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Thread: Why the big wheels?

  1. #1

    Why the big wheels?

    Are there any legitimate benefits of 17" or 17"18" wheels? I've always like a little sidewall on my tires, and smaller wheels can be cheaper...

  2. #2
    Less sidewall stretch and aesthetics.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Shawnee KS< KC Burb
    The other two that come to mind are more tire choices and bigger brake rotors.
    Every inch further off center gives the caliper more leverage to stop the spinning rotor/car
    I like the taller sidewall look and how that helps the ride but I did opt for 13" disc on my 33 because of their no power brakes issue.

  4. #4
    Member cChrisM's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Ramsey, NJ
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    I just saw this video and was amazed how much the tire moves around even with a low profile.

    Check this video out and go to 27:33 - they show what happens to a tire when turning. Just imagine what it looks like with a 15" rim with a big sidewall.
    Picked up Kit 7/20/09, Tear down stage complete, Donor 2003 Cobra 4.6L supercharged, 25k miles on engine, IRS, 6-speed. Attended Build School October 08. Mods done, frame powder coated 12/2012, First Start 7/31/13, gocart 8/2/13, Check out my blog

  5. #5
    Bigger brakes are a benefit if you want more stopping power. The other issue I have found (not sure if I'm the only one here) is that if you go with 15" wheels and want to go with big/wide rubber, it can be tricky to find a decent selection of tires. 17" is super common, lots of selection for manufacturers that make all kinds of profiles, compounds, tread patterns etc etc......15" I just can't find the selection.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member billjr212's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Frankfort, IL
    this is an oldie and it focuses a bit much on the aesthetic side, and i'm a little impressed that I remembered this article 6 years later (a quick google search revealed it).
    I tend to agree that 17" is kind of a sweet spot for performance and appearance on anything "normal-ish" (ie excluding supercars and tiny or classic sports cars like a lotus 7).

    of course, i can't remember a person's name 3 minutes after I've met them, but...ummmm...what was I talking about?

  7. #7
    Senior Member SixStar's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    Westminster, MD
    Owner/builder - AEM Intakes 818R #85

  8. #8
    Big Wheels Keep on Turnin'...

  9. #9
    Thanks. That's something to think about, especially brake selection. We used to just stuff wide tires on the rim so when it flexed one side in a turn, the other side got super loaded. Never lost a tire off the rim after I started doing that. Variety will be the biggest impact, I think. If there are tons of 17s, it'll be easier to find a tire in the budget, right? I remember trying to shop for 225/50 r15, and getting to pick between two. I thought sidewall might not be such a big deal in a car this light, since I used to slide around in 2500-3000 pound cars. On the other hand, maybe this one will be faster

    SixStar, sweet video. Great fun to watch (which is part of why wifey thinks I'm a little weird)

    cChrism, I've bookmarked that video, and I'm going to go back and watch the whole thing. I did skip to the tire part, and I wonder how much force they put on that thing. I guess I don't really understand how much force we're talking about in this car, either, right now.

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