Question on Durability of ROTA Wheels?

Photos copyright of their respective owners

Before I begin, let me just say that it took me several days to come up with this 2,705-word article. But I’m pretty sure this is something that would “make a difference” to the automotive industry. So I’m pretty happy that it was worth my time. Here goes…

Driftworks S15 Rota Wheels Custom Pinoy Rides pic1


Yeah, I know. There are many wheel whores out there who can talk all day about anything and everything to do about wheels (a.k.a. rims, mags, or magwheels). When wheel whores start to talk in their language, you start hearing words like offset, diameter, PCD, and all that. As they start to get more involved in the conversation, it starts to drift into talks about engineering, design, weight, and even metallurgy. More often than not, the conversation eventually goes to Forged versus Cast wheels. Once the topic dwells on that, you can almost be 100% sure that they will start talking about the “Durability of ROTA Wheels”.

Why does the conversation lead specifically to talking about ROTA Wheels? Why not any other brand? Well, let’s just say that ROTA is to wheels as Manny Pacquiao is to boxing. They’re both made in the Philippines, famous worldwide, and known to perform in their respective fields. And along with being famous comes a huge fanbase, as well as the distinctive crowd of haters. So after posting this up, I’ll probably put my flame suit on because it’s a given that you ROTA haters out there will be flaming on me in full force.

What is it that these ROTA haters are so angry about? The argument in all of the many different forums are always the same – they question the durability of ROTA Wheels.

Let’s make a deal. Before you start digging up some random photos of broken wheels (which are more often than not the same photos posted over and over again), and using it as an “I told you so” argument to counter this post, please back it up with proper data, as well as history behind the broken wheel incident first. Otherwise, your argument is of no value. We good?

I, on the other hand, will be talking about facts. Here goes…


Fact 1: Yes, ROTA Wheels are Cast wheels and not Forged. But do not question durability of wheels based on Cast and Forged. There are standards that wheel manufacurers must adhere to in order to ensure safety on road conditions.

Have you ever asked yourself what wheels your brand new car came with? Or better yet, let me give you some examples of high-power vehicles, and see for yourself what type of wheels they came with:

Manufacturer / Wheel Type / Size / Weight
Audi TT Cast 17×7.5 29.0
BMW E36 M3 Cast 17×7.5 22.3
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 02 Cast/Spun 18×10.5 21.0
Dodge Viper – 01 Cast 18×13 32.3
Ford Mustang – Roush (made by Prime) Cast 17×8 26.5
Honda S2000 Cast 16×7.5 18.6
Mazda RX7 FD3S Cast 16×8 15.4
Nissan 240SX 95-98 LE and SE Cast 16×6.5 18.5
Porsche 944 Turbo/951 “Phone Dial” Cast 16×8 20.0
Porsche 968 Cast 17×9 23.0
Porsche 993 Cast 17×9 19.5
Porsche 996 Cast 18×10 23.4
Porsche Boxter Cast 17×8.5 22.7
Porsche Club Sports Cast 16×9 21.5
Porsche Cup Cast 18×10 29.3

Alright, so these cars come from the factory with cast wheels. So if these manufacturers found cast wheels to be good enough, then why did certain wheel manufacturers come out with forged wheels?

There are many sources for you to research on the difference between casting and forging. But the simple explanation is that forged wheels are for those who demand even higher performance levels than that of cast wheels. The technology of forging allows an engineer to create a wheel design that has a higher specific strength as well as higher toughness (engineering term for ability to absorb energy) than what it could have been if it were done via casting. Basically, the idea of forging is to bring down the weight of the wheel (i.e. using less material), while still keeping it relatively strong. Why is that important? Because the people who demand this level of performance take the following metrics into consideration: Moment of Inertia, and Unsprung Mass.

Of course, demanding for this level of performance comes with a premium, as forging is definitely more expensive than casting. So ask yourself first if you take into account these two metrics in your quest for better performance. If not, then aren’t you paying more for the luxury of having more expensive wheels, than for its practical benefits?

Fact 2: ROTA Wheels meet all JWL and VIA standards. Because they’re supposed to!

Would you be surprised if I told you that ROTA is probably the one who manufactured the OEM wheels for that car sitting in your garage? Yes, the ROTA plant is one of the biggest manufacturers of OEM wheels for various brands like Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, and Mazda.

Who else is in this type of business, you might ask? Well, in terms of large-scale OEM wheel manufacturing, ROTA’s biggest competitor is Enkei.

So before we proceed any further, let’s define both JWL and VIA:

“JWL” (Japan Light Wheel Alloy) is a compilation of standards defined by the Japanese Government to ensure the vehicle’s safety for aluminum road wheels. Every wheel put to market must be tested to meet JWL standards before a wheel can be put out to market in Japan.

These standards are generally accepted worldwide as acceptable for most road conditions. That is why you will see these marks on European and other Asian country wheels.

“VIA” (Vehicle Inspection Association Registration System). VIA marking can only be engraved on the wheel if registered by Japan Light Alloy Automotive Wheel Testing Council after strict quality tests by the authorized testing facility on the adaptability of JWL or JWL-T (Japan Light Alloy Wheel Truck & Bus) technical standard.

