Car upgrades start in interesting places, but almost all revolve around the wheels. If you’re doing only exterior changes for better handling and looks, like body styling and upgrades to brakes and suspension, then the wheels are the first to see a makeover.
And if you’re after more power and start going for the engine internals, the wheels are often the last parts to get swapped out.
Why Get New Wheels?
Swapping out your stock wheels improves your ride in more ways than one. With a larger surface area and more rubber gripping the road, there’s more grip. You can feel this on wet roads, and when cornering.
Performance and handling are also improved with lighter materials and increased durability, so wheels fare better against road imperfections and keep the car planted.
There’ll be no chipping with the car curbed, nor substantial damage or cracks when hitting potholes at speed. And the vehicle maintains direction and speed.
If you put a lot of thought into the appearance of the overall package, then a good set of wheels is important to you as well. Not only do wheels need to perform, but they must also do this in style.
Choosing a design that you’ll like above all that’s on offer may be the hardest part. Wheelmakers go out of their way to be original, without compromising performance.
There are scores of brands selling quality wheels as aftermarket options, and some even supply carmakers with OEM wheels or go all out in motorsport offerings. What most buyers want is value, or the best balance between price, performance, and style.
The more affordable spectrum of the pricing range is packed with options, and here the durable products by Japan Racing Wheels stay a cut above the rest.
Who Are Japan Racing Wheels?
Japan Racing is a Polish company that has been making high-end alloys for decades. They are a well-known name in the aftermarket community, producing affordable alloys in eye-catching designs to add a little personality to your ride.
And they are lightweight yet durable and robust options, made from quality materials and with the latest production processes.
Besides distinctive styling and a high level of finish, wheels from Japan Racing help improve your car’s handling, acceleration times, and fuel consumption.
The company’s popularity boils down to the sheer variety of wheels and the level of customisation.
They have over 1000 alloys in their catalogue stretching across different product lines and available in a wide range of sizes and fitment options.
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Where are Japan Racing Wheels Made?
JR wheels were inspired by the Japanese tuning scene from the 1990s. Since then, their popularity has exploded, covering alloys in a multitude of designs and colours, and suitable for any car.
The company utilises state-of-the-art production facilities in China, Taiwan, and the Philippines and distributes its products globally.
Staying true to its roots, Japan Racing offers the Tuner series of wheels, as well as the off-roading-oriented JR-X series, and has recently started expanding its offerings in the newest wheel line, the Super-Light series.
Each category is extensive, but the most interest possibly lies with the Tuner alloys to get the best out of classic Japanese and European tuning favourites.
In the Tuner range, look for the JR-11, a classic 10-spoke design, available in 15 to 20-inch diameters, and a wide range of PCD (4×100, and 5×100) and ET offset (ET25 to ET35) choices to get the best fit and distinct looks to the whole package.
You can also play with colours and finish. Wheels finished in gloss or matt black, bronze, white, gold, gunmetal, silver, and spicy red are sold.
Another tuning favourite is the JR-18, a double-spoked design, available in 16 to 20 diameters, widths up to 11 inches, and interesting colour schemes.
The newer JR-41 imitates high-end multi-piece wheels, without the cost. The wheel is flow-formed, giving it lower weight and added strength.
These look particularly good on Japanese classics like the Skyline and Silvia from Nissan. For a more traditional look, get the mesh designs in the JR-9 or JR-14, with a clean, machined face and striking silver, matt black, or gold finish.
When the weight and sprung mass are a concern, go for the Super Light wheel series. A good example here is the SL01, with the 17×7 wheels coming in at a featherweight 7.6 kilos.
Sizes go to JR wheels 20 inches and width to 12 inches for big tyres. There’s also the option of having a custom colour.
For off-roaders, pick-ups, and vans, the JR-X range also has some interesting alloys. The JR-X7 is a nice example of multi-spoked wheels with the look of beefed-up bead locks.
They’re sold in 17, 18 and 20 inches and offered exclusively in black. They’re a good match for the likes of the Nissan Navara, Ford Ranger, or Toyota Hilux.
Of course, this is just touching the tip of all that’s available. The hardest part is choosing what you like in a wheel, and the fitment details then are easily sorted out to get the wheels that best suit your car.
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What to Look for
The Tuner Series consists mostly of lightweight cast wheels (flow-formed wheels feature in newer designs) with a concave profile.
Wheel diameters range from 15 to 22 inches for most JR alloys (a few 14 and 23-inch models can also be found).
Widths are measured from bead seat to bead seat at either end and here JR wheels start at 7 and go all the way to 12 inches. (7″, 7.25″, 8″, 8.25″, 8.5″, 9″ and 9.5″ are the most common widths). Most buyers will go for slightly bigger and somewhat wider wheels than they have fitted stock.
This allows tyres in lower profiles and for more grip with the added rubber. There’ll also be a more compact look to the car, with less gaping in the wheel arches.
Next to consider is PCD or pitch circle diameter. This is to ensure that the wheels fit the mounting surface of the hub.
Basically, PCD is the imaginary width or diameter that passes through the centre of the wheel studs, wheel bolt holes, wheel rim holes, or the bolt pattern.
JR wheels come in a 4 or 5-stud design, and the PCD ranges between 100 to 120mm. Buyers can also have custom-designed fitment options, with drilled holes.
The ET, also known as an offset in Japan Racing Wheels, is the distance between the centerline of the wheel and the mounting surface of the hub.
When the hub mounting surface is in front of the wheel centerline (closer to the street side), the offset might be positive.
Modern rear-drive and front-wheel drive cars typically have positive offset on their wheels. When the hub mounting surface lies behind the centerline of the wheel, the offset is negative.
JR wheels come in a variety of offsets, ranging from zero offsets (ET0), where the mounting face is exactly in line with the centre line, to positive offset (ET45), where the mounting face is 45mm in advance of the centre line.
If you want to switch to larger brake callipers and a more aggressive appearance, pick a wheel with a positive offset.