Deciding Between Forged Wheels and Cast Wheels
One word that is considered as taboo in the field of wheels is “cheap,” for both the price and the quality. It is said so because even inexpensive aftermarket rims are not considered as “cheap.” If you are asking for the price, then you need to know first about the look you desire and the intended application. So, when it comes to choosing between forged wheels and cast wheels, you have to consider the value they can provide.
There is a marked difference between the manufacturing of cast wheels and forged wheels. Cast wheels are formed by pouring molten aluminum into a mold and machining the bolt-holes and flanges into spec. Forged wheels are manufactured by hammering hot or cold steel into shape between a set of dies. It is well known that steel, an alloy made by mixing iron, nickel and carbon, is much harder and more advantageous than aluminum. Just check your kitchen to know the truth.
An Arrangement of Molecular Grain
Cast wheels have uniform grain lying one over the other, (very much similar to linear polymer in which one chain lies over another). Forged wheels have an interlocking structure (much similar to cross-linked polymer where two chains are interlinked with each other through a sulfide bond). If you are a chemistry student (or even a cloth weaver), it is evident which one is stronger. However, this is not the only reason.
Aluminum A-356 is used to make cast wheels. Forged wheels use 500 or 600 series aluminum that make them 60% stronger than Aluminum A-356 used in cast wheels.
When making a comparison based on the weight, both forged and cast wheels can be considered dense. Again, here the quality of the aluminum used in forged wheels plays a significant role. Forged wheels are much stronger than cast wheels, and require less material to give the same amount of rigidity.
When it comes to choosing the best wheels for low-profile tire applications, forged wheels are best suited to use in all kinds of low-profile tire applications that have a sidewall of thickness 2.5 inches or less.
Here comes the field where cast wheels win the race. The only advantage that cast wheels have over forged units is that they’re 25 to 50 percent cheaper. The range of price differs widely, as it depends on the company, type and application and many other factors, which, in turn, again have a lot of varieties. But, one thing is for sure, forged wheels are more expensive than cast wheels as they provide more customer satisfaction too. Prices also depend on the place of their origin (the place of their manufacturing, to be more precise), material used in manufacturing, dimensions of the wheel and their application. Not surprisingly, forged wheels find their applications in cars to cranes, from grinding wheels to gears, and from rings to rims.
Wait for a few years, you would be even cycling on forged wheels and forged gears.