Low Profile Tyres. Why?

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Silk
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Location: South Glos.

Low Profile Tyres. Why?

Postby Silk » Sun Apr 10, 2016 1:17 pm

Ok, they can look better but are they really worth it considering the following?: -

1) They cost more.
2) They wear more quickly.
3) They result in a harsher ride.

Are there any advantages that I'm missing?

I'm not convinced about handling improvements - Surely most modern cars will out-handle the worst that can be thrown at them within the bounds of safety.

I'm trying not to be *too* controversial here. I'm just interested.

Just to clarify, I'm mainly talking about 17" and 18" over 16" for an average car.

waremark
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Re: Low Profile Tyres. Why?

Postby waremark » Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:37 pm

I share Silk's scepticism - and it is a good thread to start, thanks. I believe that appearance is the main reason so many cars are fitted with them - it is thought that bigger wheels look better, particularly wheels which fill a larger proportion of the wheel arch with a small band of rubber between wheel and arch. As to handling, common sense does suggest that steering will be more positive if there is less rubber between wheel rim and road.

When ordering cars new I have always opted for the smallest available wheels. On my last large estate car I could have chosen 17, 18 or 19 inch wheels. I had the 17's, and was perfectly happy with the handling. On my current estate, the engine I wanted was only available with 20 inch wheels. In addition to the costs of having larger wheels mentioned by Silk, I believe that low profile tyres are far less durable. I have had several tyres on the current car replaced while the tread was still reasonable due to bulges in the side wallls, and we have had similar experience with an earlier car in the household with 20 inch wheels.

Had anyone else had multiple tyre failures of very low profile tyres?

WhoseGeneration
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Re: Low Profile Tyres. Why?

Postby WhoseGeneration » Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:25 pm

Silk, you know the answer.
Marketing.

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akirk
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Re: Low Profile Tyres. Why?

Postby akirk » Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:34 pm

I would agree, I have owned a number or range rovers and they were initially designed with tall skinny wheels / tyres to cut through mud and find grip, now they look like racing cars...

I can only assume that it is fashion, and perhaps a deal with tyre manufacturers so that they can sell more expensive rubber!

Alasdair

martine
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Re: Low Profile Tyres. Why?

Postby martine » Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:06 pm

I suppose the question is why do racing cars have low profile tyres? (F1 doesn't but it's specifically in the regs).

Is it better handling and more feedback?
Martin - Bristol IAM: IMI National Observer, Group Secretary, Masters (dist), DSA: ADI, Fleet, RoSPA (Dip)

Silk
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Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2015 9:24 pm
Location: South Glos.

Re: Low Profile Tyres. Why?

Postby Silk » Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:25 pm

WhoseGeneration wrote:Silk, you know the answer.
Marketing.


In that case it hasn't worked. I've had to walk away from a deal on occasions because I was unable to get the performance version without bone-shaking tyres and suspension.

It seems to be implied that the car would be unsafe in some way if a performance engine was matched to a normal tyre/suspension setup. I'm no expert (I'm sure Stressed Dave will be along in a moment) but I suspect that's not the reason.

martine
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Re: Low Profile Tyres. Why?

Postby martine » Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:54 pm

I've got 18" moderately low-profile tyres and I wouldn't describe the ride as bone-shaking...would you?

The Mk3 STs come with an option of 19" wheels and that's one I wouldn't be taking though.
Martin - Bristol IAM: IMI National Observer, Group Secretary, Masters (dist), DSA: ADI, Fleet, RoSPA (Dip)

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Discov8
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Location: Surrey

Re: Low Profile Tyres. Why?

Postby Discov8 » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:52 pm

My off roader had 255/85/16 tyres, on tarmac you did notice a delay between steering input and actual change in direction.

A few weeks ago, at night, I lost two near side tyres on pot holes in my RS6 which runs 255/35/19 tyres, I call them elastic band tyres! The off roader wouldn't have noticed the pot holes.

However, an advantage of larger diameter rims on higher performance vehicles is you can fit larger diameter brake discs and bigger calipers which equals more stopping power.

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dvenman
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Re: Low Profile Tyres. Why?

Postby dvenman » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:15 am

My 986 Boxster is running on 17" wheels. I get enough performance from those, and the ride is better than the A3 S-line I had some years ago, with 17" rims and lower profile tyres.

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StressedDave
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Re: Low Profile Tyres. Why?

Postby StressedDave » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:39 am

Ignoring the marketing reasons (which probably add to the 'how many inches' have I got argument, the main reason for Low profile tyres is that higher profile tyres won't work within the necessary parameters today.

Tyre widths have significantly increased over the last 15 years to give a bigger contact patch and more safety for the average driver who just turns the wheel and wants the car to go around corners with a minimum of thought. If you have a wider contact patch, you can't support it easily with a higher sidewall and the 'idiocy factor' would play a significant part.
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