When you see a wheel, the first thing you notice is its size. You may think that the larger the wheel, the faster it will be. But there's more to consider than just wheel size when it comes to speed. The other factor is wheel width.
A wider wheel will have a larger contact patch with the ground, which means more traction. That can be helpful for accelerating, but it also means that the wheel will have more rolling resistance, which can slow you down.
For example, a wheel might be described as "26x2.1." The first number is the wheel diameter, while the second number is the width of the tire. In this case, the wheel is 26 inches in diameter and 2.1 inches wide.
To figure out wheel circumference, you can use this formula:
circumference = (pi x diameter) + (2 x width)
So, in the example above, the wheel circumference would be:
(3.14 x 26) + (2 x 2.1) = 81.68 + 4.2 = 85.88 inches
This is important to know because it can affect your speedometer reading. But if you are too lazy to look inside your car to find out the size of your wheels, you can simply use the wheel specs chart.
The distance from bead seat to bead seat on a bicycle wheel, often referred to as the diameter, is measured in inches across the face of the wheel, from bead seat to bead seat. It's done this way because that's where the tire and wheel join together. The diameter in our example is 16 inches.
The rims themselves include all of the information you'll need about your rim size, which is typically imprinted on the rims itself. The rim size markings are generally found on the back of the hub on the rim. Because it's located on the rear of the wheel, out of view, you might have to make an effort to examine them.
Wheel offset is the distance from the wheel's hub mounting surface to the wheel's centerline. The wheel offset has a profound effect on a vehicle's handling, so it's important to choose the right wheel offset when purchasing aftermarket wheels. A wheel with too much offset will stick out from the wheel well, while a wheel with too little offset will be tucked in too far.
The wheel offset is typically written as a combination of numbers and letters. For example, a wheel might have an offset of +30mm. This means that the wheel's hub mounting surface is 30mm closer to the wheel's centerline than the wheel's original offset. In other words, the wheel has been pushed out 30mm from its original position.
A wheel with a negative offset, such as -30mm, would mean that the wheel has been pulled in 30mm from its original position.
Backspacing is the distance from the wheel's back lip to the wheel's hub mounting surface. This measurement is important because it determines how far the wheel will stick out from the wheel well.
A wheel with a lot of backspacing will stick out further than a wheel with less backspacing. That might be desirable if you're looking for a more aggressive look, but it can also cause wheel clearance issues.
Now that you know how to read wheel specs, you can be sure that you're choosing the right wheels for your car. With the right wheels, you can improve your car's performance and appearance. So don't be afraid to ask about wheel specs when you're shopping for new wheels. Thanks for reading!