Expert Advice - Wheels & Tires
Every Mini 4wd runs on wheels (how else would it run?) And on those wheels are tires. In the world
of Mini 4wd, there are many types of wheels and tires. Different types of wheels can greatly affect a car.
In order to start off, let's talk about wheels.
Wheels can be divided into four categories two types, and two sizes. The categories are normal wheels, one-way wheels,
aluminum wheels, and lock-nut wheels. The types are small diameter and large diameter. The sizes are narrow and wide. Each
of those wheels will be explained thoroughly below.
These are plastic wheels that comes with a Mini 4wd kit. They are simple, heavy, and shouldn't be used
for a fast car. However, a few of the wheels that come with certain cars perform better than average normal
wheels. These wheels get loose after pulling it off and putting it back on the axle a few times.
One-way wheels are made of plastic, but are a lot better than normal wheels. Normal wheels spin together at
the same time. When it's time for a curve or turn, the outer wheel gets dragged, therefore slowing the car
down. One-way wheels, on the other hand, has a special type of movement. Each wheel spins on its own, so that
during a turn, the outer wheels moves faster than the inner wheels, allowing the car to pass a curve easier.
However, there are bad parts about these wheels as well. Just like normal wheels, they get loose after a while.
One-ways wheels have many gears inside them, making it heavier, and creates a power loss. It is only recommended
for technical tracks. Never use them on straight tracks!
Aluminum wheels are definitely the best type of wheels you can find. Unfortunately, Tamiya doesn't make them.
They are light and strong, and looks a lot better than any other wheels. They are either locked onto the axle
with screws (the best type), or slipped onto the axle with a rubber tube inside the wheel, making them very dependable
during a race. These are definitely the wheels you want for the fastest cars.
These are wheels that slip on, and are locked tightly so that it won't fly off during a race. When I say
lock-nut, I simply mean any other type of wheel that can be tightly locked without being pushed on to the axle.
Lock-nut wheels don't get loose, simply because it's not possible. This a type of wheel you should consider for
Now you know all the categories of wheels. You should be able to choose the right ones for your car. Remember, different
tracks require different types of wheels. Now that you have the wheels, you'll need to know the types of tires that go on
the wheels. Luckily, there's only two main types of tires, so it won't give you such a headache, and they'll be
These are tires that come with a Mini 4wd kit. It grips the tracks quite well. However, it is on the heavy side.
Reston/Sponge tires (from now on, will be talked about as "reston") are very light. They grip the tracks very well.
But, they get dirty very easily, and require a lot of cleaning.
Rubber vs. Reston
Rubber and Reston are both great to use on a car, but which one is better? I would have to say: definitely rubber.
Why? Let me give you all something to think about. Let's take two bicycles, one with fully pumped tires, and one
with flatter tires. Two people rides them. The bicycle with the flatter tire grips the ground better, but the bicycle
with the pumped up tire is fast, and easily pedaled. The person on the "flat bike" pedals as hard as he can, but the
bike still isn't that fast. The person on the "pumped bike" pedals effortlessly. Get it now? If not, read on.
The flat tire bike represents reston, while the fully pumped tire bike represents rubber. The two people riding on the bikes
are the motors. In other words, when you put a car with reston tires on a track, it is not only slower, but tires out
the motor. On the other hand, a car with rubber tires can move very smoothly.
I would always recommend people to use rubber tires, no matter on what type of tracks. If you feel that the
rubber is too heavy, you can always sand off a bit of it, which isn't hard at all.
Of course, since wheels have small diameter/large diameter and narrow/wide, tires have these selections too.
What I'll be talking about below relates to both the tires and wheels.
Small Diameter vs. Large Diameter
Small diameter wheels/tires are good for technical tracks, as they lower the center of gravity. Large diameter
wheels/tires are for speed tracks. So without knowing anything, you might think that large diameters are the best
for a fast car. However, I wouldn't ever suggest using large diameter wheels/tires. They may be fast, but are only
good with a weaker motor and a larger gear ratio (for example, 5:1).
Small diameters are supposidly fit with a stronger motor (more torque) and a smaller gear ratio (3.5:1). So
small diameters would definitely be your choice for the perfect car.
Narrow vs. Wide
Narrow wheels/tires have less contact with the tracks, causing less friction and less drag, allowing the car to
go faster. Wide wheels/tires have more contact with the tracks, causing more friction and more drag, allowing
the car to be more stable, but slower. So, which type is better?
I would suggest using narrow wheels/tires on both the front and the back of the car. Narrows may not be as stable,
but through my experiences, they work out just fine, and are faster than wides. However, if your car really
appears to be unstable and tends to fly at times, try wide wheels/tires on the back.
Now you probably know a lot more about wheels and tires, and know how to pick the best ones. Good luck!