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Discussion Starter #1
The general consensus is that the lighter the wheel, the better. So why don't rim manufacturers make the lightest wheel possible? Why are some cast rims heavier (Work) than others (Rota)?

However, this isn't always the case. Why? Because if a rim is too light and not durable enough, it can flex. A flexing rim is bad news for stability in hard braking and in corners, as the shifting weight distribution flexes the wheels, which in turn alters suspension geometry. There was an interesting article in Option magazine awhile back (I'd scan it, but it's all in Japanese anyways) where they tested two wheels. One was an Enkei 18x10 GTC-01 weighing 23.75lbs, another was a custom light-weight version of the same wheel weighing only 19.8 lbs.

Thrashing a 350z through the Ebisu track in Japan, they found that the heavier wheel had a 0.4 sec faster lap time than the lighter wheel. They observed that the lighter wheel had better noticeably better acceleration (especially from stop), but that in corners and when braking that the heavier wheel was clearly superior. Granted Enkei likely overdid the lightening to prove a point, but it's an interesting thing to know nonetheless that heavier can actually be faster.

How does it impact your purchasing decision? Probably not much, because it's hard to say how durable a rim is until it's been track tested and compared with other rims. But there's a reason why Work Emotion rims for example are valued for their durability--and it's not simply an issue of bent rims. Granted some light weight rims (Volks) still are very durable, but it puts some anxiety/hesitation when considering buying lightweight rims from no-name brands.
 

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.4 difference in track time and drawing conclusions like better braking with a heavier wheel I doubt I would ever read/buy that magazine again.
 

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sbmon said:
.4 difference in track time and drawing conclusions like better braking with a heavier wheel I doubt I would ever read/buy that magazine again.
From the looks of it, it sounds like when Enkei overlightened the wheel to exagerrate the affect, they actually compromised the wheel's structural integrity to a point beyond what a company dedicated to building the best wheel that balanced weight and strength at that pricepoint.

But yeah, 0.4 seconds difference for a street car on a road coarse will occur between normal laps without any change. This article sounds ridiculous.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
sbmon said:
.4 difference in track time and drawing conclusions like better braking with a heavier wheel I doubt I would ever read/buy that magazine again.
Er, 0.4 secs is a pretty significant difference on the track. Multiply that by dozens of laps and you have a giant advantage. Like I said, Enkei probably overdid it to prove a point, but it's interesting nonetheless.
 

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aki said:
Er, 0.4 secs is a pretty significant difference on the track. Multiply that by dozens of laps and you have a giant advantage. Like I said, Enkei probably overdid it to prove a point, but it's interesting nonetheless.
Did they do like 5+ laps (preferably 10) with the normal wheel and then an equal number of laps with the lightened wheel so that they would get an adequate number of data points to draw a real conclusion? Did they alternate between the sets of wheels after every lap so that they would be testing the wheels themselves, and not just how the car held up to the track duty?

If they didn't, then that number 0.4 seconds falls well within the margin for error.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Mitch said:
Did they do like 5+ laps (preferably 10) with the normal wheel and then an equal number of laps with the lightened wheel so that they would get an adequate number of data points to draw a real conclusion? Did they alternate between the sets of wheels after every lap so that they would be testing the wheels themselves, and not just how the car held up to the track duty?

If they didn't, then that number 0.4 seconds falls well within the margin for error.
I'd have to re-read the article to confirm, but it definitely wasn't a single lap (they'd need to run a couple laps to warm up anyway). I believe they took the best from each. They ran the track enough so you could see how the lighter tires wore out the inside much quicker than the heavier wheels (inside tread was just about gone), so it definitely wasn't a one or two laps.
 
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