Reducing the amount of pressure you have in your tires or, as Jeepers like to call it, “airing down”, is one of the easiest things you can do to improve the quality of your ride and significantly improve the amount of traction you’ll have on the trail. With your tires sitting at about 8-12 PSI, your tires will do a wonderfull job of smoothing out your ride as you make your way over small rocks and ruts and on bigger obstacles, the tread of your tires will be able to wrap itself around jagged rock faces and boulders. Of course, the more surface area the tread of your tires can make contact with, the more traction you will have. Needless to say, airing down your tires is so effective that it, along with disconnecting your front sway bar links, has become standard practice before hitting the trails.
Now, with all the benefits that airing down your tires has to offer, there is a Achilles’ heel to it as well. On or off the pavement, when you run your tires more or less flat, you run the risk of rolling or busting their bead. And, being that modern tires are tubeless and held in place by air pressure alone, busting a bead will leave you high and dry. To help prevent this from occuring, most Jeepers try to run wheels that are on the narrow side of things, tyically about 8″ in width as this will help to keep things in place better. However, if you want to make absolutely sure that your tires will keep their bead and stay in place, the only way you can do that is with a set of beadlocked wheels.
So, what exactly is a beadlocked wheel? Well, the short answer is that they’re just basic wheels that have been modified in a way that’ll allow your tires to be clamped in place. For the most part, this would involve removing the outer lip of your wheels and having a new inner ring welded on just inside the edge. This new inner ring will serve a backing plate and once your tires are installed, an outer lock ring will bolt up to it and hold everything in place. And, while this conversion process does work well enough, Walker Evans has taken beadlocked wheels to the next level and has done so by offering theirs in a single cast design.
Aside from their striking and down right sexy looks, Walker Evans beadlocked wheels are highly coveted by all off-road enthusiasts because of their strength and reliability. Being a single cast design allow these wheels to be rated at an incredibly high 3,800 lbs per wheel and the chance of leaks is greatly reduced. And, unlike some single cast design beadlocked wheels, Walker Evans uses long steel inserts securely mounted in the wheels as opposed to just threading the holes in the aluminum. Last but not least, one additional benefit of the Walker Evans beadlocked wheels is that it’s designed with the valve stem positioned further back into the wheel. By doing this, the valve stem is protected from obstacles on the trail that would otherwise damage it.
After having run them for about a year now, I’d have to say that I absolutely love my Walker Evans beadlocked wheels. On the trail, they have proven to be extremely tough and have done their job exceptionally well. Certainly, they have never let me down and even though they are a bit on the pricey side of things, I feel they are worth every penny. Needless to say, if you’re asking my opinion of them, I would definitely recommend them to you. Of course, I got mine in an unfinished machined finish but they are also available in a polished finish and with lock rings in a variety of colors.