Archive for the ‘Montana Scale Designs’ Category

Hey folks, just a post ago, I wrote about Beadlock wheels and what they’re for. I came across this great review article from on Beadlock wheels by Montana Scale Designs (MSD), what they’re good for, and how they’re installed. Take it as a generalized write-up. I believe RC beadlock wheels have more advantages and less disadvantages compared to their life-size counterparts. Now, balancing the rim isn’t as big as a concern as the life-sized beadlock rims and tyres. In fact, after you’re through with this article, you should appreciate the application of beadlock wheel setups, and want to get a set for your monster truck. They’re just tougher and more durable, period. Your #1 source for Radio Controlled Rockcrawling!.

Product Review  MSD 2.2 Beadlock Wheels

Text & photos by Jay Kopycinski

If you’re serious about crawling, you almost assuredly have tried or own several sets of tires based on your rig and terrain you crawl. Along with using different sets of tires, swapping tires, or changing foams or weights comes the hassle of breaking them down from time to time. This typically requires careful cutting of the glue used to hold the tire to wheel, or boiling, or some other means of getting them back apart. RC beadlock wheels cure that problem by using a small ring that bolts to each side of the wheel to pinch and hold the tire bead in the wheel assembly. Swapping tires, foams, or weights simply requires removing and replacing the bolt-on rings.

We got our hands on a set of Erickson 2.2 beadlocks from Montana Scale Designs. The set of four wheels came nicely packaged and we tore into the bubble wrap to find some very trick parts. The wheels come in five different patterns (we got a Double Six set) and the wheels are machined from solid black Delrin® with a beefy 9.5mm thickness. The finish on the wheels was nice and smooth with some slight milling swirls evident on the machined faces.

Since these were designed from scratch to be a rock crawling wheel, they come with a narrow width of 33.2mm (about 1.3″), not including the beadlock rings. Also, to push the track width out a bit, the wheels were designed so the wheel hex is flush with the backside of the wheel. The hex sockets look plenty sturdy, fits a wheel hex snugly, and there are two small holes in each wheel to allow for some tire breathing.

Beadlock rings are used on the front and rear faces, and are machined from 4.8mm thick 6061 T6 plate. Each heat treated aluminum ring is held to the wheel using eight 3 x 13mm button head cap screws. The rings come with a random brushed matte finish, or may be ordered powder-coated as well. Our set included more than enough hardened black screws (stainless optional) to build our wheels, with spares left over. We can appreciate that.

We weighed one of the wheels, with two beadlock rings and hardware and found the total to be 134 grams (4.7 oz.). By comparison, a standard Traxxas Stampede wheel weighs in at 23 grams (0.8 oz.). So, you can definitely see that these wheels add some weight to your tire assembly. It’s all down low and entirely predictable, unlike free-moving weights used inside tires.

When it came time to mount up a set of tires, we grabbed a fresh set of Proline Masher 2000s to give em a try. We were a bit worried that installing all those screws in the Delrin® was going to be annoying, but read on and see. We trimmed up the tire foams, put them in the tires, then slipped the tires onto the wheels. At first, it seemed a bit difficult to get the small tire bead to sit evenly around the machined step on the wheel. However, we quickly found a trick to aid with this process.

We held the tire in one hand and lightly squeezed its outer diameter while pushing the wheel slightly from the backside. This pulled the opposite side tire bead down onto the wheel step and we used a finger to gently push the tire bead and seat it on this step. By using more or less squeezing pressure on the tire and wheel, we were able to adjust how well the bead seated. While continuing to hold these, we laid the first beadlock ring on the wheel and installed two opposing screws, and snugged them down a bit. With this we could release our grip and install the remaining six screws. Next, we worked our way around the ring and tightened the screws a little at a time until they were all snug and even. Finally, we flipped the wheel over and repeated for the other side.

We were surprised at how smoothly the screws went into the wheels, thinking they were going to require more effort on our part. We had one screw that went in snug, but simply found some debris on the threads when we pulled it back out. This may have been leftover machining debris or something we got in the wheel ourselves. All the other screws worked perfectly.

With the tires mounted and beadlock rings snugged down, we grabbed and pulled on the tires trying to separate them from the wheels. No dice. We gave up, thinking we’d tear apart a new set of tires before the wheels would give up the tire bead. No fear of these letting loose.

We mounted the set up on our 2.2 rig and set out to beatem on some rocks. We climbed, side-hilled, descended, and stuck our tires in some nasty notches and, as expected, the tires never thought of leaving the wheel bead. These are some sweet wheels and are currently the only ones backed by a lifetime guarantee against breakage. If you’re looking for stylish, heavy-duty beadlocks, take a look at these at: They’ll soon have 1.9 tire size versions as well.