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  #1  
Old 12-28-2010, 09:44 AM
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16 or 17 inch wheels... any difference?

I'm looking at going to some Enkei pf01's and Hankook ventus evo tires. The price difference between 16 and 17 inch is minor, and I know for looks everyone always says the bigger the better. I currently have 17 inch s-lites with SSR's(runflats). Unless there is a handling difference I will just replace with the same size.

So any handling reasons to go with 16's?
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:52 AM
ZippyNH ZippyNH is offline
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Look at the rim and tire weights...
The 16's are usually quite a bit lighter, and that translates into better turn in ( not sure if that is the correct term, but heavy rims act like gyroscopes, and resist getting turned, so lighter rims feel more nimble), and better acceleration. Ride and a bit of handling, not much in handling IMO, are the trade-offs.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:55 AM
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Also tire sizes, more options in a 17
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:57 AM
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I forgot to mention that the weight differences are pretty minor as well. I'm shaving almost 10lbs per corner getting away from the run-flats and s-lites. I kind of figured it would come out pretty close in total weight with tires being larger to keep the same diameter on the 16's. If I'm already shaving 10lbs off each corner should I be concerned with another 1 or maybe even 2 lbs?
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:11 AM
ZippyNH ZippyNH is offline
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There are choices in 15', 16', and 17' with the same outside diameter...the goal in plus/minus sizing is to keep the same exterior diameter to matain gear ratio's...when folks want to adjust width, it complacates the equation, but still possible.
Anything will feel more sporty than the stock s-heavies!!
IMO tire choice, and the sidewall construction makes about as big of a differance as tire size...it all affects eachother...some tires have firm, some softer sidewalls...it even varries by size/speed rating within the same tire..
Get what you want...it is about show or go...going for both gets $$$ pretty fast, so it is all about compermise!!
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ZippyNH View Post
Look at the rim and tire weights...
The 16's are usually quite a bit lighter, and that translates into better turn in ( not sure if that is the correct term, but heavy rims act like gyroscopes, and resist getting turned, so lighter rims feel more nimble), and better acceleration. Ride and a bit of handling, not much in handling IMO, are the trade-offs.
As a note this thread could have been posted in Tires and wheels forum not suspension. Did the OP want me to move it there?

Better (more crisp) turn in has to do with the stiffness of the sidewall as a function of a lower profile such as 40 or 45 series or due to the construction of the tire's sidewall with stiffer materials such as kevlar. Lower profile tires as found on the 17" MINIs will handle better in turns as a result since the sidewalls don't flex much.

However the comfort of a lower profile tire is firm to harsh on anything but smooth roads. So potholes are especially bad on larger rims with stiff lower profile tires. Often there can be damage to wheels, tires and suspension and this could risk mushrooming of the top of the front towers due to transmitted force.

Before any MINI owner changes tires or wheels you can consider first what you want to do with the car. What do you need the wheels and tires to do?

Street driving only? Urban or commuting?
Good smooth roads or bad roads with lots of potholes?
You want a comfortable ride or better cornering?
You want looks over other things or you want higher mpg?
You want good braking and acceleration or you drive speed limit always?
You want something you use on the track or at driving school or street use?
You want something to use in all seasons and some light snow?
You want the tire to last a long time or you don't mind changing yearly?
You know what you budget for tires and wheels are.
You know if you want to keep the stock suspension or lower it.

Enkei PF01 Bright silver painted finish
15x7" 12.2 lbs et +35mm, $216 each uses 195/60-15
16x7" 14 lbs et +43mm $234 each uses 195/55-16 or 205/50-16
17x7 15.8 lbs et +38mm $243 each uses 205/45-17 or 215/45-17

Stock wheel sizes
15x.5.5" et +45mm about 12 to 15 lbs uses 175/65-15
16x6.5" et +48mm about 17 to 20 lbs uses 195/55-16
17x7" et +48mm about 20-25 lbs each uses 205/45-17
18x7" et+52mm about 20-25 lbs each uses 205/40-18

Note bigger diameter wheels are needed to fit over larger JCW brakes.

As you can see there are many choices.

Usually I start with the tires not the wheels. Since PF01 come in many diameters with close weights (all less than the basic MINI wheels in most cases) and prices, other than looks they are similar and not the limiting factor.

The tires are important because they will function to provide you everything you want in terms of handling, comfort, noise, treadwear, braking, etc.

If you live in a warm place and do not see any snow or temperatures below 40 degrees then a Summer tire would be fine but wear a little faster than an All Season tire of the same class. If you live where temps are often 35 or less or you see any light snow then an all season tire is best. If you have lots of snow you need winter snow tires/wheels to be safe unless you have some really short commute.

For the OP, You have an 03 MCS with stock 17" wheels and runflats? What is your budget for everything and are you keeping your stock suspension (you did some upgrades with WMW)? You live in the east, any need for All season tires vs snow tires?
You mentioned the Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110 tires but those only come as small as 205/45-17 so no dice with 16" wheels. Those are Max Summer tires $87 each 280 treadwear. Good on price but might wear fast.
For a little more on price and to fit both 16" and 17" wheels consider Continental ExtremeContact DW treadwear 340.
see
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires....remeContact+DW
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/survey...ay.jsp?type=MP

The offset of the wheel is how much the wheel position lies in the wheel well in relation to the suspension parts on the inside and the outer wheel arch trim above the tire which are common places to rub or bind. Each wheel has an offset with larger numbers meaning the wheel sits farther to the inside of the wheel well and smaller numbers meaning the wheel sits farther to the outside. If you use stock suspension then the smaller numbers are not generally a problem except the wheel looks like it is sticking out a bit more than stock.

