Inside my circle of tumblr friends, we condemn replica wheels. Somebody anonymously posed a question to one of my friends who has heavy time attack experience(check out his Stance Works feature of his '76 911 and his Stance Works sponsored E36 M3). "Thoughts on XXRs, Rotas, STRs, etcetc?" His response after the jump.
In case the image comes out too small or if you are viewing this from mobile, the text has been pasted below for easier reading.
This started with just "Industry ruining garbage" then I got a little carried away and addressed the whole replica industry. I apologize for being long winded.
Industry ruining garbage. Not only are they heavy, weak, and poorly made; they're disrespectful to the intellectual property of the manufacturers that spend extensive resources and time designing and engineering these products.
Many of the manufacturers that "enthusiasts" claim to love & support are having trouble surviving because of their designs being immediately copied, poorly reproduced, and sold at half the price. There was a thread on an FRS forum a month or so ago of a company that copied Greddy's turbo kit and the Greddy name could still be seen on this other companies turbo kit. What incentive is there for Greddy to R&D a turbo kit if someone is going to knock it off within months?
I always hear arguments of parts being expensive or over priced. These parts are expensive because reputable manufacturers take the time to properly design and test a product. Additionally these manufacturers have to spend money on advertising and building a reputation. When someone buys a part they're not paying for just the materials to make a kit or wheel set. You're paying for the time and effort of professionals to develop these parts along with differences in quality that make it a superior and safe part.
I don't have a problem with inexpensive wheels or parts that are original designs. There are plenty of aftermarket wheels at affordable prices that are not copies of other manufacturers work. When I had my Turbo Miata I ran TR Motorsports C1's because they were inexpensive, cast by Enkei, and easily replaceable if broken. Every other part on the car was high quality and from a reputable manufacturer. When I built this car I was making very little money, lived on my own, and saved what I could to buy quality used parts if I couldn't afford the new parts.
I personally hold quality in a high regard and have declined sponsorships from companies that copy the work of others. There are many that will disagree with me, however most of them won't be able to put up a better argument than "real wheels/parts are too expensive".
Finally, many car enthusiasts state that their car is part of them or representative of who you are. Do you want your car to say that you have pride and care about quality, or that you're cheap and don't care about quality or performance.
I agree with every point he made. What do you guys think?