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Discussion Starter #1
Question:
First i am sure this has been discussed in detail before but a search just brings up fragmented bits:

Some people run smaller wheel sizes on their cars correct?
15" or 15"/16" instead of the 16"/17".

I am going to get a new set of wheels tires, intention for 50% track days and auto-x and 50% road use.
(i can keep my old garbage stock wheels-tires for the other 50% road use but likely not use much)

IF i go to the smaller sizes, 15"/16" it looks like i can get the tires i want, wheels i want at a price i can afford..BUT.
do they work better or worse handling wise as a general statement? i have read a few comments about people who cant get the smaller sizes to work as good as the stock diameter sizes?

for reference i am considering 15 x 7 / 16x 8, 205-50-15 / 225-50-16 falken Azenis 615k's.

is smaller better or worse?

thanks for the help or point me to the correct thread.
 

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I personally just went through the same thing and will be picking up my rims/tires later today. I like you thought about going down a size on the rims but atleast here, if you change the rims to anything that wasn't OEM offered from Lotus you bump up atleast one class in SCCA. I personally wanted to stay in the SS class so I got some SC Elise rims (then powdercoated them matte black) for the additional width staying with 16/17 staggered. I then looked at tires knowing like you I drive mine around town on nice days but wanted to tear it up on the track as well. After alot of research and experience from other cars I decided on Toyo R888 and in the sizes 195/50/16 and 245/40/17. I will be putting them on the car this week and the first road driving will be saturday and first race will be on the 18th for SCCA so we will see how it works out.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks so far gentlemen, keep the advice comming.

manshoon, will look for your message.

as far as SCCA autox..since i will never be a serious contender with my budget, it would just be more for my own enjoyment whatever class they put me in.

this is just as much for those track day fun runs.

another consideraton is to assure clearance is more likely i would imagine with the smaller wheels.
yes i know running them on the highway will keep my milage an top speeed down, but who needs a ticket for going more than 100 mph anyways?

my tire size choice comes from the sector 111 tire/wheel chart.
 

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I guess I could publicly post it...... :)

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f100/track-junkies-ra1s-15-16-wheels-input-needed-47842/

It really helped me with discussion from lots of trackies about 15/16 and different tire sizes.



This one is good too

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f259/15-16-wheels-vs-16-17-wheels-track-98555/#post1565824

Driving styles have to be accounted for too. Someone driving the same car could say it understeers too much and another could say it oversteers too much.

I get far more oversteer than understeer on my current(outgoing) 195/235 LSS setup, so going to 205/225 like I will, will require some adjustment car/driver.
When I say oversteer, I am not talking about tank slapping every car out of my way, just enough o/s that is rather easy to manage with good countersteering + throttle.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Super threads!! And i think they really helped.
We will definitely consider the 15/16 set up the way to go right now.

As far as tires, it doesnt sound like anyone here has tried the falken 615k's.
I loved them on my Birkin/lotus 7. and you cant beat the price, just curious how they will work on the heavy elise.
 

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I'm also been working through this the last few months to find the best wheel/tire combo for the street and track. I've also settled on a 15/16 combo. A big benefit of this setup is the wheels and tires are lighter than a 16/17 combo and cost less.

Here is a quick example using sector 111's Ethos wheels and R888 tires.

16x7, 17x8 wheels, 225/45/16, 245/40/17 tires. 152.9 lbs total, $2,012

15x7, 16x8 wheels, 225/45/15, 245/45/16 tires. 141.6 lbs total, $1,648

Same tire widths but 11 lbs less weight and nearly $400 cheaper. The biggest downside is higher rpms when cruising around.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wheels question:

does the center hub diameter critical, just so it's the same size or bigger than what our cars have? does it need to be an exact size to match?
of course the bolt holes would be the 4x100..

i would love to use the 245's on the rear, but for my budget i am going to go with the 225 falkens i think since they dont make 245's darn.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I read the thread on the 615's but that didnt include the NEW 615k's.
but the 615's didnt sound good at all.