While other brands advertise that they have their own “additional” test standards that they say are higher than that of JWL and VIA (e.g. JWL+R for Rays Engineering, Spec-E for Enkei), ROTA Wheels also does their own additional tests like Rays and Enkei, although they just don’t advertise it (maybe they should). Why do you think the OEMs trust ROTA to manufacture their OEM wheels? To stay competitive in the OEM Wheel Manufacturing business, they must show the OEMs that ROTA’s standards are better than others, and even better than what has been set by JWL and VIA.

To sum it all up, the JWL and VIA standards have been set and are accepted worldwide for aluminum road wheels for most road conditions. Putting these wheels, or any other wheels for that matter (meeting JWL and VIA standards), under anything outside of most road conditions, will test the limits of the wheels.

But hey, isn’t it the same with any other part of your car that you put to the test in rigorous motorsports conditions? Remember, a chain is no stronger than its weakest link. So I urge you to go and ask the motorsports teams who use ROTA wheels what is usually the first part of their cars that fail. With the big fat budgets of motorsports teams, would you think they would be using ROTA wheels if it were their weakest link?

Which leads me to my next fact…

Fact 3: ROTA is a trusted brand in various forms of motorsports, all over the globe.

Driftworks S15 Rota Wheels Custom Pinoy Rides pic2
In the world of Drifting, the Driftworks team is known to be probably the most successful drift team in Europe. Pictured above is their world-famous 720hp 2JZGTE-powered Driftworks Nissan S15 which runs on 18x12in Rota GTR-Ds.

Phil Morrison, owner of Driftworks, was asked by Speedhunters as to why he runs ROTA Wheels, even on his daily driver E46 BMW M3. Here’s what he had to say:

“Simple reason is because they are light, strong, and most importantly I didn’t have to go through a load of idiots telling me that I wouldn’t be able to, and shouldn’t fit 10’s all round.”

He goes on to say:

“Would I ever buy a set of TE37 even if Rota had never made these wheels? The answer is a simple no. They are massively overpriced for what they are, and the designs nearly 20 years old, so wah! Those who are mocking the fact I say they are strong need to do some research. We have used Rota wheels on our road cars, track cars and drift cars for 5 years. I’ve personally owned about 20 sets, and we have sold over 1000 wheels. We have never had nor heard of a failure that wasn’t due to a crash… I actually use this car for a lot more than daily driving. It’s my track car as well when I don’t want to drift the S15 I take this car to a local track or to the Nurburgring. It get’s some serious abuse, and deals with it all day long. I never thought I’d say it about a BMW, but I think it’s an awesome car, and will only let it go when a 997GT3RS makes it’s way into my life.”

Falken S14.5s at BDC Rota Wheels photo from Rota Blog UK Custom Pinoy Rides
Meanwhile, the 2011 British Drift Championship winner is another car running on ROTA Wheels – Matt Carter’s Falken S14.5, pictured on right. His teammate, Alan Green, pictured left, also runs on ROTAs.

Turn In Concepts photo by Wheeldude Rota Wheels Custom Pinoy Rides
In Racing, check out the 2009 Redline Time Attack Street National AWD Champions – Turn In Concepts, running 17×9 Rota DPT wheels.

Photo from Element Tuning Rota Wheels Custom Pinoy Rides
Element Tuning Subaru STi on Rota DPT wheels reigning supreme on the 2011 US Time Trial Championships. The opponents? European muscle such as the V10 Lamborghini Gallardo Superlegerra and the Porsche 997 GT3, as well as American muscle in the form of race-tuned Dodge Vipers and Corvettes.

Photo from AMS Performance Rota Wheels Custom Pinoy Rides
In the world of Drag Racing, the World’s Fastest Evolution VIII is the AMS Performance Drag EVO wearing ROTA Slipstream Wheels. 1,220 All-Wheel Horsepower, 671 ft/lbs of Torque, Best 1/4 Mile of 8.42 @ 171 mph, and a Standing Mph of 228 mph.

After reading this, are you still questioning how much horsepower ROTA Wheels can manage?

Photo from Rota Blog UK Rota Wheels Custom Pinoy Rides
How about an Exotic Car wearing ROTA Wheels? Check out this TVR Sagaris rolling on Rota Boost wheels.

Want to see a reputable source showing cars all over the world running on ROTA Wheels? Check it out on Speedhunters.

Speaking of Motorsports, JWL and VIA Standards, and the fact that there’s no standard for “abuse”, there is one type of wheel labeling that I’m very curious about – “For Racing Purposes Only” or “Only For Competition Use” Wheels. While ROTA does not come out with wheels labeled as such, some other brands do.

It’s quite disconcerting to read forums where people question the strength of these wheels, and their reluctance to use it on the street. I have some examples for you here, here, and here.

Why are people so reluctant to use them on the street? Does it mean it’s weaker? Moreover, don’t you wonder what standard was used for these “competition wheels”, if there is actually no standard for testing anything outside “most road conditions”?

