Colson Wheels

I think I’ve finally hit the sweet spot in wheel selection. Colson Wheels. They are great. Durable. Easy to work with. Wide variety of sizes. Very affordable (~$8 for 6"). Not too heavy (about 1 lb for 6", can be lightened) Available at and from the distributors listed on They are just all around great wheels. You’ll have to make hubs for them if you wish to go live axle but that isn’t too hard. You could probably knurl some hubs and press them in. Traction is more than the kit wheels but less than incline conveyor belting. You can screw conveyor belting into them if you wish. Anyway, I’ve fallen in love with them. Check them out.

My old team (team 11) fell in love with them, when i introduced them to the world aka: my old team. We used the 5" last year, and this year on my new team (125), we used the 8 inch. The traction is UN-BELIEVE-ABLE…my recommendation: HOP ABOARD THE COLSON TRAIN!

You can also get Colson Wheels and custom aluminum hubs from CNC Bot Parts:

Is the traction on these wheels really any better than wedge top or rough top IFI wheels? A couple of years ago these might have seemed like a great option, but with IFI’s generally superb wheels these seem like they’re an anachronism.

Basically I just want to know if their traction really is better, or if it just seems pretty good.

It is not better than wedgetop for an equavalent width. But we found wedgetop to have too much traction. These seem like the right tradeoff. If your robot has these, it will drive like a dream. We have 6 wheels (all on the same plane I might add) and we could use just a tad more traction, so we are adding wedgetop to the middle ones (only).

Anyway, very affordable, not too heavy, good sizes, easy to work with. Colson wheels, my new favorite.

Does anyone have pictures or drawings of hubs that their team has used for Colson wheels?

525 is using the 4" version of the caster wheels this year. We made a custom hub for the wheels. A mentor of ours who participates in battle bots showed us them and said they are accepted as one of the best wheels for that competition.

Here is one good way to do Colson hubs

we took the easy way out and just made a round cylinder to fit the bore. It has an inside keyway for the axle and an outside keyway for the wheel. Instead, we probably could have knurled it and press fitted it even. But I like the CNC Bot Parts style of hubs best.

these wheels are similar to 179’s go-ped wheels from 2005. you need to somehow attach a flange to get a sprocket on there and your good to go. the bearings in the go-ped wheels are amazing and I’m shire the Castor’s are good too and much cheaper These look like a step in the right direction as far as affordable wheels that aren’t samped out of plate, bolted together and fall apart when you use them on your robot.

The NPC wheels are nice if you don’t mind the delrin hub. As long as they’re protected, they should be fine.

Maybe the traction isn’t better, but unlike the IFI wheels they don’t dent or bend, and they cost 1/10 what the IFI wheels do. Weight is pretty much equivalent, as both are around 1/2 pound per wheel.


We used these wheels last year and this year. Both years we manufactured hubs without a drawing. We used the 4"x2" wheels last year and the 5"x2" wheels this year. Both styles have a 1-3/16" bore.

We just took 1.25" alu rod, turned it down to 1-3/16", knurled the outside, bored a 1/2" hole and put a 1/8" keyway in that hole. The hubs are pressed in to the wheel. The knurl bites into the plastic on the wheel pretty well especially in the middle due to the draft (Draft is what allows the plastic to be released fromt he mold, the edges perpendicular to the mold halves are sloped a bit making the bore narrower in the center).

We then key the wheel to a shaft and also key drive sprockets to that shaft. The shaft has stepped ends with flanged bronze bushings on them. We just put the bushings through holes in the kit frame and are good to go.

We ran all year last year with zero maintenence on this system, and are hoping for the same success this year. Traction is not as much as you get with some other materials, but was plenty for any pushing and “vigourous robot interation” that we encountered last year.

I love these wheels because they are cheap, simple, robust and easy to get up and running.

Good luck everyone!