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Old 01-17-2005, 10:28 PM   #1
edssooby
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Default 16" vs 17" wheels and ride comfort

I have stock 16 inch wheels with 92's on my WRX. I am thinking about going to 17 inchers with 215/45's and a different brand of tire. Will there be a significant increase in ride harshness with this switch? I do a lot of highway driving and I'd prefer not to increase ride harshness if possible. Would I be making a mistake by going to the 17's?
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Old 01-17-2005, 10:47 PM   #2
ButtDyno
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Depends on the tires. Stiffer sidewalls (better performance, generally) mean less compliance. IMHO the difference between 16's and RE92s versus 17's and RE040s is bigger than switching from the stock suspension to the STi Type RA suspension.

edit: in other words, I felt that going to 17's with stiff-sidewall tires was a bigger hit in ride quality than going to an STi suspension with 217/192 spring rates.

john

Last edited by ButtDyno; 01-17-2005 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 01-17-2005, 11:38 PM   #3
rex n effect
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you will almost certainly notice a difference, but if you don't drive on a lot of rough roads, it might be worth it for you. It's really personal preference. For most people on this forum, it's definitely worth it. Will your 17s be for the summer and stockers for the winter? This is a question you should answer before buying tires.
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:19 AM   #4
subieworx
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I switched from the stock RE92's normally inflated to about 40 psi to 225 45 17 Yoko ES100's and only noticed a bit of increased ride harshness. I have since switched to Azenis sports in the same size and notice a huge decrease in comfort. It really does depend on the tire. The greater the sidewall stiffness the more uncomfortable they will be.
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Old 01-18-2005, 10:18 AM   #5
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WS50 Blizzacks on 16" wheels are very comfortable in the winter. S03 max performance summer tires on 17" wheels are not comfortable in winter. They are uncomfortable in the summer, compared to Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 max performance summer tires.

I am amazed at what I can "fly over" on the back roads in the winter with the Blizzacks even with 41psi F/38psi R.
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Old 01-18-2005, 06:16 PM   #6
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It also greatly depends on how much those new 17" wheels weigh -- if you add weight, expect a decrease in ride quality. It's possible, though, to decrease the weight AND increase the size, just do some research. A light wheel with a heavy tire will give a crummy ride (like the OEM STi setup...those are very heavy tires, but relatively light wheels). I put some PZero Nero M+S tires on instead of the RE040s and the ride difference is shocking. The car rides as well (or better) on these 17's than it did on the OEM 16's with RE92's.

Sidewall stiffness is part of the equation, but don't forget about the overall weight, too!

Brian
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Old 01-18-2005, 06:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reno_bk
A light wheel with a heavy tire will give a crummy ride (like the OEM STi setup...those are very heavy tires, but relatively light wheels). I put some PZero Nero M+S tires on instead of the RE040s and the ride difference is shocking. The car rides as well (or better) on these 17's than it did on the OEM 16's with RE92's. Sidewall stiffness is part of the equation, but don't forget about the overall weight, too!
Brian
I really don't understand what tire weight alone has to do with suspension performance. Surely it is the tire+wheel combo weight that matters here. Are you saying that a heavy wheel with heavy tire is better than light wheel with heavy tire??? Can you elaborate on this?

Obviously tire weight / rim size affects weight distribution relative to wheel centre which affects accell / decel, so here a heavy tire can have more effect than mass nearer centre (wheel).

PZeroNeroM+S is much softer than the RE070, which is probably a big part of the ride difference.
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Old 01-18-2005, 11:06 PM   #8
edssooby
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Thanks for the feedback. I almost need to run all season's in the summer because in our climate (Northern Ontario) we can get cold/snow/slippery conditions even in the spring and fall when I wouldn't want to have my winters on. For that I have Pirelli P210 Snowsports on steel 16" rims. I have found these to be excellent in all of the winter conditions that I've run into.

If I go to 17's I'll be willing to sacrifice some handling for comfort. Yoko AVID's seem to be one of the top rated tires that also rank right up there in ride comfort. Any other suggestions?
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Old 01-19-2005, 11:19 AM   #9
reno_bk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realwomble
I really don't understand what tire weight alone has to do with suspension performance. Surely it is the tire+wheel combo weight that matters here. Are you saying that a heavy wheel with heavy tire is better than light wheel with heavy tire??? Can you elaborate on this?

Obviously tire weight / rim size affects weight distribution relative to wheel centre which affects accell / decel, so here a heavy tire can have more effect than mass nearer centre (wheel).

PZeroNeroM+S is much softer than the RE070, which is probably a big part of the ride difference.
Sorry, I guess that wasn't too clear...I personally think the lower the unsprung weight (total of everything attached to the suspension), the better the ride characteristics will be because the struts and springs have less mass to try and manage. Now in terms of handling, that's a whole different story. Obviously, the OEM STi tires will outhandle the much lighter Pirellis, but that's not a function of weight, but a function of rubber compound, sidewall stiffness, etc. Since the thread was specifically asking about ride quality, that's all I was pointing to.

My stock wagon with STi wheels and PZero Neros rides amazingly well, in spite of the low profile tires (225/45/17). The same BBS wheels with the OEM RE040's weighed about 5 pounds more at each corner and the difference in ride quality was shocking...those 040's are some amazingly stiff tires for highway commuting, but the payoff was in fantastic turn-in response.

Brian
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