Choosing 1, 2, or 3-Piece Wheels! Pro Touring Wheels De-Mystified
Have you been considering new wheels for your pro-touring ride? We’ve been there, done that, on many occasions! It can be extremely hard to pick. Why are some wheels $120 each, but others are $1800 each? Why would anyone spend that much on wheels?
Let me tell you!
There are 3 main pricing categories: One, two, and three-piece wheels. You guessed it, the more pieces, the more expensive. There are also 1-piece FORGED monoblock wheels which are the 3-piece price point that I’ll get into later.
Doing it on the cheap, 1-piece cast wheels-
One-piece wheels are the norm for most vehicles. Nearly every single OEM has a 1-piece aluminum wheel, and they are cast. Casting is cheap, and aluminum is relatively light weight. In the pro-touring & restomod world, 1 piece wheels are also common. We’ve all seen a torque thrust style or Cragar wheel, those are usually all 1 piece cast. MOST aftermarket cast wheels are made overseas. They come to the US in finished form, painted, drilled, etc. This means there is no adjustability for back spacing / offset. If you have a lowered car with tight clearances, 1-piece wheels may be harder to fit, requiring spacers to prevent from rubbing. Cast wheels are not as strong as forged wheels; that’s just the nature of those manufacturing processes. Since there is no back spacing adjustment, what you see is what you get. Typically they will be in stock as they’re ordered in large container loads at a time. American Racing, US Mags, Foose, and Rocket Racing are just a few examples of nice quality 1-piece wheels. Just remember you are limited on back spacing options! Pricing ranges from $90-$400 in most cases.
Getting better with 2-piece wheels
2-piece wheels are usually constructed with the center (spokes) and a wheel hoop. The cast (or billet) center is placed within the hoop (usually a range of adjustability in back space is available) and welded to the hoop. Other 2-piece wheels may have the outer lip and center as 1 piece and the inner shell as the 2nd. 2-piece wheels have much more flexibility in ordering. Most of them are welded in the USA. A few companies that make 2-piece wheels include American Racing, US Mags, Budnik, Foose, and Billet Specialties. Pricing ranges from $500-$1000 in most cases.
3-piece wheels are Pro Touring Store approved!
3-piece wheels have an outer rim shell (lip), center section, and an inner shell. The wheel center is usually forged, but there are some companies that use T6061 billet aluminum which is not as strong as a forging. Our go-to is Forgeline, but we also deal with Boze, Rushforth, Fikse, US Mags, Budnik, Foose, etc. There is a wide variety of back spacing available for all 3-piece wheels. The #1 advantage of a 3-piece wheel (in our opinion) is the ability to replace the rim shells if they get damaged. We’ve all been there. You accidentally hit a pot hole or scrubbed a curb and now you have wheel damage. Sometimes it can be repaired, but the finish may not match anymore and it may have problems down the road. A 3 piece wheel center generally doesn’t get hurt, so you just replace the inner and/or outer shell as needed. You’ll always be able to get the wheel as long as the manufacturer is around, too. We have had 1 piece wheels go discontinued and if one gets ruined, there is no backup other than a new set.
The strength of a 3-piece wheel is also much greater than any other wheel. Forgeline for instance, does their own strength analysis testing, and has their wheels on some of the fastest race cars in the world. Trust that a 3-piece will not give you any worries!
Back to 1-piece – MONOBLOCK construction
1-piece monoblock wheels are made from a single forging, and completely machined out. There is no inner and outer shell, no bolts. They are the strongest and lightest option available, however there are limited fitments due to their design. These are best suited for late-model vehicles with a lot of positive offset, although depending on your car & track width, you may be able to go this route.
1-piece monoblock forging:
Choose wisely when picking wheels! It may be worth the expense to you to upgrade to a multi-piece.
We at Pro Touring Store are committed to providing you the best service and information when it comes to ordering wheels. It’s a very important part of your build, and we are here for you!