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Old 29-11-2010   #1
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Question Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

Hey guys, was wondering what the optimal rim/tire size is for the Abarth 500. The racing versions (R3T and Trofeo cars) all seem to run 17x7 inch rims with at least 205/40 tires (read somewhere that the Assetto Corse cars run 205/50 tires, just means they're even bigger) but this seems like a tall setup for such a little car.. right?

I'm sure they know more than I do but on a (street) car like this with such modest output I think smaller/lighter is better. What would you guys think of fitting 205/45 tires on 16x7 rims? Looking into a set of Speedlines or possibly something a little more lightweight. Extra sidewall should help a bit with the stiff ride and slightly smaller overall size (1871mm vs 1853mm circumference) and lower weight should help acceleration/braking/etc.. was thinking about looking into a slightly lower offset to widen the track a smidge too

Am I missing something? This seems like a much better alternative to me.. thoughts?

Although the OZ Assetto Corse race wheels look incredible.. any idea what they weigh?
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Old 29-11-2010   #2
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

Good to see you US Guys (& Gals) getting excited about the release of the Abarth 5oo. I too am waiting (it seems waiting forever) for the A5oo to be release here in Australia but with no 100% confirmation as yet

But in meantime I have been researching issues much like yours re 16 vs 17 inch wheels. OK from that research what can be said is this;

- The 17 inches are favoured by a vast majority of Abarthistas
- You are probably correct in saying that the 16 inch are better for a car of this size.
- A motor racing guru acquaintance of mine states that most road performance cars are over tyred - just look at a F1 car
- Heck the 17s look way cooler
- If you are looking at Oz IMHO the best are the Allleggerita HLT these weight about 6.5kgs per wheel
- Another lightweight alternative is the Team Dynamic Pro Race 1.2, albeit heavier than the OZ
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Old 29-11-2010   #3
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

PS: Should had added there are heaps of rabid A5oo fans of this site and other sites that will some real world advice that should be more than happy to answer the more technical aspects of your questions
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Old 29-11-2010   #4
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

The Assetto Corse wheels have an offset of 17 X 7 ET37 but are for "track use only" (we found out just how light and fragile they are during one of the races, it disintegrated in a collision!)

In the UK, the A500 comes with:

Standard: Aluminium alloy rim 6.5″ x 16″ - Tyres: 195/45 R16
or
Optional: Aluminium alloy rim 7″ x 17″ - Tyres: 205/40 R17

Chaps with the 16" say the road noise and ride is slightly better thanks to the larger profile tyre. I have the 17" on mine and i have no complaints!
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Old 29-11-2010   #5
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

The reason for the competition version using 17s is most likely the availability of tyres rather than a strategic decision based on the wheels. The sizes available for race spec rubber is surprisingly limited.

I use race grade wheels on my other Fiat and they are pretty tough although one of them is now bent thanks to a hard impact on a pothole - the manufacturer has openly stated to me that they aren't specifically approved for road use but they make them as strong as their road wheels, the difference is the cost as they haven't been through any official approval testing.

The wheels supplied by Abarth all have to be up to road usage which goes to show how flimsy that standard is if the wheels "disintegrate" that easily. I suspect what was witnessed though is nothing unusual for a motorsport crash coupled with a material defect - and don't forget that there is virtually no protection for the wheels from the corners of the car, just plastic bumpers, so they tend to absorb a fair bit of the impact. We all take for granted that the driver will most likely walk away from a crash in a race car but we forget how much more energy tends to be involved. A minor looking crash (and I don't just mean bending a few panels) in a race would put the passengers of an ordinary road car in hospital (or a morgue). The only saving grace is all the vehicles tend to be going in the same direction.

As for the basic physics behind the original question - yes the 16s are better for performance. The sidewalls on the 205/40 17s are very stiff - to the point that it is hard to tell if they are inflated properly just by looking at them. This makes fine tuning the handling of the tyre quite tricky as they need a fair bit of pressure before they respond positively. More than I am used to from a motorsport background. The wheels themselves are heavier and the weight is nearer the circumference of the tyre so the gyroscopic effect is that much stronger. The slightly narrower tyres on the 16s are more forgiving too.
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Old 29-11-2010   #6
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

Joseph 500: Thanks for the tips. I've seen the Team Dynamics rims, they look nice. I'd go with the Rally 1s.. seems like they are Speedline knockoffs (possibly lighter too)

DraigFlag87: Good to know about the Assetto Corse rims. They look amazing though.. any idea what they weigh? Who manufactures them?

