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Thread: Alternative light-weight 15-inch wheels

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    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    Alternative light-weight 15-inch wheels

    When I was researching light weight 15” wheels, I came across an interesting Mini Cooper wheel that is a direct bolt-on for the Mirage.

    First generation Mini Coopers (through the 2006 model year) were available with a 15x5.5” alloy wheel that only weighs 12 pounds. For comparison, a 14x4.5 Mirage alloy wheel weighs 13 pounds. These Mini wheels have the same bolt pattern and hub bore as Mirage wheels, so they are a direct bolt-on. These aren’t your average low-quality OEM wheels. They were manufactured in Italy for BMW.

    Here’s what the wheel looks like…

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    Here are the wheel specifications:

    Size: 15 x 5.5”
    Bolt Pattern: 4 x 100
    Offset: +45
    Center Bore: 56.1mm
    Weight: 12 lbs

    These are known as “R81” or “Imola” wheels. You can usually find these on eBay or Craigslist. I’ve seen very nice sets for $150-$200. Some sellers seem to know these are popular for people looking for light wheels…so don’t always expect to find them for pocket change. If you’re lucky you’ll run into someone who doesn’t know what they are and you might score a deal. This is not a bad price for a nice-looking, light weight, strong, bolt-on alloy wheel.

    Here’s a diagram that shows what they look like when compared to the OEM Mirage 14x4.5 alloy wheels…

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    These Mini wheels have about the same offset as Mirage wheels, but because they are 1 inch wider, they will sit out about ” further than the stock wheels. Another inch would be perfect, but at least this is moving in the right direction!

    These wheels will work with any 15” tire from a 175 up through a 195. If you’re wondering about fuel economy with 15” wheels, just use good low rolling resistance tires on these wheels and you may not even notice a reduction in mpg vs. 14” wheels with Enasaves.

    UPDATE: THIS post has a picture of a forum member's Mirage with these wheels installed.


    Here are photos of these wheels on other cars...

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    Last edited by Top_Fuel; 02-11-2019 at 06:53 PM.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.2 mpg (US) ... 21.7 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.4 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member Cobrajet's Avatar
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    Interesting....I wonder if the stock ES alloy center caps would fit? If the hub bore is the same, they should...no?

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    Moderator Eggman's Avatar
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    Also interesting is that they seem to fit a range of vehicles. Seems their rims would fit the Mirage too, no? In addition to the Mini there is the Fit, a BMW, and a Miata.

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        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 50.0 mpg (US) ... 21.3 km/L ... 4.7 L/100 km ... 60.0 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member IchabodCrane's Avatar
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    That is a lot of info my friend. It would appear you have done all our homework for us.
    Nice bit of research.
    Thank you.
    Will weld for beer.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage SE 1.2 automatic: 45.3 mpg (US) ... 19.3 km/L ... 5.2 L/100 km ... 54.5 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrajet View Post
    I wonder if the stock ES alloy center caps would fit? If the hub bore is the same, they should...no?
    I tried to make a Mirage ES alloy center cap fit into another wheel at some point. I think the diameter of one of those ES caps is something like 51mm. I remember having to use sandpaper to remove some of the circumference...because I had to get the cap into a 49mm opening. It worked, but I ended up buying different Mitsubishi wheel centers on eBay. Go to eBay and search for Mitsubishi wheel center and you'll see a lot of different sizes. The problem is, I don't know the diameter of these Mini wheels where that center cap is. What I do remember is that a replacement ES wheel center costs $17 from the dealer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eggman View Post
    Also interesting is that they seem to fit a range of vehicles...
    I found my aftermarket wheels (Konig Heliums) while looking at a Miata website. I think Mazda 2 wheels will also fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by IchabodCrane View Post
    That is a lot of info my friend...
    I burned up a lot of time when I was trying to research new wheels! I don't want anyone to have to waste as much time as I did!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.2 mpg (US) ... 21.7 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.4 mpg (Imp)


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    Moderator Eggman's Avatar
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    Hey Top Fuel, maybe you could help me out. I don't understand the emphasis on weight in a set of rims. If weight is a concern, aren't there other, more effective ways to trim excess weight? For example, removing the spare tire, removing the rear seats, buy a smaller battery. Heck, I could use to lose a few pounds myself ha.

