Published: 31 May 2016
I wanted to equip my three-axle ‘Umbauwagen’ with interior lighting, so I needed some metal wheelsets with power pick-ups. Since the PIKO Umbauwagen have an uncommon wheel diameter of 35 mm, buying the ball bearing metal wheelsets from PIKO was pretty much my only option.
To save some money, I decided to use just a single ball bearing wheelset per coach, and using standard metal wheelsets for the other axles. I have three Umbau coaches (planning to get a fourth), so I bought two packs of PIKO’s #36168 ball bearing metal wheelsets.
- Manufacturer: PIKO
- Article Number: 36168
- Product Description: Ball Bearing Metal Wheelset, 35 mm, 2 pcs.
- Year of Introduction: 2015
- MSRP (2016): € 46,99 / $ …
- 36167 Ball Bearing Metal Wheelset, 30 mm, 2 pcs.
The wheelsets come in a pack of two.
A small instruction leaflet is included. You can pick up from power from the axle in two different ways using either eyelet terminals or pin connectors.
I reviewed the ‘normal’ metal wheelsets from PIKO earlier, so I expected the ball bearing metal wheelsets would look nearly identical. They do look very similar, although the wheel thread and flanges have a slightly different look. The ball bearing wheels are stainless steel while the normal metal wheels are chrome plated, which explains the slight difference in looks.
You can clearly see the ball bearing on the axle in this picture.
So how do they perform? Very, very well. I compared the rolling resistance with the well-known ball bearing wheels from LGB, and I was pleasantly surprised. The LGB wheels roll super smooth, but the PIKO wheels roll even better. Power pick-up is good as well.
PIKO’s ball bearing wheels are available in two sizes: 30 and 35 mm. The smaller wheels can be used as a replacement for the standard size LGB wheels (& other brands of course), the larger size wheels is aimed at the standard gauge rolling stock from PIKO.
However, price is important, and unfortunately these wheels are very expensive. A pack of the 30 and 35 mm diameter wheelsets cost € 46,99 each. LGB’s wheels for example are significantly cheaper at € 39,99, yet still expensive.
If you need 35 mm wheelsets, buy these. If you need the standard size wheels, you are probably better off buying the LGB wheels as they are cheaper.