Wildcat’s R&D team is pretty relentless in their quest to build the best... with the release of the new Turbo wheel let us take a look back at how the Mini BMX wheel has evolved over the last few years, and why the new design is truly next level.
As we said in our last post, the very first Mini BMX's made didn’t have access to specialized parts or design and so relied upon donor parts from carts and kids bikes. These components just weren’t fit for purpose and often failed as a result.
Wheel design 1 - Circa 2011 / 12
The first assemblies used cart wheels which, when kept in-line under vertical loading are reasonably strong.
However this is not a real-world application in Mini BMX, they simply were not designed to withstand the heavy lateral force placed upon them during serious riding. When landing spins, whips, or rotating out of tricks they would often fail by collapsing sideways on the axle or buckling.
Some brands unfortunately still rely on this glorified cart wheel design today - 4 x hub-nuts and a star pattern hub on one side only which is fixed to the axle/hub assembly by a single, narrow weld point. The two split hub half's attach directly to this and offer very little insurance against lateral force failure. They also use a driver/freewheel from a kid’s bike, usually a 12t or 16t ratio which means gearing makes it difficult to generate enough speed for tricks. Wildcat’s 9t pro-driver when paired with 25t, 28t, or 30t chainwheels offers the optimum pedal speed range for Mini BMX size.
Wildcat recognized early on that to follow their ethos of a ‘true BMX bloodline’ product range, they needed to ditch this design and take an entirely new approach to elevate the Mini BMX genre above a kid's toy specification.
Wheel design 2. The High-tensile steel hub.
Wildcat’s R&D team developed a new wheel design in 2016, the hi-tensile heat-treated steel hub seen on the majority of Wildcat Mini BMXs today. This is a Mini BMX specific design, and does a great job combating the lateral force exerted on the hub — even when used by larger humans! This is achieved by permanently fixing one side of the rim to the hub assembly using a reinforced, hidden weld/wedge design. Externally this is visible at the centre of the hub, seen as a bevel angling from the hub to the rim. Coupled with the removable side of the hub having a similar geometry, this design ensures a solid brace against the lateral force from both sides.
Once assembled the hubs are then also heat-treated to further strengthen. This process can sometimes warp the rim out of true but is 100% required to ensure maximum wheel strength above all else. The resulting wobble has been the bain of a few manufacturers using a heat treatment process and can become pronounced, so Wildcat also pushed to develop a method to straighten and balance post heat treatment. As a result, this has been the most successful and strongest wheel design up until now. The finished hub is held together firmly with 5 x eye bolts, also making it reasonably easy to split the rim and slide off the removable side, in case a tire change or puncture repair is required.
The hi-ten pro wheel package offers proven performance and strength you can trust, at an affordable price point.
Wheel design 3. Innovation and evolution.
Finally... enter the new benchmark and top end of Mini BMX wheel design. Wildcat truly has reinvented the wheel, seriously changing the Mini BMX game with the new patented Turbo design. The Turbo hub core is 100% aluminum forged and CNC tech (meaning each hub is individually machined to shape, not cast molded or pressed from sheet metal) making it stronger, truer, and far lighter than anything else on the market. Due to the unique design that loads force more evenly across the axle instead of focusing load on one point, it has proven to withstand up to 5 times the lateral force of even the Hi-tensile, heat-treated wheel design.
This new hub design rolls on an incredibly tough and light nylon material rim, all held tight by an integrated lock system which as a bonus makes changing tires a breeze.
The rear hub is specially engineered for full-blown freestyle assault; it utilizes not two, but three precision bearings across the axle as a foundation for the two forged / CNC'd aluminum hub parts, which via the hidden lock system are held rock-solid against any lateral force exerted through the hub, even under extreme riding conditions.
Not only are they the lightest and strongest Mini BMX wheel available worldwide, but they also look incredible and are available in a range of anodized colors and rim combinations. Check em out!
The Pro Series range comes with the Turbo Wheel as Standard. Shop Now.