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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all

I’ve been manically browsing the forums to find out what would be the best performing wheels for a 2015 Mazda 3.

I am fitting an active suspension (Tein Flex Z coil overs with EDFC Pro Active remote control/ auto adjustment) and the next step would be to upgrade my rims.

As I have been reading a lot, I understand that lighter wheels mean a faster car. And that the smaller the wheel, the lighter.

I also understand that a smaller tyre profile would make cornering better.

I don’t completely understand how the rim and tyre width would affect performance.

My initial favourites were:
Kosei K4R - I’m not sure why on tyrerack only give me the option of 16 inch!? https://www.tirerack.com/wheels/res...toYear=2015&autoModClar=i+Sport&package=false)

Enkei RPF1

I was therefore wondering what would be the sweet spot for performance in terms of the following:

1) Rim diameter - what would best suit the car 6 vs 6.5 vs 7 vs 7.5 vs 8 inch?
2) Rim width
3) Tyres

As I said before, I only care about maximum performance (speed, cornering, acceleration, manoeuvrability)?

I don’t care about the looks.

Thank you! ?
 

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Wheel / tire basics:
Lighter wheel = less unsprung weight = better for weight transfer in corners and acceleration/deceleration. Don't forget to factor in tire weight as well.
Wider tire = more contact patch, although softer compounds tend to make more of a difference than actual width.
Taller sidewall = more forgiving ride, tire choice should have a stiffer sidewall, provides good grip in corners
Shorter sidewall = quicker steering response (less mushy), less forgiving ride (bit bumpier, less compliant to the road)

I would recommend nothing smaller than 16", nothing larger than 18". 17" seems like a perfect balance of weight and wheel / tire sizing availability and options. Of course, the smaller the wheel, the cheaper the tires.

I've been doing a lot of research on this topic myself as I am also in the market for some track wheels. Here are my favorite options:

Ideal sizing:
17x8 40+ offset or higher (35 offset will require a fender tuck with 225 tires or wider).
17x8.5 45+ offset or higher (may require a fender tuck)
18x8 40+ offset

anything wider than 8.5 usually will not come in a high enough offset to clear the fender unless you pull it out a bit.

Enkei RPF1: rotary forged, very lightweight and a reliable brand. Price is a little higher than other options. 17" options weigh in anywhere between just under 15 lbs to 16 for your size range.

Konig Hypergram: also rotary forged, one of the best priced options I have seen. Lots of size options. 17" claimed weight is a little over 16 lbs. 18" range around 17-18 lbs. very good for low cost, lightweight wheels.

Konig Dekagram: rotary forged, similar options as Hypergram, I have not checked pricing but I am willing to bet it is around the same as the Hypergrams.


I always use 'willtheyfit.com' as a gauge to figure out how much, if any, modification will have to be made to the fenders. You can input your stock wheel/tire size along with your planned setup. It will give you numbers you can then go back and measure on your car to check for fender / suspension clearance. Just to give you an idea, and something I use to gauge future setups, my previous setup on my 2016 sGT were 19x8 +35 wheels with 225/40/19 tires. I had to tuck the inner edge of the fenders for clearance. I lost one tire on a bad bump and the sharp edge of the rear fender just sliced into the sidewall. Had to do an emergency fender roll with a bat. So I use that wheel/tire setup as my 'current' setup, and any future setups that are outside of those number I will not consider as I do not want to have to pull my fenders and want to be able to put wider tires on the car for track.

Hope this helps!

Oh, and a little tidbit on Tire Rack, they will only show you the options that are tested and approved to fit on your particular vehicle, which is frustrating because there are sizes that will fit outside of the 'approved' wheel size, even without modifying the fenders. They are more concerned with being OEM acceptable in the sense that not only will the wheel clear, but so will varying tire sizes, and could still allow for chains should the need arise. The only way to get pricing and order a larger or wider wheel is to input a vehicle that matches your bolt pattern and will allow you to select the non-approved wheel sizes.

Carid.com on the other hand will let you pick sizes outside of your vehicle range so you can get accurate pricing at the very least.

You just have to check out other wheel sites and check pricing. For the RPF1s, check Summitracing.com for pricing. If I remember correctly, they have better pricing than tirerack.com.
 

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What are you doing with the car? Daily driver, track or autocross?