For the Enkei PF01 the 16" wheel size is very close to stock in fitment (5mm wider than stock), and for the 17" it will be a little more to the outside vs stock about 10mm or 0.4" which is fine.

The biggest difference between the 16 and 17" wheels are the tire sizes. 195/55-16 is mostly for runflats so for non runflats owners use 205/50-16 for best tire selection or even 205/55-16 which is a little taller than stock but OK with stock suspension. Both are comfortable sizes for general street use and work fine.

For 17" wheels you cannot easily use any 50 or 55 series tire and will be looking at mostly 45 series tires which are not as comfortable but OK when using non runflats.

If you need a good all round tire for any weather with longer wear in both 16" and 17" sizes then consider-
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires....=yes&tab=Specs

If you need more information then try contacting Alex@tirerack.com
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Last edited by minihune; 12-28-2010 at 10:51 AM.
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  #7  
Old 12-28-2010, 10:51 AM
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luseboy luseboy is offline
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I'd vote for 16's i recently switched from the stock 16" x-lites to some 15's, and i love them! bigger is not necissarily better in my opinion. on some cars, yes. But i personally think the 15" rim size is the right size for the mini. It compliments every element of the car IMO. I'd say go 16, or even 15. I'm very happy with the 15's.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:20 AM
ZippyNH ZippyNH is offline
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Originally Posted by luseboy View Post
I'd vote for 16's i recently switched from the stock 16" x-lites to some 15's, and i love them! bigger is not necissarily better in my opinion. on some cars, yes. But i personally think the 15" rim size is the right size for the mini. It compliments every element of the car IMO. I'd say go 16, or even 15. I'm very happy with the 15's.
Very much my opinion...on a gen1 anyway.
I run 15's for winter, and 16's for summer, and the difference is amazing...even with winter tires!! The lightness of the tire rim combo complements the mini. The look kinda grows on me too!!
Handling is actually pretty good, but the most amazing thing is how much more playful and nimble the car feels with light 15's!! Sure, more sidewall flex, but better handling in some aspects.
Many auto-x folks run 15's for this reason...cheaper rims and tires help too!!
The 16's IMO are a good choice for most Mini's without big brake kits, with the 17's looking good, but lower ride quality, more blowouts/bent rims, etc.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ZippyNH View Post
Very much my opinion...on a gen1 anyway.
I run 15's for winter, and 16's for summer, and the difference is amazing...even with winter tires!! The lightness of the tire rim combo complements the mini. The look kinda grows on me too!!
Handling is actually pretty good, but the most amazing thing is how much more playful and nimble the car feels with light 15's!! Sure, more sidewall flex, but better handling in some aspects.
Many auto-x folks run 15's for this reason...cheaper rims and tires help too!!
The 16's IMO are a good choice for most Mini's without big brake kits, with the 17's looking good, but lower ride quality, more blowouts/bent rims, etc.
If you have stock 2003 MCS brakes then you can use stock 15" wheels or even wider with 205/55-15 tires for more cornering grip but that comes with more weight and more rolling resistance.

For performance driving you'd want wider wheels like 15x7 or even 15x8 and very wide tires like 225/50-15 or 225/45-15 but those are smaller tire diameter and not as well suited for street use.

16" wheels don't look too small for the MCS but you do gain some weight and it does give good selection of usable street tires.
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:08 PM
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I use 205/55/15 and love the handling/acceleration with them.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:49 AM
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MiniHune: Feel free to move this to the proper section. Sorry I missed the wheels/tire section. Also I already tried reaching the Tirerack guy. Didn't get a response, but I will try again.

Weather isn't too much of an issue as I can avoid most horrible weather and drive slower in rain anyways, just have to make sure the tires just don't turn useless at the first sign of cold/wet weather.

I enjoy spirited driving and maybe the occasional auto-x but this is not the car I picked as an all out race-car. I picked the car up because it's fun to drive and I don't mind sitting in traffic in it either. Outside of the performance upgrades I already have and a possible tune, I'm really only looking at "uprgrading things" when they need to be replaced, and I'm only looking to make the car a tad sportier.
I'll start looking at the smaller wheels. I'm not surprised to hear the smaller lighter wheels tend to lend themselves to the driving characteristics of these cars, as most of them aren't pushing excessive amounts of power. But comments like these tend to worry me "Handling is actually pretty good, but the most amazing thing is how much more playful and nimble the car feels with light 15's!! Sure, more sidewall flex, but better handling in some aspects.
Many auto-x folks run 15's for this reason...cheaper rims and tires help too!!"

Anybody have any personal experience with the Conti DW's? I'll probably give them a try, as they seem to have a little rate a little better then my conti sport contact 3 ssr's, and that's all I'm really looking for.
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:15 PM
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Your thread was moved to Tires and wheels forum.

In your case the Continental DW would be a good choice for a little more treadwear with decent handling and comfort.

The best handling tires will wear fast and some are not as comfortable.

For street use you want a little more durability with a comfortable and quiet ride but you may compromise a little on cornering depending on which tire size you pick.

If you have poor roads and lots of potholes then 16" wheels make more sense.
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Old 12-29-2010, 04:47 PM
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+1 on the 205/55/15. I really like the tire size on my 15x7's. And definitley go through tirerack, great prices, great service, awesome place to shop for tires/wheels
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Old 12-29-2010, 04:47 PM
 
 
 
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