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Rolling Deep—While we were in Bowling Green, we toured RC Components’ impressive manufacturing facility

Posted By: Evan J. Smith
Rolling Deep—While we were in Bowling Green, we toured RC Components’ impressive manufacturing facility
Written by Ainsley Jacobs
Photography by the author
A diehard gearhead, RC Components’ owner Rick Ball spent his life enjoying every kind of go-fast toy as long as it features an engine and a throttle. In his younger years, the Southern California native was an avid drag bike racer and door-car enthusiast; he purchased his first 1969 Chevrolet Camaro when he was just 16 years old and the car was even featured in Popular Hot Rodding magazine. 
In 1986, Ball began working at RC Acrylics, but took ownership of the company just one year later. In 1989, however, he was inspired to produce his own wheels after he purchased a set from another company and the shipment that was incomplete when it was delivered. 
Motivated by the desire to do things better, Ball collaborated with Boyd Coddington to produce his first set of wheels. With one CNC machine in his garage, he officially began his motorcycle wheel manufacturing endeavors with RC Components and soon found himself overwhelmed with orders.
Although Ball eventually sold off RC Acrylics as his RC Components entity continued to grow. In 1993, he relocated the business to a 5,000-square-foot facility Bowling Green, Kentucky, which it quickly outgrew. A 12,000-square-foot location was next, and, in 2001, RC Components relocated yet again to a larger, 35,000-square-foot shop, still in Bowling Green. There, the company added in-house chroming and anodizing, and two short years later, the company advanced to encompass a 56,000-square-foot footprint. 
By 2016, RC Components became a well-respected name in the motorcycle world, and Ball was semi-retired, but found his way back to his drag racing roots and developed the RC Comp Series drag car wheels. From there, it was full speed ahead for both two- and four-wheeled machines, and Ball was honored in 2021 when he was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame for his contributions to the industry.
If you are into go-fast gear, it is always fun to see how these parts are created, so follow along with our photos and captions to see what goes into creating these lightweight, durable wheels for performance machines.

After Saturday of the Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Scott’s Trailer Sales was called off due to rain, NMCA’s staff and racers were invited by Ball and his wife, Louise, for an exclusive tour of RC Components’ manufacturing facility, located just 20 minutes from Beech Bend Raceway, to see how their renowned car and bike wheels are produced from start to finish.

By controlling the majority of its manufacturing processes all under one roof and keeping forgings and components stocked and organized, RC Components offers exceptional turnaround times on its products; bespoke front wheels can often be produced and shipped within one to two weeks, while the company’s rear-drive wheels can be delivered in as little as two to three weeks, and all of RC Components’ wheels are SFI-approved.

A special research and development area allows real-time evaluation and adjustment of design, fitment, and more, while offices for the company’s engineering team are positioned on the level above. From there, RC’s staff can design and refine its products to ensure wheels that function just as great as they look.

Starting with blank forgings, each of RC Components’ wheels for cars and motorcycles goes through a rigorous, closely monitored manufacturing process to ensure they are perfectly true and round while delivering exceptional quality with strength and durability for world-class performance and looks alike.

On the lathe, each wheel receives a general de-flash to remove machine lines and superfluous material. They are bored to the correct size, checked to ensure critical locations are true and finished on both sides.

With almost 20 CNC machines on the property, RC Components can keep up a near-constant production pace. Many of the machines run two wheels at once with two more loaded and waiting for maximum efficiency. The spindles never stop and the machines are making chips constantly. Production is maximized even further by scheduling longer-run jobs after the night shift leaves so the machines can continue pumping out RC’s acclaimed wheels even when the workers are asleep.

For RC Components’ one-piece forged SFI 15.1 and 15.3 F5 drive wheels, the machining process dramatically reduces the weight from an initial 65 pounds per wheel to a finished product of just under 20 pounds each. Designed specifically for high-horsepower applications, RC’s iconic new F5 drag wheels feature built-in beadlocks and are available in 16x18- and 16x16-inch sizes.

A special fixture is welded to the wheels before receiving beadlocks to ensure they stay true and round throughout the process. After the beadlocks have been added, the wheels are put onto a separate fixture to double-check the quality and accuracy.

Multiple welding stations are positioned midway throughout the production process, one exclusively dedicated to adding beadlocks while two others handle various tasks. Skilled workers take special care to ensure the welds are strong and consistent to deliver reliable performance for racers.

For RC’s line of motorcycle wheels, Ball was an innovator in the industry by being the first to produce billet street wheels for a wide variety of applications including Harley, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and otheres. He did this by developing more than a 100 application-specific hubs that can be mated with RC’s existing in-stock inventory of wheels for unbeatable flexibility and fitment, available within 72 hours of ordering.

RC Components’ proprietary polishing process, utilizing basic animal fat and sand so as not to be harmful in any way, meant photos were off-limits, but the results are stunning. Each piece is carefully checked by the quality control group. 

Once each new RC Components wheel is completed and polished, whether it’s for a car or bike, it heads to the anodizing and chroming room. RC polishes each wheel before black anodizing to give it the deep shine that the brand is known for, and the chroming process takes less than three hours from start to finish with a new part entering the tanks to start the process every 20 minutes. 

RC Components also offers polishing and chroming services for outside companies on a variety of different parts and pieces, not just wheels.

To bring out an impeccable luster on its wheels, RC’s team puts a special one-coat, high-intensity polish buff on its wheels to make them truly shine.

It isn’t just wheels that RC Components produces, however, as the company also fabricates and manufactures a full line of motorcycle exhaust systems in-house with the same top-notch quality for which the company is known.

Once the production process has reached its final stages, the assembly area tackles the last little odds and ends — including adding lug nuts, brackets, and more — before each item is once again checked to ensure all quality standards are met and exceeded. From there, the shipping department boxes up the order and sends it on its way to lucky recipients all around the globe.
RC Components
(800) 360-0915

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