Having run a larger setup of wheels and tyres on the Jimny and then deciding to go back to a smaller setup after over a year, it had a few of you wondering why and asking us for our reasoning. So we hope to cover everything you may want to know in this blog with our final thoughts at the very end.
DISCLAIMER: Everything we say below are our own thoughts and findings. Everything was purchased ourselves with no input from any companies to sway our beliefs one way or another. We make sure to do our own research and ask plenty of questions to make sure we are taking the right step forward.
Back in March 2020 we upgraded our wheels from the stock size to a larger setup which consisted of much larger alloys and tyres. We did this because at the time we were really drawn into the off road scene and by having larger tyres we would be able to have more axle clearance which is great for off-roading. However, we completely disregarded our plans for on road travel which included carrying a lot of camping and hiking gear.
As the year passed and our camper trailer came to it’s completion we knew we would start to tow it soon on our adventures and this started to raise worries on how the Jimny would cope towing the trailer on longer journeys. We eventually took the trailer out on a few test runs and also on a camping trip where everything would be loaded up as if we went on any typical trips. Whilst towing, the Jimny’s transfer case sounded like it was going to blow up on some hills in the Peak District which was not enjoyable to listen to.
This was the final decision that the larger setup just wasn’t for us. We still believe that the larger setup wasn’t a problem when the Jimny is completely empty, if anything it was nice to drive at times. But more of that in our previous blog.
On Road Performance
Theres no point keeping it quiet that we are not fans of having to drive slowly everywhere we go. We like to be able to keep up with the flow of traffic when we are on the motorway and hate to hold up masses of cars behind us on the country roads. We found that when the Jimny was load up with camping gear that at times on the motorway it would struggle to maintain it’s speed up slight inclines which became a bit annoying after some time.
By going to a smaller lighter setup and covering a few trips we have found that power has been restored. Just recently we went for a nights camp with our roof tent on, a boot full of gear and we were able to keep accelerating up inclines on the motorway!
One thing that was immediately apparent after fitting the smaller and lighter setup was braking distance was quite dramatically effected! Driving home with the 4 larger wheels in the boot which equated to 100kg of weight, you could still notice that the brakes felt sharper.
Another thing we have both noticed is the lower side profile of the tyre now makes the Jimny feel a little more sporty in corners. Seeing as we spend a lot more time on road rather than off road this is great as it gives you a lot more confidence to maintain speeds in bends without feeling like you’re going to tip over. (We run 29psi in all 4 tyres at the moment)
What effects on road performance?
The overall diameter will effect how the Jimny performs on the road as it will require less engine revs to maintain the same speed. This can be seen as a positive as the engine will be quieter, however at lower engine revs you create less power so trying to maintain the same speed on the motorway is harder as you’re producing less power at the same speed.
As well as the overall diameter playing its part, the width of the tyre will also create more traction. Which again can be seen as a good thing as you will have more grip on the road to prevent you from loosing control in dry environments. However that extra grip means you need to work the engine more to produce more power to maintain speed or acceleration.
Tyre Side Profile
We asked STL High Peak why 16inch instead of 15inch? Moving over to a 16inch alloys allows the Jimny to run a slightly lower side profile tyre meaning that in corners your tyres won’t deform as much allowing the Jimny to feel better in the bends. This is of course a good benefit for those that spend a lot more time on the road. This is only applicable if you have chosen to run a tyre size close to the overall diameter of the standard tyre size.
Lastly, one thing that doesn’t seem to be spoken about too much is weight. Increasing wheel or tyre size in anyway will increase the weight of the setup. The static weight may not seem like a drastic difference but it’s the rotational mass that again the engine will have to compensate for trying to spin up a heavier setup.
Additionally wherever the engine is required to produce more power, the brakes will also need to be worked harder.
Why we chose the STL High Peak Alloys?
It wasn’t exactly a case of deciding which alloys we would change to, it was more of when we would change over. When Denis first saw STL release the High Peak J-01 wheels he fell in love with the design but more so the Vintage White colour as he is obsessed with White wheels. However that’s not exactly the only reason.
As time passed and the greater the realisation became that we would be better off with a smaller setup we realised that the J-01’s would be a good choice. Especially as these have been designed specifically for the Jimny. Seeing as they have been designed for the Jimny you are able to use the factory wheel nuts and rear hub caps.
They are still 16inch in diameter like most upgrade options for the Jimny however they are only 6inch wide. The original wheels are 5.5inch wide so the little bit extra was not to worry about as our older setup was 8inches wide! With just a small offset of -5 the extra width was well balanced to give the Jimny just a little bit of extra stance without going overboard.
It was also great knowing that the J-01 alloys are made in the same factory that the original SZ5 alloys are made in. Speaking to STL High Peak they informed us that there was great advice given to them from the factory on how to maintain great strength within the alloy but keeping the weight down to only 9.48kg!
(we saved 4.92KG per corner with our new setup, meaning in total we are almost 25KG better off!)
Seeing as great strength was kept in mind these alloys were able to pass TÜV Approval making them a great option for the EU Market!
Why we chose the Geolander G015 tyres?
Having owned this tyre before on our previous Gen3 Jimny we knew it would work just fine for us. We knew that smaller and lighter was our target so we chose to go with JimnyStyle’s recommended size of 215/70R16.
At the time of purchasing new tyres we weren’t able to get ahold of the Toyo’s, though as time passed GeordieJimny had actually managed to get ahold of some himself. We were able to then actually compare them in person.
The reason we didn’t go for the ever popular BFGoodrich was because of the price and weight (photos of weights shown below)
As you can see the Yokohama is clearly a lot lighter which for us was perfect! We did not see any reason why we would pay all most double in price for the BFGoodrich tyres as we have never done any tracks hard enough where our previous Toyo’s or Yokohama’s didn’t provide enough grip. We feel confident that they should last a good amount of time.
Our final thoughts
To conclude on our new setup we must say we are overall impressed and happy. We have managed to save 4.92KG per corner totalling all most 25KG altogether including the spare wheel.
It feels good to have restored a bit of the Jimny’s power and to also be able to brake with more confidence when towing. The Jimny feels great to drive on the country roads as the lower side profile really helps reduce a bit of that roll you will be familiar with; you could almost say it handles like it’s on rails! It is a little disappointing that to do 70mph you do have to sit a little higher in the RPM range compared to our previous setups but now with just over 14,000 miles on the clock the Jimny’s engine does become a bit quieter the longer you spend driving it.
If you think that you would also like to do similar adventures like us then you may find yourself ok to run the same setup.
Thank you for reading.