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Help on going from 19's to 21's

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Merrill, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    I would like some input on the pros and cons of the 21 inch tires and wheels vs the 19's. I have not driven the model s with 21's except when I did my original test drive in January. I was so excited at that time did not really pay attention to the ride. When I configured my car I went with the practical knowing the problems with curb rash and tire wear. But I really like the way the 21's fill the wheel well, and still have this little bird in my head saying who cares about practicality go with you gut. So any input on the noise, ride quality, mileage issues tire wear would be appreciated.
     
  2. Twiddler

    Twiddler Member

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    #2 Twiddler, Dec 24, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
    I have driven both, and there is a bit more road noise with the 21s, but really not a big difference IMO. That said, if you are more of a practical driver (i.e. not too interested in track handling), you can get a set of Hankook 21s for $600-700 for all 4 tires, so really the cost difference for tires vs. the 19s is really minimal. Plus, the wear thus far has been very similar to what one would expect for the 19s (I have been running on the Hankooks for 3000 miles now, and there is almost no tread wear). I chose the 21s for the same reason (aesthetics) and am glad that I did so. Curb rash is what it is, and if you are very concerned, alloy gators may not be a bad idea, particularly for the first 2-5K miles as you get to know them. I have not dashed a curb in the last 10+K miles :)
     
  3. tchaimd

    tchaimd Member

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    I live in Pothole City aka Houston, and I regret getting the 21" wheels (I suppose I had to since I got the + version), as I have had 2 flat tire incidents in the first 2 months of ownership after two (relatively) minor sidewall tire scrapes (one on curb, one on pothole).

    I am awaiting shipment of 19" Rial Lugano turbine wheels from Tirerack. I know it's not recommended for the P85+ (Unstaggered), but I can't be worried constantly about getting stranded from flat tires, as many roads I simply can't avoid to my destinations in Houston. Besides, I tend not to speed excessively and I hope I won't notice any handling differences in normal driving.

    So, consider the road quality in your area, among other things, before you make the decision.
     
  4. joer00

    joer00 Member

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    for me the 21 are all about style! The car looks so much beter with the 21 especially the gray ones on most colors. I am alos on the cheap hankooks. They are great tires 1ith MUCH better wear than the contis BUT!!! they have no grip! I get wheel spin at 30mph and flooring from zero is just wheel spin. For the 60 or S85 those tires are great but i will not get them again for my P? With the curb rush I agree totally with Twiddler, had 3 in the first 2 month abd none since abt 15k miles.
     
  5. Zextraterrestrial

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    Agree w/ joer00 the hankooks work and the 21" look good but if you get some 19" wheels with some really sticky tires it just kills the 21s. there is no 21" sticky rubber and barely any 20" (none that fit the S)

    I am sad that I like the way the 21" look on my car so much. I'd have daily driver 19"s in a second if I found some that looked better
     
  6. jcaspar

    jcaspar Member

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    I would think it is all about which look you like the best. With the same type of tires and width, traction and handling should be the same. Maybe more road noise and risk of damage with the 21's.
     
  7. gimp_dad

    gimp_dad Member

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    Why not try PS2s?
     
  8. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    I could not justify getting the 21s. It was a simple matter of performance + looks vs practicality + cost of maintenance. When I ordered, the 21s were "free" with a P85, and I chose to "downgrade" to the 19s. And now the 21s are a $4500 option, so one way of looking at that is that I "gave up" $4500. You may now ask "why?" and I will explain....


    Normal Treadlife

    First and foremost, I am a high mileage driver. Currently about 50-60k a year. Let's assume that alignment is perfect for the time being and stays perfect. (I'll get back to this later). With 21" high performance summer tires, you should be able to get 15k miles per set. With the 19" Goodyears (assuming the same with the Michelin MXM4s), you should be able to get 50-60k miles per set. (I am currently at 34k miles on my original OEM goodyears, and I have about 20k treadwear life left).

    Based on that, it's simple math to calculate that I'd need about 4 sets of 21s per 60,000 miles vs 1 set of 19s per 60,000 miles. Cost of maintenance.

    Weather

    Second, those 21" tires will not handle very well in adverse weather conditions. They are summer tires only. They won't grip as well in rain and especially snow. So safety is a big factor in my decision too.

    Structural Integrity (aka hitting potholes, curbs, etc)

    Third, the "low-profile" (aka height of sidewall) are so thin on the 21s, that hitting a decent size pothole at a decent speed will likely cause a blowout. Many owners (such as one a few replies up) have experienced this. The Model S does not have a spare. So this means getting towed. If the pothole or object was big enough, it's very likely you also bent or cracked the rim, and now the cost of replacement for one tire + rim is getting upwards of $2k.

    P85+

    IF you have the P85+, those tires are about $600 each, and having them replaced by Tesla themselves (not some local shop) is about $1k per tire. No thanks!

