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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Wheels and Tires Forum Sponsored by The Tire Rack > Do heavier Tires/Wheels increase handling and traction ?



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      06-18-2007, 05:25 AM   #1
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Do heavier Tires/Wheels increase handling and traction ?

I would like to know the general consensus of this forum as to what is better for the purpose of outright handling and traction (which is paramount when cornering through hi-speed turns) - Heavy Tires or Light Tires ????

It seems some people believe that heavier tires hold the road better and provide better handling / traction when pushing a car thru a corner.
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      06-18-2007, 08:46 AM   #2
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The lighter you rims/tires are, the BETTER your car will handle. Think of it this way, lighter rims and tires are much easier for your suspension to control.

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      06-18-2007, 09:28 AM   #3
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You want to have as light wheels as your budget allows. When it comes to handling it is very clear, light rims are better hands down.

Traction then. I would think that after a bump where the wheel is getting a hit upwards, more mass of the heavier wheel is harder for the suspension to push back to the ground to gain traction again. I would assume that the force downward (needed to create traction) has less variance during a road course with light wheels. Any difference in the traction must be pretty marginal. All in all, the rims are chosen to be light especially because of the handling (not traction), the tires are chosen to be sticky for the traction.

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      06-18-2007, 09:56 AM   #4
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Lighter is better.

Not only are you losing weight (which is good for everything, including handling), but you are actually losing unsprung weight which leads to improved suspension action and response... and hence better handling. You will also have less rotating inertia in the wheels which means that braking, changing direction, and acceleration should all improved.
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      06-18-2007, 05:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky66 View Post
I would like to know the general consensus of this forum as to what is better for the purpose of outright handling and traction (which is paramount when cornering through hi-speed turns) - Heavy Tires or Light Tires ????

It seems some people believe that heavier tires hold the road better and provide better handling / traction when pushing a car thru a corner.
You’re beating this topic to death. Lighter wheels don’t increase traction by it definition so look it up. No matter how complex the math it still works out the same and you know this. Denial doesn’t help exspecialy when you already admitted it.

Find another Mechnaical Engineer and ask them and they will tell you the same without even thinking about.

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      06-19-2007, 04:03 AM   #6
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I started this thread and if I want to beat it to death - I Will.

Don't try to change your tune. Your initial post stated that heavier tyres will increase traction. FULL STOP !

I don't care if heavier wheels push harder on the pavement.- BY DEFINITION

Traction, in relation to a car encompasses more than just how heavy or light the tires are.

A cars total handling ability is increased when :

1)Tires maintain the largest area of rubber in contact with the road at all times. (cornering, chicanes, crests etc...)
2)Suspension is kept in geometry under all changes in loads.
3)It can change direction with the least amount of mass loading.

Lighter tires/wheels help suspension perform its designed purpose - to keep the largest portion of the tires contact patch in touch with the road. Cornering loads excert high force on all the suspension and tire components. Mass loading and the direction of Force changes direction very quickly when performing Hi-Speed corners.
A lighter wheel aids this by effectively changing direction of force more easily because of it's smaller mass, whereas a heavy wheel/tire combination is reluctant to follow this change of direction and forces the tires and suspension to delay a return to ideal geometry. That is why the "moment of inertia" is greater with a heavy tire because it does not want to change direction readily under load, due to its mass.
How many mechanical engineers apply this when designing an F1 Race car ??
I'll hazard and take a guess - ALL OF THEM.
They use ultra light magnesium alloy and carbon fibre in their wheels to reduce "moment of inertia" and amongst all this to improve traction, acceleration , fuel economy and heavily reduce braking distance - All positives when you want to win races !!

GOT THAT. I hope so
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      06-19-2007, 09:21 AM   #7
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lighter is better....
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      06-19-2007, 10:27 AM   #8
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      06-19-2007, 10:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orb View Post
You’re beating this topic to death. Lighter wheels don’t increase traction by it definition so look it up. No matter how complex the math it still works out the same and you know this. Denial doesn’t help exspecialy when you already admitted it.

Find another Mechnaical Engineer and ask them and they will tell you the same without even thinking about.

Orb
from a purely M.E. standpoint, tire width doesn't play a factor in the amount of friction force, it's purely the coefficient of friction and the mass. we all know that's not true in the real world though.

lighter wheels allow the suspension to react quicker and that is was gives better grip. if your tires are up in the air after a bump, you have no grip.
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      06-19-2007, 10:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orb View Post
...Find another Mechnaical Engineer and ask them and they will tell you the same without even thinking about.

Orb
How high is that horse?

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      06-19-2007, 11:03 AM   #11
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How high is that horse?

Danny
must be high enough to make him light headed
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      06-20-2007, 12:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ward View Post
from a purely M.E. standpoint, tire width doesn't play a factor in the amount of friction force, it's purely the coefficient of friction and the mass. we all know that's not true in the real world though.

lighter wheels allow the suspension to react quicker and that is was gives better grip. if your tires are up in the air after a bump, you have no grip.
This topic started in another thread and it is bit out of hand. The question was do lighter wheels give you better traction so it has nothing to do with tire width. It easy enough to know that F=µ*Fn makes this so and you basically said. Given different circumstances light and heavier can wheel have better road contact which has nothing to with the definition of traction.
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      06-20-2007, 04:27 AM   #13
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Orb I understand what you are trying to say but give it rest mate !
When talking about traction on a car forum you will inadvertantly be talking about its' handling characteristics as a complete package not just a measure of one component or how much it spins its tires if I squeeze the go pedal too much. Thats why hi performance cars have launch control and traction control aids - to harness all that horsepower. Any one of these types of cars can sit there and wheel spin into a cloud of tyre smoke and/or tyre destruction but when the same car is controlled via all their handling components and a skilled driver it's like watching poetry in motion - lap after lap.
I never meant for you to get so technical with Force formulas and Newtons Law. This wasn't the objective !

