Thursday, October 11, 2012

Finding 5x100 and not going big

Subaru Forester wheel
Stock 16" Forester wheel
We scored some snow tires for our 2012 Subaru Forester a couple of weeks ago. The plan is to mount those 16" Hankook Winter iPike tires on the stock alloy wheels pictured at right. These are a 16" wheel with a +48 offset, by the way. That means we'll need another set of wheels for some summer rolling stock.

While we originally wanted to upgrade to a 17 inch wheel and tire for our summer rolling stock, the more and more we think about it, the more and more we think we'll stick with the 16 inch wheels. Why? Well, we bought the Forester to be our go-anywhere "adventure" vehicle. You may be thinking, "Isn't that what your 4x4 lifted Suzuki Sidekick is for?" Yes and no. The Sidekick is more of our off-road toy; it isn't as comfortable on long trips and is limited on space. Great for weekend forays into the wilderness, the dirt, and the rocks.

Getting back to the Forester: A 16 inch tire is going to have more sidewall than a 17, which is great for comfort, for curbage, and for exploring dirt and gravel roads. Plus, replacing 215/65/16 tires is cheaper. In our case, we can simply reuse the Birdgestone Duelers that came with the car, since they only have about 3,000 miles on them. That means time to find 16 inch wheels.

MB Weapon
MB Weapon
However, it's been my experience that finding desirable 16x7 wheels with a 5x100 bolt pattern and a high offset has been difficult. I'd love something with a simple and clean look. Something like the MB Weapon from, but in 16" size (these wheels are only available in 17 inch sizes in a 5x100 bolt pattern). I wouldn't be opposed to a clean five- or six-spoke wheel design, either. But I just haven't found that right wheel. Also, since we're on a budget, we'd rather stay under $120 a wheel. Then again, if we can't find what we want, maybe we'll have to cough up the extra money.

Spearco Terra
Sparco Terra
I also really like the upcoming Sparco Terra from, especially in white. Its rally-esque styling would be great on the Subaru. However, they're a bit more money that I'd like to spend and the availability keeps getting pushed back further and further. It now says they'll be available November, 26. That just got changed from Early November this week.

I've been keeping an eye on craigslist,,, and even perusing the VW Vortex 5x100 wheel classified section. However, most of these places are listing 17, 18, and 19-inch wheels. Understandable, since these are popular upgrade sizes. Not a whole lot of custom 16s, though ...

So we'll continue the hunt until we find that just-right set of 16s. There is a lot of thrill in the hunt, so to speak, but at some point, you've got to just pick from what's available—or spend the big bucks. It's a delicate dance between finding what you want and affordability.

No comments: