Sizing Hints for Staggered 16" Wheels

Thursday, July 12, 2012 by Ben Rooney

We recently took a look at 16" sizes for the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11, the only tire we currently have that covers sizes 205/55R16, 225/55R16 and 245/45R16. These are popular sizes for older sports cars, but they have become somewhat limited in availability. The RE-11, with its focus on maximum dry weather traction, predictable wet handling and exceptional steering response is an excellent tire for enthusiasts who want to enjoy their classic performance cars.

Since many performance cars use staggered tire sizing, we looked at each of these sizes on its measuring rim width, which would be considered the "standard" wheel width for a given tire size:

Tire Size               Measuring       Rim Width
                               Rim                  Range

205/55R16           16X6.5              5.5 – 7.5

225/50R16           16X7.0              6.0 – 8.0

245/45R16           16X8.0              7.5 – 9.0

We discovered a slight anomaly in the RE-11 sizing:

The 205/55R16 and 225/50R16 both run a bit large for their size and when used together will provide a noticeably staggered appearance. The 245/45R16 runs a bit more 'true' to size and when compared with the 225/50R16 doesn't appear substantially wider when mounted on the standard 8" wheel width. 

Drivers looking for a distinct visual difference in appearance from front to rear should use either 205/55R16 on the front and 225/50R16 on the rear, or 205/55R16 on the front and 245/45R16 on the rear. Using the 225 width in the front and the 245 width on the rear will still give good performance, but will not give as much of a staggered appearance.

This information is most relevant for drivers who have 7" wide front wheels and 8" wide rear, and want to ensure that there's a noticeable difference in width from front to rear. Looking purely at the numbers, one would think that 225/50R16 and 245/45R16 would be the preferred combination, but in fact the 205/55R16 would still fit the 7" wheel quite well and would give a more staggered appearance. 

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