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View Full Version : 16s, like the look..any performance benefit?



Joeremi
08-12-2013, 06:15 AM
I'm still narrowing down my choices for an Abarth, and am close to moving on a Cabrio with the stock 16" wheels. The 17's command a price premium, and most people seem to prefer them, but I tend to favor the small-diameter-rim/taller-tire 'classic' look of the 16s. Is there any handling/ride benefit with the smaller wheels? Also, are there any other 16 fans here?

Andree
08-12-2013, 07:16 AM
I'd guess the smaller wheels, larger tires would give a much more comfortable ride, with the tires themselves absorbing a bit more of the little bumps. The suspension is already stiff. So if you have roads like mine with potholes during the rainy season, and the bigger wheels, it would be more jarring than the smaller wheels with the bigger tires.

But, if you're doing lots of fast cornering on smooth roads, you will lose some "grip" with the larger tires. You'd want tires that stick to the road and have no give laterally, to keep the car firmly planted.

Both have the advantages and disadvantages for being what they are. So, you have to think about how YOU plan on driving your car, and WHERE you plan on driving it.

If you have the opportunity to test drive one of each, do so.

Yes, there are other people who like the 16s. One in particular I haven't seen around in awhile.

500Madness does a cool custom paint thing on the 16s. Here's the page that shows the red and the black:
http://500madness.com/500madness/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=288

And the 16s are a close match to the Grigio body color as it is.

2Cool
08-12-2013, 08:06 AM
Normally lighter, larger sidewall gives more shock absorption and a better ride, and very often you can get better handling due to a better contact patch under side load. Plus smaller rims look better on a retro style car, and tires often are cheaper, even performance ones, with a better selection in the size range (205/45-16 is good, 215-45-16 better).

A lot of autocrossers tend to run smaller diameter rims with wider rubber, like the C-mod guys with 15" diameter by 13" wide rims...

jguerdat
08-12-2013, 08:13 AM
Performance advantage, yes, since they're shorter than the 17s effectively giving you 4-5% better gearing and lowering the car. However, yer stuck with mediocre tires unless you go to a taller tire at which point you might as well go to the 17s. So, define what you want - ultimate performance or "good enough". Those of us competitively autocrossing on street tires are using the Dunlop ZII in the 215/40-17 size.

Joeremi
08-12-2013, 04:01 PM
Thanks for the input. To be more specific to my driving style, the car will be used mainly as a daily driver on good-to-fairly-lousy roads. I'll probably join NASA and do some track drives for fun, but nothing competitively. Also, I'll be bolting on aftermarket wheels eventually, so I'd rather not pay for the stock 17's first. Those Mindset wheels RRM sells look pretty sweet...

Abarth Five O
08-12-2013, 05:11 PM
In addition to more tire choices, I went w/ 17s in case I decided to add a BBK.

duster497
08-12-2013, 05:20 PM
I have the 16's and the don't handle quite as well as the 17's, they are still good. I'm just use my car as a daily driver, and will be doing some fun mountain road driving-which I did this past Saturday. They actually held up well. Ride is good.

DuckDodgers
08-12-2013, 06:50 PM
The 16's have almost no weight advantage over the 17's, and as noted the tire choices suck. Personally, in your place I'd go with the 16's (better ride every day) and get some 16's or 17's with autocross rubber for the events (better handling).

Andree
08-12-2013, 08:33 PM
Thanks for the input. To be more specific to my driving style, the car will be used mainly as a daily driver on good-to-fairly-lousy roads. I'll probably join NASA and do some track drives for fun, but nothing competitively. Also, I'll be bolting on aftermarket wheels eventually, so I'd rather not pay for the stock 17's first. Those Mindset wheels RRM sells look pretty sweet...

There ya go, you just answered your own question! Absolutely NO SENSE in paying extra for wheels if you're going to eventually be paying extra for other wheels. LOL.

And keep the 16s for the lousy roads.

Joeremi
08-12-2013, 09:38 PM
There ya go, you just answered your own question! Absolutely NO SENSE in paying extra for wheels if you're going to eventually be paying extra for other wheels. LOL.

And keep the 16s for the lousy roads.

Oh I'm planning on going with the stock 16s, I was just curious what others' thoughts were on their looks and performance. The replacement wheels will probably be 16s as well; I prefer the Formula One style of small wheels/big rubber to the current street vogue of huge rims with low profile tires.

Seafarer61
08-13-2013, 02:36 AM
16's for this owner. I just prefer a bit more sidewall for a car this tiny.
http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i288/SubMariner61/5365b589-e1cb-4342-95ef-5220909e9721_zps3da32801.jpg

jguerdat
08-13-2013, 12:13 PM
Sidewall difference is pretty small. The 16s have a 3.45" sidewall (calculated) while the 17s have 3.22". Not gonna save you much. Stiffer sidewalls (competition tires such as the Dunlop ZII) would likely help more.

Seafarer61
08-14-2013, 12:48 AM
Stiffer sidewalls (competition tires such as the Dunlop ZII) would likely help more.

I prefer the larger sidewalls for the look and 16's for the lower stance. As for stiffer sidewall or competition tires, don't need 'em. On public roads, the car does exactly what I want it to do when I want to do it with zero fanfare. No gummy tires needed for this daily driver.

jguerdat
08-14-2013, 08:44 AM
I prefer the larger sidewalls for the look and 16's for the lower stance. As for stiffer sidewall or competition tires, don't need 'em. On public roads, the car does exactly what I want it to do when I want to do it with zero fanfare. No gummy tires needed for this daily driver.

That's fine but I was pointing out the very minor difference in sidewall height. I agree that for strictly street use the competition type tires aren't needed but the claim was the extra sidewall was for road hazard protection - I was simply pointing out that stiffer sidewalls would provide more protection. To each their own - just trying to provide another perspective.

Joeremi
08-14-2013, 07:33 PM
The deed is done. I have a Nero Cabrio with 16s now. :-)

duster497
08-14-2013, 07:55 PM
Congrats!!! Jealous on the Cabrio!!