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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I tried searching around but couldn't find any good answers, so: for the people who've gone to smaller (15 or 16") wheels and/or bigger tires, was the difference noticeable and worth it for off-roading? Right now I'm running stock (225/60/R17) Wildpeaks, and my only gripe with them is ride comfort off road.
 

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2004 Forester 2.5X 5MT
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Honestly I doubt you’d notice that much of a difference on a Forester. I think that springs, removing the sway bar, and struts would make a larger difference. I think it would help to air down your tires also.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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That's the old conundrum - comfort vs performance....

Would a larger sidewall (by going with a smaller diameter wheel) get you more "bounce-sulation" - yes. Because (when aired down properly), there is more flex in the sidewall which will absorb more impact before it gets to the suspension bits. So you'd get a bit more perceived comfort....

But the trade-off may be your on-road comfort, handling and fuel economy.

As mentioned by Dad ^^^ above, struts, springs and suspension updates would be able to provide a better off-road ride, but with some of the same caveats - loss in handing and fuel economy and possibly other performance metrics.
 

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@chowaniec 25 is normal for general off-roading. Obviously I cannot comment on specifics for your model but I've been running 21575R15 for many years (21560R16 was stock).. Very good off-road; can drop very low for sand; and I've been willing to sacrifice some on-road handling for off-road ability. Going off-road for comfort is usually not the norm! :D
 

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2017 Foz 2.5i CVT
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@chowaniec
Not worth changing over for off-roading. Go with 225/65x17's for a bit more sidewall.

What benchmark vehicle have you ever ridden in that has been comfortable off road? There's bumps and rocks and tree stumps out there, which is why civilized man invented roads.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@YoGeorge

Obviously off-road is never going to be "smooth" per se, but my friend's Land Rover Discovery feels like it's floating compared to my Forester, and that's without even airing down.
 

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2017 Foz 2.5i CVT
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The Land Rover is indeed a good benchmark so you do know what you want. The Discovery costs 2x the price of the Forester and it would be expected to be a lot better at a lot of things. What is the suspension travel on the Discovery compared to the Forester? That, along with high-buck damping would make a lot of difference.

Go with a 225/65x17 tire and use whatever they use on the Discovery or a similar design. Probably a megabuck Michelin or Continental tire with a V speed rating. Falkens are not high end tires; they are reasonably priced and work well for their purpose.
 

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OK, I did some quick Internet searching and the Discovery has 20" (500 mm) of suspension travel using airbags and the Forester has less than 10". so an extra 1/2" of tire sidewall is not gonna make much difference. Maybe just get yourself a 10" thick seat cushion.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm talking about a '97 Discovery I with coil suspension here, but that's beside the point, which a few of you seem to be missing. Obviously a Forester will not feel like that off road. My question was "how much improvement does bigger tires make?", not "how do I make my Subaru feel like a Land Rover?"

Sent from my Pixel 5a using Tapatalk
 

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I assume that I am perceived as missing your point. A tire with 1/2" taller sidewall will have 1/2" more deflection before you hit the rim IF you have exactly enough air pressure in it. If you feel this will give you a better ride by whatever definition you are using, that is your answer.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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@chowaniec - as said above - going with a smaller diameter rim and a larger sidewall CAN improve your off-road ride by having more flex before the bump reaches the suspension.

Keeping stock size with your stock rims saves you money (no need to buy aftermarket rims) and by airing down (as mentioned) you can get softer/better ride with the stock size... But it also depends on what types of "roads" you're talking about. Some roads will never be smooth no matter what. There are just some washboard roads and trails that will rock and bop you around inside, no matter the suspension travel or the tire size...

And as was discussed by going a bit off with the comparison of Forester to Discovery - it's never going to be that smooth or comfortable, even if just because of the engineering put into the suspension from the get-go. The Land Rover is designed - first and foremost - for the off-road travels. The Forester is designed more for on-road travels with occasional excursions off-road. It is comparing apples to pears.

So to your original question - yes, it can give you a smoother ride with a larger sidewall.
 
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