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12" vs 14"

6552 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Thom
Personally I think the 14's look better, but don't have a clue as to whether or not they perform better. What do ya'll think? :toothy10:
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I always felt 12" on quad and 14" on utv. It's more a proportional look in my opinion. I think realistically either one will perform fine. It's just a matter of preference.
More sidewall=less bent rims. 12" all the way.
Interesting results so far. Although we need more votes here. I'm starting to be glad the tires I'm getting don't come in 14" cause I would have bought them in 14".
My problem with the 14" is this. A lot of shops don't stock them. If for any reason you would need to swap a tire out when on a trip you may find it difficult to find a tire to replace.
grizzlywizard said:
My problem with the 14" is this. A lot of shops don't stock them. If for any reason you would need to swap a tire out when on a trip you may find it difficult to find a tire to replace.
I'm feeling even better about my decision now. Thanks.
Sarge, also keep this in mind. My family was in the tire biz for many years so this is where my mind goes imediately. Less sidewall=stiffer rider.

Let's be honest, these are utility bikes, not sport bikes. A larger wheel, thus a shorter sidewall is gonna make it handle better (but still ride stiffer) b/c there isn't as much sidewall to flex, just like on a car tire. Most of our time on these bikes is done in the woods and/or on rough trails. If you take a 12" wheel with 26" tall tire and do a full trail test on it, then take and 14" wheel with the same style 26" tires, run the same trail test, you're gonna find the 14's had a rougher ride. The only way you could bump up and salvage your ride comfort is to up-size the tires porportionately so they have more sidewall, thus the same soft ride. A large determinant in how much the ride should sufffer is what size tires also, If you're gonna be running 30" tires, a 12 or a 14 inch wheel is probably not gonna make a comfort different and as a matter of fact, I would almost recommend a 14 with a 30" tire. My reason is that at that point, you just have too much sidewall with a 12 and your handling will siffer.

So, there are a couple of things to consider when deciding between a 12 and a 14" wheel:
  • Is the cosmetic gain more important to you than a loss in ride quality
  • What size tire will you be going with
  • Do you potentially ever ride somewhere where you could get stuck on a trail with an irrepairable hole and a dealer not close by that stock 14" tires.

Personally, I perfer the look of the 14's as well. But, I have 12's. Would I like to have some 14's as a second set. Hell yeah, they look great. Would I use 14's if I had them. Sure I would but when I was going to the rough stuff, the 12's would go on.

Just my thoughts.

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Buster, I will be Devil's advocate here. I think the trades offs you mentioned are true, to a point.
The 14" are mainly (maybe only) available in oversized tires. Therefore the sidewall flex of a 26" tire for absorbtion and sideload handling purposes would be comparable to the 25" stock tires on 12" rims.
Now take that same comparison with 27" tires and you would have a small gain in absorbtion and a small loss in side load flex. But, take that 27" tire on 12" rims and you notice a IMO sluggish cornering.
I would much rather have a better turn handling machine over a straightline bump handling. With any machine, i think shocks and springs will make a lot more difference in both cases than a tire will, agree?
So I guess what it really comes down to is "bling", and I think we can all agree that a nice rim is a whole lot sexier than some black rubber doughnut. :icon_thumleft:
I do agree that the 14" has a much higher advantage with the 29"+ tires.
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I think it is all just preference. I sure do think that 14's make any machine look bigger. I have not yet tried a 14'' wheel but we were going to on Boss Lady's Polaris.
I am old school. Same as a lifted truck. Give me more rubber and less rim. Large agreesive tire looks a whole lot better than seeing all rim.
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