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View Poll Results: Your preference?
New trend of big wheels & lower profile tyres 82 16.27%
Traditional trend of regular wheels & taller profile tyres 422 83.73%
Voters: 504. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 9th March 2020, 11:01   #1
GTO
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Default Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels


I am mighty pissed off with Indian car makers blindly following trends of the western markets by bringing large wheels + low profile tyres here. Fact is, these are NOT suited to Indian driving conditions. Heck, early Innova Crysta owners were up in arms over damaged tyres on the top variant (something we complained about in our Official Review too). The Kia Seltos - which already has a firm suspension - gets 17" rims in the top variant; as a result, you'll find many owners complaining about its bumpy ride quality. It was silly of Ford to once sell the EcoSport with 17" rims, but it sensibly moved back to 16s (although an EcoSport with 15" wheels is the best IMHO) - related thread.

The main benefit of large wheels + low profile tyres is "looks". That's the no.1 benefit. Big rims look fantastic, no doubt. Then, there are some other less-noticeable benefits like a little sharper steering, little better handling, allowing for larger brakes (irrelevant on mass market cars) etc.

My problem is this = Just for a bit of an improvement in looks, we are giving away way too much with low profile tyres.

- Stiffer / bumpy ride quality in a country known for poor roads
- Tyres become more prone to damage.
- Wheels become more prone to bending / damage.
- Tyre replacement costs are higher (e.g. 17" tyres are pricier than 16").
- Wheels are more expensive.
- Unsprung weight increases (read this thread).
- Poorer grip on bumpy roads (read this thread).
- Large wheels with fatter tyres can actually slow a car down (read this thread).
- Higher wear & tear rate of the suspension (due to lesser bump absorption by the tyres).
- Annoying trait of tramlining (read this thread).

Can I please request car manufacturers to stick to 15 & 16-inch wheels with taller tyre sidewalls? BHPians, please vote on the poll.

Related Threads:

1. Want to upsize your wheels? Think again.

2. Pros & Cons of low-profile tyres

P.S.

SUVs look absolutely badass with small wheels + tall tyres
Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels-s11.jpg
Pic Source

The fastest cars & drivers on the planet have used small wheels + tall tyres since decades (might change next year though):
Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels-annotation-20200309-113526.png
Pic Source

Last edited by GTO : 9th March 2020 at 11:47.
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Old 9th March 2020, 11:48   #2
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Tyre section!
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Old 9th March 2020, 12:06   #3
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

Voted for higher profile tires, and I have no doubt that the poll results will be overwhelmingly in favour of this choice. I like massive rims with thin tires as much as the next man when it comes to aesthetics. However, and unfortunately, India is not the place for aesthetics over practicality, at least in this aspect. Indian roads offer bone jarring rides more often than not, and there is absolutely no need to further aggravate this paradigm by knowingly putting thinner tires on Indian cars. The Ecosport's 17 inchers were pretty much a non-starter from the get go.

In fact, one of my top three priorities when I buy my next car will be the ride quality offered by the car, including a close look at the tire profile being used to achieve this ride.
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Old 9th March 2020, 12:11   #4
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

A thread with perfect timing.

My Abarth came from the factory with 195/55 R16 tyres. Currently running with 205/55 R16 tyres that I'm not very happy with. The ride is not as plush as regular Puntos. Not only do I plan to go back to 195-section tyres, I'm seriously contemplating going back to 15 inchers!

195/60 R15 vs 195/55 R 16. This is what the tyre comparator shows up (9.5% increase in sidewall):
Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels-screen-shot-20200309-12.06.20-pm.png

As an added bonus, 15 inchers are way cheaper than 16s and I don't care much about the alloys as well. Give me function over form any day!

