There is a lot from Hot Wheels to look forward to in 2018. These new Real Riders, including the first licensed wheel, are at the top of the list.

2018 is loaded.  It should be.  Hot Wheels is celebrating its 50th, so expect goodies ‘a plenty.

But 50th or not, the evolution of Hot Wheels continues.  JDM and Euro castings have emerged in a big way, and the direction of premium releases is as collector-friendly as ever.

And that just doesn’t go with castings.  Real Riders have evolved in a huge way.  Car Culture is loaded with new Real Riders, and they are starting to appear elsewhere as well.  Let’s have a look at the Real Riders that have debuted solely in Car Culture:


It started with nostalgic Japanese-inspired 4-spoke barrels with stretched tires, then to the Euro-style lace wheels, then small 4-spokes, and finally the Aero wheels.  Each one of these filled a much-needed gap in Hot Wheels’ Real Rider arsenal.

Still, most Hot Wheels Real Riders still cater more to classic vehicles than current cars.  Sure, the lace RR wheels are current, but work on a very specific type of car.  The Aero wheels hearken more to the 80’s and 90’s than today.  There are several wheels that work on current cars, but there is a lot of room for more.

Until now it seemed many current sports cars needed to settle on Real Riders.  The gold Acura NSX Super TH is a great example.  The deep 5-spoke Real Riders just don’t work.

Enter the newest Real Rider wheel, and what a gap it fills.  Hot Wheels previewed it on the current Entertainment Nissan Skyline R34 at the convention, and allowed me to take some photos.  It doesn’t mean we will see it on that model later, it is just a good model to showcase it.  I have no idea the name of these wheels, but to me they look loosely based on Volk TE37 wheels.


And they are fantastic.  Not too deep, with modern rims for a whole slew of models.  The list of current castings that could handle these is endless, and it opens up the possibility for a ton of other new castings.  S15 maybe?


I have no idea what model will sport these first, but I can’t wait to see.

And that takes us to the second new Real Rider of 2018, also coming soon.  And, for the first time, the wheel is actually licensed.  This is the new fifteen52 off-road wheel, being showcased at the convention on a current model as well, the new Land Rover Defender:


Again, I don’t know where this one will debut (I’ve heard rumors, and oh my), but it is coming.  Hot Wheels has entered into a licensing agreement with fifteen52, and that means models sporting the logo, and most importantly, licensed Real Riders.  We will see these off-road wheels first, followed by the fifteen52 Outlaw 001 (think Porsche and Magnus Walker) later.  Once again, current wheels for current cars.

More and more to look forward to.  2018 is going to be a stellar year.

9 Replies to “There is a lot from Hot Wheels to look forward to in 2018. These new Real Riders, including the first licensed wheel, are at the top of the list.”

  1. It’s not really the first licensed wheel, at least I don’t think so. Because when they did the Whips cars around 2004, I believe those wheels were a licensed design.

  2. The new Volk-style wheels look great, I just hope HW opens them up to more colorations, as from a distance they remind me of an all plastic black wheel. Great style points, however! The off road wheels look awesome and ruined me from picking up the mainline Defender (not that I’ve found it, though) as it is hard to go from the pictures above back to its regular wheels. I’ve really enjoyed the HW/MW collaboration, as the models are fresh and the Track Day Porsche 964 is what opened up my eyes to HW Car Culture. Was a mainline junkie prior to that! Looking forward to more! Rock on!

  3. The wheels on the Skyline look great, though looking closely at the design, I’m worried we’ll never see them chromed, as the spokes don’t really connect smoothly to the very edges of the wheel…hopefully I’m wrong. Black wheels look great a lot of the time, but variety is nice too, and Hot Wheels has a tendency to overdo the black wheel/chrome lip look. The new licensed off-road wheels look just fantastic…I can’t wait to see what they put those on.

    1. You’re right, the spokes have a sharp edge as they break inward before connecting to the rim. The actual Volk Racing VR-TE37’s have a bit smoother radius as they bend inward. But couldn’t HW just chrome the entire wheel as seen on the example Mazda RX-3 above? Personally I’m not too crazy about chrome wheels. Not even so much the black wheel chrome lip look. Give ’em to me all black or offer up more gunmetal or bronze looks. Anyone know if Hot Wheels has ever tried a machined metal look?

  4. I know I’m in the minority… but I don’t care for Real Riders. They look great but that’s not all thats important to me. I also love the look of a classic redline wheel or something like the CM6 (co-molded wheels… like in the Speed Machines). Plus I know this is not as cool to say too… but I open many of my cars, and I love to put them on my tracks… even some of my nicer premium models. Those premium cars tend to be metal tops and metal bottoms… thus a heavier car (and many times faster) and one I love to use on my racetracks. The Hotwheels classis of the 2000s were fantasitc. Amazing paint jobs, nice redline wheels or the really cool goodyear hard wheels.

    I would hate to see all the new premium style cars getting the real riders, and it seems its heading that way. 🙁

  5. The Skyline looks perfect!! Its currently the only model that I would even think of buying on eBay (that is, if it was available). The Land Rover looks great as well with those off road wheels.

    But Hot Wheels doesn’t have any proper wheels for new supercars. The exotic and GT real riders don’t work on most (they look terrible on the Car Culture P1). We need a new supercar wheel.

    1. Agreed. They’re one of the few wheels that looks just as nice on a 1970 Camaro, Skyline or 2002 as on a brand new Camaro, GT-R or 2 Series.

  6. I love that Hot Wheels is introducing new Real Riders, but they have a ways to go yet. The new Volk VR-TE37 are nice and a step in the right direction for bringing in more diversity as well as something that is a more appropriate application for the more modern castings in today’s lineup.

    The upcoming Fifteen52 Outlaw 001 is going to look great on classic 60’s, 70’s and maybe some 80’s Porsches, but ultimately seems very limiting. My choice for this release would be the modern looking forged Monoblock Outlaw 001, but my guess is HW will do the very retro inspired 3-Piece Outlaw 001

    I do love the recent Aero wheel and it has been a perfect fit for the models it has been released on, but ultimately it is trapped in the 80’s and won’t look great on everything.

    I do like lace BBS style wheels, but these fall a bit short for me. They look odd and I just realized why. The inner portion of every second spoke is missing, so the wheel lacks the look and complexity of the real thing. I would be happy if they would introduce a more modern 12-20 spoke lace/Y-spoke/tuning fork wheel in addition to this 70’s-80’s looking 32 spoke lace wheel. I could imagine this style wheel on just about any sports car from the 90’s till now.

Leave a Reply