Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Trying on new shoes: Rota RKR

We got in some new wheels from our friends at Rota, and immediately installed them on our BRZ.  The Rota RKR has looks that remind me of the old-school RS Watanabe wheels from Japan, but the size is a thoroughly-modern 18" diameter, staggered with an 8.5" width in front and a 9.5" width for the back wheels.

We installed a take-off set of tires from my BMW 335i.  Those happen to be sizes 225/40R18 and 255/35R18.  They fit the car easily, without any rubbing.  If I was buying a brand-new set I'd probably go a bit wider, to a 265/35R18 in the back and a 245/35R18 in front.  I think those would fit without clearance problems.  The rear I'm sure is an easy fit.  The front might be a little tight to the strut -- the spring perch sometimes gets close to the tire when you start going to a wider size.  Nothing a small wheel spacer wouldn't take care of.

In fact, I am thinking I might try some slim spacers just to space this set out a few more millimeters.  There looks to be plenty of room to the fenders.  The +44 offset is a good bit more than most aftermarket wheels for this car, although I definite prefer higher offset to lower.  You can always space a wheel out using spacers.  There's no way to push a wheel in if the offset is too low.

As usual, we secured the wheels to the car with McGard SplineDrive lug nuts.

Weight on the wheels is 21.2 and 22.1 pounds for the 8.5" and 9.5" widths, respectively.  That's only a couple of pounds heavier than the stock 17x7" wheels (at 20.1 pounds).

The RKR comes in other colors, including black and "Hyper Blue," which is a very vivid deep blue color.  I thought the Hyper Black looked classy without being too loud, but I confess I'm curious to see what the blue wheel would look like on our car.
I think the BRZ with the RKR on it looks very nice.  The spoke design is simple and tasteful.  The wheels give it a little bit of a toy car look, which to me suits the fun character of the car.

Products mentioned in this post: Rota RKR wheels, McGard SplineDrive lug nuts.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"No Power" No More

For a while now I've been fielding questions about the Mach V BRZ's vanity plates, which have spelled out "NO POWER" since the car was new.  It started out as sort of an inside joke about the public reaction to the car's low engine output back when the BRZ/FR-S were first released.  But now the car is supercharged, and it seemed to make less and less sense over time, so we just got some new plates -- see the photo.  It's not super-creative, but Virginia has some of the cheapest vanity plate fees in the country, so if you have any better ideas, let us know and we'll change them up again.

That license plate is mounted on a new, revised Platypus tow hook mount from Craven Speed.  The new mount has a couple of improvements over the older one, including an angled plate to better match the bumper, and a full-size backing plate for the license plate.

I don't have many new modifications to report on the car, save for some very nice Superpro sway bars and Kartboy rear end links.  The Superpro bars installed easily, and the fatter diameter (I went with 20mm front and 18mm rear, compared with 19mm front and 14mm rear for the stock car) keeps the car flatter under cornering.  The Kartboy end links are easy to install and we know from experience on other Subaru applications that they are trouble-free over the long haul.  At this point we don't know of an aftermarket front end link for the BRZ/FR-S.

Other than that change, not much is new.  I drive the car two or three times a week, including lots of plain old commuting with lots of stop-and-go driving.  I continue to enjoy driving it -- the fun handling never gets old, and the Innovate supercharger has delivered reliable and trouble-free power for the past year.

In a previous blog post from last year I mentioned condensation on one of the rear tail lamps.  That lamp was replaced under warranty, but we hear that Subaru has stopped doing that since then.  Our lamps haven't taken on any water in the interim, so with any luck we won't have to worry about it again.

We do have some new Rota RK-R wheels waiting to be mounted up on the car, so when that's done and I've taken some photos I will post up again.

Products referenced in this post: Platypus tow hook license plate mount, Innovate supercharger kit, Superpro sway bars, Kartboy rear end links.