Wheels That Changed Truck History
May 4, 2020
Sure, it may not be as beloved now as it once was, but you have to remember the origin story. When Rockstar first hit the road, it really did change the way people thought of (and did) wheels. Rockstar was one of the first companies to allow you to remove pieces from your wheel -- a revolutionary concept. The idea of painting different pieces to match your truck, or being able to pull a star out from the center and custom paint them any color you want, was a rider’s dream come true. Give them props: that was the true beginning of customization for wheels.
Rockstar was also the first wheel company to offer way bigger sizes. Consider how amazing it must have been to first see 17s and 18s, which were considered bigger than life at the time. Back in the day, driving on 18 x 9s was like driving a tank. At that time, the Rockstar was driving every Jeep in America. These wheels became so popular that Rockstar took all the capital they made and applied it to making Rockstars for cars and trucks too. Since then, they consistently created newer and more up-to-date versions, and are still doing that to this day. The current model, Rockstar3, features new, improved spokes (but you can still buy the classic spoke, which we know you love), and a lot more options than previously offered. Let’s face it: it’s been a number of years since the first Rockstar came out, but they are still rolling strong. Fuller sums it up like this: “for as much hate as they get, I still see them [on the road]. People are still using them -- and they still look good on Jeeps.” Junior drives the point home with this: “a Jeep is meant to have a five-spoke design on it, and the Rockstar is a five-spoke wheel.” Whether you want 17s or 22s, there is an option for everybody.
2. Moto Metal 970
This one gave a lot of lip. It was offered in the 20s (20x12s even), which had not even been a thing yet. Back then, 20x10s were considered monsters huge. Moto Metal had offered a 12-wide wheel for a much lower price. Since then, they’ve grown their brand and increased its consumer awareness. They have since come up in price a bit, but they still remain one of the more affordable wheels on the market. Moto Metal had a lasting influence on wheel design. When it comes to the blackened mill Moto Metal 970, you can literally put it on anything. As a result, it quickly and easily became super popular. Moto Metal also pioneered the look of rivets on the rim of the wheel. It’s been considered for years, and there are still plenty of wheel companies using this design. Sure, the original Motometal wheel was the 962, but the 970 had more sales. In fact, the 970 has been in the top 3-5 bestsellers for the last half a decade.
3. American Force Blade
The guys had a hard time picking exactly which American Force wheel is the most history-making. The company was the first name in forged wheels and that had become extremely popular. Credit must be given for them modernizing the styling, which can be clearly seen in the American Force Blade.
American Force also brought chrome back into style. Whether you prefer the polished wheel or the cast wheel, the company really brought it home. In fact, other companies have taken a page from American Force. Most people who buy American Force don’t take them off-road. They are more likely to be used on mall crawlers, for the beloved American tradition of showing off. That’s why customers especially like the polished wheels -- Fuller says that it’s an awesome accessory that really makes your truck stand out. Example: polish a fully forged wheel to a mirror finish. People notice. Fuller says, “If you got Forces, you got Forces. Amen?
4. Hostile Sprocket
Hostile came up with designs that were very uniquely their own. When you see a Hostile Sprocket, you know it’s a Hostile wheel. They priced themselves higher than other wheels, and ultimately gave off a high-end vibe. The black-and-chrome finish did a really good job of making them look like a forged wheel. Fuller says it’s the finished quality that really sets them apart. Hostile was one of the first companies to offer the directional style (even if the wheels weren’t actually directional). Still, they had a twisted pattern that was common among other forged wheels. You also spend way less money than if you were actually buying forged wheels. Hostile was one of the first companies to offer 12-wides and then jump to 14-wides. They are currently offering a true-directional-wheel lineup. You can expect cast wheels for that lower price, and they are going to look exactly like the forged wheels. Look out forged wheel companies: there is a lot of competition suddenly rolling your way.
5. Arkon Lincoln
Full disclosure: we own ARKON OFF-ROAD and we developed the Lincoln. Still, these directional wheels are the fastest-growing wheels on the market. Why? We listened to what everybody wanted in a dream wheel: true directional, cast, no rivets around the blackened rim, and chrome. Honestly, this wheel went from not even existing to becoming the #1 seller in just about 60-90 days. Just sayin’. The cast wheel with proper directional styling has now influenced other wheel companies to do the same. We’re not mad. We’re totally okay with this because we want everybody in the industry to make the best-looking wheels possible. A rising tide lifts all boats, or in this case, a rising lift.