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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! It's looking likely I'll own an Elise soon, and the original wheels and tires will need to be replaced.
I was hoping for some pointers about getting a good wheel and tire and alignment setup ready for street use.

If possible, I'd like to stick with the stock wheel / tire sizes to maximize road feel and not go bigger unless necessary, so that would be:
16 x 5.5 wheels in front with 175 x 55 x r16 tires
17 x 7.5 wheels in back with 225 x 45 x r17 tires (I think!)

What are some relatively lightweight options for aftermarket wheels and street tires in those sizes?
A good all-season tire might be nice so I could drive around during winter, but I'm also ok to stick to a summer tire if there are no great AS options.
Tires that don't wear out immediately would also be nice.
Tires with a stiffer sidewall would be nice for better response and steering feel.
Will I be forced to go wider in front to get a good street tire or wheel?
What are the proper offsets to look for on front and rear wheels so they aren't lost in the wheel wells?

Also, I've heard it might be good to change the factory alignment to remove all toe and maybe add negative camber in the front in order to create more neutral handling and preserve tires longer. Is that correct? Are there particular alignment specs recommended?

In order to achieve the above, are there any other things I'd need to buy suspension-wise? Planning to get coilovers and more down the road.

Thanks all - sorry to ask so much at once, but I'm hoping to collect these parts pretty quickly and your knowledge about any part of it would help speed my research up a lot :)
 

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Conti DWS-06 195/50 R16 225/45 R17 will fit your wheels great and give you year round performance. Inokinetic recommendations on alignment. Alignment Recommendations.pdf
 
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Thank you for the recommendation! 195 width would be your recommendation? This doesn't lose too much steering feel and feedback?
Tire Rack's link I sent has the specs for the tire including allowable rim width and you will be ok without purchasing new wheels. Wider wheels of course would be better but you can always save for a wider set of wheels and summer tires and really be able to enjoy the car to the max!
 
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Hello all! It's looking likely I'll own an Elise soon, and the original wheels and tires will need to be replaced.
I was hoping for some pointers about getting a good wheel and tire and alignment setup ready for street use.

If possible, I'd like to stick with the stock wheel / tire sizes to maximize road feel and not go bigger unless necessary, so that would be:
16 x 5.5 wheels in front with 175 x 55 x r16 tires
17 x 7.5 wheels in back with 225 x 45 x r17 tires (I think!)

What are some relatively lightweight options for aftermarket wheels and street tires in those sizes?
A good all-season tire might be nice so I could drive around during winter, but I'm also ok to stick to a summer tire if there are no great AS options.
Tires that don't wear out immediately would also be nice.
Tires with a stiffer sidewall would be nice for better response and steering feel.
Will I be forced to go wider in front to get a good street tire or wheel?
What are the proper offsets to look for on front and rear wheels so they aren't lost in the wheel wells?

Also, I've heard it might be good to change the factory alignment to remove all toe and maybe add negative camber in the front in order to create more neutral handling and preserve tires longer. Is that correct? Are there particular alignment specs recommended?

In order to achieve the above, are there any other things I'd need to buy suspension-wise? Planning to get coilovers and more down the road.

Thanks all - sorry to ask so much at once, but I'm hoping to collect these parts pretty quickly and your knowledge about any part of it would help speed my research up a lot :)
Hello all! It's looking likely I'll own an Elise soon, and the original wheels and tires will need to be replaced.
I was hoping for some pointers about getting a good wheel and tire and alignment setup ready for street use.

If possible, I'd like to stick with the stock wheel / tire sizes to maximize road feel and not go bigger unless necessary, so that would be:
16 x 5.5 wheels in front with 175 x 55 x r16 tires
17 x 7.5 wheels in back with 225 x 45 x r17 tires (I think!)

What are some relatively lightweight options for aftermarket wheels and street tires in those sizes?
A good all-season tire might be nice so I could drive around during winter, but I'm also ok to stick to a summer tire if there are no great AS options.
Tires that don't wear out immediately would also be nice.
Tires with a stiffer sidewall would be nice for better response and steering feel.
Will I be forced to go wider in front to get a good street tire or wheel?
What are the proper offsets to look for on front and rear wheels so they aren't lost in the wheel wells?

Also, I've heard it might be good to change the factory alignment to remove all toe and maybe add negative camber in the front in order to create more neutral handling and preserve tires longer. Is that correct? Are there particular alignment specs recommended?

In order to achieve the above, are there any other things I'd need to buy suspension-wise? Planning to get coilovers and more down the road.

Thanks all - sorry to ask so much at once, but I'm hoping to collect these parts pretty quickly and your knowledge about any part of it would help speed my research up a lot :)
Hello all! It's looking likely I'll own an Elise soon, and the original wheels and tires will need to be replaced.
I was hoping for some pointers about getting a good wheel and tire and alignment setup ready for street use.

If possible, I'd like to stick with the stock wheel / tire sizes to maximize road feel and not go bigger unless necessary, so that would be:
16 x 5.5 wheels in front with 175 x 55 x r16 tires
17 x 7.5 wheels in back with 225 x 45 x r17 tires (I think!)

What are some relatively lightweight options for aftermarket wheels and street tires in those sizes?
A good all-season tire might be nice so I could drive around during winter, but I'm also ok to stick to a summer tire if there are no great AS options.
Tires that don't wear out immediately would also be nice.
Tires with a stiffer sidewall would be nice for better response and steering feel.
Will I be forced to go wider in front to get a good street tire or wheel?
What are the proper offsets to look for on front and rear wheels so they aren't lost in the wheel wells?

Also, I've heard it might be good to change the factory alignment to remove all toe and maybe add negative camber in the front in order to create more neutral handling and preserve tires longer. Is that correct? Are there particular alignment specs recommended?

