HomeTechnical ReviewsGaleSpeed: Forged Aluminum Wheels

GaleSpeed: Forged Aluminum Wheels

GaleSpeed: Forged Aluminum Wheels
by Don Smith

I hate to admit it but here at the super secret,
underground bunker at Dragbike.com, we get a lot of swag sent to us on a weekly
if not daily basis. Actually, UPS just leaves the boxes at the road because
even they can’t see the hidden entrance to our lair. We would call it
a “man cave” if it were not for the nubile bodied young women we
keep around. It seems like a never ending stream of leather jackets, suntan
oil, tires, lingerie, pistons, perfume, nitrous kits as well as offers to do
custom painting and head porting on our fleet of test bikes. It’s almost
a chore just to open the boxes much less install all this cool stuff on our
bikes. Now you see why we have all these girls around.

Every once and a while something comes along
that really piques our interest. GP Tech (www.Gptechllc.com)
is one of those companies that have made our short list of people we really
trust. Geoff Maloney, the owner of GP Tech is a no nonsense guy that is known
for bringing us products that work. If you recall from our last two turbo projects,
he was the supplier of choice for the AP Racing brake system we used. GP Tech
is not one of those companies that feature a lot of spinner wheels and chrome
bits that make you think you are cool. Of Course there is nothing wrong with
those items, but GP Tech is just not in that business.

Geoff is more at home in the AMA paddock where
he runs a Formula Extreme class road racing team with rider Ty Howard. In other
words Geoff knows about and sells stuff that makes you go fast. A quick look
through his catalog and you see they deal exclusively with brands like Brembo,
AP Racing, Marvic, Galfer and GaleSpeed. Who was that last name you ask? GaleSpeed?

GaleSpeed is the latest addition to the product
line at GP Tech and after having these wheels on my personal bike for the last
six months I can honestly say they are about the best looking and performing
wheel in their price range. Most magnesium wheels (even cast magnesium) start
around $2000 and go up from there, while these new forged aluminum wheels from
GaleSpeed run from $1790-$1890 depending on the style.
Most riders spend all their money on parts like exhausts and other power enhancers
to make their bike go fast and become “theirs”. Depending on the
exhaust and EFI fuel system you choose you can easily spend $1800 on those two
items only to show up at bike night with your pavement-pounder looking exactly
like everyone else’s.

If a unique look is truly what you are after
then there is no option other than custom paint that makes your bike stand out
as much as custom wheels. Any savvy rider worth his weight in shredded rubber
recognizes the value of after market wheels. The trend in most all new sportbikes
is black wheels. Frankly this makes the bike look very bottom heavy in appearance.
We ride sportbikes because they are lightweight and powerful and we expect them
to look that way too. Upgraded wheels were definitely in our future.

We took a 2005 Kawasaki ZX-10R from the garage
and decided it would get the full GaleSpeed treatment front and rear. First,
we removed the stock wheels and weighed them. If you know anything about the
latest Ninja, you know it is not a heavy bike. In fact it is one of the lightest
bikes in its class. With this being said we were afraid that the GaleSpeed wheels
may not be able to live up to their claim of weight reduction. But, unlike the
Kawasaki wheels GaleSpeed uses their own sophisticated manufacturing process
which reduces weight and increases the strength of the wheel.

GaleSpeed wheels are forged using a process known
as hot forging. This process takes place under 6 tons of force. Ordinary forging
is done by pressing in the top and bottom direction only. GaleSpeed on the other
hand presses their wheels circumferentially as well as top and bottom. This
process is called “MFF” (Multi Form Forging), creates MFD (Metal Flow
Direction). This all sounds very complicated and it is, but the bottom line
to you is these wheels are not only lighter than stock but their design centralizes
the weight at the hub. This is just as important as the overall weight of the
wheel. For those of you that have suffered with pinhole air leaks in less expensive
cast wheels, you will truly appreciate the advantages that these wheels offer.

These wheels ooze high quality and since they
are made in Japan we should not be surprised by all the technology and attention
to detail. They are made from 6061-T6 aluminum and then powder coated to your
choice of five colors. (bronze, polished, pearl white, black and our choice
which was gun metal) They also offer two different styles; a traditional 5 spoke
(Type C) and a more radical looking 10 spoke Type R. The Type R wheel is actually
10% lighter yet stronger due to its unique geometry and design. Chalk up another
winning design to the Japanese. Of course we opted for the Type Rs which go
for $1790 a pair.

The wheel comes with the gearing of your choice via an AFAM rear sprocket( in
your choice of 520, 525 or 530 size), which uses the same bolt pattern as Marvic
wheels. This will make it easy to find sprockets for future gear changes. Every
item in this set up is also high quality, from the metal valve stem and cap
to the 7075 aluminum spacer. They even use KOYO bearings to keep everything
spinning properly. After all that technology you are expecting a weight loss
and don’t worry you will not be disappointed. Even compared to these super
light factory wheels we still lost 2.1 lbs in the rear and 1.4lbs up front.

These wheels are available for many late model sportbikes in addition to the
Kawasaki ZX-10. So if you are looking for a way to shave some un-sprung weight
off your ride and upgrade the looks at the same time, this may be one of the
best ways to achieve both goals. Remember, saving weight off wheels is more
productive than dead weight, since it is rolling mass, the equivalent weight
savings is a lot more. Usually a weight savings from wheels is as effective
as double the same savings from non-rolling mass. Plus it has the advantage
of making your bike handle better from less gyroscopic effect. We have ran everything
from stock wheels to carbon fiber wheels over the last 5-6 years and every time
we shave weight in the form of aftermarket wheels, the bike absolutely handles
better than in stock form.

These have been on our ZX-10 to a documented speed of just over 193 mph and
have made many 188+ passes on Maxton’s not so smooth surface, so we know
they are durable as well as good looking and light. These wheels and a variety
of other sportbike parts are available through GP Tech at www.gptechllc.com
or call Geoff at 269-671-4915. Geoff also advised that forged magnesium wheels
will also be available from Gale Speed in 2006.

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