series 51 Wheels:
If you are looking for budget-friendly and robust wheels which can handle the tough-off roading conditions, then Pro Comp Series 51 wheels are the best option to consider! These wheels of Series 51 are available in flat black as well as gloss black finish. They also offer a wide range of diameters, including 15, 16, and 17-inch diameter range.
There are some other specific features too, including:
- Make sure to get the series 51 wheels that will fit your vehicle and choose the best bold pattern, width and offset according to your vehicle.
- This set of wheels has the best load capacity range and has no issues regarding mounting and balancing the wheels.
- You can also add some fanciness to these wheels, but the main requirement is to purchase separate lugs.
American Racing Baja Wheels:
Those looking for the off-roading rims that can perform best in the most intense mud roads and tallest mountains should go for the American Racing Baja Wheels! These sturdy and robust structure wheels are up to the task, and you can choose from different sizes such as 15, 16, and 17-inch diameters having varying widths, bolt patterns, and offsets.
This item offers some other specific features too, including:
- This wheel includes a sleek branded center cap which makes the rig look the best among others.
- This wheel is considered the best option for light-duty SUVs and trucks.
- The American Racing offered polished aluminum and painted black wheels from which you can choose according to your demand.
- American Racing offers a lifetime structural warranty for the painted finish option, but you will need to purchase the lug nuts separately for these too.
Helo HE878 Wheels:
For those who want to turn their heads as they drive by, then Helo HE878 Wheels are the best option to consider due to their style and durability! They also offer a wide range of diameter choices, including the range from 16-20 inches. These all are the top choices if you want large wheels for a lifted off-road machine.
Some other specific features include:
- Helo HE878 Wheels come in the color of gloss black, chrome, and black satin finish. You can choose from this entire range.
- These are aluminum wheels that are incredibly durable and take your vehicle off the beaten path.
- They have a 6-lug configuration and offer a higher load capacity.
- These wheels provide a lifetime structural warranty, but lug nuts are not included in them and need to be purchased separately.
Factors To Consider When Purchasing The Best Off-Road Wheels:
It is essential to know what to look for if you are purchasing off-road tires and vehicles. So, here we will discuss some factors which you can keep in mind while purchasing them.
Always pay attention to the diameter and width of the rim while purchasing if you want to get an appropriate size of the off-road wheels for your truck.
|If you want the best fit for your vehicle, then your preference should be to have a diameter.||The width of the rim determines the tire size on which it can safely run.|
|For a larger diameter rim, you need to lift your truck to accommodate the larger wheel size.||The majority of the manufacturers recommend a rim width range from which you can identify the narrowest to widest rim widths. It helps to safely mount the tire.|
|Avoid purchasing the wheels having a small diameter as they will not fit over your brake calipers.||Check the specifications of the tire to determine the appropriate wheel width as wheel widths are measured in inches.|
Why Size Matters:
We should face the reality that the days of the 15-inch wheel are gone now. 17-inch diameter-based wheels are standard nowadays because trucks and SUVs are working faster and a bit heavier. The sizes of the wheels have grown as the manufacturers have added larger brakes to the equation.
A large diameter wheel indicates less sidewall, and it can be a significant benefit to have a few inches of sidewall cushion. A tire with a small diameter will have more sidewall than a tire having a larger diameter.
When the tire is aired down, the extra rubber cushion is noticed. The quality of the ride improves when the tire pressure is dropped as it creates a secondary suspension. This allows the tire to conform to the terrain quickly.
A giant diameter wheel helps to reduce the sidewall deflection. It also helps to improve handling on and off the road. Always keep the diameter as small as you can and tire in a more significant state if you will hit the road in the less traveled way. You can explore the more extensive wheel options too.
Another thing that holds a great opportunity is the wheel width. It is recommended to keep the tire a few inches greater than the width of your wheel as it helps with bead retention and keeps the sidewall of the tires in an upright position.
Bolt pattern is always the top choice when looking for the best off-road wheels. Your bolt pattern must match the current bolt pattern of your vehicle. Be sure to look at your vehicle’s bolts before purchasing the off-road wheels, as each wheel has a specific number of lug nuts.
The amount of pattern configuration is vast, and for the four-wheel drives, the bolt patterns of 5, 6, and 8 lugs are common. Many wheel manufacturers allow choosing the specific vehicle having the correct bolt pattern.
The wheel’s load rating is the mass the vehicle supports on the corner and is sometimes also referred to as axle loading. You should know the maximum load capacity of your vehicle so that you can get the off-road wheels with the correct load rating.
Usually, steel rims offer a higher load rating as compared to aluminum. But, aluminum is considered more sturdy and handles the weight of the majority of standard trucks and SUVs.
