Wire wheels are much heavier than any other type of wheel. They add to the unsprung mass of the car which will really degrade handling. They are a real pain to clean and look like c**p after a couple of years. The only advantage to them was for old cars to be able to help keep the brakes cool. I agree they look sharp (my 68 XKE has them) but I wouldn't put them on a Maserati.
Hadn't thought about the weight issue. What kind of difference are we talking about? Is it a function of "old" materials? Would it be possible to use new technology to create a wheel comparable in weight to a modern alloy?
Knew they'd be a pain to clean. What do you mean about they look like c**p after a few years - from not being kept clean or do they actually degrade?
Any problems with balance or keeping them true? The bay area just made the top ten of bad roads in the US.
My first set on the XKE were chromed. After a couple of years rust started to form around the little nuts used to tighten the spokes - the solution there was to throw those away and then get stainless. These had a lot less bling but didn't have that problem.
I also used to own a '60 TR3A with wire wheels. Someone in the Triumph club threw out the old agricultural 4-banger and popped in a V8 with about double the HP. He beefed up the suspension and brakes but kept the wires. He then decided to see what it could do. He revved the engine, dropped the clutch and the back of the car dropped 6 inches. He'd spun the wheel centers out of the wheels as they couldn't take the torque.
So do you really want to try them on something with 390 BHP? If so can I be there when you decide to really try and smoke the tires?
Ok on a classic car that's not pushing the limits. On a modern day sports car, it's bad for a lot of reason.
Quality of alloys used aren't available in a wire wheel. The FEM analysis of the design would never make it the ideal design for distributing forces.
Small round spokes are far from ideal for handling lateral forces. You'd be suprised the flex in some of the "higher tech" performance wheels sold today because of inferior alloys or manuf. processes. I'd hate to think of the side flex these round spokes would give your car!
The multi-piece design always adds weight to the wheel. The more spokes you have, the more hardware you'll have, the more weight you'll have
Weight of the wheel = about 10x's the weight on the car. Remove 1 lb from your wheel, it's about 10 lbs on your car. That doesn't take into account the weight factor in cornering or braking, just acceleration.
"Optimized" wheel weight is another concern. For instance, BBS castwheels are flow formed, this means the outer rim section is processed under heat and pressure to create a thinner overall outer rim section with properties more in line with a forged product. If you have two 17.5 lb wheels, one which is "flow formed", another a typical cast wheel, the flow formed will perform more like a 14 or 15 lb wheel because the mass of the wheel is more concentrated at the center of the hub which equals less centrifugal force. This is why carbonfiber rims are such a huge advantage in racing (and outlawed in several series) less mass at the outer rim. A wire wheel will actually have more mass at the outer rim where the spokes meet over any other type of wheel design, it's going to be a worse performing product.
I'm not even sure if you would find a 18" or larger wire wheel in the right widths. Hold on, I take that back. I'm not even sure you would find a 18" or larger wheel in the right widths from a reliable company making a premium product. A quick walk around SEMA shows all of the Chinese wheels companies making anytype of wheel you want. In the US, there is no real enforcement of a wheel standard. Germany you have the TUV, Japan the JIL. Both deal with minimum requirements for impact survival and handling stress and forces and are based on proper fitments and load ratings. Nothing like that here in the US (a very loose DOT standard which is not enforced in anyway shape or form so it might as well not even be there). If you do find a wire wheel, I'd make sure it's TUV or JIL certified before taking a chance with putting it on my car.
I do think it would look good though, but probably as practical as the plexi-rim I saw debuted at SEMA!
Deane, all this is really YOUR fault - seeing the wires on your 330 got me thinking along these lines.
Mille thanks for the info - hadn't really thought about the dynamic issues; however, shoould I decide to do this, the bonus would be keeping the original alloys with a set of track tires for track days and using the wires for everyday cruising.
"I guess if I owned a wire wheel company I would try to find reasons to put them on modern sports cars too!
They are great on old British cars that ran narrow tires and did not create lots of cornering load, they are also fine for many classic vehicles from a variety of manufacturers. Ferrari and some other performance models used Borani (sp?) wire wheels from Italy. The Borani wheels used aluminum rims that were wider than the typical all steel wire wheel. I do not have any test results or comparisons for one piece alloy wheels vs. wire wheels. Considering the weight of most modern performance cars, modern tire technology and the tighter tolerances required on newer vehicles (not to mention stiffness), wire wheels are not going to deliver the level of performance that even a standard oem alloy wheel is capable of. I would have to think that any wire wheel being put onto a modern car is only being done for cosmetics. Wire wheels are certainly heavier than a typical oem cast allow wheel.
Visual taste is subjective, performance is not. Adding unsprung weight to a modern sports car is a big step backwards in the “Sport” category. There are also a LOT of very poor quality wire wheels in the market. Dayton has been around for a long time and has a reputation for quality, but that still does not make it a great choice for modern performance cars."