6 Reasons You Should Buy Method MR502's For Your Off-road Build
(I still love them after 40k miles)
(I still love them after 40k miles)
Before switching to an aftermarket wheel, I did a good amount of research to find something that would work well on my lifted Subaru. I initially wanted to avoid buying Methods because so many people use them. I try to find things that are less common, but usually when something is widely used, it’s for good reason. This is one of those times.
After thousands of miles and countless trips, I’m extremely happy with this wheel. At the time of writing this review, I’ve had them for over three years, used them on 2 different lifted Subarus, and put over 40k hard miles on them. If you just want a quick rundown of why I like this wheel, the list below should tell you what you need to know. But to hear my opinion on them in more detail, read the sections below to get the specifics about my experience.
For reference, I own this wheel in the 15×7 VT-Spec model.
One of the most important things to me when selecting any component that will add to unsprung weight to the vehicle’s drivetrain is saving as many pounds as possible.
While the Subaru platform is fantastic and has a long track record of accomplishments, it isn’t optimally set up for turning heavy wheels and tires. For this reason, I wanted to keep the wheel weight below 20 lbs. per corner. The MR502 weighs only 19.4 lbs. but has a 2100 lb. load rating – more than enough strength to hold up against the demands of off-road trail use. (For reference, I had also considered the Black Rhino Boxer which only has a 1375 lb. load rating.) I bought my set used from a guy with around 40k miles on them, and have HAMMERED on them ever since with no issues.
There are a few things that make this wheel perfect for lifted Subarus:
Most 15 inch stock wheels won’t fit most larger brake calipers. So if you drive a WRX or even an Outback, you wouldn’t be able to size down to a 15 inch stock wheel. However, the MR502 easily clears most WRX brake calipers without any issues.
The Method MR502 not only looks good, but is also extremely functional for off-road use. The front of the wheel has a full-face design that keeps mud and debris away from the brake components. If something manages to get lodged in your brake caliper or puncture a brake line, it can be a serious issue. Despite having a fully covered design, the MR502 still allows the brakes to cool through the openings between the 10 spokes.
The wheel is made from good materials with great production quality. I’ve been very impressed by how well the finish on the wheels has held up. I know it doesn’t seem like an important feature, but having the wheels resist rock chips and serious scratches makes me feel good about Method’s level of craftsmanship. Being able to simply wash and clean the wheels back to their original shine is pretty cool!
The MR502 honestly just looks good. The design is attractive with the 10 spoke face and the debossed areas on the wheel. With the lower offset, it just barely sticks out past the fenders and gives the car a strong look.
This wheel is also strong in a structural sense. If you visit any stage rally event in the US, you’ll likely see these wheels on a majority of the participating cars. I spoke with Mitch Meadows over at MeLe Design Firm, who has navigated for multiple stage rally teams, about the Method MR502 wheels. He explained to me that they’re the strongest wheel for the money. In the event that they get damaged during a rally stage, they can be quickly swapped out without costing a ton of money when compared to forged wheels that can cost four times as much. Every year that I attend the Oregon Trail Rally I see countless cars using these during the stages.
Perhaps one of the things that makes this wheel unattractive to some is also one of its strong points. It’s quickly become one of the most common wheels on modified Subarus. So much so that some folks want nothing to do with them. However, since they are becoming so common, it makes it much easier to find a replacement if you bend or break a wheel. You may even decide to carry a full-size spare and want to grab a cheap one second hand.
You will also notice that a lot of retailers stock these on-hand. This means that if you choose to purchase a set of these wheels, you’ll likely be able to get them shipped to you ASAP. I’m currently planning to buy a full size spare and will likely be buying a unit from Tirerack.com.
As I previously mentioned, I initially didn’t want to purchase this wheel. But now I’m so glad that I did! They look good, handle heavy off-road abuse, and are super light.
I would highly recommend this wheel to anyone who is looking for something that won’t add a ton of weight to your drivetrain. I’m constantly impressed by how well they perform in all areas.
There’s only one complaint (if you can call it that) that I have with the wheel. The spokes hold snow that gets packed in when driving in deep snow. However, after a few miles on the pavement, it usually knocks itself free. Most wheels have this issue, but it’s just something to be aware of.
Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with this set up. They’ve allowed for stress-free fitment and have held up perfectly over the last 40k miles that I’ve put on them.
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(The VT Spec is only available via phone/email on Tire Rack since their system doesn’t recognize it as a stock replacement. But their price and shipping is fantastic. Check both Amazon and Tire Rack pricing before making your final purchase.)
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