You’ve heard that LEGO is the world’s largest tire manufacturer making over 350 million tires a year. It just so happens that these tires are made for the purpose of play and not performance or realism.
This is where the world of cross-breed assemblies between 3’rd party tire manufactures and regular rims starts to look interesting. It brings the opportunity to start driving outdoors with more control, or simply having a car model resemble its real-life counterpart.
The idea behind SevenStuds is to grow the variety of wheels and parts you can use with LEGO vehicles and creations. So this week, we will be looking at 6 tires from the RC world that are compatible with LEGO rims.
The idea was compare some of the most popular and expensive RC tires to OEM and mid-range varieties, since this is often going to be the choice each buyer will have to make. The second criteria was to find a good selection of sizes and tread styles. Here we see how these tires compare visually to the existing LEGO lineup.
Let’s have a look at them individually from smallest to biggest.
First is the 48mm Rok Lox Micro Comp Tire from RC4WD. Its made using Advanced X3 Soft & Sticky Compound, which feels very grippy indeed. The quality is high and its everything I would expect from an RC4WD product.
This Rally Block wheel from Tamiya was a smaller alternate to the Dirt Grabber from RC4WD. They have an very good fit on the rim. As with most RC tires, the inner edges are slightly wider than the grooves on LEGO rims, so this can either be folded inwards or trimmed narrower. I do not recommend modifying the plastic rims. The general quality of the Tamiya rubber is not as soft and stretchy as RC4WD products. From a price point, these tires are 70% cheaper than the average RC4WD tire. Just a consideration when making a comparison.
Road tires with realistic treads are highly desired for LEGO builders, but they remain one of the most difficult tires to find as their compatibility with 56mm wheels is elusive. This is the only tire which did not fit any LEGO rim from my inventory. In the photo above, you see the wheel with a 3D printed adapter available from Shapeways. Once the adapter is pushed into the Technic 3 pin hub, the wheel attaches to the hex adapter using a nut and bolt just like any regular RC wheel. This adapter was initially designed so that RC drift wheels could be used with LEGO, but from the examples below you will see that it becomes handy for much more.
The Hummer tire, also by Tamiya, is the hardest of the lot. At first I didn’t think it would even stretch over the rim. After a few repeated turns, they eventually sat into place. While I like the tread for resembling a city-style SUV, they do have an imperfect fit over the LEGO rims. They are slightly too narrow for the 56mm rims. In the image below you can see the bulging on the right with a LEGO rim compared to the tire on the left with the 1.9″ RC rim.
The above tires are from the OEM category. At first I expected the worst, but I quickly grew to like the feel and fit of these large tires. Initial concerns was that the side walls were very soft and thin, so they may require harder foam inserts with heavier vehicles. For crawlers, the soft rubber will grip very nicely.
This tread type is becoming the first choice of non-LEGO tires. They exist in a 96mm and 108mm variant, seen here. Compared to the 100×38 mm tires above, they have much thicker side walls and the rubber feels just as soft as the rest of the higher quality tires. The stretch allows them to fit very well over 56mm LEGO rims, even though there is slight bulging on the sides.
The Interco IROK from RC4WD was the most anticipated tire in the lot. It has superior detail, size and a smooth stretchy material. The grip is so high that they can be difficult to turn using a servo motor. The image above compares the 2 RC4WD tires, being the biggest and the smallest in the group.