What determines what is for competition and what is not? Read through those links and you’ll start to see arguments about differences between racetracks being generally smooth tarmac, and streets filled with potholes, where you expect to “install and forget” the wheels, and counter-arguments saying there’s more abuse during racing than on regular street use. Does it make you wonder which wheels are stronger? Is it those that meet JWL and VIA standards, or those that are labeled “For Competition Use Only”? If you think it’s the “For Competition Use Only” wheels, as you get to abuse it in motorsports events, then why is there apprehension to use it on the street?

ROTA makes no such “For Competition Use Only” wheels. Whatever wheels you see being used by race teams during motorsports events are the very same wheels you can get from ROTA for use on your street car.

And lastly, please don’t get me started on the “who copied who” argument. The fact that you’re so good at finding out what a ROTA is from something that is not, means you can tell the difference. Same as how you can tell the difference between the wheels below.

Photo from EdmundsPhoto from Paul TanPhoto from Getauto

OEM Wheels: 2011 Mercedes E-Class vs. Chevrolet Cruze vs. Mitsubishi Outlander vs. Mazda 3

Photo from NissentricPhoto from Hoymotor

OEM Wheels: Nissan GT-R vs. New Mitsubishi Outlander

Photo from ICBMotorsportPhoto from BMSC Australia

Racing Hart vs. OZ


BBS LM vs. Work VS-XX

Photo from Kyoei USAPhoto from RD Tanabe

Work Meister S1 vs. SSR Professor SP1

Photo from Wheeldesign dot itPhoto from Cardomain

Work Euroline vs. SSR Vienna

Photo from Mossy PerformancePhoto from Enkei

Nismo LMGT4 vs. Enkei EV5

Photo from OldBug.com

SSR MK1 vs. Centerline

People say that ROTA Wheels are “Replica Wheels”. I beg to disagree. Check any dictionary and you’ll see that “Replica” is defined as an exact or accurate reproduction of an object. Like replicas of Louis Vuitton bags and other fashion items. People who buy these items most likely want to pose as owners of the originals. But like I said, ROTA Wheels are not replica wheels. Their products do not say “Volk Racing” or anything like that. They are built as ROTA Wheels, and are sold as ROTA Wheels. If people put stickers of other brands on it, it is beyond the control of the factory. But since they are not replicas, this is the reason why a lot of people can actually tell the difference.

There are only so many ways by which you can come up with spoked designs, and make it work. If one manufacturer takes inspiration from a design made by another, and creates their own rendition of it, is it still a replica?

Though I will not agree that ROTA Wheels are replicas, what I will agree to are that ROTA Wheels have been “inspired” by other designs. Just as the wheels I’ve shown you on the photos above have been inspired by those done by others. Though they were inspired by other brands, ROTA Wheels have their own angles, as well as their own fitment, which is why people can tell them apart from the designs they were inspired from. Now does that still make it a replica? Or is it now an original?

Anyway, that’s not the whole point of this article. The point I would like to put across is that people buy things for a purpose. You can’t buy a cast wheel and expect it to perform like a forged wheel. Then complain about cast wheels not being “up to par” with the abuse you put it through. Remember, JWL and VIA standards are set for MOST ROAD CONDITIONS. Not for abuse. There is no test standard for abuse.

On the flipside, those who do buy cast wheels actually purchase them because you can’t expect a forged wheel to cost like a cast wheel. Fine, you can get them for a lower cost in the used market. But do they come readily available in your preferred specifications? And how can you tell if they have been put through a life of abuse or have been damaged before they come into your hands?

I know you can have numerous rebuttals at me and can throw various types of arguments at me for posting this. There will be no end to this argument and I can easily say I just picked up a rock to bang on my head for no reason than to get flamed. But this is Custom Pinoy Rides – one of the best car blogs in this side of the world. And because of that, I have a social responsibility to speak up and make myself heard. I’m not trying to destroy anyone or any other brand, and I’m not trying to flame you if you don’t agree with what I am saying. I’m just stating facts. So if you’re thinking of flaming me with your nonsense which you can’t back up with facts, think twice or you might just make yourself look bad. Ayt?

Otherwise, if you agree with me, then do share this article to those whom we can probably shed some light to. Because as Mike Garrett of Speedhunters says:

“[Wheels] are probably the most important component in how a car looks, right? Some people say that wheels to a car are like shoes to a person, but in my opinion the importance of having decent wheels on a car is more important than the shoes someone is wearing…”

Nuff said! I gotta go get some shut-eye. Let’s talk more later. If you have something better to say, then put it on the comments. Cheers!

Other Interesting Stuff:
What the JDM LEAF SIGN a.k.a. “Wakaba” Really Means
The PROPER use of the JDM Tilting Plate Holder

Want to MODIFY your RIDE? CONTACT US and Tell Us What You Need!

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96 Responses to Question on Durability of ROTA Wheels?

  1. Ryan Way says:

    I have a 2004 Mitsubishi Evo 8MR and I have run ROTA wheels.

    Why? Because I got them cheap. And cheap they were. I got the P45-R’s in 18×9.5 +30 in black. The paint was horrible. I also opted for the red time attack lip. There was over spray and running lines through the paint. But I put them on. After 4 months of normal street driving I noticed that the fronts were odd. I got them checked and the fronts had warped. I got them fixed and sold them.

