Originally posted 02-23-2010
1 of the biggest “need” expenses besides a roll bar (as required by the rules) is a good set of wheels. I had a few options I was throwing around:
1. Cheap as F, I could go with boat anchor Diamond Racing wheels. They’d get the job done but sort of go against the very principle of the initial phase of this build: drop as much weight as possible (without spending mad $$), especially unsprung and rotating mass. Not really great looking either (I’m a sucker of function WITH form if I can have it)
2. At the opposite end of the spectrum are SERIOUSLY crazy money, flyweight wheels, Keisers for example. I really didn’t want to go that light, and I wanted a wheel that I wouldn’t have to worry about bending or cracking every time I ran over a pebble. These were definitely out.
3. Panasport ULs. We’re starting to come back down out of the stratosphere here. Still really spendy. They’re light AND strong, and admit it, who doesn’t like how a set of Panasports look on a Miata? I know I do. And I REALLY had to fight with the decision, but in the end they just turned out to be too much money compared to the alternates.
4. Superlite Minis. They’re basically panasport look-a-likes, weigh just a pound or 2 more, but weren’t really offered in an offset I was happy with. They could work, but if I was putting up money (I was), I wanted something that I would buy and would work as I wanted to. I was very close to buying these
5. Real Racing wheels. Ugly as sin, and for the price, pretty heavy. But, they would be custom-made to my exact application.
6. I stumbled over the Spin Werkes section on Racer Parts Wholesale’s website and was fairly certain they were winners. They were less expensive than some of the other realistic options (Panasports, Real Racing), weigh the same or less, look decent (better than the Reals, worse than the Panasports lol), be very strong, and would be made custom to my application. You can ask anyone I’ve been discussing this with, I flip-flopped a LOT with the decision, but I couldn’t justify spending more money and getting less wheel for my dollar.
Last week these shiny little things showed up:
Spin Werkes series 82s, 8.4lb each (about 1lb lighter than advertised!) in 13×7, 4″ backspace. Hubcentric for the miata, with the Mazda-fitment 60* tapered lug seats with Mazda-fitment 12mm bolt-holes, in 4×100. When I say custom, I mean they can make them pretty much however you want them
So, after a couple months (without budget) of deliberation, when the budget was there, that’s 1 major building block sorted
For those wondering why a 7″ wheel would poke out so far on a miata: we’ll eventually be running 9.5″ wide cantilever bias-ply slicks (they’ll look more or less like this), so you need that room on the inside to prevent any interference with the suspension.
And to head off the “why only run 7″ wheels!?”: it’s a wheel width limited class. You’re allowed to run up to a 7″ wheel without penalty. Anything between 7 and 10″ incurs a 75lb weight penalty. Since I’m going to be pretty under-powered, I’m going for class-minimum weight if at all possible.
The next, and biggest phase, will be weight reduction, but it’s late and so I’ll pick that up tomorrow