As you get more involved in off roading, you notice lots of special equipment and parts you’ve never seen before. One of those things are beadlock wheels or beadlocks.
Combat Wheels were the first beadlocks ever produced. Dodge military trucks used them. Fast and easy tire replacement was essential during battle. Combat wheels weren’t standard beadlocks as we know them today but the principle was the same. Marsh Racing from Arkansas was the first company to produce aftermarket off road beadlocks.
For starters, it is important to know what todays beadlocks are. A beadlock is an outer ring mounted onto the wheel. The tire sits right in between the ring (beadlock) and the outer surface of the wheel.
OK. To make it a bit more clear. Usually, the tire bead sits inside the wheel. And that’s not an issue when the pressure is normal because it pushes the walls of the tire to the bead seat. But for proper off roading, it is useful to drop the tire pressure to increase traction. This is where beadlocks come in handy. Due to the deflation, the tire could slip of the wheel. As the name says, the beadlock holds/locks the tire bead.
Some people use beadlocks on both inner and outer side of the wheel. But inner side is rarely under such a stress.
There are some fake beadlocks out there on the market. Yes, it looks cool but I’m not even sure how to mount them, as I am not really into that.
It takes a lot of money to buy real beadlocks. It takes even more knowledge to fabricate them yourself. Do you really need beadlocks? Most of us don’t. Unless your vehicle is under constant off road stress.
Remember, running on extremely low tire pressure is why you need beadlocks. If you drive carefully and don’t plan on doing any hardcore racing – you probably don’t need these expensive pieces of metal. Although, in addition to completely fake show-off beadlocks, there are metal rings that resemble a beadlock. Those could be of good use if you don’t want to scratch the paint of the wheels you just bought.
Have a look at this video. There’s a lot of videos like this on Youtube.
Now that you’ve read this text, you are maybe thinking of buying a set of beadlocks. But here’s the catch. Actually, a few catches. Balancing beadlock wheels is almost impossible. Beadlocks are expensive. If you can make them yourself, do it. But the thing is, most of us don’t have the knowledge.
If you can’t justify getting beadlock wheels – just don’t. There’s no point. Because sometimes less is more.
TEXT: Emilio Mocibob