New Wheels & Tyres
I decided to get some new wheels and tyres to: (a) improve off-road ability and (b) improve the look of the truck. My surf came with steel wheels (with a chromed centre piece) and Dunlop Desert Duelers, and although not a pure road tyre and not too bad off road, they are by no means a decent all-terrain tyre. The wheels and tyres also looked quite small and skinny and I did not really like the look of them.
In the end I got my wheels and tyres as a package from Nene Valley Off Road including tyre fitting/balancing, centre caps, wheel nuts, locking wheel nuts and delivery. They gave the cheapest quote out of all the places I tried and I have used them before when buying wheels and tyres for a Hilux pickup. I have always found them very knowledgeable and friendly, so if you don't know what size wheels or tyres you need you can always just call them and they will help you out.
Obviously the best tyre choice for off-roading would probably be some sort of mud-terrain tyre, but I use my Surf on the road a fair bit and mud-terrain tyres are usually very noisy and often don't offer great grip or wear. So the best choice for me is a set of All Terrain tyres.
The most common and popular all terrain tyre seems to be the BF Goodrich A/T, it is well respected for both its on and off-road ability, it is available in many different sizes and from many different places. The tyre I went for in the end was the General Grabber A/T, it is available in fewer sizes but it is cheaper that the BFG and looks to be slightly more aggressive than the BFG (especially the outer edges) this should give it a slight edge off-road. Here is a review of the General Grabber A/T.
Comparison of BFG A/T (on the left), to the General Grabber A/T:
General Grabber All Terrain:
Note: If you don't like the lettering on these (or other) tyres you can ask to have them fitted with the lettering facing inwards.
I looked at many pictures of Surfs with different wheels and also did some rough mock-ups of a surf with different wheels in a PC painting package, just to get an idea of how different wheels might look (since then I have found this excellent tool which allows you to preview alloy wheels on a Surf):
Although some of the alloy wheels looked o.k. I thought many of them were too modern and did not suit the Surf well. The Steel wheels I thought suited the Surf better and wheels were going to be scuffed off road anyway so I thought I may as well go for the cheaper option of steel wheels. In the end I chose some steel Chrome Directional wheels:
My Surf is a narrow-body Surf (it does not have the optional flared wheel arches that many Surfs have). Becuase of this my choice of wheel/tyre sizes was limited. I intend to fit a 2" suspension lift so larger diameter wheels would have been viable, except when you start going larger, tyres also get wider (too wide for the narrow-body Surf). In the end I went for 15" diameter 7" wide wheels and 31" diameter 10.5" wide tyres (31x10.5 15). These fit o.k. on the narrow-body but still unfortunately stick out a bit (see photos below). They give the vehicle an about 1 to 1.5" of lift over the stock tyres.
If you have a wide-bodied Surf you will probably want 8" wide wheels with tyres starting from 10.5" in width and going up to about 12.5" (diameter will depend on suspension/body lifts etc).
As you can see, the wheels do stick out, I may end up having to get extended wheel arches after all.