Last edited by blackwasp : 9th March 2020 at 12:13.
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Old 9th March 2020, 12:15   #5
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

Quote:
Originally Posted by arindambasu13 View Post
The Ecosport's 17 inchers were pretty much a non-starter from the get go.
Noob question: I see many people complaining about Ford for providing 17 inchers while at the same time, I see many car reviews here in team-bhp complaining that the rim size is too small on xyz car.
What exactly is the ideal size then? Is there any ideal ratio of rim size to sidewall thickness which hits the sweat spot? I am asking because so far I haven't come across anyone saying he is satisfied with the given rim/tyre size.
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Old 9th March 2020, 12:34   #6
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

Quote:
Originally Posted by nagr22 View Post
Noob question: I see many people complaining about Ford for providing 17 inchers while at the same time, I see many car reviews here in team-bhp complaining that the rim size is too small on xyz car.
I reckon that when people complain about the tires being too small on a given car, they are referring to the aesthetic side of things. Smaller wheels on a beefier car more often than not look disproportionate.

However, when the rims are too big and the tires are correspondingly lower profile (e.g. on the Ecosport 17 inchers), the ride quality suffers to a disproportionately large extent. The complaint in this regard is about the ride quality, rather than the aesthetic aspect.

Hence, the two complaints come from different perspectives. All said, us car enthusiasts are generally a picky lot

Last edited by arindambasu13 : 9th March 2020 at 12:35.
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Old 9th March 2020, 12:35   #7
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

Quote:
Originally Posted by nagr22 View Post
I see many car reviews here in team-bhp complaining that the rim size is too small on xyz car.
The Official Reviews almost never complain of the wheel being too small. We have complained about tyre sizes though (thickness) & I think that's what you are talking about. We hate tyres that are too thin. Reason = safety & aesthetics.
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Old 9th March 2020, 14:13   #8
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

Voted for Traditional trend of regular wheels & taller profile tyres
We have two different cars in the family with tyres of size 205/60 on one and 195/55 on the other, both on 16 inch alloys. There is a certain jerkiness observed on the 195/55 one (having sat in a lower variant with less jerkiness lately) that I have to slow down more than usual just to avoid the movement and sound. Upsizing may help in handling but I doubt most car manufacturers here have that in their mind. Its just a trend that is going on, which I hope ends soon. Our roads with those random speed-breakers and potholes deserve higher side-walls. But a friend who deals with automotive components tells me that these days, suspension tuning is done in such a manner that one cannot move outside stock sizes without risking the adjustments during alignment (castor, camber, toe, etc.)
Additionally, larger wheels look good on larger cars. 17 inch on a Harrier looks good. On an EcoSport it looks a bit large and the 16 inch wheels look far better. This is strictly my opinion though.
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Old 9th March 2020, 14:30   #9
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

Nice thread GTO,
You have covered almost all the points and I agree with your views.
As much as I like fat tyres, I am wary about the profile as well. Can't compromise too much on the ride quality.

For example:
When my father bought Innova crysta, a few years back, it came with 16inchers since it was a VX variant.
But while checking the accesories, the accesories guy told we can upgrade to 17inchers wheels and tyres, with some extra cost after exchange.
Thanks to Team-BHP, we were aware of the issue with 17inch and didn't upgrade.

Meanwhile,
I feel the Duster's ride quality is one of the best in segment. As much as the credits must go to the suspension tuning, some credit must be given to the tyre profile(215/65-R16) as well.
The 65 sidewalls, gives sufficient amount of cushioning for a 16inch.