    So, what if a set of wheels are a bit heavier? Would it really make that much difference?

    Thanks.

    PS: Forum member ISP guy put a set of Mini alloys on his Mirage. Though they are a different style (and a bit heavier), I'm pretty sure the dimensions are the same as these Imolas. Read about it and see the photos here: 2013 Mini Cooper wheel swap
    Last edited by Eggman; 03-31-2017 at 08:36 AM.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 50.0 mpg (US) ... 21.3 km/L ... 4.7 L/100 km ... 60.0 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member Rkt Ship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eggman View Post
    Hey Top Fuel, maybe you could help me out. I don't understand the emphasis on weight in a set of rims. If weight is a concern, aren't there other, more effective ways to trim excess weight? For example, removing the spare tire, removing the rear seats, buy a smaller battery. Heck, I could use to lose a few pounds myself ha.

    So, what if a set of wheels are a bit heavier? Would it really make that much difference?

    Thanks.

    PS: Forum member ISP guy put a set of Mini alloys on his Mirage. Though they are a different style (and a bit heavier), I'm pretty sure the dimensions are the same as these Imolas. Read about it and see the photos here: 2013 Mini Cooper wheel swap
    http://www.hotrod.com/articles/light...ls-comparison/

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    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    I'm not an expert on the topic, but generally speaking...

    • Reducing a car's weight is good.
    • Reducing un-sprung weight is better.
    • Reducing rotational unsprung weight is best.

    Losing weight off the wheels/tires has a larger effect on fuel economy and performance than stationary weight. A couple of other advantages of lighter wheels/tires are:

    - Lighter wheels/tires are easier to accelerate and stop.
    - The lighter a car is, the more noticeable a heavier wheel/tire combination will be.


    I've seen various figures like these thrown around before:

    • Every 1 pound of wheel weight reduction is like losing 5 pounds off the car
    • Every 1 pound of tire weight reduction = 7 pounds off the car


    You can get into the theoretical side of this stuff very easily. Google "unsprung weight" and you may be reading for hours.

    I just like to remind people to consider the weight of the wheel AND tire when upgrading. A Mirage's stock wheel/tire is only 26 lbs. If you change to wheels/tires that weigh 36 lbs (and to make it worse...you don't use LRR tires), your mpg is going to take a hit. That might be why nobody with aftermarket wheels keeps a mileage log. If you are shopping for tires on Tire Rack, they will actually list the weight of each tire.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.2 mpg (US) ... 21.7 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.4 mpg (Imp)


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    Moderator Eggman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the article - good reading. However, they are talking about a rather different class of vehicle (muscle car for drag racing) and wheel assembly weights. They started out with a set weighing over 189 pounds, and over four different wheel sets reduced down to 107 pounds. After all that weight eliminated, their quarter-mile runs were a tenth of a second quicker - which while is in line with the rule of thumb suggested at the beginning of the article I think a similar reduction elsewhere in the vehicle would give similar results. All that to say I'm not convinced weight reduction in the wheels give better results than simply reducing overall weight.




    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Fuel View Post
    I'm not an expert on the topic, but generally speaking...

    • Reducing a car's weight is good.
    • Reducing un-sprung weight is better.
    • Reducing rotational unsprung weight is best.

    Losing weight off the wheels/tires has a larger effect on fuel economy and performance than stationary weight. A couple of other advantages of lighter wheels/tires are:

    - Lighter wheels/tires are easier to accelerate and stop.
    - The lighter a car is, the more noticeable a heavier wheel/tire combination will be.


    I've seen various figures like these thrown around before:

    • Every 1 pound of wheel weight reduction is like losing 5 pounds off the car
    • Every 1 pound of tire weight reduction = 7 pounds off the car
    Thanks for the details!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 50.0 mpg (US) ... 21.3 km/L ... 4.7 L/100 km ... 60.0 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member MightyMirageMpg's Avatar
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    The weight is leveraged from the center of the wheel - it makes a bigger difference. The motor spins the tire from the center.

    Another example could be a lightweight vs heavy flywheel. It takes more energy to spin the big fly wheel but get it moving and it'll restart your volkswagen at a stop and go light. The lighter flywheel doesn't have the mass too keep inertia long enough but it's easily thrown around so your engine revs quicker... So you put them in road racing cars where response is key



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