"W" Drive Versa Wheels

We’re buying wheels right now and I was curious if anybody has experience with the “W” treaded versawheels. They seem to have a nice bite into the carpet and turn well (no lateral ‘bite’) as well as a 1.2 CoF. Also, they’re .3lbs and only $5 so I think we’re going to buy quite a few. Just curious about what people have to say about them…


My second hand knowledge is that these wheels are known to wear quite fast, but I think that knowledge is from a year or two ago, so YMMV.

We used these wheels in 2013 and 2014, and were generally quite pleased. They have excellent traction, both in the forwards and lateral directions. When new, they almost act like cleats in the carpet.

The one thing to be aware of is that they wear rather quickly. Worn wheels do have both reduced traction and a smaller radius. This isn’t a big issue if you have the money to replace them periodically (once per competition at bare minimum, once per day would be even better) and a drivetrain design that allows your wheels to be replaced swiftly. If you have a dead axle drive train that requires significant effort to take apart, I would suggest a lower maintenance wheel (such as Colsons).

Oh man I didn’t think it would be that bad…

Is there a healthy medium between colsons and high traction wheels? Something around the 1.1 range maybe. I know andymark has a deal on plaction wheels for around $7.50. We’d like to stick with Vex but would rather something more aggressive than colsons.

During aerial assist we replaced those wheels probably 3 times an event. We found that rotating them on the drive train helped too, the dropped wheel set tends to wear faster.

Give the colsons a chance. The traction is suprisgnly good.

We had a similar experience with plaction as others did with W tread in 2014. The year was a bit of an outlier in terms of tread wear.

It’s definitely worth mentioning what kind of tread you were using on the plaction wheels-- wedgetop, roughtop, blue nitrile, pebbled, etc all have different wear characteristics and CoF.

We we’re using blue nitrile roughtop(usually considered the most wear resistant) but my point is that tread that could of last a whole season in 2012, 2011,2010 etc may last a couple of matches in 2014.

We have used them since 2014 and are inclined to use them again if they suit the game. In 2014 we replaced them about once per competition. In 2015 we ran the same set all season.

They don’t get meaningfully smaller as they wear, but the sharp edges get rounded off and the CoF drops, requiring replacement (if you want to do well in a shoving match). We found that the tread tips on the corner wheels (8WD) wore in a “sawtooth” pattern, so we would swap them out end-for-end to stretch a few more matches out of the set.


We did this to Colsons in 2014. Nasty, nasty traction. The individual segments flex and literally bite the carpet under load. They do wear faster than unmodified Colsons, but our robot played four events on the same wheels, and probably could have done another. All we did was rotate out the middle wheels to the ends after the second event.

We used the W tread wheels when they came out in 2013, and likely won’t do so again. They wore quickly, and we also found their traction somewhat underwhelming.

We used those on our 2014 robot, as the dropped center wheels on a west coast drive, with a different, non-W tread set (same brand) on the front and back wheels. They worked pretty well, though we replaced them at least once per competition. We did manage to melt holes in the wheels during Galileo finals , but I think those were the outer wheels. Either way it’s a good idea to be prepared to replace them.

Overall, we were pretty satisfied with how they worked.

Thanks for all the response so far… Has anybody used this before? They look similar to the diamond tread but have a 1.1 CoF. We’ll probably go down the colson route but I just want to verify all the options right now.


What we love about the W tread wheels is their lower lateral COF and crazy high COF in the direction of travel. This results in a robot that requires less power to turn because of lower scrub forces. Less scrub likely means more accurate turns as well. This is our go-to wheel. Wear hasn’t been as big a problem for us but being able to change them out for each competition would be wise.

I disagree on the bolded. In 2014, we noticed a difference in the distance we drove in autonomous on worn wheels compared to fresh ones (and our wear isn’t as significant as what was shown in some pictures). The radius change is definitely a relevant concern as the wheels wear.

We’ve used the wheels, but we went with the roughtop tread option instead of the traction tires. Been using them for 2 years now with no complaints, still haven’t found a robot our 2014 bot could not push.

Seeing as the wheel pictured is from 11’s 2014 robot, thought I’d chime in with a review.

We switched to the horizontal tread pictured after experimenting with a diamond pattern in 2013. The treading was done using a 1:1 scale drawing of the wheel with 0.5" cuts every 10° along the exterior that was taped to the stock wheel for alignment purposes. The horizontal tread was easier to apply than the diamond tread, since the diagonals required for the diamond required a jig to do consistently.

The wheels were solid performers on the field, performing the standard colson trick of getting grippier as they heated up. They wore about 1/16" during a 12 match + elims district event. We ended up swapping the center wheels with the outer wheels before elims at most events to ensure even-ish wear. They could have probably been run down quite a bit more without loss of traction, but there may have been issues with defeating the point of the dropped center. The wear pattern was interesting, rounding the points of the tread before eating away at the diameter, which created a sweet spot where the spread of each section would produce an almost flat profile on the ground.