Jimbro1000: I've looked around for tires a bit and it does seem like it's easier to find them for a 17x7 rim like you said. Any idea where I could find a sticky tire in 205/45 R16? Have been able to find Potenza RE-11s and the BFG g-Force T/A KDW 2 in that size.. Hoosier also makes some DOTs for track days (the A6 and R6 I believe). Personally I'd take the Potenzas.

Seems like everyone is kind of in agreement that the 17s are a bit for show even if they still perform well. I would love to know the total weight of the standard Abarth and Esseesse 17s. Any idea what it would come out too?

My ideal setup at the moment would be a set of 205/45 R16 Potenza RE-11s on 16x7 Speedline Type 2110 Challenges OR Type 2118 SCs (would love to go magnesium but I hear they are rather fragile).

I know these are heavy but I'm a sucker for rally rims, what can I say?
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Last edited by stevenwrichards; 29-11-2010 at 16:45.
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Old 29-11-2010   #7
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

Quick photoshop as well as a shot of a (rather beat up) set of 2110s with 205/50 R16 rubber just to get an idea of the kind of sidewall/wheel proportions I'm thinking about. Looks good to me. Meaty without being too pedestrian (like stockies) but doesn't go too far with the low sidewall like a lot of the 17s. I doubt the proportions are right in the photoshopped picture (I think 16s would look smaller than they do there) but you get the idea.
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Old 29-11-2010   #8
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

The Assetto Corse one's are OZ's (see pic)

p.s. bit confused as to where you are from, Detroit, Northern Italy?!
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Old 29-11-2010   #9
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

Haha.. wasn't sure whether to put where I'm at (studying in Italy) or where I'm from (Detroit) so I just put both!

Those OZs are amazing. Wish they came in 16x7..
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Old 30-11-2010   #10
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

The HLT's do 16 inch .....6.3 kgs each IIRC If you are after a really light road wheel

BTW Join the Abarth Italian Forum to get a good discount on OZ wheels ... apparently
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Old 01-12-2010   #11
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

Just read that the Novitec 500A is running 7.5 inch wide rims with 215mm rubber.. got me thinking about running a staggered setup. I seem to remember a lot of Civic owners (EGs/EKs) running wider tires up front saying that it helped high speed balance, etc.

What about running 215/45s on 16x7.5s up front and 205/45s on 16x7s out back? Or would that just be a pain in the ass..
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Old 01-12-2010   #12
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

Personally I'd get lighter wheels, but keep the sizes the same. At least then all your dash readings will be accurate. Remember the wider the wheels, the more friction/resistance, the slower your car will become!

You'll have some serious clearance issues too i would have thought.

So tell me, as you are living in Italy, have you bought an Abarth 500 just whilst you're there? Very brave, i've seen how long cars look "new" in places like France, Spain, Italy etc!
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Old 02-12-2010   #13
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

Quote Originally Posted by DraigFlag87 View Post

So tell me, as you are living in Italy, have you bought an Abarth 500 just whilst you're there? Very brave, i've seen how long cars look "new" in places like France, Spain, Italy etc!
As opposed to Wales !! I have seen your photos ....Just kidding

Keeping cars "nice" in mainland Europe is possible....just need a garage
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Old 02-12-2010   #14
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

Quote Originally Posted by Joseph500 View Post
As opposed to Wales !! I have seen your photos ....Just kidding

Keeping cars "nice" in mainland Europe is possible....just need a garage
It's easy in Wales as there are no other cars around (unless like me you decide to use your car to explore and take it EVERYWHERE!)

In the big European cities, it's like a giant game of banger racing, but in new cars
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Old 02-12-2010   #15
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Re: Abarth 500 -- 16s vs 17s?

Haha no no.. I don't have one. Yet..
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