All I was trying to say is that a cars handling and traction characteristics rely solely upon the performance and sum of all the cars parts and together they increase traction - i.e.. improved chassis stiffness, lower sprung vehicle weight, ideal suspension geometry to reduce polar moment of inertia, (CG) low centre of gravity, lighter unsprung weight such as in lower control arms and lower portion of shock absorber, reduced wheel/tire weight, increased width and improved rubber compound for grip aka.. "Traction". Since the tires are the only thing touching the road surface,they communicate what the rest of the cars chassis and suspension is feeding it .The less energy exerted on the tires the more they keep their ideal shape and thus provide a larger portion of contact patch with the road surface. If this is acheived then the rest is up to the tires compound and groove pattern to show off its designed for fully engineered capability. You can have the best gripping tyres in the world on your car but if it is let down by its' suspension it will not handle any better than a horse cart.

If we relied on increasing the weight of a tire/wheel to improve traction we would be in trouble as soon as we reach the first corner and all our good work would come unstuck . I could go on but I think you get the idea.

The ideal car would have a low unsprung to sprung weight ratio - take that from one mechanical engineer to another
Anything that increases weight on a car both sprung and unsprung is detrimental to its outright performance in all areas - Braking, slower acceleration, stress on the chassis, increased tire wear, greater fuel usage, reduced road holding in turns because of increased polar moment of inertia from the cars ideal centre of gravity etc... etc...

BMW build cars with 50:50 weight distribution to aid its' handling capability. The best built and balanced car chassis's concentrate all their weight right in the middle of the car (left to right and front to back) and as low as possible in relation to the suspension geometry. This reduces how far away the vehicle mass moves away from its ideal handling position and how quickly it should return when negotiating a manouvre. The longer it takes the worse the handling and traction.

Have a Good day.
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      06-20-2007, 09:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orb View Post
This topic started in another thread and it is bit out of hand. The question was do lighter wheels give you better traction so it has nothing to do with tire width. It easy enough to know that F=µ*Fn makes this so and you basically said. Given different circumstances light and heavier can wheel have better road contact which has nothing to with the definition of traction.
on a purely flat road with zero undulations the heavier wheel would have more traction available, but it would also take more force to make it change direction due to the higher mass. I'm not going to dig up my ME books, but I wonder if the added traction available and the added force to change direction would cancel each other out?
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      06-20-2007, 09:29 AM   #15
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Remember there is also more rotational inertia on larger heavier wheels. The larger the circumference and mass, the harder more force is needed to turn the wheel.
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      06-20-2007, 04:01 PM   #16
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No one is talking about specific parts of the equation here.

Lighter wheels will get you LESS traction off the line, due to wheel spin.
AND this is also dependant on tire choice as well.

Lighter wheels will give you better handling and GRIP, as the suspension works better.

This whole 'traction' thing should be more precise in the defenition.

Do you mean " traction: grip off the line"
or do you mean " traction: grip through corners, etc "

Too light will be a disadvantage and too heavy will be a disadvantage.

Suspensions are designed with the specific wheel/tire weight as part of the equation for a best over all ending.

Personally, I always go lighter than stock, but never too light.
And, I always modify my suspension to work better than stock as well.

kj
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      06-20-2007, 04:26 PM   #17
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kj...what do you know..you just take pitchers.
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      06-20-2007, 10:29 PM   #18
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kj...what do you know..you just take pitchers.
Tru dat, just a dumb ass pitchah takah from Bean Town.
With more seat time than 95% of folks on this forum, you being in that 5% of course.... you mad man you....
(looking into this new 175cc TAG kart.... talk about quick !)

Can't wait to hit up a track day together man.

I start a new movie on the 26th, so I'm betting you're coming to LA on the 27th, huh ? ;-)
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      06-20-2007, 10:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
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...With more seat time than 95% of folks on this forum, you being in that 5% of course.... you mad man you....
Wow!

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      06-21-2007, 12:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Tru dat, just a dumb ass pitchah takah from Bean Town.
With more seat time than 95% of folks on this forum, you being in that 5% of course.... you mad man you....
(looking into this new 175cc TAG kart.... talk about quick !)

Can't wait to hit up a track day together man.

I start a new movie on the 26th, so I'm betting you're coming to LA on the 27th, huh ? ;-)
I only have one track day..what the heck are you talkin bout?

I have to fly to Ft Worth TX next...in early July...not gonna like that much...I hate HEAT. Probably selling the Miata in the next couple of days..."checks in the mail" (literally). Not sure when the next event is...probably Oct/Nov with the Audi club at Sears point..the NATIONAL event ...so it will be better than normal. I will see what I can do..I gotta get dedicated track wheels/tires first...$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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