posted on December 11, 2012 21:00
Project Civic SI - RAYS Gram Lights Wheels and Nitto Motivo Tires
By Aaron LaBeau
Shopping for wheels is a huge ordeal! Its been written a thousand times before but no other modification seems to have as dramatic of a change on the look as the wheels. Make the wrong decision and you're out a ton of money. How many of these bad decisions have you seen on Craigslist? You can go with a wheel that's been done before and looks good but isn't being different part of the reason why we get aftermarket wheels to begin with?
We went pretty extreme on this project with a 33 offset. This gives us the biggest bend in the spokes and detent in the hub. Given the choice again we would have gone with a 45 offset but we'll make it work.
For a long time this journalist has lusted after having a set of expensive three piece wheels with an aggressive and deep polished lip. Unfortunately, the narrow offset and extra wide wheel necessary for this look can be problematic on FWD cars for clearance with both the suspension and fenders. The hella fail crowd gets around these issues on the 8th generation Civic by running extra wide wheels anyway and cutting or rolling the fenders in addition to running radical negative camber. The downward spiral of insanity is exacerbated when a 215 width (stock) sized tire is mounted to a 9.5” wheel (FYI the stock wheel is 7”) to achieve the aggressive stanced and stretched look that is the trend these days.
To achieve an aggressive look with a three piece wheel you need an extra wide rim of 9” or more which is pretty much the limit for our SI even with rolling the fenders and other tricks. So we looked at tuner wheels and gravitated towards the Volk RE30. Then realized that both our Project S2000 and EVO VIIIare rolling on Volk RE30's. So we took a look at the Volk CE-28N and noticed that our EVO IX rolls on Volk CE-28N's. Guess we all have good similar tastes in the MotoIQ garage.
Enter RAYS 57 Xtreme to put our suffering over choice to rest. The 57Xtreme is a cast wheel but we've already gone into detail with what's done for RAYS Forged Wheelprocess. RAYS has taken their experience developing strong cast wheels that can withstand the torture of BTCC (British Touring Car Championship) and adopted that technology for use with their cast retail wheels. All RAYS wheels exceed JWL standards and every cast wheel receives the JWL+R Spec inspection sticker. With RAYS wheels you get the perfect harmony of performance, style and functionality.
RAYS pays careful attention to their customers' demands which is most blatantly conveyed with the many choices that are left once you choose a wheel style. There are three rim width choices in 18” diameter fitment(s) and five rim width choices in 19” fitment(s). Each corresponding rim width has various offsets and corresponding levels of rim concavity. And, now that I've bored you to death, here's a chart going into more detail.
Aaron-san's Japanese, not too good but it's easy enough to determine with this chart, the various spoke depths possible with the different rim widths and offsets. We chose an 18x8.5” wheel to achieve the most aggressive look possible.
Our wheel weighs in at 19.2 lbs which is on the lighter end of 18" wheel sizes. By no means is this the lightest wheel (look to RAYS Volk line) but the strength and long term durability of the RAYS brand gives us considerable peace of mind.