Big wheels, big attitude?
Known as “rig rockets”, these behemoth pickup trucks boast a variety of additional features ranging from massive rims and tires to lift kits, which raise the truck’s body while amping up its suspension. According to Raven Truck Accessories’ truck specialist Byron Falk, rig rocket customizations have increased in popularity at his shop over the past two or three years, though no one procedure sticks out as the most popular.
“It’s hard to tell what’s popular because everybody has different tastes and everybody does something different,” he said. Despite this, Falk said that he frequently sees clients who request programmers—which help to improve a truck’s horse power—as well as oversized wheels and tires and improved air intake and exhaust.
Falk described the culture of rig rockets as an “arms race” wherein clients are willing to spend upwards of $10,000 to “make their trucks go faster or look cooler”. This one-upping mentality of many rig rocket owners is a thorn in the side of Calgary College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture student Jesse Reynolds, who views the showy vehicles as extensions of drivers’ insecure egos.
“What bothers me most about [these trucks] is not in fact the trucks themselves—the trucks are simply victims of their drivers,” he said. “It is the drivers that get me …I think they are usually, but not always, people with low self-confidence and, to be honest, a lack of intelligence.”
Construction worker Tyler Mills admits that there is a prevalent stereotype for what most consider a typical rig rocket owner might act like. Heading the top of the list of stereotypical attributes for rig rocket drivers, he said, are loud and obnoxious personalities who are generally unsafe and showy when behind the wheel because they feel invincible in their enormous trucks.
“There’s definitely a stereotype, but I’m not it. I think it comes down to the attitude of the driver, and I don’t feel the need to show off in or out of my car,” he said. “Besides, that sort of dumb driving is a waste [of fuel].”
While he is a fan of rig rockets because of their “much cooler” appearance, Mills said that the most important feature of his enhanced truck is its superior performance. Mills’ 2005 Dodge Ram 3500 currently has 35-inch tires and a 2-inch lift kit, which he said allows him to access his residential job sites with greater ease.
Though he’s happy with his truck’s current level of customizations, he said that if he could, he would install a cold air intake kit, as well as “chip it”—which involves changing out the vehicle’s computer for a better, more efficient model. With these two procedures on his automotive wish list, Mills hopes to increase his rig rocket’s fuel efficiency rather than ramp up his street cred.