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Replica Alloys


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What is the general opinion on them (not looks but quality)?

Specifically: <ul type="square">

[*]How soft they are and therefore their durability with regards to buckling and deformation.

[*]Any issues with the weight of them vs OEM alloys and any problems that may bring.

[*]Any problems with getting them balanced correctly or vibration at speed

With regards buckling, I'm a bit concerned as I'm thinking of 19" wheels (RS6) with a 35 profile tyre. That doesn't leave a lot of room for the rubber to absorb impact from potholes etc so the energy could well be transfered straight to the wheel.

Any horror stories on replica wheels or any stories of Joy?

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The only concern I'd have are the very ones you have. I know of a few M3 owners on BM3W who have had such issues, but I guess they'd have to be classed as a minority amongst many that have changed wheels.

I guess the key to knowing they're safe is to buy a major brand only - such as BBS etc. Or, to try to source a set of OEM wheels second hand?

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Most cheap alloys come from Turkey aka Halfords and are basically dung.gif

Look for reputable makes and word of mouth, ie web forums.

"With regards buckling, I'm a bit concerned as I'm thinking of 19" wheels (RS6) with a 35 profile tyre. That doesn't leave a lot of room for the rubber to absorb impact from potholes etc so the energy could well be transfered straight to the wheel."

That is spot on-Any impact will go to the wheel-and cheap ones wont cope.

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There isn't a way you can answer for "replica wheels". i.e. in the same way you can't say all cars are fast or are all cars are heavy etc.

Replica wheels come in many qualities (or not) and that is the problem with them. It's hard to sort good from bad.

There are some good ones out there that come straight from the same factories that make the OEM wheels....and then there are the cheap and dirty ones. It's even so bad that some wheels are stamped with Made in Italy when they are actually made in India.

I'm currently on my third set of replicas and I've not had any issues with any of them but I do a lot of home work and get to know people that are "in the know". Even then I'm still a bit wary.

In answer to your questions :

I've had no problems with buckling or deformation but I don't go for ultra low profiles. In fact I stick at OEM measurements including offset etc (give or take 2-3mm).

With regards weight - my last set were the same as OEM and the current ones are 1lb lighter.

Regarding balancing etc - mine have been as straight forward as OEM.

If you want guarantees of quality then replicas are probably not the way to go. If you do lots of checking then you can get a bargain compared with OEM wheels.

Oh and ignore anything about "cheap" or "expensive". Wheels sellers know this (it doesn't take a rocket scientist!) so they are not adverse to lifting the price of "cheap" wheels to make them appear better. At the same time, the real cost of wheels is nothing like retail price so some places do offer good quality at a good price.

In summary, it's a mine field!

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Thanks Scotty, very useful 169144-ok.gif

The OEM wheels on the car are 18" with 235/40/18 tyres.

I was thinking of going for 19" with 235/35/19 tyres. The O/D and width stay the same but it would be reducing the tyre profile hence my concern on the loading of the wheels.

Like you, I would be wanting to keep the OEM offset or as near as possible.

Have you used the same supplier for your 3 sets? If so, do you mind me asking who it is or do you have a contact who I could speak to (PM me if you want 169144-ok.gif)?

I've done a load of reading up on the potential pitfalls and wheel manufacture and the more I read, the more grey it all becomes crazy.gif

At the end of the day, I'm not after the cheapest option, only the best value and if that means paying more for a better quality wheel then that's fine 169144-ok.gif

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Replicas? Why take the risk?

A good example imo are the OEM alloys made by BBS specifically for the Mk5 GTI. When you order a GTI you have the option to choose either 17" or 18". Quite a few, including myself, chose 17s but then later wanted 18s as a result of sharing info about the differences on TSN. But, it costs over £2grand to buy from VW later and there are some very accurate looking replicas out there much cheaper - Who would know if you had replicas? - Only car geeks like us!

But, the OEM alloys by BBS have a new technology which they have developed (hollow technology) and these two wheel sizes have been very specifically designed and tested for the Mk5 GTI. Now, contrary to many reports on t'internet, the GTI is not the fastest car in the world (don't all start telling me I'm wrong all at once!), but I personally think it's pretty stupid to put replica alloys on a performance car. Tyres and wheels are soooo very important are they not?

No-brainer imo.

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Point taken Robin but tyres wouldn't be an issue as I'd want a decent set.

The Audi OEM alloys are simply an alloy casting. The replicas are the same however are probably of an inferior (read softer) material. This material isn't going to fail catastrophically but could mean the wheels are usceptibleto a small amount of deformation if you banjo a pothole.

A lot of people I've spoken to have said replica alloys are softer and easier to damage but no-one seems to have any first hand experience of this damage 169144-ok.gif

At the end of the day, I don't intend doing anything that may compromise the safety of the car. If some can produce evidence that replicas are made out of the motoring equivalent of Plasticine then that'll do for me grin.gif

As for performance, I rarely get a chance to go above 30 mph these days crazy.gif

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Another good example of BBS alloys is the wheels made specifically for the MK4 GTI Anniversary - I believe VW have replaced something like 6 of every one made (or some stupid figure like that was quoted to me) because of the shoddy finish on them - these also cost close on £2k from dealers at one point.

You could argue that wheels sourced from a company that makes wheels should have any issues many will have german tuv approval so would be no worse quality than OEM. And if you think about it OEM wheels are BBS in some cases, but they might be Ronal or OZ - just liek you buy in the shop, so cant figure there would be much difference there.

Also when I think of buckling wheels - RS4 springs to mind - and that was OEM equipement.

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