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Recently, I have been doing quite a bit of research on Miata upgrades and modifications, as I am planning on purchasing a NA Miata by the Summer of 2007. I intend to purchas a 1994-1997 Miata w/ 5-Speed manual. Being that this will be my second/weekend toy car, I will be doing a ground-up rebuild on the vehicle, upgrading and tuning everything. Chassis, suspension, drivetrain, body, interior, everything will be upgraded for high-performance. My reason for this thread, is for the wheels.

First off, I don't understand why most Miata owners run 14" and 15" wheels; I come from a family of BMW, Ferrari, Porsche and Audi owners...the smallest we know is 17" and most of us prefer the look and feel of 18"-19" wheels.

Now for the important stuff...On my future Miata, I want to install a 17"-18" wheel. I would like to fill out the wheel wells with some big wheels and low profile tires. Initially I would have liked to have installed a set of Forged, multi-piece 17"-18," 5-Spoke wheels like the GFG Spiello-5. Now I am considering a Panasport style wheel. Superlite Wheels, makes a set like the Panasports, but I can order them any size, offset, etc. I want a deep dish lip on the rears and less of a recess on the fronts. Also, I will be fitting my car with the AWR wide body kit, so I can fit more rubber in the wells.

For such a configuration, what would be an ideal width for the fronts vs. the rears? I want a narrower wheel up front. Also, with such a change in wheel width, what diameters will I need?
 

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The reason people don't usually run wheels larger than 16s on a miata is that they simply look odd. On a lot of more modern cars I LOVE the look of a set of 18s. But honestly on a Miata 15s look equivalent to 17s on my ond GTI. It's a matter of perspective. To put it in a way a german car fan can understand think about it like finding wheels for an E30 or old MKI GTI.

Oh that and they weigh less too which makes a big difference in car dynamics.
 

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First off, I don't understand why most Miata owners run 14" and 15" wheels; I come from a family of BMW, Ferrari, Porsche and Audi owners...the smallest we know is 17" and most of us prefer the look and feel of 18"-19" wheels.
The simple answer is because wheel size must be appropriately matched to the size and performance of the vehicle. From a functional standpoint a wheel diameter needs only be large enough to clear the brakes. The Miata is a lightweight car and therefore has relatively small brakes. Even some 15" wheels are capable of fitting over popular upgraded "big brake kits" which only a handful of high-horsepower track Miatas need anyways. Wheels anything larger in diameter than absolutely necessary are simply for aesthetic purposes or to take advantage of alternative tire choice (greater selection of 15" tires so more people buy 15" wheels). In fact, larger than necessary wheels often detract from performance due to the added weight and the Miata is especially sensitive to this. Since most Miata owners are not interested in style at the expense of performance they tend to equip their vehicles with high-performance wheels which tend to be 14" or 15" in diameter depending on a variety of factors.

If you're interested in general knowledge about Miatas the best place to start would be www.miata.net. There is an excellent (albeit slightly outdated) FAQ, technical articles in the Garage section, and a discussion forum that has an excellent archive accessed via the search function. Good luck in your search for the right Miata.
 

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Welcome to the club man!! The Miata is a great platform for tuning if you want to go nuts with car parts.

I used to run 17's on my Miatas back in the day, however, the roads are so crappy here, i got tired of bent wheels all the time, esp. if im paying mad cash for a set of Racing Harts, Works, or GeWalts. Probably aint help that i had my Miata slammed with coilovers (set as low as possible) and with the 17's it still made it ride high up off the ground. (NA) Miatas are just too tiny for larger wheels, and besides, its more fun to fly low. :twisted:



If you want to run the larger sizes i would buy the (NB) or even the (NC) Miatas as there is more room for the larger wheels, otherwise its just too hard on the (NA).
If you like that larger wheels, and want the fender flares for wide styles, check out Caleb's (NB) Miata in his garage with the NoPro Widebody kit.

NOPRO GT-SPEC RACE CAR :twisted:
http://clubroadster.net/forum/album_pic.php?pic_id=354


Kyle, you are so bad, dont send him to m.net to ask about installing 17,18, or 19 inch rims on a Miata! He would get beat down like a red-headed step-child. :shock:


PhatMiata :mrgreen:
 
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Everyone:

Thanks so much for clarifying some of my concerns. While not trying to sound shallow, and that all I care about is looks, I would rather run the bigger wheels on my future NA. The NA is my favorite of all Miata's, and I seem to think, with the right set of wheels, and proper suspension adjustment, I should be okay. I deffinetly won't go bigger than 17" though. As far as width is concerned, I am still not sure considering the addition of the AWR wide body kit. Obviously, I will need wider wheels than stock, but how much wider? Also, offsets...I want to have about a 3/4"-1" rim lip up front and a good 3" in the rear. Speaking of which, where would I go for such a rim? It seems as though nobody makes custom forged wheels with staggered/offset fitments for 4-lug applications.
 
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Alright, just thought you all should know I think I figured out what I will do. I am going to elect a set of RS Watanabe 8-Spoke Wheels, from Japan. From what I can tell, without being able to read Japanese, they have a great selection of single and multi-piece wheels for me. It looks as though I will easilly be able to fit a set of deep-dishes in the rears with some nice narrower ones up front. Their 8-Spoke design is much cleaner than the Superlight Wheels I was previously considering. The RS Watanabe's look like Mini Cooper-S wheels. I am stoked!
 

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I wouldn't even consider, for one second, ANYTHING bigger than 16" on an NA Miata. It just won't look right, and performance will suffer. And if you really want 3" of lip in the rear, you're pretty much going to have to buy some serious flares or widebody kit.
 

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The 17" wheel (assuming you are running 205/40/17) would be considerably larger than stock diameter. You car would be jacked up like a donk. ;)

I think 16" is the biggest you should go w/ the NA body.

In any event, the key to making your NA look good is wide width and LOW OFFSET, not big diameter.
 
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If the 17's with tires are significantly larger diameter than a standard Miata wheel/tire setup, I may then consider a 16" wheel. I just want to fill out the wheel wells with more rim than tire...I will also be installing a coil-over suspension setup, so maybe the smaller 16" will do more justice. My brother has 15" on his Miata, otherwise it is all stock Mazda, and I think the wheels could be bigger...much bigger. Thanks for the help.
 
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I just checked an online tire calculator; it looks as though I will be able to easilly get away with 215/35R17 fronts and 245/35R17 rears
 

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I have a friend with a set of 17x7 konigs with 35 series tires on his NA. It isn't my cup of tea but it doesn't look bad on the car. It really depends on what you're trying to do.

The great thing about the NA is that it's hard to make it look bad and any true miata lover will appreciate the car if it's got some heart put into it. If it turns out you don't like the look, try again... another great thing is how cheap parts are.

I've asked for style advice too but it really comes down to what you think looks good.
 

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i have 17x7 in the front with a 1 1/2 inch lip and 17x9 in the rear with a 3" lip, my car isnt lowered yet and it sits really nice, i could roll my rear fender and everything would fit nice. I dont think they look oversized, no difference than a 17 on a civic. Oh yeah and theyre sportmax 962s
 
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Viciousclipse:

Sounds sweet, I would like to see it. Could you post pics please?
 
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