What do you get for the keen motorist who already has everything?
After several decades of driving, it's not very often that I come across something that I never knew existed!
We were sent a set of RIMMATS by Michael, the inventor and seller. He told us that he came up with the idea for these after becoming frustrated with the dirt and grit that would fly up onto his wheels when jet-washing or blow-drying his car on a gravel driveway.
I know myself that when you're 'dressing your tyres', you usually need to move the car forwards and backwards several times to make sure you can cover all of the sidewalls. And when you try to get away without doing these movements, you usually end up scraping your knuckles on the ground!
So, are RIMMATS the solution to all of these problems? Yes, I think they could be.
My first impression of them was how well-made they were. I'm a regular viewer of TV's Dragon's Den - and the build quality is one of the things that the Dragon's often comment on. I'm sure they'd agree with me - these feel very strong, and the way they all fit together into a very neat package is ingenious:
Placing them in front of the car's four tyres was very easy. The front two 'mats' have integrated chocks, so you know exactly when to stop for perfect positioning. This is a view of one of my front tyres:
Everything seemed perfectly robust. I didn't get any sense that these RIMMATS would ever let you down.
There's a slight added bonus, in that the chocks at the front also act as a 'hose blocker'. Anyone who has ever washed a car with a hose will know that when the hose touches a tyre as you're moving around the vehicle - it's a right pain to get it back out again. The chocks stop the hose from being gripped by the tyre, and so it continues to move quite freely.
Are they the perfect solution to all of the problems I've described above? If I were involved at the design stage, I'd be asking if we could get the wheels higher off the ground. I know this would have huge implications for the volume of materials involved in the moulding of the mats -and this - in turn - would affect the weight, the ease of handling and the price to the end-user.
I would also be asking if the ribs - the bits that the tyres actually sit on - could only cover half or two-thirds of the mat's width, so that the outside rim of the tyre is effectively dangling in mid-air. That would make it even easier to dress.
I've had a discussion with Michael - the inventor of the mats - about the points I raised here, and he has sent me these additional comments:
"To raise the height of the ribs or to reduce them in number would have affected the integrity of the mat. When considering the weight of a Rolls-Royce Phantom or long wheelbase Range Rover, the extra engineering / reinforcing would have made the mats too expensive to be viable"Michael, RIMMATS Inventor
Overall, it's great to see a product invented, manufactured and sold in Great Britain - and they're definitely worth considering for the serious car enthusiast.