MKW, a brand of large diameter chrome wheels for trucks and offroad vehicles, is forging a new course by launching a luxury line of wheels that caters to all levels of racing vehicles, or to those who simply desire a racing look in their everyday drivers.
The aptly named “Road, Street, Race” (RSR) line of wheels from MKW is designed to enhance the look and performance of sports cars, coupes and luxury sedans, in addition to more conventional vehicle models that aspire to be seen a luxurious. The three-tiered product lineup—road, street, race—categorizes the new wheels around the ultimate needs of the consumer, with each level featuring particular price and selling points to attract buyers in that category.
“For me, it’s a natural progression of being a car guy,” said Bill Koenig, executive vice president for MKW and RSR, and a self-proclaimed car guy. “When I was young I couldn’t afford the more expensive wheels, so now we are giving back by providing the feel and styling of the more expensive wheels at a price point that entry-level consumers can better afford. Our racing wheels provide the more aspirational end of the spectrum and that trickles down through the entire lineup.”
The RSR line was launched at the 2014 SEMA show, appearing on a 2014 Audi S7, yet features bolt patterns that will fit Mercedes, VW, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lexus, Infinity, Mustang and most Japanese brands.
Koenig explained that the first R–Road–speaks to the wide audience of drivers who desire the hottest wheel designs with large brakes and brake calipers, without placing a high priority on increased performance by reducing the weight of the wheels.
The S, or Street level, is for 800 Series wheels that offer an upgrade in both lifestyle and design from the Road category. These wheels are created by flow-form technology that is truly a hybrid casting and forging process. This specialized process begins with a low pressure type of casting and uses a special machine that spins the initial casting, heats the outer portion of the casting and then uses steel rollers pressed against the rim area to pull the rim to its final width and shape. The combination of the heat, pressure and spinning create a rim area with the strength similar to a forged wheel without the high cost of the forging.
“I’m a weight nut,” Koenig said. “If you just put the car on a diet you wouldn’t have to spend money on upgrades to try to improve efficiency. All that we do is really focused on weight and strength because the lighter and stronger your wheels are the better performance you will get out of the vehicle.”
That brings us to the second R, the Race level of wheels, which will launch at this year’s SEMA show and is targeted more toward the specialized market of racing tuners and weekend warriors. Koenig anticipates debuting the Race segment of wheels on a Porsche 991 GT3.
“The Race field is pretty wide open,” he said, “utilizing the latest materials and technologies out there. With everything really focused on weight and strength, we are constantly looking for new materials to help get more performance out of the vehicle.”
To assist RSR with keeping on the leading curve of the market, the lineup has partnered with VIBE Motorsports to help show off its wheel designs in VIBE-tuned projects. The partnership helps add credibility and visibility to both companies.
“VIBE is on the cutting edge of what’s hot in today’s market,” Koenig said. “And with social media the way it is, it’s important to get visibility through current photos and videos of your products. People are literally going into dealership figuring what car to buy and then looking at Instagram to see what aftermarket products they want on their car. VIBE really helps us think outside the box and broaden our scope of offerings.”