Home > FREE SPEED TIPS > Pinewood Derby Speed Tips - page 3
There are six major factors that influence the speed of a Pinewood Derby car. Pay close attention to all six of these and you can build a winning car.

Major Speed Factors:

1. Body Design
Weight Placement
Wheel Preparation
Axle Preparation

Advanced Speed Techniques:

1. Rail Rider Alignment
2. Rear Wheel Canting
3. Advanced Friction Reduction

III. Wheel Preparation

Fortunately, today’s Pinewood Derby wheels require little preparation. Unfortunately, most of your competitors will have the exact same wheels that are equally fast.

There are a few modifications that you can perform to make the wheels a little faster. However, without proper equipment some of these modifications are almost impossible to do.

Here are a few things that you can do:

1. True the wheel circumference: This operation can best be performed with the aid of the Derby Worx Pro Wheel Shaver
2. Polish the wheel bore
3. Polish the inside wheel edge

True the wheel circumference Derby Worx Pro Wheel Shaver

The Pro Wheel Shaver is one of the easiest, most efficient and cost effective ways to create perfectly round wheels from a molded standard wheel. Not all wheels are created equally, but with a Pro Wheel Shaver, they can be made Hi-Performance.

1. Out of round wheels cause improper alignment at speed. This is something that is greatly mis-understood, but a car can assemble great and roll perfect on a test table but things happen at speed on the track. As a out of round wheel travels down the track and gains speed the axle will raise and drop which will cause the car pull to one side or oscillate depending on how bad or how many wheels are out of round. A fast car will be straight and VERY QUIET, noise is friction. By adding the Pro Wheel Shaver to the Pro Hub Tool a builder can shave the high spots off of molded wheels until they are completely round to the centerline of the hub, this removes all radial run-out to help make a more perfect wheel.

2. The inside edge of a molded wheel in usually not straight. The most perfect aligned cars will still touch the center strip on the track 1 or 2 times on the way down and inside edge of the wheel will effect what happens when this contact is made. If the inner edge is not true, when contact is made it will cause the car to kickback, this will usually cause a radical deflection in the direction of the car. By using the Pro Wheel Shaver, a builder can true the inner edge of the wheel as well to lessen the effects of this contact. One good kick from guide strip contact can ruin the best of runs.

3. Our testing has found that most anyone can easily make wheels that are with-in .001” diameter of each other.

4. Tip: When using the Pro Wheel Shaver, is may take several adjustments to get all of the wheels round and the same size. When changing wheels, leave the blade at your setting and loosen the tool base at the Pro Hub Tool, rock it back to clear the blade and replace the wheel with the next one. This will allow you to get all wheels the same diameter on the finish cut. Also cut until you get all of the material possible removed, the final cuts will be very light, fuzzy plastic shavings; this will give a great finish. Instructions Included

Polish the wheel bore

Pro Bore Polisher and PolishInner hub treatment has been limited until now. Many times we have a good wheel, but it just does not spin that well or lacks what others have. Now this can be corrected and good wheels can be made to spin even better than ever.

The Derby Worx Pro Hub Polisher and is designed to use a polishing media (Micro-Gloss Wheel Bore Polish is included) that is secured in a tool base for polishing the inner hub. By provide an equal pressure on the inner hub bore while being spun in a drill at a low speed, imperfections from molding are removed and break-in time of a new set of wheels is reduced. This helps in the mating of the surfaces of the axle to the hub.


The Pro-Bore Polisher cleans and polishes the wheel bore to minimize friction. In addition to the Pro-Bore Polisher,a pipe cleaner (included),1 micron plastic polish (included),a hand drill,and a clamp are required.

1. Clamp the hand drill to a work surface using the clamp. Do not use a Dremel-type tool as the RPM is too high.
2. Insert the solid shaft of the Pro-Bore Polisher into the chuck of the drill.
3. Cut a piece of pipe cleaner 1-1/4” long.
4. Slide the pipe cleaner between the two prongs of the tool. Make sure that the pipe cleaner is centered between the prongs.

Caution - Some polish may be thrown when the drill is running,so wear eye protection,old clothes,and cover any sensitive equipment on either side of the pipe cleaner.

5. Apply a small amount of polish to the pipe cleaner. Spread the polish onto the entire pipe cleaner surface.
6. Slide a wheel onto the pipe cleaner and over the tool.
7. Hold the wheel and start the drill on a slow to medium speed.
8. Move the wheel back and forth on the tool for 5 to 10 seconds.
9. Slide the wheel off the tool onto the pipe cleaner and polish for an additional 5 seconds.
10. Remove the wheel and stop the drill.
11. Repeat steps 5 to 10 for the other wheels.
Important - Do not slide the wheel onto the Pro-Bore Polisher while the drill is running.

12. Wash the wheels in water,using a clean portion of the pipe cleaner to scrub inside the bore.
13. Dry the wheels. A dry portion of pipe cleaner can be used to dry inside the wheel bore

BSA Pinewood Derby Kit Wheels or Aftermarket Speed Wheels Do you want to use the wheels that came in your Official BSA kit or do you want to purchase some wicked fast aftermarket speed wheels?

Using the BSA Kit Wheels is OK but you will need to do some wheel preparation to make them as fast as they can be. You’ll need to true the wheels, remove mold marks, cone the hubs and polish the wheel bores.

You made need some special tools for these desired wheel modifications. You should consider the following tools:

True wheels & remove mold marks: Pro Wheel Saver
Cone the hubs:
Pro Hub Tool
Polish wheel bores:
Pro Wheel Bore Polisher

Aftermarket BSA Speed Wheels

Using Aftermarket Speed Wheels will save tons of time and give you a very fast car. These are Official BSA wheels that have been trued and balanced. The wheel bores have been polished and the inner hubs have been coned. Unneeded plastic has been removed from the inside of the wheels making them lighter and spin freely. The truer and lighter the wheels the faster they will be.

There are several levels of pre-prepared wheels. The exact speed wheels you select will probably be governed by your pack rules. It is important to check your rules to see what wheel modifications are allowed.

Available Hi-Performance Official BSA Wheels:

Mold Matched: These are official BSA wheels which are hand selected, inspected and matched to the same mold number. Unfortunately, stock BSA wheels vary considerably from one mold to the other. This inconsistency makes for an unreliable set of wheels that do not work well with each other.

Precision Stock: These are official BSA wheels that are precision machined on the outside and will meet any rule book. These wheels can be raced without any additional preparation.

Pro Inertia Lite: These are official BSA wheels that weigh in at only 1.8 grams and retain all of the lettering and numbering inside so they will meet most Pack, District and Council Rules. These wheels are much faster than stock BSA wheels so you can gain a huge edge over the competition. These wheels can be raced without any additional preparation.

Pro Ultra Lite: These are the fastest BSA Pinewood Derby wheels on the market. They are official BSA wheels that are precision CNC machined with True Track Tread and reduced in weight from 3.5 grams to only 1.0 grams each. Extensive testing has proven that these are the fastest BSA wheels available. These wheels can be raced without any additional preparation.

VIEW ALL WHEELSDerby Monkey Garage has the most complete selection of derby wheels on the market. Check out our extensive line of speed wheels.

Official BSA Wheel Comparison

Pinewood Derby Wheels

At only 1.0 grams the Pro Ultra Lite Wheels are the fastest BSA Pinewood Derby Wheels on the market. The next fastest are the Pro Inertia Lite Wheels at only 1.8 grams. The Pro Inertia Lite Wheels leaves the BSA writing on the inside making them legal for most BSA Pinewood Derby rules. Check your local rules to see what wheel modifications are permitted.

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