Any of those 18" rims from that link won't get you much weight savings if any for a whole bunch of money. The RPF1 is listed as 17.6 lbs, thats only 1 1/2 pounds less than the OEM 16" rims you have already.
If you want to go lighter, go to 17" rims. You can get some 17x7.5 rims that are around 15 lbs, thats 4 lbs per corner saved. There are no doubt larger rims that are quite light, but unless you have a huge budget, say $500+ per corner for rims alone, you are better off sticking with 17x7.5.

I also understand that a smaller tyre profile would make cornering better.
Not necessarily. A lot depends on the tire itself. A high performance 50 series tires will significantly outperform a 40 series all season type tire.
You don't want to go too wide, or change the offset by a whole lot. Too wide and the car will be slower, too much offset and you'll end up with bump steer that will affect handling.
You want the measured tread width no wider than the measured rim width. If the tread face is wider than the rim, the sidewalls will roll when cornering. Too wide and turn in will be sluggish. Keep a bit under the rim width (very small amount of stretch) and the tire will feel stiffer and more responsive, and it will perform better.







A good combination is a high end maximum performance summer tire such as the Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 R , size 205/50 on a light 17x7.5 +40 to 45 rim. You can go wider but at this power level it might not be worth it. You also want to take into consideration how well the tires work with the suspension. If you are increasing spring rates more than a bit, you'll want tires that have more grip as well. However, too much grip from the tires can overwhelm a suspension and you can end up going backwards forwards pretty suddenly.
What conditions do you drive the car in? Warm, sunny, wet, cold? That will make a difference too. Buy tires that fit where you drive. You don't want to use Dunlop ZIIs everyday if you live in a wet climate for instance, where you would want the Continental ECS.

If you want better handling, you'll need more than just tires. A rear sway bar upgrade is the first option you should be looking at. This is the single best bang-for-the-buck addition you can do. Upper front tower braces, lower subframe tie bars, adjustable rear camber and toe arms, front camber plates etc all have a place if you want all out handling. You'll want a better alignment also once you can actually make camber adjustments without affecting toe and vice versa. A bit more camber and a bit less toe helps cornering and turn in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for all the replies!

I live in UK, so it’s 50% dry and 50% wet.

I was thinking about getting Michelin Pilot Sport 4, they seem to perform very well.

I was also thinking to go with 17inch rims - 6.5 or 7 inch wide.

Btw, I got the chance to test my new suspension setup and is simply amazing - it completely transformed the car! (I got an active suspension with independent dampening auto-adjustment depending on acceleration, braking, lateral Gs and speed - Tein Flex Z with EDFC Pro).

I don’t find the suspension too uncomfortable even on stiffest setting, so a 17 inch would probably be ok comfort-wise (I can always make the suspension a bit softer).

I have personally been tempted by Kosei rims, as they are cheap, extremely light and have great reviews. A K4R in 17 inch only weights around 14 lbs.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Thanks for all the replies!

I live in UK, so it’s 50% dry and 50% wet.

I was thinking about getting Michelin Pilot Sport 4, they seem to perform very well.

I was also thinking to go with 17inch rims - 6.5 or 7 inch wide.

Btw, I got the chance to test my new suspension setup and is simply amazing - it completely transformed the car! (I got an active suspension with independent dampening auto-adjustment depending on acceleration, braking, lateral Gs and speed - Tein Flex Z with EDFC Pro).

I don’t find the suspension too uncomfortable even on stiffest setting, so a 17 inch would probably be ok comfort-wise (I can always make the suspension a bit softer).

I have personally been tempted by Kosei rims, as they are cheap, extremely light and have great reviews. A K4R in 17 inch only weights around 14 lbs.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Stay away from those Koseis. Cheap, light weight + low pressure cast means prone to cracking.:eek: You want at least flow formed rims if you are going for maximum performance. Enkei, Konig, Advanti, OZ and similar brands are what you should be looking at. If you want a better selection of rims, look for ones that fit the MX-5 3rd generation. Same sizes, more to choose from.
In 17" rims you can go 7.5 or even 8 in width to get a bit more contact patch. Just keep tire width down, 205 or 215 for 7.5", 215 or 225 for 8". You really don't need any more than that. Keep in mind that many performance tires are somewhat wider than regular tires in the same size.
If you are in wet conditions a lot, the Continental Extreme Contact Sport is about the best out there. Dry handling is excellent, wet is amazing.:smile2:
What are the spring rates used in that setup?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Stay away from those Koseis. Cheap, light weight + low pressure cast means prone to cracking.:eek:
I looked around on other forums - MX5, Toyota GT86/ Subaru BRZ and only read good things about these wheels. People actually recommended them over Enkei and didn’t read about any cracking:

https://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=533057

http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11033

You want at least flow formed rims if you are going for maximum performance. Enkei, Konig, Advanti, OZ and similar brands are what you should be looking at.
I actually noticed that the LIGHTEST rims for the other well known brands are also low pressure cast.


