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Trail Ready

It’s rare now that people go out of their way to make things the right way; as tough as possible, from the best materials regardless of the cost because it has their name attached to it. That is pride in your work, that is a drive for success, and most of all, that is the right way to do something.Larry Trim took these to heart almost 21 years ago when Trail Ready was founded, and started making the best race-grade wheels he could. Twenty years ago, the consumer off-road market was still in infancy, nothing like it is today, so businesses like Trail Ready forged in to the race industry.

When Trail Ready began producing their HD series wheels out of aluminum, they used this same methodology of building the best. Unsatisfied with imports and the lack of control over the alloy process, Trail Ready scoured the United States for one of the last remaining aluminum wheel foundries. This makes Trail Ready the only cast beadlock manufacturer in the U.S. Casting and forging are accomplished with their foundry partner in Iowa. Blanks are then freighted to Trail Ready’s Mount Vernon, Washington, facility for machining and finishing.

Why go through all this trouble, though?

Surely there are facilities in Asia that can produce the same quality? Well, there are four reasons why Trail Ready has chosen the hard way: section thickness, specific alloy, counter pressure casting and sequential cooling. These make the difference, as nearly all other cast wheels use a much more common low-pressure casting method.

The Counter Pressure Casting method results in a much denser part, and the sequential cooling means that the density is consistent throughout the wheel itself. The specific alloy and casting methods also contribute to the Rockwell hardness of the aluminum. Generally, aluminum is very soft, but when alloyed, it increases its stats based on those alloying materials. For a Trail Ready forged wheel, the Rockwell hardness is at a 55, for the cast a 48 and competing imported hardness at a mere 28. For a baseline, mild-carbon steel, which is found in nearly everything, has a Rockwell hardness of 84 whereas copper has a Rockwell hardness of 18.

Do you really think you could trust a wheel that has more in common with copper than it does with steel? Trail Ready doesn’t think you should, and a wheel with a hardness test of 28 would be considered a blemish and be scrapped.So now we know, Trail Ready beadlocks are nothing short of bad ass. They are made in the USA to an uncompromising level of quality and finish. And they are made to order, so you can have them produced in any configuration you want. Available in three different diameters of 15, 17 and 20 inches and every lug-nut configuration imaginable from UTV to buggy to 8-lug.

Lock rings are available in three different configurations, as well, ranging from their standard Slim ring, to their legendary Rock ring and their newer World Series ring, and all are cut from 3/8-inch 6061 T6 hardened plate, and are secured by 5/16-grade 8 bolts. If real beadlocks are not your thing, never fear. Trail Ready produces all of these wheels in a sims-lock version, as well, that has all the same great features, but weighs less and doesn’t deal with the mechanical locking mechanism of a beadlock.

When I placed my order for wheels from Larry I was greeted by a warm hospitality that can only be described as someone who made his passion his life and truly believes in what he is doing. We started talking about the various merits of each design and settled on placing an order for their HD20 series wheels in 20×9.5, milled for the Power Wagon’s 8×6.5-lug pattern with the Slim lock ring and all finished in a satin black powdercoat.

“You’re in luck,” Larry informs me.

“Why’s that?” I Replied back

“We’re cutting 20s tomorrow, so we’ll do yours, too. Then they’ll go off to the powdercoater and you should have them a week later.”

Giddy, that’s the only way you could describe the emotions I was experiencing as I have wanted these wheels for more than 10 years now. Two weeks later UPS dropped off my precious cargo and the unboxing began. Weighing in at a stout 42 lbs., it was clear that these are the toughest cast wheels on the market. The fit and finish quality is everything you would expect from someone who has made this their life. With their racing pedigree, it is hard to say that any other wheel will ever top the strength, and durability of these, and they have a timeless eight-spoke design that is not flashy or over the top, but just damn good looking. So while these heavy, labor intensive wheels may not be for everyone, they fit my role perfectly with the outfitting of this Power Wagon as something that I can absolutely rely on without question, to get this vehicle out of the toughest places I can put it through. In the end, this is an investment that you should make if you are teetering on the edge of “is it worth it?” I say absolutely, these are superbly crafted, their construction is outrageous; for the life of me, I cannot figure out why it took me so long to make the decision myself.

Thank you to Larry and Trail Ready for working with us on this project and making such a fine piece—they are truly unique and will serve years and years of honorable service.

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