Is Bigger Better? 15 Inch Vs 17 Inch Wheels & Tires

Is Bigger Better? 15 Inch Vs 17 Inch Wheels & Tires


have you ever wondered if bigger Willy is better or if wider really is better well we’re here to find out everyone enjoys a little bit of wheel and tire science and today we’re gonna do exactly that by comparing this 15-inch set up versus this 17-inch set up on our case whopped ek Civic it’s a car if you’re a subscriber to our channel that you’ll be familiar with already but it’s 99 SI coupe it’s sort of a semi track car it’s a street track car so it’s it’s a car where a lot of guys would opt for a 15-inch set up like we did initially this is a fifteen by seven and a half inch cone achhi program in race bronze and it’s equipped with 225 45:15 front and 205 5015 rear in nine kang’s new sport necks a r1 semi slicks it’s a 100 tread wear semi slick tire very popular in Europe and Asia and it’s just starting to make its way over to North America now and we’ve also equipped the 17-inch set up with that same neck hang a r1 these are 17 by 8 plus 45 Koenig decagrams in their semi matte black finish and really what we want to find out is is it worth is it worth making the trade-off between lightness and a shorter tire which is better for gearing or acceleration versus a taller and heavier wheel entire package that has a wider contact patch so by going to these two 35:47 teens in the front and a 215 in the rear we’ve widened the contact patch both front and rear versus our 15-inch setup but we’ve also added almost an inch and a half in overall diameter which if you know anything about the way tire sizing works is the taller the tire the longer your effective gearing becomes so it’s harder to accelerate this it’ll raise your top speed a bit but it also hurts acceleration of it weight also matters these are this is unsprung weight we’re talking about here which is the most important kind and this package weighs 6 pounds more than this package so we’re also making a trade-off in weight or and in particular unsprung weight by going up to the 17 inch so is the gearing gonna hurt us is the weight gonna hurt us or it’s all that really matter is grip and it’s wider really better that’s what Wharram gonna find out by starting by doing a base liner in these 15s and throwing the 17s on there and seeing if we go any faster okay guys I guess I should mention that we are here at Toronto Motorsports Park my home away from home it is an 11 turn 2 kilometer long road course south of Hamilton Ontario and it’s a cool day today it’s only about 10 or 11 degrees Celsius so maybe 50 Fahrenheit or so just warm enough I would say to get temperature into these 100 treadwear Nanking AR ones think about this relatively short tire setup is that I find if I go down to second gear I’m just banging the rev limiter as soon as I come out of corners so I’m leaving it at the third gear in a lot of the slower corners and just having to get on the gas sooner but kind of in between tears and a few places here so it’ll be interesting to see if by going to the 17th if I’m in a better gear I’ll be able to use second gear I think and that might actually be an advantage [Music] [Music] [Music] all right time to swap on the 17th but before we do that I should give you a quick rundown on how the car performed on the 15th our best lap time was a 122 5 which is almost as fast as this cars ever gone and in these cool like late fall conditions I think that’s as good as we’re gonna do so off come the 15s which I could feel her are nice and warm so we were getting a good amount of heat into them and the car will rotate with some trail braking it’s just not rotating as early as I would want but not everybody likes a loose front-wheel drive car doesn’t necessarily inspire confidence it’s just the way I like the car setup by the way we should mention these cone eggs are a flow formed wheel these tend to be about 25% lighter than a cast wheel and also a lot stronger and stiffer which is perfect for a track car like ours same goes for our decagrams also a flow formed wheel so we’ve got a true back-to-back comparison in terms of wheel stiffness and wheel weight per size but like I mentioned before these are about 6 pounds heavier than those up front these 225s are still looking good although you can see a front-wheel drive car really does use the odor shoulder a lot it’s already rounded it off of it we know we didn’t really see that on rear wheel drive cars but great compound very sticky and I really like how skip the side wall is on these necking air ones gives the car really quick responsive steering input feel and you can see these big 235 well here a quick side-by-side you can see there’s quite a difference in contact patch we’ll throw some stats up on the screen right now where you can see the difference in section width but these are quite a bit wider