If you are in wet conditions a lot, the Continental Extreme Contact Sport is about the best out there. Dry handling is excellent, wet is amazing.:smile2:
Will definitely check it out!

I initially looked at these reviews:
http://www.tyrereviews.co.uk/Tyre-Tests/


What are the spring rates used in that setup?
http://www.tein.co.uk/srch/uk_search.php?maker=MAZDA&carmodel=MAZDA3&modelyear=2014+&item=default

http://www.tein.co.uk/product/flex_z.html
 

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I looked around on other forums - MX5, Toyota GT86/ Subaru BRZ and only read good things about these wheels. People actually recommended them over Enkei and didn’t read about any cracking:

I actually noticed that the LIGHTEST rims for the other well known brands are also low pressure cast.
Its not just the K4R, its the casting process used by Kosei on many of their rims to make the so light thats the problem.
From another Mazda forum, a picture of what a cast Kosei rim, this one a K1, does when you hit a pothole-


and a discussion about cracked Koseis
Kosei K1 Wheels -- Beware!

Light cast rims are fragile by nature. That is why most cast rims are heavy, not light. More material is used for strength. Light + cast means breaks easily. Forged and flow formed rims don't shatter like that generally, they might bend but don't come completely apart as shown in the picture.
When it comes to rims, take your pick - light, strong, cheap. You only get two, all three doesn't happen in the same rim.
You might also consider that the K4Rs are being phased out. TireRack is already starting to put them on close-out specials. If you break one you might not be able to get another to replace it.
Well known brands will capitalize on the name to sell product. Enkei is a well known high end wheel, but they do have a low end line-up, the Enkei Performance series, which are cheap gravity cast wheels. They are not necessarily the lightest rims they sell however.
Fully forged rims ($$$$$) are usually the lightest you can get because the construction method is so much stronger.
 

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Low eight, low price, and high strength--you can only choose two
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What are the specs of the Mazda rims?

I’m interested in knowing the standard weight of the 16s.

I’m thinking of getting a 17x7, but not sure about PCD - is it 5x114.3?

Also, I noticed that the standard 16inch wheels are sunken within the wheel arches.

What offset would I need to make them flush with the wheel arches?

I also read an interesting article saying that the difference between tyre widths is more to do with the pattern of the grip, rather than the size of it - as in wide tyres have a wide and short footprint, and narrower tyres have a longer and narrower one:

http://www.tuneruniversity.com/blog/2011/04/wheel-tech-part-ii-size-matters/

<<when a vehicle is sitting at rest (easiest to illustrate) , regardless of the size of the tire, the same amount of tire will be in touch with the ground, given the same vehicle weight and tire pressure. The only difference will be the SHAPE of the contact patch. This is an oversimplification and yes there are other factors such as tire construction that play a role - but stick with me.

Wider wheels will give you a more rectangular patch, while thinner wheels will give you a narrow yet longer more square patch. The thinner wheels will therefore be better (and of course there are extremes in both cases) for straight line acceleration and braking. The wider ones, because of the direction of the forces on the tire tread in the corners, will be better for cornering at the expense of some straight line acceleration. Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple for say road racing as whatever gains you get in cornering, you'll probably give up in the ability to get back on the throttle early. Something you would need to test and tune for sure, no guaranteed rule of thumb there.

In other words, wider wheels do not always net an increase in actual grip, but they can under the right circumstances with the correct suspension to go with.>>

The guy in the link above also recommends to stay as close as possible to the OEM Rim and tyre size.

Thank you
 

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For getting it flush, you can also use spacers (Be sure to check the hub bore)
 

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What are the specs of the Mazda rims?

I’m interested in knowing the standard weight of the 16s.

I’m thinking of getting a 17x7, but not sure about PCD - is it 5x114.3?

Also, I noticed that the standard 16inch wheels are sunken within the wheel arches.

What offset would I need to make them flush with the wheel arches?
The OEM 16" rims are 6.5" wide, weight about 19 lbs, +50 offset.
Lugs are 114.3x5, 12x1.5mm thread
Stay +40 or higher with the offset. My car is shown above with 17x7.5 rims, +45 offset. +40 will get you very close to being flush with the fender lip.

