Choosing aftermarket wheel size for < 35” tire

BroncoFanBoy

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So to the experienced off-roaders...What benefits do a 16” or 17” wheel have for tires smaller than 35s. I believe the only benefit of a shorter side wall is handling, but ride quality and confirm may suffer. If that’s true, why did ford put 17” wheels on all but 1 bronco model? Actually Better performing than 16” or just today’s world of bigger is better?

Also, I have read 35s shouldn’t be on a rim smaller than 17s, so I will remove 35/ from the question
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Someone’s got to be bored enough this morning to chime in...
 

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Mostly because in today’s environment, there’s a better selection of 17s across the board. I prefer more sidewall to less on an off-road vehicle. 17in wheels are my limit for anything smaller than a true 35in tire. We ran 15in wheels for a long time with no problems due to that size on much older technology tires. I’d have no problem with 16s (or even 15s) as long as I could get the 33s I want in that size.

Style today is bigger is better, and as evidenced by many threads here, some people put looks over function. Will be plenty of Broncos on 22s soon after delivery.
 

lobbs611

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The general rule of thumb for off-roading is the wheel diameter should be roughly half the tire diameter. This gives you enough sidewall to deform over rocks, branches, etc. out on the trail. So 17" works pretty well with 33"s and 35"s at just over and just under half those tire diameters.
 
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I am thi
Mostly because in today’s environment, there’s a better selection of 17s across the board. I prefer more sidewall to less on an off-road vehicle. 17in wheels are my limit for anything smaller than a true 35in tire. We ran 15in wheels for a long time with no problems due to that size on much older technology tires. I’d have no problem with 16s (or even 15s) as long as I could get the 33s I want in that size.

Style today is bigger is better, and as evidenced by many threads here, some people put looks over function. Will be plenty of Broncos on 22s soon after delivery.
I am thinking about base and squeezing 33s onto those 16s. Just wondering if it would be a mistake in case I decide to get new wheels down the road and am sorta stuck with 16s bc of the tires. I was also thinking that if I am only going to 33s maybe the extra sidewall would make them look a little bigger
 

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I am thi

I am thinking about base and squeezing 33s onto those 16s. Just wondering if it would be a mistake in case I decide to get new wheels down the road and am sorta stuck with 16s bc of the tires. I was also thinking that if I am only going to 33s maybe the extra sidewall would make them look a little bigger
The 16 doesn’t limit you at all. The width however does. For 33s on that rim, 255/85/16s are your tire. It’s a great tire and very commonly seen on Tacoma’s with stock steel rims. Any tire wider though really needs a wider wheel.
 

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I am thi

I am thinking about base and squeezing 33s onto those 16s. Just wondering if it would be a mistake in case I decide to get new wheels down the road and am sorta stuck with 16s bc of the tires. I was also thinking that if I am only going to 33s maybe the extra sidewall would make them look a little bigger
I though about squeezing a larger tire on base wheels. I came to the conclusion I would be happier in the long run with wider rims and tires. I do not want to spend over $1000 on new tires I really don’t want.
 

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I though about squeezing a larger tire on base wheels. I came to the conclusion I would be happier in the long run with wider rims and tires. I do not want to spend over $1000 on new tires I really don’t want.
Part of the reason I'm springing for the Sasquatch Package right from the start. I feel like I would regret not getting it and end up spending more money in the long run for a bunch of stuff thats not even under warranty. As far as the lift and stuff goes.
 

IIISHIFTYIII

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Rim size hardly matters. I ran 15" wheels with 35" rubber for over 2 years on my JK I never had any issues or felt there was any real benefit to the extra sidewall. The extra sidewall will theoretically help off road and allows the tire to flatten out more and conform more to the rocks. However, to really notice a difference you would need to be running Beadlock wheels that would allow you to air down that far. So in reality Air down, and have a good time. Rim Size alone is not going to affect the ability of this vehicle off road. Tire size and Lockers are going to have way more affect than rim size.

In my opinion, and I'm sure it is the same as ford's, is that 17" rims just look better.
 

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35x12.50s on 15 inch rims. I love the look of more sidewall on something meant to go off the asphalt.

Low profile tires are for cone crushers, high profile for car crushers. :D

Most of the time, the move to 16 in minimum rims is due to brake clearance and 17s seem to be the aesthetic standard of current consumer expectation. There were also many articles and quasi-scientific studies on rim size and performance for passenger cars which almost all agreed that 17 inch rims performed in acceleration and braking tests the best. Does that really matter on a Jeep or Bronco? Not as much.

Personally, I wouldn't run 35s on anything bigger than a 17 inch diameter; you need sidewall to flex and increase the contact patch when you air down. I wouldn't air down more than 5lbs without beadlocks, but some people will warn against airing down at all without beadlocks.

If you think of sidewall like seat-meat, you can get a pretty accurate picture of the pros and cons of thicker or thinner...
 

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If I can get a locker on the Base I may put 285/75r16 and black 16x7 rims on it. Otherwise it will be Sasquatch 35s or Big Bend 32s for me. Going foward 285/75r16 have a good selection and more reasonably priced compared to the same tire in r17 with 33s and 35s.

Googling 33s on r16s and I do not see anyone complaining about fitment. The have plenty of sidewall to compensate.
 
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Part of the reason I'm springing for the Sasquatch Package right from the start. I feel like I would regret not getting it and end up spending more money in the long run for a bunch of stuff thats not even under warranty. As far as the lift and stuff goes.
If I can get a locker on the Base I may put 285/75r16 and black 16x7 rims on it. Otherwise it will be Sasquatch 35s or Big Bend 32s for me. Going foward 285/75r16 have a good selection and more reasonably priced compared to the same tire in r17 with 33s and 35s.

Googling 33s on r16s and I do not see anyone complaining about fitment. The have plenty of sidewall to compensate.
I ran 285 75 16 on a 16x7 a long tome ago without issue. If discount will mount it, then I’ll do it.
 

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It's not the sidewalls dictating +16" rims.
It's the need for the shorter stopping distances of bigger brakes that is driving 15" rims into extinction.
 

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The same size tires are cheaper on smaller wheels. It’s something to do with the shorter sidewalls being more difficult to manufacture.

Also, I remember reading somewhere that 16” wheels are a tough size for off road tire selection. The explanation was that it’s a popular size for heavy trucks so you are stuck with stiffer sidewalls. This is fine for a mostly highway rig, but many prefer softer sidewalls so that the tire flexes more while aired down and creates a bigger contact patch.

I run 35x12.50r15 on my Jeep and love it. If I were to go up in wheel size it would be to 17” because of the larger selection. Most of the more popular/mainstream tires for jeeps also will not come in anything bigger than a 35 with 15’s.
 
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