    I now have a set of Work Emotion XT7’s in the same size and the quality difference was instantly noticeable. The paint and finish were top notch.

    Would I buy rota’s again. Sure, but only for my daily run around beater.

  2. THE aSTIG says:

    Hi Chris – I usually dont respond to comments on this article because I know it’ll just be a never ending argument. But I would like to point out that you probably skipped a few sections of the article. Please ask those racing teams if they use the two metrics I mentioned in the article when considering the performance of their vehicles. You’ll get your answer.

    About your second point, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison as these guys use Rota wheels themselves, put them on their own competition vehicles, win with them, before they make sales. They sell the product because they use it themselves and believe in them. They practice what they preach. Can you say the same about politicians?

  3. Marky Mark says:

    Would you fit a replica/copy/imitation steering wheel or seat? If so, then ROTAs are for you.

    Me, I’ll stick with the genuine articles.

  4. Smeck says:

    I always love the haters bragging about how they spent 1000’s of euros/pounds/dollars on wheels that are only slightly better just so they can say: look at me with my overpriced rims, I’m better than you!

    But then again there’s people like that everywhere, just think about everyone spending 1000’s on a macbook just so they can brag about how awesome they can facebook on it, €5000 handbags because it’s made by a gay italian designer and of course my favorite: people buying expensive bottled water for home usage while several tests pointed out that our tapwater is better, cleaner, “healthier” and costs less than 0.1% of branded water.

    Personally I don’t care about what brand anything I buy is. If it works what it’s supposed to do and isn’t priced 100x the production costs, why should I care which logo it has stamped on it.

  5. Andrew says:

    There is so much ignorance in this article!

    Rotas aren’t as strong as forged wheels, plain and simple.

    The nismo wheel and the enkei wheel are the same wheel, jackass. They’re both enkei. and id be willing to bet if you did your research that all the oem wheels you claimed were copying each other are made by the same manufacturer.

    At the end of the day you can sit here and argue how good rota’s are but when its all said and done they’re still stealing creativity.

    And all of you out there repping rota, not to sound like a douche but its the people that think rota’s are cool that have half ass, undedicated builds, and your cars reflect that fact.
    Real wheels and fake wheels are what seperate the real enthusiasts who live and breathe this stuff from the guys who aren’t serious.

  6. THE aSTIG says:

    Hi Andrew – I’ve said before that I usually dont respond to comments on this article because I know it’ll just be a never ending argument. But I would like to point out that the Nismo wheel on the article was built by Rays and not Enkei. Where’s the ignorance now? And what’s with all the profanity? As I’ve mentioned on the article, I’m not trying to destroy anyone or any other brand, and I’m not trying to flame you if you don’t agree with what I am saying.

    And please enlighten us by showing us proof that the OEM wheels you’re talking of were made by the same manufacturer. Otherwise, your argument holds no value.

    To your last point, are you now saying that all the cars I’ve shown on the article are half-@$$ed, undedicated builds, and that their cars reflect that? It would be great if you can add facts to your point as proof. Here’s one car as an example. You’ll find the link to the build thread below. Based on the build thread, please show us factual evidence that you are correct on the following points that you’re claiming:
    1. It is a “half-@$$ed, undedicated build, and that it reflects on this car”
    2. The builder is “not a real enthusiast who lives and breathes this stuff and isn’t serious”

    Otherwise, your argument holds no value. Here’s the link:

    http://www.driftworks.com/forum/drift-car-projects-builds/29908-driftworks-s15-silvia-2jzgte.html

  7. Paul says:

    Reason why I hate ROTA wheels.
    They are fake!

    Google definition of fake
    Noun: A thing that is not genuine; a forgery or sham.
    Adjective: Not genuine; counterfeit.
    Verb: Forge or counterfeit (something).

    You, calling Rota not a fake… you must have worms in your head.
    They would not have gathered so much hate if they designed their own wheels.

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  9. Pingback: The NEVER-Ending Debate.. Real vs Fake Wheels | SQUARE!SPOKES

  10. dan says:

    I never comment on these things but, I think I might have this hate thing figured out…..

    Now, I am no pro builder or certified mechanic, but I am a die hard car freak and tuner. I am a high end chef by trade so I understand the concept of selling high priced authentic product vs inferior product. Take everything I say with a grain of salt……god I hate myself for using that pun.

    I believe, this whole argument boils down to enjoyment and satisfaction. Our most basic need as humans to be accepted and commended for our efforts. To feel that we are “one” with our peer group or tribe.

    Now, we all take our hobby seriously, and many of us have to give up other luxuries to ensure our car hobby is well funded. So, many of us scrimp and save and work extra hours just to improve our cars, i know i do. We choose to give up some things that we want so that we can have the things of our dreams. I see it everyday in my restaurant. People will eat modestly and within their means, but there comes a time when they need to go all out. Buy the most expensive steak, caviar, wine, foie gras……..and enjoy every second of it. It was totally worth every penny. They pay their larger than normal bill and dream of when they can splurge on the best again.