In order to achieve the above, are there any other things I'd need to buy suspension-wise? Planning to get coilovers and more down the road.

Thanks all - sorry to ask so much at once, but I'm hoping to collect these parts pretty quickly and your knowledge about any part of it would help speed my research up a lot :)
You can check tirerack.com for tires. Select your specific Lotus car and it will show all the tires available for that car.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tire Rack's link I sent has the specs for the tire including allowable rim width and you will be ok without purchasing new wheels. Wider wheels of course would be better but you can always save for a wider set of wheels and summer tires and really be able to enjoy the car to the max!
Wider wheels and tires are better for performance and worse for feel, right?
I am looking to preserve as much steering feel and feedback as possible within reason, hence my attempt to stay skinny!
Also don’t know the platform well, so am open to suggestions if there is a happy medium
 

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Wider wheels and tires are better for performance and worse for feel, right?
I am looking to preserve as much steering feel and feedback as possible within reason, hence my attempt to stay skinny!
Also don’t know the platform well, so am open to suggestions if there is a happy medium
I would suggest start reading in the handling characteristics and what can be done at each level of intent and budget. The change in wider front tires has many benefits including handling and feel. Like anything else it can be overdone as well. It looks like you are trying to stay within a budget at this point and want the best all around bang for the buck.
As the addiction kicks in and budgets along with intentions change so can the suspension, wheels, tires, brakes, engine....
 
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Basically the only 175 width fronts were the recently discontinued AD07 tire. So Lotus recommends using the 195 width fronts, same size as was used on the sport pack. Quite a few good choices in 195/50/R16 and 225/45/R17. No one ever accused the sport pack of lacking steering feel due to wider tires :)

The 5.5” wide base wheels can work with most 195 wide front tires, but will be fairly pinched. 6 to 6.5” wide wheels (sport pack width) are preferable with the 195 width tires. You can ultimately get better grip with a wider wheel on the same width tire.

The stock alignment is a great place to start. Inokinetic's alignment recommendations linked above add a bit of rake (front ride height lower than rear) and more front and rear camber. The stock alignment tends to understeer a good bit (done by all manufacturers since understeer is safer than oversteer), and the increased front camber will make it turn in quicker and less prone to understeer.

If you want to replace the wheels, check out offerings by Inokinetic, Greg’s Race Parts, or other vendors, or find a used set of the sport pack (LSS) wheels.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Basically the only 175 width fronts were the recently discontinued AD07 tire. So Lotus recommends using the 195 width fronts, same size as was used on the sport pack. Quite a few good choices in 195/50/R16 and 225/45/R17. No one ever accused the sport pack of lacking steering feel due to wider tires :)

The 5.5” wide base wheels can work with most 195 wide front tires, but will be fairly pinched. 6 to 6.5” wide wheels (sport pack width) are preferable with the 195 width tires. You can ultimately get better grip with a wider wheel on the same width tire.

The stock alignment is a great place to start. Inokinetic's alignment recommendations linked above add a bit of rake (front ride height lower than rear) and more front and rear camber. The stock alignment tends to understeer a good bit (done by all manufacturers since understeer is safer than oversteer), and the increased front camber will make it turn in quicker and less prone to understeer.

If you want to replace the wheels, check out offerings by Inokinetic, Greg’s Race Parts, or other vendors, or find a used set of the sport pack (LSS) wheels.

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Extremely helpful post, thank you.
Would you recommend a 6.5” front wheel width over 6”?
 

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Extremely helpful post, thank you.
Would you recommend a 6.5” front wheel width over 6”?
I run a 8.25" wide wheel in the front with a 205 wide front tire. I drove back to back with the 5.5" wheel. You are not going to be able to tell a difference on the street, it is still insanely responsive.

If you want to stay close to stock, then I think you will be happy with anything 6-7.5" wide with a 195 tire. Look at GRP, Inokinetic, BOE, Blackwatch or some of the other vendors for wheels that are known to work well.
 

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an alignment is going to make a huge difference in how the car feels to you. I think more than a 20mm difference in tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
an alignment is going to make a huge difference in how the car feels to you. I think more than a 20mm difference in tires.
Adjusting the alignment to something like the Inokinetic recommendations, or simply making sure it is accurate to the stock spec? Thanks
 

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For street driving, you don’t need much negative camber in front. It’s SLA so you get camber gain through suspension travel. -1 front -2 rear would be fine. 0 toe up front, 3mm rear, and 5mm of rake is a good starting point.
 

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Adjusting the alignment to something like the Inokinetic recommendations, or simply making sure it is accurate to the stock spec? Thanks
As a for instance, how much camber you have in the front can make a significant difference in the steering effort required at parking lot speeds. More negative camber will result in less effort required to turn the wheel. I think acslater's suggestion is mostly good, although I think you should leave the rake stock or near it... depending on your suspension you may not have a choice! so I would say stock alignment, with as much camber as you can get up front (should be about -1*)
 

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Just setting ride height for proper rake and then alignment made a huge difference in the squirreliness at high speed. Then adding V2 steering arms and getting more neg camber really changed the dynamics of the steering for me. I have three sets of wheels and make minor ride height changes due to excessive rake with the 15/17 combo. With my track 15/16 I also dialed in my corner balance and kept a written log so I can undo or replicate depending on which set I'm running.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks all for your input.
More rake = looser car = more squirrelly behavior at speed?
 

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Loose does not necessarily mean squirrelly.
Look, you haven’t even gotten your car yet. Get your car, drive it, and then decide what you need to do. It sounds like you are just talking about a street setup for good tire wear and good feel. The factory settings will give you that. Don’t worry about rake or anything else - you can’t even mess with it until you get height adjustable coil overs.
 
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