Favorite wheels

My fellow team mate and I were talking this morning on our favorite types of wheels. Not just for competition robots, for any kind of robot. So, Chief Delphi, what’s your favorite type of wheel? Be it IFI or for some reason regolith wheels, we all have a favorite type!

Omni wheels. They make the best holonomic drivetrains for smaller robots outside of FRC.
Inside FRC, I like pneumatic tires. A lot of teams use mountainboard wheels which I find really cool.

I really like the plasticon wheels. team 159 has also used coleson wheels before and they worked well.

I like Colson wheels because they’re inexpensive, durable, fairly grippy on carpet, easy to make hubs for, and you never have to replace the tread. You can run them all year long, even outdoors some (parades) and never worry about a thing. On the downside, they are a bit heavy.

AM Performance wheels are pretty nice. Colsons are pretty good too.

For dead axles, IFI wheels are plenty good as well as the bearing varieties of AM wheels.

^that guy forgot to mention he also really likes mecanum wheels^


When talking FRC on a budget, it’s hard to beat taking the AM kit wheels, bandsawing off the gray rubber, and riveting on your own roughtop or wedgetop. You take your wheels to the next level for an evening’s work and the $15-20 in tread.

71% efficiency is best efficiency. :wink:

Why bandsaw? Just wood screw the tread right in. Not the prettiest thing but it is effective.

You’ll get a wheel a bit bigger than six inches. May or may not be desired.

Most Favorite Wheels: Colson Casters
For a long time I have been looking for a zero mantaince wheel that has a better CoF than the kit wheels.* We finally got the chance to try them this year and couldn’t be happier. Driving them is fairly simple in a live axle setup, but we custom machined some flanged hubs with bearings to run them on dead axles. Pending no major wrenches in next years game, we’ll likely do the same, with some improvements.

Least Favorite “Wheels”: BrecoFlex Cogs w/ Tank Treads.
My experience 2010 tells me (and everyone else that was on FRC229 that year) that tank treads are not worth the trouble or the fear of snapping belts. I know some teams have been successful with them, but I personally won’t support a design with them unless I absolutely have to.

*This not not to say that other wheels arn’t great, for most teams IFI wheels, AM Performance, and AM plaction wheels are an excellent choice, and the ability to change out the tread and try different things can be an advantage.

I’ve been using Colsons off and on since 05 and I couldn’t agree more. The wheels simply require no maintenance once you assemble your drive. They come in an extremely wide array of sizes and widths too, which allows you to really pinpoint a wheel size that works best for you. Getting a little creative with them can also yield some higher CoF which puts them on par (or better) than some other common wheels/treads.


Given how the rubber is molded onto the wheels, we feel it’s better to trim down the gray rubber to ensure we’ve got a really solid connection to the black plastic. Wheel size is not really a factor, since we usually buy non-kit sprockets to reach the final speed we deem desirable.

Got help from Foss from 2168 to make a really really simple Colson mod for the kitbot chassis. Needless to say Colsons are pretty popular out here in the East coast. We’ll hopefully be using them this year on our bots.

I remain a big fan of pneumatic tires.

First I like that they come with a small amount of suspension baked in.

But the main reason I like them is that there are versions that are just amazing in terms of gripping the carpet – it has been years, but I think that there was some data publically available that showed that they were better than the rough top conveyor belt at gripping the carpet (especially if there are uneven surfaces involved).

There are 8" “mountain board” wheels (also used on wheel chairs) that I liked a lot.

But… …I am admittedly old school on this front.

Joe J.

Personally, I am a huge fan of the AndyMark Performance wheels. If given a preference, I like wedgetop treads, but roughtop works just the same.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being old school, I’m still a huge fan of dead axles and #35 chain in drivetrains and if I could find a 4" pneumatic wheel I’d be totally up for testing them out.

In the “modern era” of FIRST you may want to look at 330, 469, and 1114 from 2010, they were rocking pnuematic wheels if I remember correctly.

We have done some tests that back up this statement. There are certain pneumatic tires that perform extremely well in terms of grip. However, they are sometimes difficult to interface with.

Our decision to use Colsons has been based on several factors. We find the balance of solid grip, a wide range of sizes, extreme durability and ease of interfacing (hubs) to be tough to match in other wheels.


We at AndyMark world headquarters are working on an 200x50mm pneumatic wheel that solves this problem, making these wheels utilize a standard FIRST-type sprocket and hub mounting interface.

We are planning for a release near Thanksgiving.


You just made my day.