Piston Slap: Si or No to 'Minus 1' Tire Sizing?

TTAC Commentator 70Cougar writes:

Sajeev,

I am probably the first owner of a Civic Si to ever want to downsize his rims, so I’m looking to the expert on -1 matters: you. (Woot! –SM)

I have a 2007 Honda Civic Si sedan with the factory 17-inch wheels. I’ve always preferred the same generation EX’s 16-inch five spoke rims, and I wouldn’t mind a smoother ride and cheaper replacement tires if I still get decent handling performance out of the 16s.

Would the 16-inch rims fit around the brakes on the Si and otherwise safely function on my car? Would there be a significant decline in handling performance?

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