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pros & cons of wider tires

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  • pros & cons of wider tires

    I was looking at a new wheel/tire combo for my 94, and leaning towards an Enkei RP-F1 15x7+35 wheel with Toyo R1Rs in either 195/50/15 or 225/45/15.

    I need something I can drive on the track as well as to/from and spirited canyon carving. While my car is a DD, most of it's miles are performance driving. The first use for the new combo will road tripping from SoCal to Monterey, 2-days on MRLS, then back again.

    It would seem obvious to stuff as much rubber onto the wheel as you can, but at least one person recommended the smaller size for "a little bit of everything".

    My question is not which tire I should get - beause I know everyone will have an opinion - but what factors should I consider when choosing? Assuming fitment works, why not get the largest size?

    PS - I'm not going for dedicated track tires yet - but if I do, I'll likely move up to a 15x8 (6UL variation most likely) and swap them at the track.

  • #2
    I don't know if you have this issue or not, but I got tired of spinning my tires on a cold morning (cold for California) taking off at a stoplight. Went from 205 Azenis to 245/35/16 T1r and I'm happy as a pig in slop. Skinny tires ARE a good choice if you have no boost. I can't think of any time that I have wished I had my stock 185/60/14's back.
    '00 Coldside FFSC 130mm pulley @ 18.5psi. on E85. OBX header, Goodwin Midpipe, Tein Flex, Koyo Rad, Etc.


    • #3
      I have Kosei 7" wide 10.5 pound rims and I have run Goodyear GSD3, Dunlop SP 9000, Toyo RA1 and Toyo T1R on them. All in 225/50-15. They were all good tires.

      1990 with FFS Coldside. At least 260 WHP NON-INTERCOOLED


      • #4
        My thoughts pretty much center on going as wide as you can without getting into the situation where you start rubbing stuff at full lock, like the sway bar or fender liners. This is also a function of your ride height. When I had the car down 1.5" from stock, I had rubbing issues at full lock. When I recently raised it back up by 0.5", the full lock rubbing stopped. I don't remember how wide my wheels are but can go measure them if you want.

        Though it seems you are also sticking to 15" wheels, I would say if tempted to go larger, don't go beyond 16". There are sooooo many great/inexpensive tire options at 15" that get expensive at 16+" that it's hard to justify moving up. On top of that, the ride quality really starts to suffer above 16" on our SoCal streets/freeways.


        • #5
          My situation is probably different from yours in that I don't put that many miles on (probably < 3000 mile/yr). Also, my Miata is pretty much an autox car that I am keeping ~street legal so I can drive it to/from racing. That said, I am running 225/45/15 R888's on 15x8's with ET=36 - note: car still at stock height. I plan to lower it so I will probably have to at least roll the fender lips, but since I will be graduating someday to racing on 275/35/15's possibly on 15x10s or at least x9s, that is the least of my worries.

          That said, I agree with jwalton on sticking with 15s for: keeping it cheap, pot holes/rim damage, more predictable driving in "panic" situations, etc... On that last point, the things I have read said going to bigger diameter wheels / lower profile tires is the way to get the fastest time while racing, but whereas many studies are done where as they go "plus sizing" they are also going to wider tires. If instead, you keep the tire width constant and only change the wheel diameter/tire profile, then the gains you get in lap time are minimal and lap time consistency suffers.

          So for every day, cost effective, and performance, I would stay at 15 and go as wide as you can for your "drop" and fender situation and that includes wheel width too - keeping in mind that adding wheel width adds tire section width. According to Tirerack:
          The industry rule of thumb is that for every 1/2" change in rim width, the tire's section width will correspondingly change by approximately 2/10".
          But officer, I was only going one way.