but I don’t know how they’re gonna affect the gearing up there on the 15s a lot of places where if I would go down to second gear in a corner I’m on the rev limiter coming out of the corner and that’s just not ideal so I was leaving in 2/3 in most of the corners with this taller tire I’m gonna be able to go to second gear and I won’t be on the rev limiter until I’m up onto the straight and make it clean shift in the third so even though they’re taller and should theoretically hurt acceleration the gearing might match up better for this track being being that it is taller so one way to find out well come on here [Music] just trying that second here and a few corners here to see how much difference the taller tire makes it I can definitely use second in places where I couldn’t on the 15th so it’s may play out to be a bit of a a story of better gearing for this track really given the 17th an advantage but I will also say that front grip feels really good on these 235 there’s definitely something to be said for a wider front contact patch on a front-wheel drive car gets rid of a lot of its tendency to understeer and just feels like grip level is higher I’m not still just putting heat the tire – so initial impressions are feeling promising I could probably go down to second gear around here too interesting I’m gonna take some learning on these 17s people [Music] I also don’t need fifth on the front straight anymore which is nice because then I don’t have to make that four three downshift just always a bit of a busy job little bit of understeer but I think quite a bit lesson on the 225 205 setup [Music] get rotation there yes ballots Stefan don’t know why cuz it’s still staggered but to set up the cars liking [Music] because Pontiac knew what they were saying those old commercials where they said wider is better Peter because wider was definitely better on the front of our ek civic the 235 performed they added a bunch of grip and really changed the feel of the car a lot to the turning response was much better the the overall grip level on turnin felt higher mid corner there was less push corner exit there was less push and like we talked about before the gearing was always gonna be a wild card it just depends on what track you’re at but today the taller tire actually gave me better gearing here because I was able to use second gear in a lot of the slower corners where I couldn’t on the fifteens so we went a half second faster we went from a 120 to 5 on the 15s to a 120 to Oh on the 17s and I would attribute that to the gearing and the fact that the car really did feel grippier on the wider tires front and rear it also changed the handling balance a lot and even though we ran a staggered setup which you know had roughly the same amount of stagger front to rear for whatever reason this on this 17 is setup the car felt freer it felt more willing to rotate it felt like it had less understeer in it like head to head same car same days same driver same track just swapping from 15 to 17 s there’s no question of Seventeen’s the wider contact patch had an advantage and the gearing played a factor it won’t always be that way but I think regardless of the gearing the extra grip on a on the front end of a front-wheel drive car is going to deliver better grip and better performance in our lap times as long as you’re not over tiring the car to the point that it’s got more tire than s power race and she’s watching that we can talk to a very knowledgeable man about with mr. Chris Morris buy one of the fast guys around he’s run every wheel inside our wheel and tire size you can imagine on the front end of his ek Civic comment that car so let’s go have a chat with him this is Chris Boersma and this is his K tune horse racing he K Civic and if you follow Time Attack you’ll know this car Chris has been very competitive pretty much the dominant car in what is Super Street yep limited trout modified classes series run in yep so CSCS super street and GG is limited and then good life is track modified track records everywhere you can find them on the internet much more easy and you’ll learn more about it but the car is super cool so maybe let’s just do a quick rundown on what the car is now yep I love the fact that you state B Series which is unusual these days yeah it’s still traditional V Series B Series block with a type our heads type our cam let’s join a turbo okay a very small turbo options only have thirty 7602 GTX 230 76 on there 83 dar housing and we over speed the crap out of it and we managed to make about 600 horsepower on this turbine and on another turbine that we run there 101 we can manage about 650 at about 140 thousand rpm on the turbo speed Wow what’s interesting with in the context of today is the fact that you’ve run a million different wheel and tire centered on the tire yep he started off on 15s like