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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 09:53 PM
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Cooper vs Cooper S Wheels - Ride Quality

Hi all,

Just bought a 2003 Cooper and will be doing a fair few miles in it. When I got it it already had 17" Cooper S (at least I was told they were) wheels on it.

Here's the question. Is there a big difference in ride quality between Cooper (are they normally 16"?) wheels and the 17" ones I have? It's on Pirelli P Zeros at the moment. You can feel the ripples in the road! Anyone had both and can enlighten me?

I'll be doing about 20-25k miles a year so if there is a significant difference I'll probably sell them and buy some 16s. If not they can stay... They do look the part.

Cheers for any advice
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 10:01 PM
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Are the tires run-flats?

Does your car have space-saver spare tire?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2013, 06:00 PM
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If they are runflats replace with 17" normal tyres and you will get an improvement..........16" normal tyres will give yet a further improvement in ride quality.
As you have a Cooper you can then fit a spacesaver spare wheel kit under the boot floor, if it does not already have one fitted.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 06:50 AM
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Thanks both, not sure if they are runflats. I'll check when I get back home later.

Tyres are pretty new so was thinking of just selling on the wheels and picking up some used 16" with decent non runflats tyres. I know it will improve matters, Just wasn't sure if there was enough of a difference to make it worthwhile.

I drove a cooper and a cooper S quite a few years back and there did seem a fair difference but wasn't sure if the MCS also ran stiffer suspension.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 10:50 AM
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I think all of the ride problem is on cars with sports suspension. So far I've tried 15" non-runflats, 16" runflats and non-runflats and 17" non-runflats, all on cars with standard suspension. While the 17s do crash into big potholes more than the others, the differences between them all in general ride comfort aren't night and day.

I think the message is, unless you drive only on smooth roads (or race tracks) and don't want comfort, don't tick the 'sports suspension' option.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 05:04 PM
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If you replace the 17" rims with the standard 15" rims you will get:

1. A much better, less crashy, ride.
2. Around an additional 5mpg.
3. For the same level of effort and noise, you car will be around 5-10mph faster on the motorway.
4. Much improved resistance to tramlining.
5. Improved grip (ironically) as the shock absorbers will be much better able to cope with the unsprung weight of the lighter wheels and the tyres will be much less prone to loosing grip when they hit a bump mid corner.
6. Much cheaper tyre replacement.
7. Much greater resistance to pot hole damage.

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Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 08:54 PM
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That's given me plenty to think about so thanks for the replies. :-).

Did the first 350 mile round trip this week and it was a lot of fun.. A few little things popped up that need sorting, weak rear wiper, Cd changer fubar etc so plenty to keep me busy getting the car up to scratch.
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 07:40 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Lloyd Barnes (original)
Hi all,

Just bought a 2003 Cooper and will be doing a fair few miles in it. When I got it it already had 17" Cooper S (at least I was told they were) wheels on it.

Here's the question. Is there a big difference in ride quality between Cooper (are they normally 16"?) wheels and the 17" ones I have? It's on Pirelli P Zeros at the moment. You can feel the ripples in the road! Anyone had both and can enlighten me?

I'll be doing about 20-25k miles a year so if there is a significant difference I'll probably sell them and buy some 16s. If not they can stay... They do look the part.

Cheers for any advice

Hey Lloyd, Cooper or Cooper S wheels, it doesn't make a difference in the ride, what does is the 16" vs 17" the 17's will have a lower profile and thus less wall to absorb the ripples in the road. Are the 17s Run Flat by any chance, not sure from the tire info you gave, that would also make a difference in the ride as they have stiffer side walls which is part of what allows them you to keep riding even after a puncture.

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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 08:34 PM
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This is very dependent on the individual. I have 16's that my Cooper S came with. I also have 17's with winter tyres and 18's with summer tyres. All tyres are non-runflats. I find the differences to be so minor that I think the style of the bigger wheels to be 100 times more important. I have had runflat tyres on my first Mini and I hated them for a terrible ride and poor grip. If you are concerned with ride quality I would recommend non-runflats and Koni FSD dampers. All just my opinion of course.

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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 08:53 PM
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I've got 16" runflats and they can be pretty scary especially on the motorway being pulled into tracks made by lorries! Also leaving the motorway when the white lines stand up off the road because they've been repainted so many times!
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 09:07 PM
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I beg to differ

Quote: Originally Posted by Tigger, Eeyore & Roo (original)
If you replace the 17" rims with the standard 15" rims you will get:

1. A much better, less crashy, ride.
2. Around an additional 5mpg.
3. For the same level of effort and noise, you car will be around 5-10mph faster on the motorway.
4. Much improved resistance to tramlining.
5. Improved grip (ironically) as the shock absorbers will be much better able to cope with the unsprung weight of the lighter wheels and the tyres will be much less prone to loosing grip when they hit a bump mid corner.
6. Much cheaper tyre replacement.
7. Much greater resistance to pot hole damage.

My son has a 50,000mile cooper with 15" alloys and run flat tyres
My partner has a 93000 mile cooper auto with 17" alloys (non run flats)
The 17" with pirelli tyres ( new) are a million times quieter and better to drive on,
But a set of new tyres were 450 Glad they were on the car when we bought it
My sons needs a new pair of tyres soon ( front) so we will shop around

Magwa
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 10:25 PM
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The answer is likely not.... We have a 2004 Cooper Chili R53 and a 2007 Cooper S Cabrio R52 and the suspension, 17" run flat tyres and wheels on both are the same. The ride is 95% identical... only variable is the the Cabrio is heavier and therefore has more weight on the suspension so the Cooper S Cabrio feels slightly more firm.

Now.. I had a loan car from the dealer with 15" wheels and of course different profile tyres and the standard suspension. The ride was more compliant... still firm... but more compliant. Trade off to me was that the car did not track as nicely into curves and had more body roll but then the sport suspension and tyres on the S provide that.

One thing to check... Was this a Chilli variant? It may have the same sport suspension as the S.. that will affect what tyres/wheel size you use and the ride as well.

Last edited by lrwalton; Jan 24th, 2013 at 10:35 PM. Reason: made a mistake!
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 11:18 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by magwa (original)
My son has a 50,000mile cooper with 15" alloys and run flat tyres

Since when do they make run flats for 15" wheels
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Old Jan 24th, 2013, 11:22 PM
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ride comfort

tire comfort varies even of the same size, runflats are known for poor riding comfort, getting a 16" setup will be better, if you prefer comfort to better a touring tire should ride better and 16" are cheaper and less prone to damage. buying at the tire rack or discount tire where mount and balance are free if you buy tires and wheels there check out styles and compare pricing for what you want
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Old Jan 25th, 2013, 05:29 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by magwa (original)
My son has a 50,000mile cooper with 15" alloys and run flat tyres
My partner has a 93000 mile cooper auto with 17" alloys (non run flats)
The 17" with pirelli tyres ( new) are a million times quieter and better to drive on,
But a set of new tyres were 450 Glad they were on the car when we bought it
My sons needs a new pair of tyres soon ( front) so we will shop around

The point about 15" wheels not coming with runflats has already been made, but I was comparing 15" and 17" wheels on the same car, rather than different cars, so there are no other variables to effect the results.

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