    Alignment

    A big ongoing issue right now (let me repeat, a HUUUUUUUGGEEEEE issue) Tesla is having is they are having some alignment problems right now and the 21s mounted on the rear seem to be burning through the inside shoulders down to the cords in 5k miles. There are one or more factors at play here. I am not going to detail thsi here, but if you search these forums you'll see many threads regarding this. What it comes down to is that many owners have needed to replace their 21s every 5k miles. That is very expensive. There is not really an "official fix" aka TSB for this yet, but we do know there needed to be some adjustments to the alignment machiens and new adjustable camber bolts distributed to help allieviat this issue.

    Curb Rash

    Well, this should be obvious but big wheels + low profile tires means if you're not careful, curb rash is a bitch.

    Other

    Well it's not really looking good for the 21s now, is it ? They are also "louder" (road noise), & "harsher" (you feel the bumps in the road a lot more), range is also not as good as the 19s, BUT on the more positive side they look nicer..... I would say they handle/perform better, but you could just put 19" summer tires on and get the same effect so that's not really specific to the 21s.

    Good luck with your decision. :)

    (FWIW, if money was not a factor, and if I don't mind getting towed every time I hit a big pothole, I probably would have kept the 21s).
     
  9. jhs_7645

    jhs_7645 VIN: #3305

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    I have both 19s and 21s. I swap to the 19s during winter. The only thing I would add to all the things folks have ready said is that if you live somewhere where winter conditions can get cold/nasty, then you might consider just sticking with the 19s as the tire options for all weather driving are better.
     
  10. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    Thanks to everyone for your input, all very good reasons to keep or not to keep the 19's. I live in Northern California so weather is not an issue, my hot rod days are over to up to a certain point the performance is not that important. I just love they way the 21's fill the wheel well and how they look, I do live on a rural country road but no pot holes and would not be driving very fast up that road. Probably need to drive a car with the 21's which I will do shortly then I can make a decision. Thanks again for all the input.
     
  11. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    Also, choice of suspension affects how either wheel fills the wheel arch. The air suspension sits lower in Standard ride height when compared to the coil spring cars. The coil cars need extra ride height to allow the springs to compress when the car is fully loaded and still maintain an acceptable ride height. The active air simply ups the air volume/pressure in the air spring to maintain the same ride height regardless of load.
     
  12. jcaspar

    jcaspar Member

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    Wheel well fill should be the same as the tires are the same diameter. (OK, 3/100's of an inch less with the 21's)


     
  13. jerry33

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

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    The actual fill is the same but the 21" looks fuller because the 19" tire disappears and because the tread width is wider on the 21". Of course, you have to think that really looks better. I'm unconvinced.
     
  14. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    One more question, if you do have the 21's what is the smoothest and quietest tire available for those wheels.
     
  15. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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    I've had 21's on the P85, and staggered 21's on the P85+. they look soo good, but in the damp and temperate climate here in the North West you trade looks for handling in the cooler months since performance tires don't do well when it's wet and even worse the colder it gets. On a warm day, once the tires warm up, the 21's drive as "slick" as they look, but for me up here that's precious little of the time and simply not worth it. the 19 Rial Lugano's with primacy MXV4's have been a great combo, nice and stable steering wheel feel even if they slip and quite good in the wet and cold. Right after I installed them I had the alignment done, which I highly recommend! nice thing about 3rd party tires is that you actually get a warranty. The very same tires from Tesla have no warranty. Frankly, the 21's, with all the niggly issues surrounding inside tire wear, made driving on them something I had to think way to much about... just not worth the bother, IMHO, unless you really want/need the performance and live where you can take advantage of it. Unless Tesla figures out some way of evening out tire wear, I will stand behind my conclusion that the 21's are a super exotic, super expensive and super resource intensive way to go (it takes a barrel of oil to make a tire- the no gas/oil argument goes up in smoke) and I therefore can't recommend them even though they look more sexy.
     
  16. Hybris

    Hybris Member

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    #16 Hybris, Dec 26, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
    gray 21" look stellar and is what a P85+'deserves. PS2 is real sporttires. excellent tires. Had them on my BMW M-cars and alpinas. excellent handling on both dry and wet. for track usage its square setup and cheap tires that is the thing not expensive sport tires... all 19" Tesla wheels are rather ugly. i have read that its the same tire wear on 19" so dont seem to be a factor. continentals is not even close to PS2 in terms of handling and comfort. there is a reason for the michelins being standard on many real sportcars.

    go for the gray 21" and PS2 or SS. The model S should look stellar not just ok. ;-)

    the 21" on the P85+ is remarkable good comfort. way better than M-cars...

    oh and for winter we switch tomreal Nordic spkies. Nokian hakka 8. that is the swedish way. we tend to have ice and snow so we switch tires late autumn and in the spring. For me it will mean 19" gray luganos and Hakka 8 for winter. no lousy all year tires on a performance car... real sport tires for summer and real winter for winter. in my climate that is the setup. primacy is an all year tires...
     

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