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frank- I started a new thread to answer your question about measuring the capabilities of a robot because I believe it is important, and is a good stand alone topic.http://www.societyofrobots.com/robotforum/index.php?topic=2165.0
erm.. i did think this also, the larger surface area the more friction.also 203:1 is a large gear ratio, ive got one of these gear boxes also and they are very powerful, i would be impressed to see anything force it the wrong direction against the gearing (they have a LOT of resistance when the motors are turned off). which brings us back to the wheels. larger surface area more friction.i would keep with the design personally, but get as close to the weight restrictions as possible