    The wheel thing is the same with one difference. Too some people, rotas are the best they can get. They achieve the same swelling feeling of emotion and pride when they go car meets and show off what they have put all their work into. The rota camp are getting the same props as the people running “authentic” wheels. Which is understandably pissing off the “authentic wheel” people. Since they probably scrimped and saved and “sacrificed more” in order to attain the same amount of glory. E.G. I just priced BBS RS+ at tirerack.com and they are $1200 a piece for 18in………. That is severely more expensive for wheels which would just really be decoration, most folks dont ever track their car. Especially elite Haters who buy BBS RS wheels. Not to mention the people who lust after rare wheels…..eg mugen originals. Those wheels are expensive and require a treasure hunt to find.

    The sacrifice.vs.reward ratio is drastically skewed. The people who spent and sacrificed more for arguably the same glory, feel cheated. They had to endure more hardship but had no greater perceivable benefit. Sadly, this is the perfect recipe for hate.

    This is the very same thing that happens when someone at my bar comments about how much they enjoy their cheap wine. Its soooo good….. Inevitably, some hater drinking a far more “expensive or rare” bottle of wine will comment how foolish the first man was to enjoy his inferior wine.

    It is sad really. Some of us, just cant allow other people to just enjoy our amazing hobby/lifestyle. Something inside just wont let them stay quiet about what other people do with their hard earned money and time.

    We cant let hate divide us. We love cars. Everybody does their own thing, and that should be rejoiced. I am just glad to see people out wrenching, learning, and living their own lives.

    FYI: I dont own a pair of ROTA’s. I love my OZ Ultraleggeras on my speed3. However, I am planning on building a STR-class miata and I will be running the widest rotas I can fit r comp rubber on.

  11. Aaron says:

    -Paul
    Where i live thats the story, some people buy them for cheap look-a-likes, but most hate because they just copy other wheels.

  12. THE aSTIG says:

    I knew from the start that this would be a never ending argument. I might just close the comments section soon if this continues. But just to shed some light as to what other people think of this article, here are the top 2 forums we got the most pageviews from within the past 30 days. Interesting reads! Check them out:

    http://revscene.net/forums/667392-interesting-article-about-rota-wheels.html

    http://boostcruising.com.au/forums/index.php?showtopic=820891

    Quoting some entries:

    “I agree, most broken wheels must be crash related, so I was always neutral with Rota.
    Now i have more faith”

    “You see, this i hate to say it, is what is killing the scene that you guys play in now.

    Go look at the way the old school car clubs work and the attitudes involved.

    Elitist attitudes that you guys all have around wheels (in this instance) and what cars can attend what places, who has a shit looking ride because it doesn’t meet your “standards” re offset / stance / etc. Stickers like “i <3 haters" etc etc. Its the shit like that making you guys look like a bunch of kids who should still be in school.

    Walk into and old school meet. Talk to anyone and you see appreciation not bickering because xx type of wheel looks like xx wheel that some knob jockey paid more than the car is worth to begin with.

    When you all grasp that concept it will be a good day. And yes ill use JDMST as an example of the shit that brews in there. The elitist attitudes that are rampant is nothing short of sickening. I love going to those events and admiring the cars but start talking to the faggotory that own / drive them and you understand why you guys have the rep you do.

    This whole wheel debate is a fucking joke and singles out what is wrong. Using vehicles as a social standing rather than appreciation of the car that is in front of you."

  13. Edward Lee says:

    Hello all – and I hope this response is not deleted. The sales and marketing of Rays wheels in the United States is my livelihood and I take serious offense to this article.

    1st of all if you are making statements of who is making wheels for OEM, please cite some examples. RAYS manufactures for high end programs like the Nissan GTR or racing like ALMS and Formula 1.

    We understand that our wheels are manufactured using the most advanced method of making wheels and there is a price premium, but at the end of the day you get dedicated engineering and endless love for racing. We actually appreciate the fact that companies like Rota who lack creativity copy our wheels so that it drives us to produce better wheels and faster.

    In fact at the last Wekfest show this year in SF we caught the owner of Rota (the big guy) at our booth taking pictures of our new wheels. When we caught him, he ran off. If that is his character then we welcome the competition as we will work hard to make better products.

    We hope as wheel companies evolve they will invest in their own creativity. It is a known fact that Rota has used our designs to sell wheels. We feel that although it interrupts our
    Business plans – we need to do out best to bring POSITIVE contributions to the automotive industry.

    I know that this is an endless debate – and there is a place for all companies, however if you are an enthusiast that strives for authenticity and performance we hope that you consider our products.

    I welcome any response and I hope to start a positive dialogue between all parties involved.

    Elee@mackinindustries.com

    Thank you

    Edward Lee

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  16. ToonaiNaLalaque says:

    I don’t know too much about the whole history behind these flame wars on rims nor do I have much by way of knowledge of wheel statistics. I’m only here to give a critical perspective, and I find that this article makes a very fair point. aSTIG isnt saying that rotas are the best or anything, its just that they’re not dangerous, at all, and they’re not as bad for performance as people make them out to be. He acknowledges the physical advantages of forged wheels. It’s undeniable that outside of their status symbolism, forged wheels are functionally superior. But the specific functional advantage they have over cast wheels, like rotas, are over a very limited range. Thus, it is very possible, as he’s shown, that motorsports teams can use rotas and turn out successful.

