Mustang Forged vs Flowform Wheels

Kevin Cassar
November 12, 2020

Mustang Flow Form vs Forged Wheels

In the world of Mustang performance, horsepower and styling are at the center of every enthusiast's mind. Every Mustang owner strives to attain the best form and function for their stallion. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to separate yourself from the rest of the herd because many owners enjoy the same wheel styles. As wheel technology has progressed within the last ten years, so has the plethora of options and styles you can choose. For many years, Mustang fans only had a limited number of wheel styling and structure options.

First and foremost, the most popular wheel on the market today is a cast wheel; you're probably wondering why is that? First off, they are very inexpensive to mass-produce for vast quantities. Secondly, cast wheels are a process in which wheels are manufactured from a molded form to a shape or a cast until the liquid aluminum is cooled down, trimmed, and drilled out to the manufacturer's design. There is a significant downside to a cast wheel, which is porosity. Porosity is the physical space inside the cast wheel's material once it has had a chance to be cooled. It allows for weak points to form when the casting occurs. To counteract this issue, wheel manufacturers will use larger tolerances to ensure rigidity but, at the same time, are prone to holding more weight. The upside to this is that cast wheels are much more cost-effective to every Mustang enthusiast, while on the flip side, you will have to deal with a cumbersome wheel that doesn't aid in rotational mass at all; it only will increase it.

Thankfully, this is not the only form of wheels that are on the market today. As cast wheels have become very outdated and primarily used for more cost-effective options, hardcore Mustang owners look to both forged and flow form wheel options to get the most strength and attain the lightest weight possible. Throughout this article, we will give you a complete breakdown of the differences between flow form and forged wheels!

Flow Form Mustang Wheels

Mustang Flow Form Wheels

Mustang Flowform Wheels18" Apex EC-7s on our HPDE S550

Chances are, if you love wheels as much as we do here at Steeda, then you will love the multiple characteristics and benefits a flow form wheel has to offer your Mustang. When searching for a set of wheels, you will ask yourself a few variables: how much I am willing to spend, what style I am searching for, and how will I free up rotational mass? Fortunately, there is a solution for those Mustang enthusiasts who want to have a cost-effective price point and have an exceedingly strong wheel; the answer is a flow form wheel. Now, if you're relatively new to the world of wheels, you may not know what a flow form wheel is and how it is constructed.

Whereas a cast wheel is formed from a mold with liquid aluminum and then milled out to create its shape, a flow form wheel is engineered with the base of a cast wheel, which is then purposely made narrower than its original design. After this process is complete, manufacturers like HRE Performance Wheels will stick the wheel barrel on a machine that will spin it. In contrast, it will let the steel roll against the wheel while compressing and stretching the wheel barrel, resulting in a forged-like wheel with similar structural characteristics in rigidity and strength but benefiting from a lightweight structure, reducing rotational mass. Most enthusiasts are always looking for the best quality wheel without breaking the bank; fortunately, flow-formed wheels are not at the price point where the forged wheel is at, making it very cost-effective for any Mustang enthusiast to attain.

Most Apex wheels are flow-formed and people run them regularly as a dedicated track wheel, as they are well-known to have an incredibly strong manufacturing process that challenges most forged wheels at an incredible price point! They are great for daily driving, track work, and spirited driving through any canyon or back road. We run 18" x 11" Apex EC-7s on our HPDE car regularly at the track and they stand up very well to Glen's aggressive driving style! They will no doubt complement your Mustang in terms of performance, styling, structural integrity, and stance to help you stand out from the herd of stallions in the community.

Mustang Forged Wheels

Mustang Forged Wheels

The first variable you need to understand about forged wheels is that they do not come cheap and are not for the faint of heart. Forged wheels are commonly acquired or used for Mustang enthusiasts or racers that need the strongest, lightest, and most rigid to handle different track or road conditions. Unlike a flow-formed wheel, a forged wheel is built with varying principles that the manufacturer implements on how they're constructed. Where a flow form wheel has one way of being made, a forged wheel has multiple ways to build, such as machine forging and mold-form forging. You will want to note that forged wheels come at a hefty price tag and be prepared to pay well near $1,000 or more per wheel.

Machine Forging

When you are looking to get a forged wheel, you will find that the build process is often machined forging; most forged wheel manufacturers like Velgen Wheels will use this process. It starts with a single piece of billet aluminum subjected to extreme temperatures combined with a massive amount of pressure, compressed to the wheel's structure to make a much stronger piece than the original piece unit of billet. After this is completed, it will be taken to be milled into its intended design; this is the authentic way forged wheels have been constructed for many years.

Mold-Form Forging

Many companies use different methods to build forged wheels throughout the wheel marketplace, such as mold-form forging. It is different because the shape of the wheel is created during the forging process. When you are making the shape of the wheel during the forging process, you allow the grain of the metal to flow with the wheel's intended design body, resulting in a tremendous amount of strength and rigidity. Once this process is completed, builders will take the forged wheel to a press machine that will apply ten thousand tons of pressure to the wheel's outer and inner portion to finish creating the desired wheel design.

Mustang Flow Form Wheels

Which Mustang Wheels Are Right For Me?

Choosing the right set of wheels is very subjective to the individual Mustang enthusiast. Everyone is going to be after a unique style and price point. If you look at both a flow form wheel and a forged wheel, they are similar to how they both have extreme rigidity and construction, but they differ in the price tag and the application you intend to use. Flow form wheels are for the enthusiast looking to receive high strength, cost-effectiveness, and weight-savings without breaking the bank.

A forged wheel is designed to take the most abuse and adjust to various conditions depending on what application it is used. The significant benefits you will get out of a forged wheel versus a flow form wheels will be the weight-saving; for Mustang racers and hardcore enthusiasts getting the most weight reduction to decrease rotational mass is vital. When you reduce rotational mass, you increase the horsepower your Mustang will produce to the ground. The rule of thumb is when you have more weight on all four corners; it takes more horsepower and torque to spin that weight, reducing it frees up power-on-demand. Whether you can afford a forged wheel or need to be budget-friendly with a flow form wheel, you will be increasing your Mustang styling, agility, and reducing your rotational weight no matter what you decide.


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Image Credit: Velgen Wheels, HRE




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