You are bang on when you say the ride seems stiffer. A 12inch tire has more sidewall to flex than a 14. Even with a larger tire you will generally have less/stiffer sidewall.
My suggestion: If you don't beat the crap out of your rig like I do, stick with the stock wheels for now. If you want more ground clearance, go with 27" tires. It will rob a bit of low end power for quick starts, but the ACE will handle it. If you're not drag racing or doing jackrabbit starts all day you won't notice. If you're not sure, then go with 26" ones. Stay with the stock width. If you want a bit less mud all over your rig, then go with 8" tires all round instead of 8" in front and 10" in back. Yes, it will reduce traction a little. But the ACE isn't going to win any mud bogging or dune climbing contests anyway.I am lost when it comes to tire/wheel geometry and trying to figure out what will work. I've been thinking about getting different tires. Would like some that are good for lots of terrain types, mud, sand, rock, wooded trails. Big enough to gain any more ground clearance but not cause any fitment issues. What combinations have worked well on the Ace? I'm not worried about different wheels, but not opposed to buying new ones if a different offset would help.
With 26x9x12" Bighorns which measured to 26 1/4, I was _almost_ rubbing the front fender on the inside at hard lock. 27" would rub.Thanks for the pics. Is the offset of your rims different from stock? Heck it looks like you could go with 28" Vampires. There is a lot of space for the looks of it. From what I was reading, the 27" Vamps measure out at 26.2" Do you like how they perform? Any vids of the lil Ace going through the mud? The second picture you posted looks like the last time we were out! Looks like fun!
I believe you have to call them for their 'blem' specials.Hey Dgandy, how do you buy them? I couldn't see a place to add them or a cart? Thanks for the link!