    Honestly, I’m not one for rotas, but not because of any unsubstantiated prejudice against them as being dangerous or particularly terrible in any way. They just never caught my eye because, in a very subjective sense, none of their designs evoked an emotional response. What do I mean by that? Well, look at it this way. I first encountered Ray’s VR.G2 through Gran Turismo 5, and I didnt like it very much. It looked rather plain. But when I saw a set of VR.G2’s in person in matte black, it immediately looked to me as, somehow, both badass yet understated, and still very functional. I knew then and there that these are rims i’d be willing to spend a lot on.

    The fixture that is the aforementioned TE37 is another example. It continues to linger in the tuning scene because it radiates a powerful image as both functional yet elegant and understated. In turn, rotas may not be outright rip-off designs, as you say, but all of them are still rather derivative. Where’s the originality? You say that there are only so many things u can do to the design of a wheel, but that isn’t an excuse for blatantly derivative design.

    As a result, given that rotas get the job done alright and that they’re really just adequate, i see them as white goods: they don’t make you truly want or desire them. And this is precisely because they don’t excel, on their own, as wheels. The argument that successful race teams use rotas doesn’t tell us that rotas are particularly excellent themselves, but that the race team, as a whole, was excellent. Whether or not it’s the wheels, tires, engine, suspension, chassis, drivetrain, driver, pit crew, etc. is not something you can determine clearly at face value. Many of these teams only care for wheels that will last them through to the end and then be replaced, relying more on fine tuning everything else. Thus, there is no question of durability, here, but of the passion that’s evoked by that little bit of extra effort and technology that makes things special and not just disposable.

    I think, then, that this is the appeal of authentic forged rims: that they give out an air of both functionality and desirability. You know that your getting some of the best technology and design available, and so you can feel passionate about it. The problem comes wen people take these qualities and blow them out of proportion in order to assert themselves as being higher in status, or having a better eye for detail, etc. Wheelwhore elitism comes in when people who only want to boost their self-esteem and look down on others go and brag to others that they’ve got real branded rims and talk on and on about credentials of their parts without grasping what’s truly good about them. These types tend to label themselves as “true” enthusiasts because they define their enthusiasm purely by what they choose to buy, rather than how they use it.

    The next problem comes with the response they elicit: people who say that these high-end forged wheels are all talk and no substance. Such people attempt to reduce the appeal of higher-end rims as being entirely in light of what the wheel elitists want: bragging rights. It’s these types of people who lay claim to being “true” enthusiasts because they’re not “blinded” by superficial brands and prestige. I’m inclined to agree to a point. A wheel isn’t good just because its branded as such, but because of the products, themselves. The problem is that, for the sake of rejecting the elitism, there is a deliberate ignorance to the facts behind the claims to superior functionality: the sheer fact that forged rims are lighter and can thus enhance driveability and control by reducing unsprung weight and the polar moment of inertia. This is all part of what makes the high-end wheels appealing, and are real functional facts that can justifiably make use of by people who are serious about their driving. The important point, however, is that they have to be made use of, and not just shown off. There is, in other words, real substance behind these wheels, and not just badge.

    To sum up my point, then, Rota has to know its place. In the motoring world, its the equivalent of a white good: they evoke no passion, even if they get the job done. We, as Filipino motoring enthusiasts, will get nowhere by being satisfied and proud of a corporate model that makes only products that are always “just good enough”. As such, if rota wants to go beyond this, they have to make good on their catchphrase as “the art & science of wheels” where other brands like Ray’s and BBS have succeeded: to make their rims something functionally superior and desirable at the same time. It has to be something that you know can get the job done best such that it can be something that you can be passionate about, rather than something that merely gets the job done at the end of the day. Rota has to make the effort to go beyond what it has readily achieved now.

    At the same time, however, people have no right to bastardize high-end brands just for the sake of their own egos. They ruin not only the names of such brands, but the unity of car enthusiasm, as a whole, by spinning arguments over points exaggerated beyond reason. This whole brouhaha that, I fear, is encouraging stagnation rather than advancement in rota; it’s all because the very notion of putting soul and passion into products has suddenly become elitistic to many of us because of these wheelwhores. We have to see that making products to be passionate about isn’t merely dishonest marketing, but real technology, effort, and enthusiasm, all meant to bring out the best in the industry.

  17. Robert says:

    I had a set of Rota P45’s on my S14.
    One night a lady in a Lincoln town car ran her red light and smashed into the front driver side, hitting the wheel, fender, hood, bumper, headlight, turn signal, parking light.

    The front side of the rim survived with only some scratches in the paint.
    Only a small crack/bent lip were found on the Back side of the rim from it hitting and breaking a control arm. (still not sure how only the back cracked and bent, when a car smashed into the front side.)

    So if the front side of my wheel can handle a Lincoln town car, i think they will do just fine for drifting and daily driving.

