Skyway Wheels insider here

The words below got little interest in the Technical forums.

I am the sales manager at Skyway Wheels. I wanted to use this open forum to invite questions for all to see.

Please feel free to ask here. I will try to answer nightly from home. :wink:

Hello Everyone! I have had the pleasure to lurk here for a few years and have supplied FIRST teams for about six years now. Ah, the many long discussions I have had. That is why I invented the FIRST Skyway wheels order form!

Each year we pre-order materials for the new year and the kickoff. This year, market forces and katrina interfered with timely delivery of the petroleum products the market needed.

Hardest hit is Skyway's patented Bead-LoK line of wheels. The urethane will be replenished in about a week and we will have tires.. Until then, most BL orders are not shipping

I am really suprised most folks are not going with pneumatic tires. Sure, you can get a flat, but tubes are cheap. Champion atheletes like the X-game BMXers and racers use pneumatics. The ability to adjust air-pressure in the tire makes pneumatic tires really versatile.

I will check back on this thread to see if there are specific questions about Skyway. If you have order status questions call 530-243-5151.

Sorry for any typos. I just finished playing folk guitar and my fingertips are calloused and sloppy. Okay, TMI. Sorry.

Please post questions about Skyway Here!

Good luck everyone! 


Bart Weems

One of the concerns about pneumatic tires is that the robot may bounce too much, especially just after stopping. What do you see as the pros and cons of pneumatic vs solid tires in a smooth environment like a FIRST tournament floor?

Hi Rick:

Yes you are right. Pneu. tires tend to add to the already bouncy performance of composite Skyway Wheels. The geometry of the bot can adjust for increased maneuverability. A stiff frame goes a long way toward stabilization of a vehicle.

Performance characteristics can also be adjusted by either under-inflating (more traction) or over-inflating (rock hard). Another option is tube filling with either urethane (heavy) or no-flat “slime” (messy but fun!).

The obvious thing to me is that rubber is stickier than urethane and pneumatic tires’ performance can be fine-tuned on the fly.

“We need more traction against that bot!” “Lower tire pressure.”
“We need more speed against that bot!” “Incease tire pressure!”

As Alliance tactics and strategies are done on the fly, each bot’s role changes with each match. Being able to adjust tire pressure seems a simple and obvious game tactic.

Make sense?
That is what we used to do on the BMX tracks back in the day. :wink:


Well, to relieve your tension SkywayWheels, we got a nice set of pneumatic 8x2’s for our '06 bot. :slight_smile:
Had a bit of a shipping mixup…our order ended up in CO…but the folks at Skyway figured it out and got them to us the next day. :smiley:
Thanks for all the support, and the great wheels!

Dear Sachiel7:

Thanks for the words of encouragement. It has been tough with the material shortages. Petroleum products for the urethane tires are in short supply.

We seem to be doing fine on 8x2 and other pnuematic wheel assemblies. The 9x2 Beadlok should be shipping tomorrow. We are now out of the WHL1250 assembly but have 17mm x 6mm hubs available as a substitute with the same tire. The 3/8" I.D. precision bearings should be here tomorrow, I hope. /prays.

The 9 x 3 Bead-Lok are not an option until next season but 9 x 2 BL should be plentiful tomorrow.

Overall, I think your choice of the 8 x 2 pneumatic wheel assembly with the diamond tread is a good choice!

Good luck everyone! :cool:


Sachiel7 : Here is a trivia tip to share with your team:

The wheel you are using is the same wheel used on unmanned airial aircraft like the Shadow 2000! Go to for more details.

Your wheel is used on robotic spyplanes. I think you are good. They use a different tire, but it is the same Skyway Tuffwheel!

You rock, dude.

/Bart :cool:

Which wheels do you have available that are comparable to the wheels in the 2004 kit in size and quality (12.5 inch pneumatic tires)?

We need an easily swappable wheel.

How much do they cost if you have them and availability time? :slight_smile:

Carolyn Hinckley

For our ball luncher we started off with a foam filled 4 inch wide wheelchair wheel. It was about 12 lbs, and kind of chewed the balls due to the heavy tire tread.

Now we are using two 12 inch diameter pneumatic wheels from the FIRST kit two years ago. They are driven by a 5/8" diameter keyed shaft.

Do you offer any foam filled versions that would be the same form fit. We are looking for heavier exterior weight and therfore more interia to keep them from being slowed down by launching a ball?

If yes what is the difference in weight?

The robot, and truck designs you show on the page that lead to your robotics page,(go to, then click on the FIRST robotics link, and thats the site), where did you get those from, are they your own creations, they are pretty cool, or did you get them from a team?

can i get the cad for the trucks?

I would like to make a request for next year. I would like to have the 8" x 1.25" Caster Wheel be avalible with a keyed hub. This wheel can be found here: the second to last on the page. I like this wheel b/c it is narrow good traction and PNEUMATIC.