In the 4x4 business there are many opinions on wheels. Some want the nicest-looking wheel they can find with as much chrome as possible. Others couldn't care less about looks, as performance is their single goal. And then there are the guys that just want something between their axle and tires with whatever's cheapest filling the tire. On our tire test last month we examined a few sets of wheels and had both positive and negative results with each. Of course every manufacturer has certain goals with their wheels and we can respect that, but we've yet to come across the perfect wheel. We are big fans of the Hutchinson Rock Monster bead locks, having run them on a few previous project vehicles. These double bead-lock wheels sandwich both the inner and outer bead and a rubber bead-lock insert between the two halves of the rim. Hutchinson also makes wheels for many military vehicles, so we decided to go with a set in Military Green for our Army Truck Project.We are big fans of the Hutchinson Rock Monster bead locks, having run them on a few previo So what would be the perfect wheel? For us it would be a double bead lock to assure both the inner and outer tire bead stays seated even at single-digit pressures. It would be simple to mount tires on, preferably not requiring an hour-long wrestling match with each assembly. It would be strong but also lightweight; something around 30-35 pounds would be great since busting a kidney each time you swap your spare gets old. It would be pliable like steel so it can be beaten back into shape should it get bent, but light like aluminum. These mythical super wheels would have a well protected valve stem, but not so well protected that you can't get to them for airing up or down easily. And finally they would be available in a wide range of colors and finishes so whether you like the rugged matte black finish or fancy chrome, or just want your wheels to match your truck, anything is possible. Oh and one last thing that is very, very important to us: You should never, ever need some special thin wall socket or extralong lug nut to mount your wheels on your truck; that is just plain wrong. Mounting your first set of Hutchinson bead locks is a four-letter-word-producing ordeal, but by the time we mounted our fifth for the night, we had it down to just 15 minutes. You need to first put the rubber insert in the tire...Mounting your first set of Hutchinson bead locks is a four-letter-word-producing ordeal, b ...Then put the back of the wheel through the tire. Notice the four long studs; they are used to pull down the front of the wheel and clamp the rubber bead-lock ring between the two wheel beads and the two tire beads....Then put the back of the wheel through the tire. Notice the four long studs; they are u To seal the front and back of the two-piece Rock Monster wheels, you need to install the included O-ring. The O-ring snaps into a machined groove, but be cautious that it stays in place as you put the two halves together.To seal the front and back of the two-piece Rock Monster wheels, you need to install the i Use a star pattern to pull the two halves together and torque them to spec. We found that using an impact to get them together works well, and then an initial torque of 60 lb-ft is followed by a retorquing of 70 to 80 lb-ft. Speaking of pounds, these 17-inch Rock Monsters weighed in at a burly 53 pounds.Use a star pattern to pull the two halves together and torque them to spec. We found that One problem with our wheels was that the hub bore of the wheels were a pinch too small for a Dana 60 hub. We got them to fit on this IFS truck, but when installed on the solid-axle Blazer, they didn't seat just right. This had never been a problem before with other Hutchinson wheels we've tested, and may have been due to the powdercoating. In any case, the wheel opening has since been enlarged, and the problem was relayed to Hutchinson for future wheels.One problem with our wheels was that the hub bore of the wheels were a pinch too small for The other bead locks we recently tested are made by Beadlock Specialties. By machining aluminum wheels (in our case American Racing rims) and welding on inner rings, they can modify your wheels or supply brand-new wheels ready to go. We like the thick bead-lock ring and knurling for bead retention, and the overall appearance and performance of the wheels and bead locks was topnotch.The other bead locks we recently tested are made by Beadlock Specialties. By machining alu Even with the large ring on, we were surprised that we could still fit an impact in to remove the lug nuts, though it had to be turned upside down for the bottom lugs. Granted, we expected the rings to trap a lot of mud; they cleaned out fairly well with the spinning tires, but some additional drainage holes for getting water out would be good. We understand the need for protection of the valve stem and hub, but sometimes huge bead-lock rings can be more hindrance than help.Even with the large ring on, we were surprised that we could still fit an impact in to rem One problem we've found with other bead locks is that valve stem access is horrible. We put some 2 1/2-inch rubber valve stems in the Beadlock Specialties wheels for a compromise between protection and access, but be sure you line up the opening in the rings correctly, and don't use those valve stems with the stupid chrome tip.One problem we've found with other bead locks is that valve stem access is horrible. We pu Another pet peeve of ours is having to use a thin wall socket on the bead-lock bolts. The Beadlock Specialties versions we tested weren't too bad, and they come with standard six-point bolts, so we were sure to have the correct socket no matter where we went. One question we had is why no one uses tight-fitting alignment dowels to line up the bead-lock ring, instead of relying on the bolts to locate the ring.Another pet peeve of ours is having to use a thin wall socket on the bead-lock bolts. The We also tested a handful of non-bead-lock wheels and found a disturbing problem: lug nut access. Why are wheels manufactured with little to no space around the lug nuts? Of course most people don't change wheels as much as we did during our test, but even if you have to change them just once in the rain along the side of the highway and your truck's factory lug wrench won't fit down in the opening around the lug nut, you'd be ready to murder someone.We also tested a handful of non-bead-lock wheels and found a disturbing problem: lug nut a Of course you can run ridiculously longer lug nuts like this, but then you'll often scratch up the fancy wheels with the socket. A real concern of some readers.Of course you can run ridiculously longer lug nuts like this, but then you'll often scratc Here is an old set of aluminum Center Line rims we also used, and notice how the lug nuts have plenty of space around them-easy to change in the field with thick or thin wall sockets or the appropriate factory lug wrench. When getting your next set of wheels, take note of more than just your favorite style.Here is an old set of aluminum Center Line rims we also used, and notice how the lug nuts SOURCES Hutchinson Rock Monsters Center Line Wheels N/A www.centerlinewheels.com Beadlock Specialties Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!