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Beadlock vs Non-beadlock
September 28, 2021

Beadlock vs. Non-Beadlock: Who says you can’t reinvent the wheel?

Just like every facet of technology in off-roading motorsports evolves, so do wheels. The commonly encountered buzzwords: durable, lightweight, cast, forged, etc. are not the only important factors. What about a wheel that directly interacts with a tire? A wheel that doesn’t just act as the structural support for your knobby beauties, but provides piece of mind and enhances your off-road performance potential?

Beadlock and non-beadlock side by sideBeadlock and non-beadlock side by side

Enter beadlock wheels. Whereas a conventional wheel relies exclusively on air pressure to secure the tire bead to the rim, beadlock technology acts as a safeguard to the dreaded tire debead dilemma that plagues off-roaders and offers performance and ride quality improvements.

Beadlock locking ring explanationBeadlock locking ring explanation

Beadlock technology utilizes an outer ring that bolts into the face of the wheel. The beadlock ring acts as a clamp and secures the tire bead securely to the wheel regardless of air pressure.

Non-beadlock knurling explanationNon-beadlock knurling explanation

Beadlock wheels are especially beneficial in situations where varying tire pressures might be needed, for example: rock crawling, desert racing, and other extremely rough terrains. The ability to safely run lower tire pressures not only increases the tire’s contact patch area but makes for a smoother ride over rugged terrains by allowing the tire to compress more freely, effectively reducing its spring rate.

Do your off-road escapes not necessarily merit the reinforcement of a beadlock wheel? There are a variety of non-beadlock technologies that offer ample performance results for the average rider and weekend warrior. For example, oversized machined bead humps and bead seat knurling offer competitive performance and are a cost-effective solution for many riders.

Non-beadlock knurling explanationNon-beadlock knurling explanation

Bead seat knurling is a process of strengthening the grip between the tire and the wheel. During the knurling process, grooves are pressed into the bead seat of the rim. The grooves provide extra grip between the wheel and the tire bead and result in reduced tire slippage. This is especially useful over rough terrain and under intense braking and hard acceleration. Knurling is a great option for those who want increased bead grip yet maintain the visuals of a non-beadlock wheel, as well as full DOT compliance and legal highway use.

KMC’s oversized machined bead hump is another tire securing feature found on our non-beadlock wheels. Whereas a beadlock wheel uses a bead ring to secure the tire, our non-beadlock wheels use a larger bead hump profile which aids in increased tire stabilization.

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