Generally, the mass distribution should be distributed in equal proportions at all four corners of the vehicle. Still, in reality, the mass distribution is split into 60:40 proportion, so rear wheels carry more load than the front wheels. When you put your wheels through a serious 4-by-4 driving, then a high load rating will work.
You must look at the load rating of the wheel while purchasing the wheels for off-road use. Manufacturers always advise that the load rating should not exceed. It is so because the wheel can support failure and can potentially create an accident on the roadway.
The finish of the off-road wheels depends on personal preference. The most common finish includes shiny black, chrome, bronze, silver, and painted matte.
The painted and painted matte finish show more scratches and wear than polished chrome and go for the color which best complements your adventure rig. All the finishes, such as polished, painted, chrome, and powder-coated finishes, have pros and cons. Powder-coated wheels require less maintenance and hold up well over time.
Steel is the least expensive material for a new wheel and goes well instead of haggling on craigslist for a used set of wheels.
It stands between the basic steel and a high-end forged wheel and is commonly sold and made overseas.
Forged wheels are the most expensive option and are at the top of the wheel food chain.
Steel wheels are incredibly strong and more likely to bend and can be repaired on the trail.
They are lighter as compared to steel and show up crack when hit by an obstacle and do not bend like a steel wheel.
The forged design provides incredible strength and is highly used by the diesel truck enthusiasts and motorsports market.
If not properly addressed, steel can peel off the back layers of paint and powder coat and can expose the metal due to frequent off-roading.
There are no environmental issues associated with cast aluminum and no issue of rust too.
Racers opt for forged overcast wheels as they are an excellent route to go for a tow rig.
Mostly, off-road wheels are made up of aluminum as this material is lightweight and durable. Aluminum is heavy-duty enough to withstand the off-roading conditions and is overall non-corrosive. Steel is also a common material for off-road wheels and is a budget-friendly option too. But steel requires a protective coating as it is not corrosion-resistant.
Offset is considered the distance from the wheel’s centerline to the rim’s hub mounting surface. Offset is classified as positive, negative, and zero offset and is typically measured into millimeters.
- Offset is considered harmful when the mounting surface is closer to the inboard side of the wheel.
- Offset is regarded as positive when the mounting is closer to the street side of the wheel.
- Offset is considered as zero when the mounting surface is located at the centerline of the wheel.
Manufacturers often list the offset numbers and backspacing altogether. Measure the wheel’s mounting surface to the outer lip on the backside of the wheel if you want to determine the backspacing number.
The tire will sit well farther outside of the wheel when the backspacing number will be lower.
It has also been seen that most of the wheels have a higher backspacing number. It helps keep the tires tuck neatly inside the wheel wells and helps in reducing the wear on items such as wheel bearings and ball joints.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Are the 20-inch wheels okay for off-roading?
20-inch tires are known to increase discomfort and are not considered the best choice. They provide less comfort when you go over the potholes, speed bumps, gravel roads, and other road hazards.
Are the bigger wheels a better option for off-roading?
Larger wheels can lift the truck higher into the air and increase the ground clearance. Moreover, the increase in wheel size has many benefits, and large tires help the truck handle better dirt and gravel.
What is the size of the off-road wheels?
The wheels typically range from 15-20 inches in the off-road world. The more impractical they become when the diameter is large.
Which rim size is best for the performance?
17-18 inch wheels are considered the best rim size due to their durability and best performance.
Why are the bigger wheels considered a better option?
Bigger wheels and tires are considered better as they increase the vehicle’s traction. Tires having stiffer sidewalls have shorter sidewalls, and it increases the chances of higher blowouts to hit a pothole.
Are steel rims considered good for off-roading?
Steel rims are incredibly strong, and like aluminum wheels, they do not crack; instead, they are more likely to bend. This provides repair on the trail.
Is negative offset considered good for off-roading?
An aggressive strain is given in return in case if the offset is negative. It helps in increasing the steering wheel back while placing additional stress on vehicle suspension.
Do the wheels matter for off-roading?
Yes, wheels matter for off-roading, as the larger the wheel, the better is off-road driving. The weight of the vehicle determines the wheel size and tire.
Which things make the truck good for off-roading?
The trucks having off-road tires, beefed-up suspensions, skid-plate, and unique drivetrain enhancements make them best for off-roading.
Do the off-road tires help in the snow?
Off-road tires are considered all-season tires and do not perform well in winter or ice-packed snow. For deep or loose snow, you should go for off-road type tires having larger tread voids and deeper tread depths.
This is Surya. I am an experienced off-roader. I have been off-roading for many years across several terrains. I am passionate about 4×4 driving and want to share my knowledge and experience with others.
My goal is to provide you with the most comprehensive and unbiased information about off-roading.
I curated this article through my personal experience and expertise, and I hope it helps you with what you are looking for.