  18. Jereme says:

    Well presented article that makes valid points. “Genuine” wheels are very often a status symbol. I get forged are stronger, but how many of these people really need that much stronger of a wheel? Most people I observe with “real” wheels never use their cars for competition. To be honest, I wouldn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a wheel that will get scraped, nicked and dinged up if I were racing it! I’ve used cast wheels for over two seasons of autocross and horrible Louisiana roads with no issues, one set of which were Rota’s. I did sell them off, only because I needed something wider and sightly lighter, and had to pay a bit more for that trade off.

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  21. THE aSTIG says:

    A car that’s been setting Time Attack records all over the place, the GST Motorsports Impreza. And yes, it’s rolling on ROTA Wheels.

    1:01.660 – Firebird International Main Course overall Time Attack track record
    1:39.657 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway outside track overall Time Attack track record
    1:35.548 – Auto Club Speedway Roval overall Time Attack track record
    1:19.397 – Willow Springs International Raceway Global Time Attack Unlimited GT AWD track record
    1:02.460 – New Jersey Motorsports Park Lightning Raceway Global Time Attack Unlimited GT AWD Time Attack and overall Production Car track record
    1:23.594 – Autobahn Country Club South Circuit Global Time Attack Unlimited GT AWD Time Attack and overall Production Car track record

    Check out the full feature on Speedhunters here: http://www.speedhunters.com/2012/05/gst-chases-time-like-it-stole-their-bike/

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  23. davemira says:

    Rota wheels are nice wheels.They conform with the standards. For what they are, i respect them. I just hope that they come up with their own designs; Its, i think, the main reason why many people hate them.

  24. John says:

    I’ve been doing research on wheels for a while now looking for a set to put on my 04 wrx. Im no expert on the topic at all. I do agree with pauls outlook on Pricing and what people can afford. its completely unnecessary to judge someones choices if they are satisfied just because they spent a little less money. If it meets standards for driving thats all i need. Of course people are going to run up curbs and get in accident and shits going to break thats just the nature of everything nothings perfect. That rule will apply for all wheels. We all play “dodge the pothole” when we drive. I started research specifically because people talking about rotas quality lacking. I have 2 Friends that ride on rotas he said people will hate but they get the job done. I’ve heard about rotas left and right and if they have all that attention with all the haters they must be doing something right. I probably going to buy a set im sure they will do just fine.

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  26. Steven says:

    If Rota are so uncreative in their designs as people suggest, why have I been unable to find a wheel that looks as awesome and aggressive as the ROTA PWR? For me, they are just as credible as any wheel manufacturer.

  27. Mark says:

    I think the best way for Rota owners to prove their love for the Rota Brand is to put Rota Stickers rather than Rays stickers on their cars. I am not a hater but I do hate posers.

  28. awg says:

    Reading through all the comments, I can safely assume that the hates came from the design copying issue and not the durability issue.

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  34. Au10tic wheels only says:

    After reading this long and exhausting novel, alow me to summarize this article in just a few words: “ROTA, we copy because others do!” For the sake of the arguement why is this fellow posting photos of reputable, brand named wheel companies that may or may not have the same or exact wheel designs? Why not post wheels manufactured by ROTA and compare them with Volk, SSR, and Enkeis? This idiot used the word replica when it should be clearly reword to “exact copies” as their wheels have the uncanny similarities of an old or existing wheel design from a reputable wheel manufacturer. Also the debate here is whether or not did ROTA bought a copyright license from other companies to re-manufacture the wheel? I did not see in the article stating about getting approval or a license to remake the wheels. Microsoft strictly forbids the use of unlicense software and so does any copyright/patented items. Movies that are done in different adaptations fro different countries must buy the license to re-make the production. As the JWL/VIA stamp, that could easily be applied on their wheel and say it underwent the standard/universal testing when there no valid proof of its authenticity. If ROTA is well accepted in the world including the land-of-the-rising sun how come I have never seen any advertisments nor endorsements from their motorsport magazines? With my years of subscribtion to these Japanese motorsport magazines, I have never, ever seen ROTA wheels in it; not even a shadow of it! There must be something wrong if the Japanese motor enthusiast never acknowledge ROTA? I wonder why is that???? There must be something wrong with the ROTA runs its business. If ROTA went through the legal procedures to remanufacture an exsisting or old wheel and is recognized and accepted by reputable wheel companies i.e.(BBS/VOLKS/ADVAN/SSR/VOLK/ etc) AND used throughout worldwide motorsports (Rally/Leman/Indy/F1/NASCAR/ etc.) then I will be the first one in line to order and get a set. Otherwise I still deemed them as a company a copies and so competent they can’t even make their own wheel designs.

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  36. THE aSTIG says:

    @Au10ic wheels – Here’s something from Daijiro Inada – founder of Option Magazine as well as the Tokyo Auto Salon, and the “Drift King” himself – Keiichi Tsuchiya: http://custompinoyrides.com/2013/03/rota-wheels-is-now-officially-a-part-of-jdm-car-culture/

  37. HingaSPL says:

    @THE aSTIG – ANYBODY can get their name put on that roster, anybody who gives them money. That is nothing but a list of sponsors. For you to insinuate that Keichi or Dai themselves put Rota on that list because they are totally behind their product is pure ignorance. I think it is great that Rota is sponsoring the Drift Muscle and if you read further they are also hosting a beginners drift contest for drivers without rollcages or other safety items in their cars.

