TSW was founded in 1967 by a South African former F1 driver, and is still operated by the Scheckter family today. Originally established in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1979 the factory was moved to Babelegi, probably as part of a government-sponsored economic development initiative.
TSW takes great pride in it's racing heritage and the resulting attention to detail. The company is still intimately involved with racing teams around the world, and many of their street wheels are named after famous motor tracks, such as the Nurburgring.
TSW tends to build performance wheels first and foremost, with looks being an important but secondary priority. They specialize in extremely light weight but high-strength wheels, offering comparatively few deep-dish, 3-piece or “bling” wheels. Very few of the wheels they make are even available in chrome. Instead, TSW specializes in painted and machined finishes, including a “mirror cut” finish, a specialized form of machine polishing using a diamond cutter in a very high-speed lathe. Mirror cutting produces a bright, smooth finish without the concentric lines left by traditional machining.
According to the CEO, Terence Scheckter, TSW wheels are built with radial and lateral runout tolerances of “half the industry average.” TSW wheels are fully balance tested before leaving the factory to ensure no runout or weight imbalance issues are present.
TSW maintains that all of their wheels are “hub-centric” which is quite important, and a good position to take. This does not, however, mean that each wheel is custom built to fit exactly on your car's hub, which would be prohibitively expensive, but that TSW makes and provides the proper hub-centric spacers for the customer's car. I like that TSW is fully engaged in making sure that the spacers on their wheels are not only sized correctly but built tough enough to handle the load.
TSW also manufactures their wheels with the correct offset for the vehicle, unlike many wheel makers who make wheels with an offset designed to be close enough to fit a range of vehicles. They make a wide range of wheel widths in order to accommodate nearly any staggered fitment, where the rear wheels are wider than the fronts.
In addition to being a leader in forged alloy wheels, TSW has just begun introducing a new technology called rotary forging. Rotary forged wheels are subjected to the same heat and high pressure as traditionally forged wheels, but in a forge that is spinning at high speed during the process. This centrifugal force creates some uniquely circular molecule chains within the forged metal, leading to a very high-strength alloy.
Leading TSW's lineup are the two new rotary forged wheels, plus one from Beyern:
- The Nurburgring is all steel butterfly with forked spokes and a kind of brutish cool. It comes in Matte Black or Bronze, but the spokes really pop out on the Gunmetal/Mirror Cut version.
- The Interlagos has a no-dish design with 9 thin spokes that lap the edge of the wheel for strength. It looks equally tough in Silver/Mirror Cut or Matte Black. I'd personally love to see a Black/Mirror Cut version.
- Beyern's Bavaria comes in Hypersilver or Black. The 10-spoke no-dish design is similar to the Interlagos, but the deep swooping center pocket and subtly different visual cues lend some BMW sophistication to the affair.
- The Carthage is a 2-piece medium-dish design that just exudes power. It has a sweet, bright kind of beauty in a Silver/Mirror Cut or a dark, brooding kind in a Gloss Black/Mirror Cut.
- The Londrina has 10 spokes that are slightly flared towards the edge of the rim, giving a subtle impression of greater throw weight when the wheel spins. These are one of the few wheels TSW offers in Chrome, but I think it looks much better in Gunmetal/Mirror Cut.
- The Silverstone's deep dish shows off TSW's Mirror Cut finish in either Silver or Gloss Black, but I like the black better for how it shows off the rivets in this 2-piece design.
- The Trackstar comes only in its signature Matte Black with the red stripe around the edge, but it comes in either a 4-bolt, Y-spoke design, or a 5-bolt, 5 double-spoke pattern.