Land Rover Defender Blog

Defender Wheel Options

Wheels. Love or hate them, they can really transform your vehicles appearance and effectiveness off-road as well as things like the handling (in conjunction with tyres) and load capacity.

Ben Gribbin

Ben Gribbin

September 23, 2011

Hello, I'm the editor of FunRover. I'm a massive Land Rover fan. Currently own a TD5 90. 2015 MR Blogger of the Year
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Land Rover currently only offer 4 wheel options for new Defenders, each with their own intended audience.

The 4 Standard Land Rover factory fitted wheels

Steel Rims

Steel rims are a standard fit for the most basic models. They are constructed by joining an inner, stamped disc (to give it a shaped profile, adding strength) to an outer, rolled edge (again adding more rigidity). Steels are renowned for being repairable in the field (you can just re-form them with a little heat and a hammer, should they become damaged off-road ). However, these wheels do eventually rust so that should be taken into account, particularly if you are buying a set second hand. Plus, out of all wheels, they are also the most standard looking. Steels are practical thanks to their high-load capacity and strength but they are rather heavy (creating extra rotating mass) compared to an alloy wheel.

Boosts

Boosts are a bit more of a modern upgrade for Defender owners. They look good and offer some serious weight advantages. Because they weigh much less than a heavy steel rim, they reduce fatigue on engine components, brakes, suspension e.t.c and also make accelerating / decelerating easier. However, one downside, alloy is more brittle than steel and could potentially shatter or crack on hard ground, especially in rocky terrain. That said, Boosts have a good weight capacity and for the everyday driver / occasional off-roader / greenlaner will be fine.

SVX / Dual Finish

A more modern take on the Boost, these Dual Finish alloys look very similar to the SVX special edition wheels. They have a much chunkier, sharper appearance and the offset appears to be different thanks to the positioning of the hub (closer to the outer edge).

Wolf / Heavy Duty

Finally, the heavy cannons, Wolf rims. Land Rover call them Heavy Duty or XD rims, they adopted the unofficial alias after being fitted to the Army's Wolf Land Rovers. These are fitted to 130's thanks to their higher load carrying weight and strength over the standard steel rims. Wolf rims are rather to 2200KG at each corner, so with 4 wheels fitted, your Land Rover could weight around 8.8 Tonnes (8800KG or 19400 lb).

So, if you walked into a Land Rover dealer today and bought a new vehicles, those are your options. Likely, many used vehicles will have one of these fitted (perhaps not Dual Finish as these are somewhat rare). But what if you want to change the look and feel of your Defender? What if you want something a bit different, that's still practical? Thankfully, there are dozens of aftermarket options, which we'll look at now.

Aftermarket Wheel Options

ZU Alloys

Probably one of, if not the most common aftermarket wheels. Zu's are of a very simple appearance, with 5 curvy spokes extending from a chunky looking hub. They are widely available in the UK, from pretty much every Land Rover online shop. They are available in 5 finishes, Satin or Gloss Black, White, Silver & Anthracite. They are suitable for Defenders, Discovery I & II as well as for the Classic & P38 Range Rovers.
Load Rating: 1400kg

Stockists: Most major Land Rover accessory & parts suppliers (Paddocks, Craddocks, Devon 4x4 e.t.c)

Mach 5 Rims

As well as the whole 5 Stud Land Rover line-up, There Mach 5's available to fit 101 Forward Controls. You can even define your own custom offset for these wheels, which look quite similar to Zu's but are generally touted as being much stronger. They are often used for off-road competition use and are offered in either road, off-road or competition levels of strength. There are also single and double bead-lock versions on offer and for £20.00 extra per wheel, you can make the wheel any RAL colour of your choice.
Load Rating: 1400kg

Stockists: Simmonites, Devon 4x4 & others


KN Predators

Here's our own personal favourite (granted, we've fitted them to our own camera car). The KN's are a little different, purely because you don't see them very often. Available in silver from the likes of Devon 4x4 but also in a wonderful, deep gloss black exclusively from John Craddocks.

Load Rating: Unknown

Stockists: John Craddocks


Terrafirma Bead-lock Alloy

Here's a very different wheel. We've only seen these fitted to one vehicle, that being the TerraFirma company Land Rover. However, they look amazing. They have a high load rating of 1300kg per wheel (great for expeditions) but the most outstanding feature, has to be the bead-lock ready outer rim. Terrafirma can supply an optional bead-lock kit, complete with allen bolts to attach the ring to the outer lip. This then allows you to drive over soft sand or snow with extreme low pressures, without losing your tyre. A very attractive wheel, with a rugged appeal, finished in either matte black or white. Suitable for overlanders.

Available from: Devon 4x4, John Craddocks and most other Terrafirma stockists.

Load Rating: 1300kg

Stockists: TerraFirma distributors

Terrafirma Dakar or Blindo (WMIK Style Wheel)

Terrafirma also produce the equally excellent 'Dakar' wheel, which is based on the Blindo Rally Raid wheel, itself based on the WMIK wheels used on some Army Land Rovers. These wheels are renowned for their strength, load capacity and low weight. The Terrafirma wheels will support 1450Kg per corner, perfect for a high speed rally raid car or just for over-landing. However, the Blindo (which is Italian for Strong. Bomb Proof. Armoured. ) wheel, sold by Silverline Wheels & Tyres, can support a whopping 1550Kg. This is said to be the strongest commercially available alloy wheel on the market, and as the design's used by the army, you can be very confident in it's out right strength.

Load Capacity: Dakar: 1450kg // Blindo: 1550kg

Stockists: TerraFirma distributors

CW Alloys

If you're looking for something that just looks mean, check out CW Alloys. In silver, they're pretty subtle, and appear to look just like any other alloy wheel, with a slight variation on the design. However, in black, they look mean! Fitted to the DMC Defender above, you can see these wheels are very cool and very unique. You can't directly buy CW Alloys in black, unless you order them in silver and have them powder coated at a cost of roughly £20 per wheel. You may also be able to purchase them from Daur Performance (makers of the DMC Defender), but you'll need to contact them for current prices.

Load Capacity: Unknown

Stockists: Devon 4x4

Modular or 8 Spoke

The humble modular steel rim, available in with circular punch outs or as an 8 spoke style wheel. These wheels come in silver, white or black and some companies offer them in basically any colour you like. Famed for their strength (though the actual load rating has for some reason eluded all of our Google searches) as well as ease of field repair (e.g. heat up and welt with a hammer!). These also happen to be some of the best value for money wheels available, so for an out and out off-roader who's worried about strength and also damaging the finish, they might be your best bet.

Load Capacity: Unknown

Stockists: Most major Land Rover parts suppliers



7 Comments

  1. Bart says:

    What do you think about older but widely available tornado wheels?

  2. James says:

    How about cross model wheels, will alloys from a Discovery fit a 90, and will alloys from a Defender fit a P38 and so forth?

    • Ben Gribbin Ben Gribbin says:

      Hi James,

      That’s a great suggestion, we’ll add that to our list of future posts, but for now, we **think** series 1 discoveries have the same stud pattern as a Defender so they should fit. You may wish to check online about offsets and remember if you are putting Disco alloys on a 90, the hub-cap centre might not fit due to the Defender’s axle ends.

  3. Wheels from Disco 1’s will fit any Defender. I’m currently running Disco steel wheels with a custom offset and painted black on my Defender.

  4. Mark says:

    Looking for the solution of the center cap clearance issue with the Disco Star wheels on my Defender 90. Spacers?

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