every week started at 1515 by sevens on a 205 and then we went to a 225 we read 15 by 8 with a 9 for 9 wheels and then you know slowly kind of got to the limit of that setup and decided to go to 17s what was the logic to go up to 70s because you couldn’t run a wider it’s all about the tire size I mean the widest tire we could get with the 15s or the 225 at that point right and we were making about 400 will work so it’s pretty easy to spin up to 25 yeah the TDS that come out at that point and they were the hot tire will I um was running them on his cars we kind of had to catch up yeah so we we went to the 255 s that they had okay get a wider tire and hopefully more contact patch and did it help it really did the taller tire actually really helpful on low speed corners okay which we thought was very counterintuitive but with the power that we were making it actually helped kind of get the car off the corners just and put the fire down which was actually kind of cool okay and so as the car started to make more power you needed more fire yeah we just kept adding more and more tire and then eventually got to a point where 17 we couldn’t go wide enough there wasn’t a 285 that we could you know we could go with so we we moved up to an 18 inch wheel at Boyd’s we could fit a 285 re 71 on the car right and we ran that for a while and again it was the same thing just seemed like the more tire you put on the faster the car got the easier it was to drive yeah and it’s surprisingly easy to fit big tires on these cars they’re cheap oil under flares and we didn’t even run the fender flares until we went to the e-teens we actually managed to fit the 17s under an OEM fender you just space the fender off okay and hit it with a with a find it out and get a really big hammer and you think you’re done really not you got to get the biggest hammer and just hit it as hard as you can for as long as you can and it makes space and you’ve just got even bigger now today we decided to go to the 19-inch wheel package so that we can run the Kubo v7 20 ACR tire we knew about that tire for a while but we couldn’t find anybody who actually made a 19-inch wheel yeah and we want a partnering up with Koenig they made big Ultra forums and a 19 by 10 and a half and what about the rear so the rear it’s a weird kind of stagger setup that we run it’s a 17 by 8 in the rear on an RV 71 tire so it’s a different compound how wide is it it’s a 225 45:17 very interesting hear from Chris how big you can really go on wheel and tire in the front of a front drive car if you have enough power to use all that grip by the way we didn’t talk about the aesthetic part of this deal what do you guys think of the 17s versus the 15s I think the car looks great on both setups personally I guess I’m kind of old-school I like the look of the 15s and I should also mention that the taller wheel and tire package this.f needs does raise ground clearance it doesn’t change ride height technically but it changes ground clearance which is good for the old pan because it sits really low on this car as a matter of fact we have we have made contact with that l5 on the old 15-inch setup so this does add some ground clearance for safety and it does affect arrow negatively by getting the body of the car up higher you’re getting more airflow under the car and it’s gonna try to lift at higher speeds so if you’re gonna run a big wheel and tire package like this at the racetrack you probably want to address that by putting a splitter and lower side skirts and stuff on it to prevent too much air from getting under there and lifting so something to consider with these two different setups I would say on the street I’ve driven both on the street and the 15s to me felt more comfortable maybe because there’s more sidewall compliance in the 15s than the 17s being a lighter wheel and tire package – I definitely feel the difference in the steering wheel with the 15s there’s less steering effort with the 15s where then with the 17s there’s more that’s maybe because the weight and also because of the wider contact axle is just more scrub happening with the wider lots going on here but really it shouldn’t try both and to be honest I’m a fifteen-inch guy I didn’t think I was gonna like the 17 kind of solo I’m Seventeen’s now though because the stopwatch doesn’t lie and I like to go fast it’s you know going fast we should quickly thank nan Kang tire for these AR ones a very fast 100 showed of our tire that you guys should all have a closer look at which also thank koenig wheels for sending along these 17 my decagrams as well as those 15-inch hi programs and we should thank Chris Boersma too for all that Intel on we look tire sizes you’re on a race track with a helmet on and you’re driving 30 K in an m3 like a douchebag BMW driver alert Oh

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