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What size wheels?

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oel159
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What size wheels?

Post by oel159 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:02 pm

From members experience which would be the best alloy wheels to go for? I have 10inch at the moment and am pretty happy with them, but if I were to change what would be the pro's and con's of going for the likes of a 12inch or 13inch sportspack alloys? I know there are more options when it comes to braking in larger wheels, but is the handling or ride any better?



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Re: What size wheels?

Post by molly the mini » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:48 pm

I had 12's and then put on 10's and id never go back I find 10's softer on the road and I drove a mini with 13's and id never have them but Thats just me. 10's is what id go with

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Re: What size wheels?

Post by kerryminigringo » Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:08 pm

I have a personal preference for 10" wheels as I think they look better than any other size wheel on a Mini.The major con with 10" is the tyre choice whereas you have a better selection on the bigger sizes.With 13" unless you have the car set up really well they tend to tramline really badly and are hard on suspension components but a well set up Sportspack is a great Mini for long distance spins.I have a 91 RSP on 12" and it is a nice Mini to spin along in but for me it is 10" all the way plus you have a huge selection of styles to pick from.Have a look here and you can see what I mean.
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Re: What size wheels?

Post by keith » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:24 pm

the main driving difference is the tyre - sizes usually are: 165/70-10, 165/60-12, 175/55-13, with the profile (sidewall height as a percentage of tyre width) *decreasing* as the rim width increases, giving a stiffer tyre.

on the 10" example above, the sidewall height is 115.5mm (70% of 165mm) whereas the 13" has a 96.25mm sidewall.

i like the 10" on the round-nose mini's - i think the clubman shape can also look good on 12" - not a fan of 13" on a road car.
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Re: What size wheels?

Post by des » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:47 am

I've been reading everything I can about this recently, I have a project just finishing and need to make the same decision.
Everyone you ask has an opinion and all the arguments make perfect sense, it a good conversation starter :-)
Here's a bunch of 'points' I've come across, I'm no expert, and just reprinting what I've heard and read. Personally I think I'll stick with the 10's on mine.


10 inch or 12 inch, changing from one to the other should put you speedo out, by about 20%. Not sure how you adjust this, I've never heard of a speedo being sold based on wheel size, anyone got more info?

10 inch wheels put you closer to the ground, so a lower center of gravity. This is said to increase handling.

12 inch wheels go over bumps and potholes better. Also extra clearance under the car for speed bumps.

12 inch have more rubber, so longer lasting and as kerrymingo points out, much better selection of tyres available.

12 inch tyres will have more rubber contacting the road, so should give better handling (I know it contradicts the lower centre of gravity)

12 inch wheels will be harder to turn when parking, and will put more stress on the steering components.

Breaking is interesting, Keith Calver has some very interesting articles on his web site about it.
A 12 inch wheel has a larger 'lever' effect than a 10 inch, whatever wheel size you have you should have the correct breaks for it.


I did read somewhere about works cars, being shown before rallies with 12 inch wheels for the press, then substituted for 10's for the actual race, and then back to 12's after for the photos.

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Re: What size wheels?

Post by The Marcos Graveyard » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:27 pm

des wrote:10 inch or 12 inch, changing from one to the other should put you speedo out, by about 20%. Not sure how you adjust this, I've never heard of a speedo being sold based on wheel size, anyone got more info?
You can change the gearing in the speedo drive housing on the gearbox to compensate
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Re: What size wheels?

Post by macker » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:06 pm

des wrote:

12 inch wheels go over bumps and potholes better. Also extra clearance under the car for speed bumps.
not neccessarily so, their is more give in a 10 inch tyre and this adds to the shock absorbtion

12 inch have more rubber
actually a 10 a 12 & a 13 inch tyre have reletively the same amount of rubber

12 inch tyres will have more rubber contacting the road, so should give better handling (I know it contradicts the lower centre of gravity)
a 10 inch tyre is a 165/70r10, a 12 inch tyre is a 165/60r12, both have the same amount of rubber in contact with the road, this would be the 165 aspect of the tyre, a 13 inch tyre would have more rubber in contact with the road being a 175 aspect

Breaking is interesting, Keith Calver has some very interesting articles on his web site about it.
A 12 inch wheel has a larger 'lever' effect than a 10 inch, whatever wheel size you have you should have the correct breaks for it.
absolutely bang on! always make sure that your brakes are up to the job
answered in quote :wink:
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Re: What size wheels?

Post by des » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:41 am

Doh, have to learn to type someday. Nice points macker, you got me out to the garage with a measuring tape for this, and the results are interesting(at least for me):

First 12 inch standard late mode Cooper wheels :
145/70 r12 Circumference 64 inches diameter 20
Then the 10’s I have
165/70 r10 Circumference 61 inches diameter 19
145 r 10 Circumference 59 inches diameter 18

So it would appear that the tyre size makes the biggest difference and only a difference of about 10% at that. But that’s just the tyres I have here.
I assume (incorrectly perhaps) , if you run an outside diameter the same on 10 and 12’s, then the 12 could have a larger breaks installed, and as the tyre diameters are the same would have far superior breaking. But the 10’s on smaller diameter tyres should match this.
Also, the larger the diameter of a tyre the ‘flatter’ the bottom, and the larger the contact area, but that has to be a very small difference between 10 and 12’s
I found an article where in the late days of the BMC team, the team managers wanted the minis racing on 12’s for some races as they lasted longer and tyre failures were causing issues for the minis, but the drivers were fighting to use 10’s as they claimed batter handling. Also suggested was a ‘mini handicap’ invented for some rallies the teams were limited to only 6 tyres per stage, giving the competing cars with larger diameter wheels a big advantage.
Another odd fact I came across, by doubling the width of a car tyre, you do not double the contact area, and in some cases may actually have a smaller contact area.
It seems to come down to personal preference, properly set up I don’t think there is much in the difference.
Last edited by des on Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What size wheels?

Post by woody » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:59 am

Personally I go

10" for classic looks
12" for daily use
13" for max performance

As far as grip is concerned buy the best rubber you can afford, supper brakes will only see you skid more on cheap tyres.
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oel159
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Re: What size wheels?

Post by oel159 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:49 pm

Thanks for all the input. Im still undecided, when the car is resprayed it'll only be used for good weather use and garaged the rest of the time. Has anyone fitted 13's on an older mini? Is there much to it?

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Re: What size wheels?

Post by aidstap » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:47 pm

there isn't a huge difference between the 10" and 13" wheels

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i'm swapping from 13"s to 10" when i finally save up for some tyres, I'm running 7.9" discs and fiesta calipers and have no trouble stopping my vtec mini with the 13"s on.

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Re: What size wheels?

Post by The Marcos Graveyard » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:47 pm

oel159 wrote:Thanks for all the input. Im still undecided, when the car is resprayed it'll only be used for good weather use and garaged the rest of the time. Has anyone fitted 13's on an older mini? Is there much to it?
You'll need to cut the wheel arches on the front and fit hi-lo's all round. You may have to fit the later steering rack as it has reduced throw for the bigger wheels so they don't rub on the inner wing.
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