I also read an interesting article saying that the difference between tyre widths is more to do with the pattern of the grip, rather than the size of it - as in wide tyres have a wide and short footprint, and narrower tyres have a longer and narrower one:

Wheel Tech, Part II: Width Matters | Tuner University

The guy in the link above also recommends to stay as close as possible to the OEM Rim and tyre size.

Thank you
Yeah, sort of. It all has to do with the direction of the forces acting on the tire and the width vs length ratio of the patch. Cornering is more lateral force, so a tire with a wider but shorter patch will have more lateral grip and tend to understeer less. A tire with a longer patch that is not so wide will have better grip in forward motion, but less lateral grip. You'll find that most tires are some sort of compromise between the two.

Staying fairly close to OEM size is ok, but you can go somewhat wider and increase the offset a bit without really changing how the car handles.
There are limitations with the tires such as staying within the physical dimensions of the wheel well and not interfering with moving suspension parts. Get too wide and you'll need to start rolling and stretching, and its possible if not fitted correctly the tires can rub on the shocks in the rear. Really wide tires and rims can be quite heavy too. As mentioned above, the 2.0 motor does not have a lot of power to spare, so moving heavy wide rims and tires will slow the car down. Thats why the mention of light 17x7.5 rims with sticky 205/50s.
Offset is something to watch also. As OEM is +50, you don't want to go any more than that. Going lower, ie 45 or 40, won't make a real noticeable difference. Going radical, like +20, will push the tires outside the fenders and drastically change the scrub radius, changing how the car handles. Going that low will cause a lot of bump steer, heavy steering effort and can cause odd wear patterns on the tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The OEM 16" rims are 6.5" wide, weight about 19 lbs, +50 offset.

Lugs are 114.3x5, 12x1.5mm thread

Stay +40 or higher with the offset. My car is shown above with 17x7.5 rims, +45 offset. +40 will get you very close to being flush with the fender lip.








Yeah, sort of. It all has to do with the direction of the forces acting on the tire and the width vs length ratio of the patch. Cornering is more lateral force, so a tire with a wider but shorter patch will have more lateral grip and tend to understeer less. A tire with a longer patch that is not so wide will have better grip in forward motion, but less lateral grip. You'll find that most tires are some sort of compromise between the two.



Staying fairly close to OEM size is ok, but you can go somewhat wider and increase the offset a bit without really changing how the car handles.

There are limitations with the tires such as staying within the physical dimensions of the wheel well and not interfering with moving suspension parts. Get too wide and you'll need to start rolling and stretching, and its possible if not fitted correctly the tires can rub on the shocks in the rear. Really wide tires and rims can be quite heavy too. As mentioned above, the 2.0 motor does not have a lot of power to spare, so moving heavy wide rims and tires will slow the car down. Thats why the mention of light 17x7.5 rims with sticky 205/50s.

Offset is something to watch also. As OEM is +50, you don't want to go any more than that. Going lower, ie 45 or 40, won't make a real noticeable difference. Going radical, like +20, will push the tires outside the fenders and drastically change the scrub radius, changing how the car handles. Going that low will cause a lot of bump steer, heavy steering effort and can cause odd wear patterns on the tires.


Thanks - that’s very helpful!

What do you think of the rims below?

They are very light in weight (15 lbs) and in black they would look good in combination with the car’s Soul Red:

https://uk-shop.ozracing.com/GB/whe...92f002e38/OZ/ALLEGGERITA HLT 5F/MATT BLACK/17


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OZ wheels are generally very good. The Alleggerita HLT is a nice light wheel that is pretty strong. You can get them in +40 offset also.
 

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One other thing that may be important-
I noticed in your link to the OZ wheels that TPMS sensor are mentioned. The 3 does not use wheel mounted sensors in case someone asks you. The system uses the ABS sensors to detect a tire that is soft by measuring changes in relative wheel speeds due loss of pressure which in turn changes the overall diameter of the tire.
 

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If you go with those OZ rims you may need to look into painting or upgrading your brakes to a big brake kit and slotted rotors. Brembo makes some sick red brake kits that fit the Mazda.
CK
 

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Pretty much everything @arathol has said is spot on.

I am running Enkei RFP1 17x8 +45 w. 225/45 tires - my overall tire size is about 2% smaller than OEM, but that is intentional.

Expect to spend a good buck if performance/quality is what your after.
 
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