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Reinventing the Wheel

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Companies on the leading edge of the wheel industry are always taking chances

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and coming up with hot new ideas. This month, we’ll take a closer look at what is arguably one of the hottest design concepts since the invention of the wheel itself.

I’m talking about the various types of free-spinning or constant-motion wheels that have hit the market over the last couple of years. To help you understand more about these designs and how they are assembled, we’re going to highlight a few of the different concepts.

We start with the original, Dävin Wheels. This wheel was the brainchild of David Fowlkes Jr., who developed the idea for a college project back in 1990.

After several years of development, he partnered with people who had the talent to get the financing and marketing off the ground. Ironically, sales and demand were ignited when this wheel became synonymous with NBA star Latrell Sprewell’s Sprewell Racing.

As we have discussed before, a celebrity endorsement for the right product can boost awareness to an unbelievable level. Sprewell Racing was the first distributor of the wheel. Also, the wheels appeared on MTV’s Cribs show and gained exposure that further reinforced the design concept.

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The wheels are designed so that the spinner fits each wheel specifically. This gives the wheel and spinner a good fit, without clearance problems, that adds to the unusual spinning effect.

Once the base wheel, typically with a solid background, is installed, a second hub is bolted to the base wheel. The spinner rides on this hub and is held on with a nut, much like a brake rotor. The nut is hidden under the spinner cap. According to Darius Billings, director of marketing, "our wheel is for the high-end, high-profile customer."

Expect to sell this wheel, with tires, for between $8,000 to $10,000.

Next, we have Oasis Wheels. They, too, sell their wheels with the spinner designed for a specific wheel. Oasis designed an aesthetically stylish base wheel for its spinner to ride on. Oasis drills and taps the wheel so that the spinner bolts to the face of the wheel and covers the lug nuts.

The company says it’s always looking to push the edge in design and size. Oasis wheels are built here in the U.S., so quality control can be reliably maintained at high levels. These wheels even carry a one-year warranty on the spinner, plating and bearing.

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Oasis sells directly to the dealer, which allows it to offer a quality product at a fair price. Juan Hernandez of Oasis says the average 20-inch spinner has a dealer cost of $750 each, including the spinner, and deliver an average of 20% to 30% markup.

Our last type of spinner comes from SpinTek, which is owned by KMC Wheel Co. This design, developed by Colby Groom, is sold as an add-on accessory for an existing wheel. Marketing Manager Ray Gutierrez said "it is offered in sizes to fit 20- and 22-inch wheels that have a flat face and a two-inch lip."

Many SUV wheels have a profile that will allow these to be bolted to them. Simply remove the cap from the wheel, if it covers the lugs. Next, install the special lug kit that has a threaded hole in the end. The SpinTek uses a five- or six-lug adapter to fit the bolt pattern of the specific vehicle. Allen head screws secure the spinner to the wheel.

Expect a dealer cost of $1,600 to $2,000 for a set of these spinners.

These new spinners are all made from billet aluminum and are CNC machined to hold tight tolerances. These designs are a testament to modern ingenuity and style.

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This part of the wheel industry will continue to evolve and produce more fresh new ideas that will keep customers coming back to your shop. Make sure that you know where to get these items and how to market to this demographic.

Look for more innovative ideas to help you stay on top of the wheel industry and grow your business in the next several months. TR

For more on these wheels, contact:

Dävin Wheel Co.

220 West Exchange St., Suite 107

Providence, RI 02903

401-273-8041

www.davinwheels.com

Oasis Wheels

400 South Lemon St.

Anaheim, CA 92805

714-533-3286

www.oasiswheels.com

KMC Wheel Co.

1455 Columbia Ave.

Riverside, CA 92507

909-784-4562

www.kmcwheels.com

www.spin-tek.com

 

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