From 16’s to 26’s—The Diesel Industry Runs the Gamut When it Comes to Wheels
In its infancy, diesel performance looked a whole lot different than it does today. But we’re no longer living in the world of 16-inch chrome, especially since the modern diesel truck is used for so much more than work and the occasional show ‘n shine. In many ways, today’s trucks are more of a fashion statement than anything else. After all, either of the Big Three’s diesel-powered pickups can top $80,000 once you get into the upper trim levels, so simply owning that Super Duty Platinum or Silverado High Country is a statement all of its own. And when you invest that much in a vehicle, of course you want it to look good. Hence the wheel explosion that’s occurred over the last 10-12 years.
There was a time when you weren’t cool unless you had 20’s on your diesel. Then 22’s came into style, followed by 24’s. Now, 26-inch wheels are the talk of the town. To be sure, all of these sizes are still what we would consider to be “in” in 2020, but the giant 24x14’s and 26x16’s are definitely front and center at today’s truck shows. Below, we’ll spotlight some of the most popular wheels, both then and now, along with some of the titans of the wheel industry. Along the way, you might just spot your next set of wheels…
American Force B02 Trax SS
When it comes to aftermarket wheels in the diesel segment, American Force owns a large swath of real estate—and for good reason. Whether you’re after a Super Single, high offset, bead lock or bolt-on 19.5’s for your dually, dozens upon dozens of options exist. One popular super single model from the Miami-based company is its polished B02 Trax SS. The 22x12 version with a -40 offset and 5-inch backspacing is shown above, with this same wheel being available in 20x9 all the way up to 26x16. The B02 Trax SS can also be had with machined inserts.
Hostile H108 Sprocket
Hostile Wheels’ H108 Sprocket is very popular right now. It’s available in Armor Plated (chrome), Asphalt (all black) and Blade Cut (black with polished accents). The Armor Plated version pictured here measures 22x12, but the H108 Sprocket can be had in 20x9, 20x10, 20x12, 22x14, 24x12 and 24x14, either of which can be spotted at any given truck show.
You can’t talk about wheels without bringing Fuel Off-Road into the conversation. Its Hostage line is extremely well-received these days, with the D530 (shown), D531 and D625 covering all preferences (chrome, matte black and gloss black, respectively). This wheel design is available in everything from a 17x8.5 to a 24x11. A 22x11 is on display here, joined with Nitto 305/45R22 NT420S tread and bolted underneath a 10-second ’08 Ford F-250.
American Force 161 Alpha SS
When 24’s began to infiltrate the diesel industry a few years ago, it wasn’t just being fitted to mild-mannered, all-season tires. In this case, American Force 161 Alpha SS’s have been mounted to 38-inch Trail Grappler M/T’s (specifically 38x13.50R24). The Alpha’s provided the exact look the owner was after, given the ’13 Ram 2500’s 10-inch Full Throttle Suspension lift with 2.0 remote reservoir shocks. Believe it or not, the truck this hardware is bolted to spends considerable time traversing the wetlands, heading to and from the duck blind.
One wheel that’s caught on in a huge way is the MO962 from Moto Metal. Specifically, we see the gloss black milled 20x12 version everywhere we go. Also available in satin gray milled and chrome finishes, the MO962 exists in 17, 18, 20, 22 and 24-inch diameters with 0 to -44mm offsets and 4.56, 4.77 or 5-inch backspacing. Each 8-lug wheel carries a 3,640-pound load capacity as well, so it’s well-suited for essentially any E or F load range tire on the market.
American Force 76 Blade SS
From flashy to subtle to everything in between, there is an American Force super single for everyone. The company’s 76 Blade model has caught our eye a time or two, and with sizing available from 20x9’s all the way up to 26x16’s it stands to reason why we’ve seen it bolted on everything from daily drivers to show queens. Here, a 20x12-inch 76 Blade is fitted to NT420S rubber in 31-inch form (285/50R20).
If you’re at a diesel event and don’t spot several trucks sporting these, it’s time for a trip to the optometrist. The Maverick has been a wildly successful wheel line for Fuel Off-Road, with half a dozen renditions currently on the market (D436, D536, D537, D538, D542 and D610). The familiar 20x10 Maverick D610 is exhibited above, this particular wheel featuring 4.5-inch backspacing, -24mm offset and a 3.5-inch lip size.
The O.G., the BMF Novakane
Unfortunately, SOTA Offroad (BMF Wheels prior to that) shut all of its manufacturing operations down late last year, but this company was a big part of the 20-inch wheel craze that took off in the 2007-2010 time-frame. In particular, its Death Metal BMF Novakane was unbelievably popular, so much so that many of today’s popular competing wheels are very similar in design. If you’re in to collecting wheels, this one will go down in history as one of the OG trend-setters in 20-inch and larger wheels.
With so many different designs available from American Force, it’s easy to get lost in all of the options. However, the endless possibilities can also help you set your truck apart from the crowd. In all of our time spent at truck shows, we’ve only seen this gem a handful of times: AF’s Specialty Forged SF007. Made from 6061-T6 forged-aluminum, this line can be had as small as 20x9 and as big as 28x16. That’s right, we said 28! The ‘beaut shown here measures 24x14, and is one of 15 available sizes.
AAR Forged Wheels might not be the biggest player in the wheel game, but the guys there do some great work. These custom-cut 22x14-inch super singles drew us in and we even featured the 700hp ’10 Ford F-250 they’re bolted to back in September. In the ever-growing world of diesel enthusiasts, being unique is becoming harder and harder to pull off. Luckily, company’s like AAR Forged Wheels exist to help make that happen.
Old-School Still Has Its Place
While 20’s and larger are all the rage these days, we believe old-school wheels in smaller diameters still get the job done in the looks department. Case in point, what’s not to like about an era-correct set of 16x8 or 16x10-inch Mickey Thompson Classic II’s on an old body style Ford, or maybe even Welds or Eagle Alloys? We knew you’d agree.
Ever wonder why diesel guys like the NT420S all season tire so much? Find out here!