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Roller Coaster Wheels

Roller Coaster Wheels from TEP Technica

Roller coaster wheels, fairground ride wheels, theme park and amusement park wheels are engineered to exacting standards.  Safety, reliability and wear-resistance are key with any wheel design – none more so than in the amusement park industry. 

When designing wheels for high speed roller coasters there are four key areas to consider:

  1. Low rolling resistance – friction causes the carriages to slow down, rides are designed for speed so wheels require minimal friction.
  2. High load endurance – to carry the weight of the passengers & vehicles, plus forces of up to six times that of gravity.
  3. Smooth ride performance - wheels must be able to absorb impact on uneven surfaces due to minor imperfections or debris on the track.
  4. High durability – for minimum down time and maintenance costs

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Nylon Vs Polyurethane Roller Coaster Wheels

Nylon Wheels

Nylon is a hard plastic which offers low rolling resistance, and durability – meaning lower maintenance costs on the wheels but potentially is more demanding on the track.  Hard plastics do not provide the smoothest of rides and passengers will encounter vibrations.

Polyurethane Wheels

Polyurethane is a softer plastic providing a smooth ride for passengers with less vibration than nylon wheels. The softer tread also means a slower ride as friction is increased.

Whilst both nylon and polyurethane are suitable materials for roller coaster wheels each has it’s advantages and disadvantages.  Many amusement parks will use a mix of both nylon and polyurethane wheels to achieve the optimal ride performance. Our roller coaster wheels typically come with a Vulkollan or polyurethane tread directly bonded to a steel or cast iron centre. The wheel assembly is then connected to the axle through a bearing. Important characteristics for roller coaster wheels include safety, durability, reliability and low replacement costs. We can supply roller coaster wheels to match existing wheels in operation or we can produce wheels to meet prototype or new designs.

What types of wheel are used on a roller coaster?:

  • Road wheels/tractor wheels/running wheels – these are the load bearing wheels of the passengers and train.
  • Side friction wheels – mounted on the inside or outside of the rail and perpendicular to the road wheels, keep the train in the center of the two rails to prevent the train derailing.
  • Up-stop wheels/underfriction wheels/up-lift wheels – these prevent the roller coaster train from coming up off the track and are positioned beneath the rail. 

We can supply any wheel to any specification which means we can offer wheels for roller coasters, fairground rides and almost any amusement park ride in operation today. We supply Vulkollan, polyurethane and rubber load and guide wheels for slow moving rides with low requirements right through to the super fast roller coasters that require very high quality and high load capacity wheels which can operate at maximum efficiency for long periods of time.

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Roller Coaster Wheels

Key benefits of our roller coaster wheels

  • Manufactured in Germany by Rader Vogel
  • Wide choice of tread materials and hub centres
  • Impact, tear and wear resistant
  • Very high load capacities
  • Low replacement costs

At TEP Technica we specialise in wheels and can offer bespoke design right through to fabrication. 


Specialist Roller Coaster Wheels from TEP Technica