cripes the more i seem to read the worse confused i get.
so basically i need a tire i can afford, good for track days and street, and the ocassional autocross.. and not be afraid to drive caustiously in rain.

the discussions here are huge but no summarys
 

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Dunlop starspecs are great street biased UHP tires (sam category as 615s)
 

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For the 15/16 combo, Toyo R1R are in the right sizes, know an Elise owner that ran the 16/17 version and was happy with track and autox performance. Used them myself on another mid-engine car (MR2 Turbo) and like them. Personally have used the Toyo RA1 on the 15/16 sizes on the Elise, great all around tire. Though once they get down to 4/32 may not do very well in the wet (only 4 groves at that point).

Never used street tires on the Elise, so can’t help on that end. The Toyo R888 also come in the right sizes for 15/16 wheels (Used the 16/17 version). They are ok in the wet, as long as we’re not talking heavy downpours/standing water.
 

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I had Dunlop star specs on my fwd dd. dry grip was very solid however wet grip wasn't the best and road noise was horrible, especially over 8-10k miles of use.... Couldn't hear my wife talk at highway speeds which can be a good thing I guess :)

One of the car mags a few years back did a wheel size comparison, same model and with tire on 15-18 in wheels. 18s held the most lateral g's with 15's having the worst handling. 17's had the best lap time due to 18's adding so much more unsprung weight.

If if was me, I would get what you like the looks of the most, whatever size that is and get a good summer tire. Use your stock wheels for auto x and track days, with stickier track tires
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So in reality,
while i might find a wheel in the size and bolt pattern, and maybe the offset (or make a spacer), if i have to match the hub diameter too, the selections i have of wheels, is really quite limited.
 

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So in reality,
while i might find a wheel in the size and bolt pattern, and maybe the offset (or make a spacer), if i have to match the hub diameter too, the selections i have of wheels, is really quite limited.
It is very limited indeed. You can go with Volks for almost $3K or Ethos for less than $1000. That being said, the Volks are also a lot lighter than the Ethos.
Enkei makes the RP-F1 in 15/16 but the 15" won't clear the calipers.

If you find wheels with the proper bolt pattern 4x100mm (IIRC) but the hole in the middle is larger than 56.6, you can buy hubcentric rings. For instance, the Enkei have 73.1 hub size so you would need rings with 73.1 OD and 56.6 ID.

I did a lot or research and the Enkei were the only ones I found in those sizes/widths (besides the Volks and Ethos) but they didn't work. I think there is another brand out there that has those sizes but the wheels are quite heavy.

As far as tires go, for autocross, you can use the Hankook Ventus which will cost you some $700 for the set of 4 (205/15 - 245/16).
 

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Like stated don't worry to much about a wheel not having the proper hub diameter. As long as the wheels hub is larger You can easily have spacers made for the wheels/car and even add a spacer if needed.
 

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how about nitto nt01 vs ra1 i read they are almost the same tires but the nittos cost a little less.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So...(sigh)....currently while i would prefer the 15/16 set up..i cant seem to find a set of wheels i can afford. over $500 a wheel is just wacky for me. Otherwise for anything else--even willing to use some sleeve or spacer setup--i am told the rim wont fit over the caliper because of interference.
i was hoping to find a set for around $800...

so...it looks like i am going to be using the rota torques in 16/17 from E-bay.

and for tires..while there are some awesome rubber out there, i cant possibly afford over $200 a tire and keep my head without Mary chopping it off at my nuts..

so choosing between the dunlop stars and toyo r1r's from what i read the Dunlops are more predictable and stable. so...205-50-16 and 235-45-17 should work without tearing everything up.

unless....someone can still point me in a better direction i can still afford?
 

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I really cant say enough about how great the star specs are in terms of value and all around usefullness. Though I havent tried the R1R. Hankook rs3s and Kumo XSs are good UHP values as well.

I have never tried it but I have heard many reccomend 15/17 setup due to the lack of tires availible in decent 16" sizes. If you want 15/16 I think you can get the team dynamics for a reasonable proce on blackwatch racing. They are a bit heavy but I dont think its a big deal.
 
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