So you think you're a big baller and you roll with a pretty heavy crowd, eh? Don't fret, little homie, here's a story about a guy who rolls on 24s every day-not with one vehicle, but two. That's right, our hero has two trucks on 24s, an '02 Cadillac Escalade and an '00 Ford Excursion. Both vehicles sport custom-made Oasis 24x10-inch wheels and are driven daily. So, what's life like on 24s, you ask? I spent a day with Victor Hernandez of Walnut, California, to see what it was like to roll big.
The first thing I asked Victor was why he chose such a huge wheel and skinny tire to roll on a daily basis. Victor said, at the time, it was the biggest diameter of wheel you could get, and being involved in the show circuit means that you have to stay on the cutting edge of the trend. To that end, Victor told us that he is currently having a custom set of 26-inch wheels being made, which will debut later this summer. Put simply, Victor went big with his wheels to keep up with the Joneses, which isn't easy or cheap.
The pros and cons of rollin' large are many, but you may also be wondering how you can fit wheels like these under a vehicle. In the case of Victor's Cadillac Escalade, a few tried-and-true mods keep his truck rolling right and the tires lasting as long as possible. To prevent any type of tire rub, some careful trimming of the inner fenderwell was performed, according to diameter of wheel and offset. Victor opted for 2-inch spindles up front and 3-inch drop coils in the rear, to bring the truck down to a tire-hugging ride height. As an added precaution, 1/2-inch spacers were installed between the hub and wheel to keep the tire from contacting and tearing out the factory brake lines and rubbing the inner fenderwell. It also gives the big SUV the wide and nasty look that all ballers crave.
Speaking of brakes, I should probably mention that they are critical, especially when you upgrade to a much larger and heavier wheel and tire package. Let's talk about the wear and tear that stock factory brakes are subjected to. To drive a truck with a brake system that effectively stops 24 inches of wheel and tire at any speed, you can't be a baller on a budget. We also compared the weight of a standard 17-inch wheel tire combo, which weighs in around 58-60 pounds. The big-baller 24 comes in at a hefty 90-100 pounds. Yes, that's a lot of weight hanging off the side of your vehicle. Stock brake pads will not last the normal length of time the manufacturer recommends, nor will they perform as well as they did when the lightweight stock wheel package was in place. Heat is an enemy to brakes, causing brake fade, and it's amplified with heavier wheels, which could have devastating results on the freeway or in cross-town traffic. The solution is cross-drilled and vented aftermarket brake discs and larger calipers with more pistons for better clamping force. As a bonus, not only will the new brakes work better and make your truck safer but they look really cool, and when you're a baller, looking cool is everything.
How do you get something this large to roll true? That's a good question. An average 16- to 17-inch wheel will traditionally take about 6 ounces of inner side stick on weights to balance the wheel. In the case of a big-boy 24-incher, it can take as much as 12- to 16-ounce weights on a fairly round, balanced wheel. Always ask your tire dealer if they have the proper tire mounting equipment and wheel balancing machines. Improperly mounted wheels can void the warranty, or worse, cause an accident when you least expect it.
Once you've selected your wheel, you have a host of tire manufacturers to choose from, including Toyo, Kumho, Hankook, and Pirelli, just to name a few. Tire size depends on your ride height and what look you're trying to achieve. Consult a reputable tire and wheel shop and they can help you in the right application for your particular vehicle.
The average cost of a 24-inch wheel and tire package can drain the pocketbook in the $6,000-8,000 range, depending on quality and brand you select. Buying cheap or at a discount isn't always the best buy. Do your homework and select a wheel that is right for your truck. Buying a forged wheel will save weight in most cases, which will save wear and tear on your truck's braking system. Buyer beware, when you purchase a set of these behemoths. Shoddy manufacturing may cause problems down the road. Try to stay with reputable brands that have a proven track record and you can't go wrong.