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19" vs 21" Wheels Pros and Cons

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by rlawson4, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. rlawson4

    rlawson4 Member

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    Okay, I am interested in mass opinion of the advantages and disadvantages of our wheel choices. There are also 2 different 21 " rims to discuss as well. I appreciate everyone in advance because I am totally clueless on this issue. As for my needs, I am most interested in comfort and safety in all weather conditions. I am in my car 80-140 miles a day. Thanks.
     
  2. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    It's very simple. Both the 21" and the 19" have the same diameter with the tires on. This means the 21" has a much shorter and stiffer sidewall, which reduces the flexibility of the tire and as a side non-benefit, reduces the ability to absorb bumps somewhat. Also, the available tires for the 21" rim are much fewer because with such a low profile, the tires are usually aimed at the performance set.

    The big advantage of the 21", low profile tire is better handling in the curves. This is because the type of compound used for the tire makes it stickier, (and have a shorter lifespan), and the reduced flexibility of the tire, makes the steering firmer and more reliable in running through curves.

    Many people like the looks of the low-profile 21" wheels.

    The big advantages of the 19" wheel are that ride will be slightly more comfortable, all-season tires are available (negating the need for separate snow tires), and the tires will last much longer than the high-performance tires, thereby reducing the expenses of operating the car.

    As far as we know, the only difference between the two 21" wheels is the color of the metal.
     
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Then don't even think about the 21" tires. You'll want all-seasons which are only available in 19".

    One way to think about low-profile is that the lower the profile the happier the tire manufacturers are. As profile lowers, tires get more expensive and don't last as long. This is similar to how the car manufacturers make more money on big cars and trucks then they do on small economy cars.
     
  4. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    All-seasons are crap. I'm getting 21" wheels for summer use and 19" for my winter tires.
     
  5. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    They may be "crap", but they're damned convenient in locations where we only get the occasional heavy snow, like the Pacific NW. That said, I really want the 21" wheels for my Sig Perf, so for the first time in my life, I'm going to be rotating tires between seasons. Fortunately, I have a garage big enough to stash the off-season tires.
     
  6. onlinespending

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    It's worth adding that the 21" wheels and lower-profile tires will exacerbate any issues you may have with alignment and warped rims. I've had alignment issues with my 19" wheels and low-profile tires, and my Dad's BMW with 19" wheels and low-profile tires have had issues of damaged rims going over potholes, so I can only imagine how much worst it'd be for the 21" wheels and even lower-profile tires. This will also increase expenses operating the car in addition to the tires themselves wearing out considerably sooner as you pointed out.
     
    • Informative x 1
  7. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    Yea, even just the morning thin sheets of ice and days of endless rain at 38 degrees. The weather really isn't bad enough in Portland, OR for me to economically justify winter and summer tires. Plus, I know me, it'd be enough of a hassle getting the tires swapped that I might not get it done.

    However, I need the car to not suck in adverse conditions, so 19' all weather are probably my best bet.
     
  8. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Some are and some aren't. Severe service Nokian WR-g2 are not. Low rolling resistance too. Remember every tire you get is a compromise between economy, performance, temperature, and robustness. You just have to intelligently choose the correct tire for your driving conditions.
     
  9. rlawson4

    rlawson4 Member

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    Thanks all.
     
  10. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I drove in Midwest winters and snow for years on all season tires. Most of winter driving is about the driver and how careful they are than the tires. Winter tires are the ideal but most people don't have the space, money or desire to have a second set of rims around and swap them twice a year. All season tires are definitely the best all purpose compromise for people not willing or able to swap tires. jerry33 is right, all tires are compromises and you have to choose the right one.
     
  11. Odenator

    Odenator P2607

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    +1

    I got stuck at my hospital for 3 days during the last winter storm here in the Puget Sound area with my all-season tires. I am never making that mistake again.
     
  12. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    45 profile tires are low profile.
    35 profile as found on the 21s is ridiculously low.
    A BMW 528 comes with 55s.

    The roads here are very rough. If I get two sets of wheels, I will get two sets of 19s - or one 19 and one smaller aftermarket.
     
  13. William13

    William13 Member

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    @ jerry33, I agree that those Nokians are the best all season/severe weather tires on the planet. Unfortunately they are not available in the correct size for the Tesla. I will be getting Nokian Hakka Rs for the winter. They are low rolling resistance and great winter tires which come in the 19 inch size. I will probably get the 21 inches for summer. They will do great when it is hot outside.
     
  14. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I'm all too well aware of that:crying: The point was that all-season tires vary from very poor to very good, just like EVs, hybrids, and even ICE only cars.
     
  15. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I'm thinking of getting the performance version now but the 19" aero wheels. I'm not going to be taking this car out on the track but if I got more performance oriented summer 19" tires, would that really impact handling and performance that much compared to the 21" wheels?
     
  16. BYT_P1837

    BYT_P1837 Member

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    From the Fremont Event video, Elon said the Aero wheels will give you 320 miles of range over the standard 19's
     
  17. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    I don't think so: the 2012 M5 comes standard with 19" wheels, 20" optional. The 2012 E63 AMG also comes with 19" wheels standard. The 2012 S6/S7 have 19" wheels standard, 20" optional.

    21" wheels are already "above par" for most performance sedans.
     
  18. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I'm thinking the 19" wheels give more flexibility in terms of tires too (can get max performance summer, all season or even winter tires). Of course I'll not get any refund for going to the 19" wheels on the Signature but that's already been talked about. Would be nice to see a real photo of the aero wheels instead of the design studio mockup.
     
  19. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Given you aren't going to get a refund for picking 19" wheels, I would go with the aero wheels if they look decent. At least you get some bonus range from them (aside from the extra flexibility).
    Yes, it would be better to see a real picture of the aero wheels rather than a mockup. Still not sure how it will look like in real life.
     

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