So my personal choice is:
Regular wheels with tall tyres.
Or
Wheel upgrade within acceptable limits.
(strict no for very low-profile)
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Old 9th March 2020, 15:31   #10
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

Taller sidewalls give you another advantage- you'll be able to upgrade to more stiffer suspension without compromising on the ride quality too much. Stiffer suspension helps in reducing lateral and longitudinal body movements which helps in increasing driver confidence and handling. Works fine for most conditions unless you corner too hard to cause sidewall flex( this varies from tyre to tyre though) . Else its a match made in heaven for street users.
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Old 9th March 2020, 15:41   #11
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

It is a big NO for me, I do not like the low profile tyres at all, they are not suitable for our roads and can't see any reason for this other than looks.Have seen people upgrading their rides (i20's/Swifts) to bigger wheels and tyres as low as 45 profile just for the looks and ignoring the downside of these upgrades.
Moreover this new trend from manufactures limits the upsizing option to a great extent.
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Old 9th March 2020, 15:50   #12
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

Last year I helped a close friend select an Ecosport. He was fixated on getting the "Sport" version, primarily for the 17" alloys, even though both the Sales Manager and yours truly were dead against the 17" wheels. I had to describe to him in some grusome detail the effects of a tyre damage of even worse a high speed blowout. Finally he relented.
Based on this experience I understood how perverse the car marketing campaigns are :- large alloy wheels, useless sunroofs, auto headlights and failure prone TPMS are the items the average buyer lusts after. Add to this now is the 2019 trend of voice commands and large screens.

I feel 70 aspect ratio is ideal for Indian conditions. Anything below 65 is a serious compromise on ride quality without improvement in handling.
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Old 9th March 2020, 15:52   #13
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

Voted for Traditional trend of regular wheels & taller profile tyres.
Low profile stuff should be left to aftermarket & enthusiasts who choose to take calculated risks ( I upgraded my i10 to i20 alloys & pirellis)

I feel that the new trend is also for increasing toal ownership costs and hence profits.
Tyre prices post 15 inches rise a lot. Plus low profile tyres and wheels get damaged easily

Last edited by vikramvicky1984 : 9th March 2020 at 15:56.
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Old 9th March 2020, 16:23   #14
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

I think we need another choice on the poll - "Case specific". For everyday commuter cars it makes sense to have the small rim + tall sidewall combination. Makes the car more abuse friendly and allows you to glide over broken roads without any worries.

But when it comes to aspirational cars, especially performance oriented, looks and dynamism are quite important. My Polo GTI comes with 16" rims and 215 section tyres. I wouldn't want to go down to 15s on this car! Yes the ride is harsh and I have to slow down for every little pebble on the road, but still I wouldn't want my GTI to look like a jacked up everyday hatch. On the other hand , my regular Polo GT comes with 15 inchers and I wouldn't want 16s on that car. Incidentally 16" is the min size required to accommodate the larger disc brakes on the GTI. Cars like these are bought with a different purpose in mind and that is performance. It is on the open highway that the car comes alive and that is where the big rims and fat tyres have a very important role to play.

Even on my X3 which is more like a performance estate than SUV, I upgraded from stock 18s to sexy 19s. I love what these wheels have done to the looks and performance and don't regret one bit.

Before - Stock 18s


After swap to 19s

Last edited by Santoshbhat : 9th March 2020 at 16:25.
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Old 9th March 2020, 17:14   #15
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Default Re: Tall tyres & regular wheels versus low-profile tyres & large wheels

Quote:
Originally Posted by nagr22 View Post
What exactly is the ideal size then? Is there any ideal ratio of rim size to sidewall thickness which hits the sweat spot? I am asking because so far I haven't come across anyone saying he is satisfied with the given rim/tyre size.
In my opinion a tire wall height of 140mm is very comfortable, and 130mm is the absolute lower end of being comfortable, any thing less is just a show vehicle which is never put to long use.
Take a ride in a Hexa XM or XE with 16 inch rims. The 235/70 tires which give you 164.5mm tire wall height give excellent comfort.

It's human not to be satisfied, that's the only reason there is progress. In the late 1990's I was very happy with my Tata Estate, and Esteem but dis satisfaction did creep in, and I kept upgrading regularly.

Similarly every one complains that their SUV has lot of body roll, and the same person complains that his Sedan scrapes every speed braker and bump.

Rahul

Last edited by GTO : 10th March 2020 at 08:07. Reason: Spacing
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