Category Archives: Braking & Handling

Wheel Tech, Part I: Wheel Weight Slows You Down

Wheels are wheels right? Just pick whatever wheels look sweet on your ride and you’re off. Oh, and the bigger they are – the better, right?

Unfortunately, wheels are one of the major places that many enthusiasts completely ruin their car's potential performance. They have an enormous impact on ride quality, acceleration, handling, and also to a smaller degree, braking.

Choosing the correct size and paying careful attention to weight will improve your car’s ride and ability to tear it up at the track and on the street.

Wheel weight is one factor that many enthusiasts are aware of. However, I still see so many people picking wheels for their car that weigh a LOT. Some enthusiasts select the right wheel, but blow it on the size they chose to run.

Let’s talk about weight first and then we’ll talk about one of the more controversial and surprising topics of wheel size in the next part.

Why does wheel weight matter? Wheel weight, if nothing else, is part of the vehicle’s weight and will need to be carried along with the car’s mass everywhere it goes. It Is one of the cheaper and easier items to change on a car, especially when it comes to weight. It’s free to lose weight by removing items, but replacing components with lighter weight parts is usually expensive. Wheels, are multipurpose items and they can usually be the source of quite a few pounds of weight loss at a much better value than carbon fiber hoods and the like.

They are also a special sort of weight. Wheels turn (obviously) and therefore they are rotational weight. If you pick up a 30lb weight it may feel a little heavy in your hands. However, if you attach that same weight to a piece of chain or rope and begin to swing it, you’ll find out quite quickly that it is much harder to spin a 30lb weight than to simply hold it. It is also requires more and more energy the further out you let that weight slide from you. So, if you spin a 30lb weight on a 2ft piece of chain, it’s a lot easier than even a 3 ft section of chain.


Posted in Braking & Handling | 5 Comments

Q&A Sensible Brake Upgrade Advice

I am thinking about starting a newsletter/online magazine/something like that. I get a lot of questions from people every day and I try to answer them in the most complete way I know how. However, I have decided it's a shame to waste all of this great information on individual e-mails and so now I'm going to start picking a few questions every week to write a short write-up on a topic of interest.

This week, I've chosen a common question about brake upgrades. Depending on the feedback I get from this e-mail (let me know if you found it interesting/helpful), I may continue doing this sort of thing on a weekly basis. I may also eventually open it up to new subscribers as right now it's pretty much a closed list.

The goal is to start debunking all these stupid forum myths that are floating around and start giving you guys the REAL dirt on performance car building. I'm sick of the magazine marketing and the half-truths being spouted off by every other 14 year old on the forums. While the forums are good for finding out things like, does a part break often... it's a terrible place to get advice on building your car.

I have always relied on my teachers who are actual racers, actual engine builders, and people who have ACTUALLY done real world testing of various concepts. You will find that what I tell you, and what these experts tell you, will often fly in the face of all the bull you've been fed for years. You can either choose to accept what I say, try it out for yourself and see what I'm on about, or you can write me off as a lunatic and be on your way - either way is fine with me.

However, I hope that you will get massive value from this e-mail, and hopefully future ones as well...

I have a question about the braking system. When I do [my engine swap\ what is the best braking system? I see people changing to the NSX calibers and the 5lug conversion. What do u think about that?

"If u beef up in power don't u need better rotors calibers and brakes to stop that beast?"


Here's the deal on brakes...

Most brake upgrades do nothing to stop you in a shorter distance, they only add feel or heat capacity. Brakes only work well in a certain temperature range. If they get too hot, they fail completely.


Posted in Braking & Handling | 4 Comments