What type of wheels does your team use?

Our team is looking at what wheels we should use for next year. A couple of our AndyMark HiGrip wheels shattered, and we don’t want to have that happen again. We have also had issues with our Vex Traction wheel treads wearing down very quickly.

What teams does your team use, and why?

Fyi you can create a polls natively with discourse which might make tabulating results for a thread like this easier.

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This past year we used 8" pneumatic tires. They have lasted the entire season, and 2 offseasons, and one rigorous community outreach event. The only issue we had with them was their high traction on the field, and turning became a bit difficult. We had other issues with the robot that fed into that though, and it wasnt a really big issue. If youre looking for high grip/high traction, i would definitely recommend these. We played an entire season of defense, and they worked great.

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If you arent using compliant wheels you’re DNPed.

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For our drivetrains, 1712 has used the following wheels

2014 - 4" W Tread VersaWheels
2015 - 6" Colson Wheels
2016 - 8" Pneumatic Wheels (Andymark hubs with MBS tubes/tires)
2017 - 4" W Tread VersaWheels
2018 - 6" Colson Wheels + 2x 6" VEX Omni wheels
2019 - 6" Colson Wheels

No serious complaints about any of these three options. W tread VersaWheels will wear quickly and should be replaced periodically, so design your drivetrain accordingly. But their performance is terrific. Colson wheels have very low wear patterns, but can potentially pick up HPDE if they loose traction and “burn out” on HDPE. Depending on the size, you may also have to machine or purchase a hub for Colson wheels (VEX sells live hub Colsons up to 4" diameter). Inflation in pneumatic wheels is a variable to play with.

We use the AndyMark HiGrip wheels, may I ask how you shattered the wheels? @cmathisenPHS

AndyMark’s plastic wheels are notorious for breaking after a few events worth of hard use. It was especially bad in 2016, but this year had more than a few broken wheels from hab 2 starts and hard defense.

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If your wanting longevity I would go with colsons, they have a super long life span and are decently grippy for how long they last. If you want all out traction I would go with WCP tread wheels with some blue nitrile, you will have to replace the tread every so often but its worth it for the grip they give. Neither of these two options should break anytime soon.

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We broke at least seven 6 inch Andymark HiGrips in 2018. We first noticed it at district championship because all the spokes broke and we found the whole outer rubber part on the field. Once back in the pit we found that the other 3 were cracked as well to varying degrees. Due to weight and limited programming time we had to keep them for worlds. We monitored it every match and I think we caught 3 more that were cracked.

I suspect that it was from either from side load from turning over the cable strip or driving up the platforms.

We will never use them again, but back in our kitbot days we never had any issues with the 4 inch variants.

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Andymark 6" aluminum performance wheels, with blue nitrile tread. We chose 6" for ground clearance reasons, but this could also vary with the year’s game. The blue tread is very grippy and produces consistent behavior, and is also fairly easy to replace (we use rivets).

Also 6" Vex omnis in corners for turning purposes.

2015: 6x 4" Colsons
2016: 6x 8" Pneumatics
2017: 8x 4" Colsons
2018: 4x 4" Colsons and 4x 4" omnis
2019: 2x 6" Plaction wheels with blue nitrile tread and 4x 6" omnis

Moved up to 6 inch wheels this year because we were capable of bottoming out on the platform last year.

We played defense all year with no notable damage until worlds. In one of our matches we got T-boned hard, and afterwards we had two (6 inch) wheels with at least one shattered spoke, one of which had all broken spokes.

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Thanks for all of the responses everybody. I’m personally leaning towards colsons because I’ve only heard good things about them in addition to the cheap price point and lack of maintenance (no treads). I do still have a couple of questions though.

To teams that have used colsons only and colsons/omnis: which did you prefer, and why?

Also, is the traction provided by the blue nitrile tread noticeable compared to other wheels? Does the added traction provide more precise control over the robot than something like colsons/omnis?

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2011 4 6" AM HS Mecanum
2012 6 6" AM high grip
2013 6 4" AM high grip
2014 6 4" AM high grip
2015 4 6" AM HS Mecanum
2016 10 6" AM high grip
2017 6 4" colson
2018 6 6" AM high grip
2019 8 4" AM high grip

As you can see we like the AM high grip wheels. We have never had any problem with them.

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Colsons are hard to break. As a word of warning, they drive just a little differently with the grain of the carpet than they do against it. It’s small, but just enough to mess up a precise autonomous routine.

Also, don’t decide on your wheels until the game comes out. Make your robot decisions after kickoff, not before.

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This. 2020 may be the year that mecanum becomes the meta, or the rhino treads become useful again. We wont know till the game comes out, so choosing this early will be a disadvantage. Asking the questions now is good for learning which wheels are good for what reasons though.

Zoinks Scoob

As much as 6% error according to our tests caused by carpet nap which is too bad, we loved the Colsons but have moved on…

If it wasn’t for that, Colsons are great.

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It drove too.

Credit to 5468, it’s their 2017 robot they slapped the wheels on.

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Wow, that’s amazing. I didn’t think it was anywhere near that bad.

I don’t think I’ve noticed an appreciable difference in control (other than the carpet grain issue on Colsons). The benefit is that your robot’s maximum possible pushing power is your robot’s weight times its coefficient of friction on the ground. The nitrile treads have higher grip, which allows your robot to push harder. Your max acceleration is also proportional to your max pushing power, so a grippier wheel gives you zippier robot.