Why is a lathed pinewood derby wheel? Why is a lathed wheel faster?

Advantages of Lathed Pinewood Derby Wheels

BSA Lathed Speed Wheels

When a race can be won by a fraction of a second, it is important that you make every speed improvement possible so your car is the fastest possible. Lathing your wheels makes them lighter and precision balanced. This makes lathed wheels the fastest wheels because they have so many speed advantages. Pinewood Pro performs a precision lathing process that tunes your wheels in six areas; more than anyone else.

  • Outer tread is precision lathed to perfectly tune and true this wheel, removing all imperfections while being careful to keep the beads along the wheel rim.
  • Inside tread is precision lathed,  removing all imperfections and making your wheel lighter.  Lighter wheels are faster!
  • Outer rim is precision lathed to reduce friction when wheel touches the track guide rail.
  • Hub is precision lathed to perfectly tune and true the hub to the center bore.
  • The hub is squared so there is a perfectly flat surface meeting the car body, eliminating wobble when the wheel hub touches the car body
  • The step is removed from the outer hub so the axle head rests squarely against the wheel.  This reduces friction and reduces the chance of wobble.
  • Wheel is lighter, giving you a fast start out of the gate because a lighter wheel requires less energy to start than a heavier wheel.
  • All four wheels come from the same mold so they are perfectly matched.
  • We make all these improvements and carefully leave all BSA lettering, tread beads and markings intact.

Outside and inside treads are lathed

Why lathe the treads?
All wheels have imperfections in the plastic when the come out of the mold. An uneven wheel does not roll smoothly, slowing your car. Just like the wheels on your "driving car", pinewood derby wheels should be tuned and balanced to get optimal performance and highest speed.

Wheel imperfections cause uneven rotations, however small, with each revolution, reducing your car speed.
When the wheel tread is precision lathed, your wheel is perfectly round and trued to the center bore, which allows your car to reach fastest speed.

Outside wheel rim is trimmed

Why trim the rim?
The rim has imperfections that slow your pinewood derby car whenever the wheel rubs
against the center rail.

So we "Trim the rim", toreduce friction and increase your speed!

Wheel Tread is "Trued"

What is a "trued" wheel and why is it faster?

Just like the wheels on your family car, your pinewood derby car wheels need to be balanced and tuned for optimal performance.

Imperfections in your wheels cause your car to bounce, vibrate and turn to one side or the other, resulting in lost speed.

Precision lathing "trues" the wheel tread to the wheel bore, meaning the wheel is now perfectly concentric with the axle,
giving you perfect precision rotation.

Hubs are squared

Why square the hubs?
Once again, imperfections in the plastic cause friction where the wheel rubs against
the pinewood derby car body, slowing your car down.

The hub is squared because friction is reduced and wobble is reduced if two perfect 90 degree surfaces meet each other. The BSA wheel hub is rounded (coned) too much! We flatten this surface to reduce friction and wobble, thereby increasing your derby car speed.

BSA wheel hub pointed
Wheel hub is rounded, resulting in wobble when it meets car body

squared BSA wheel hub image
Wheel hub is squared, reducing friction and wobble

Wheels are Lighter

Why do you want lighter wheels?
The lathing process removes a small amount of plastic as the wheels are trued up.  This makes your wheels lighter.

Lighter wheels are easier to turn, giving you a
faster start and increased speed
as your derby car races down the track.

Step removed from outside wheel bore

Why remove the step on outside of wheel?
As of late 2017, we noticed that the molds that are used to make these wheels are breaking down.
When the mold begins to wear out, it creates small imperfections in the wheels.  These imperfections will make your wheels slower.  One of the areas where imperfections began appearing is where the axle head makes contact with the wheel.  These problems only appeared on two molds, but they will soon appear on all molds unless BSA re-tools the molds.  We decided to precision lathe this area to eliminate these imperfections.  

Once again, all of these small improvements add up so your pinewood derby car wheel rotates perfectly about the axle giving you the fastest wheel possible.

Wheels are a Matched Set

Mold Match BSA Wheels

All wheels are not created equal. There are many slight differences between each mold when they are made. To achieve optimal performance, your wheels are matched as a set, giving you perfect balance.

Lathed Speed Wheel Options

BSA Lightly-Lathed Speed Wheels

.2g lighter............fast start, fast speed!

BSA Ultra-Lite Lathed Speed Wheels

.5g lighter............faster start, faster speed!

Want the fastest pinewood derby wheels on the market?

Look at our friction-free
PRO Ultra-Lite Speed Wheels

You get all of the above precision lathing,
our secret multi-step graphite perma-coating
on the treads, rim and hubs for a friction-free surface
giving you the fastest pinewood derby wheels.

PRO Speed Wheels, only from Pinewood Pro...

graphite-coated BSA ultra-lite speed wheels