  38. THE aSTIG says:

    @HingaSPL – Yes, you’re right. And I do agree that it is a list of sponsors. But as event organizers, they must also carefully choose who to associate themselves with, and they can choose whether or not to accept a partnership. Would you agree?

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  41. wickedwik says:

    “there’s no ugly in a hobby.”

  42. ryan says:

    Car guys need to respect other car guys, no matter their budget.

  43. jack obaltrade says:

    This logic of this article suffers from many fallacies of argumentation, in a debate, once you’ve entered an opinion formed from a logical fallacy of argumentation, the whole argument loses its merit.

    The Title of the article “Question on Durability of ROTA Wheels?” seems to be a straw man argument fallacy right off the bat by focusing on the company’s product durability record, instead of the bigger issue that should be questioned; the company’s integrity using substandard manufacturing to cheaply produce stolen intellectual property for profit.

    The author goes on to build his argument based on a number of facts, supported by facts and more argument fallacies, lets look at fact #1:

    fact 1: yes, rota wheels are cast wheels and not forged. but do not question durability of wheels based on cast and forged.
    have you ever asked yourself what wheels your brand new car came with? or better yet, let me give you some examples of high-power vehicles, and see for yourself what type of wheels they came with:

    manufacturer / wheel type / size / weight
    audi tt cast 17×7.5 29.0
    bmw e36 m3 cast 17×7.5 22.3
    chevrolet corvette z06 02 cast/spun 18×10.5 21.0
    dodge viper – 01 cast 18×13 32.3
    ford mustang – roush (made by prime) cast 17×8 26.5
    honda s2000 cast 16×7.5 18.6
    mazda rx7 fd3s cast 16×8 15.4
    nissan 240sx 95-98 le and se cast 16×6.5 18.5
    porsche 944 turbo/951 “phone dial” cast 16×8 20.0
    porsche 968 cast 17×9 23.0
    porsche 993 cast 17×9 19.5
    porsche 996 cast 18×10 23.4
    porsche boxter cast 17×8.5 22.7
    porsche club sports cast 16×9 21.5
    porsche cup cast 18×10 29.3

    The authors’ fact 1 contains more than one fallacy of argument however Im only going to point out one:

    The “appeal to the popular” –Urging the hearer to accept a position because a majority of people hold to it.
    Example: The majority of people like soda. Therefore, soda is good.

    The author tries to bring ROTA Wheels some credibility by questioning the “durability of ROTA wheels”–Haters think that Rota Wheels are bad because they’re cast so casting must be bad.

    Then uses the same logic to support why its not bad by listing a few recent car models with cast wheels as OEM equipment:

    -A good majority of OEM vehicles come with cast wheels as standard equipment, so cast must be good.

    when in fact, no one is drawing conclusions of forged vs. cast = good vs. bad. I think its safe to say that because they are not just forged but Mold forged that a TE37 can look the way it does because the engineers actually engineered the structure into the shape.

    Genuine TE37 pieces have more than just forged processing in them that even allow the function to shape the form of the wheel. The look or the form of TE37s were possible through the intensive engineering and R&D that make these wheels very strong and costly. For example the use of FEA structural analysis software, Rays development of their own alloy which has a higher tensile strength than typical 6061 aluminium and a defined tested methodology to the machining processes that prevent weakened or stress areas in the design, from production start to finish.

    So the cast vs forged argument isn’t the real issue here, I’m sure if ROTA Wheels forged their own forgeries, than we’d have a real argument, and perhaps a lot more to be defending, but just knowing that ROTA Wheels took a forged designed wheel and made a dumbed down cast clone just leaves me a little limp…..to put this into perspective, its a lot like carving a baseball bat from a solid piece of wood, or making one from particle board.

  44. Justice Truth says:

    Hey astig
    Did you remove my comment? I was taking it easy on you but since your biased journalism also now includes “censorship” (which is the nemesis of free speech and the foundation of journalism) I’m going to post my comment and your article on the biggest forum on the internet.

    Word of wise to you Clark Kent a.k.a. ASTIG, you should go back to school and study how to write, and report properly.
    Anyone who writes an article and can’t report with impartiality is setting himself up for a firing squad.
    You sound like you are a lobbyist for ROTA Wheels and could care less about the Intellectual property of others.

    You better be ready because if you think writing this article made you look like an ass before, you’ll probably think twice before you open your big mouth the next time.

    jack obaltrades…

  45. THE aSTIG says:

    There’s the JWL and VIA standards that the wheels have to comply with. The same way the baseball bat from particle board analogy has to go through whatever the standard is for baseball bats.

  46. THE aSTIG says:

    Did the article make you feel threatened? Why do you respond with a threat? Anyway, we’re not expecting to satisfy everyone. Do feel free to repost your comment and this article. So going back, to answer your question, no your comment wasn’t removed. There’s what you call comment moderation to prevent spam.

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