Pinewood Derby Rail Riders are Faster

Derby Monkey 7 - Pinewood Derby Alignment 3 Comments

Most instructions manuals will have you to align your car so that it rolls perfectly strait with absolutely no deviation for at least six feet. That’s exactly what most first time Pinewood Derby car builders do. The theory, or myth, is that if the car rolls strait down the track it will not make contact with, and rub against, the center guide strip. Believing that the breaking effect caused by rubbing the rail will slow the car down many builder insist on a perfect strait running car. The only problem is this adjusting technique is doomed from the start.

Experts agree that controlled rail riding will produce a much faster car. Yes, that’s right; if your car consistently rubs against the rail all the way down the track it will be faster. Here’s why: since it is nearly impossible to have a track that will allow a perfectly aligned car to run straight and not hit the rail. Invariably, any car will drift into the rail causing it to bounce back toward the other side. This generates a side to side movement, causing the car to repeatedly slam into the rail. This is a huge enemy of a speedster. Therefore, knowing that you will certainly be hitting the rail (evidenced by almost every video of a fast car that you study in slow motion) you should bias the car to hit the rail on the front dominant wheel side, as opposed to the raised wheel side, which incidentally is yet another kiss of death.

Now, you must decide if you want to tackle this alignment technique. Most new builders are afraid to try this because of the time and skills required. The Derby Monkey has simplified this process by creating an easy to understand eBook and kit to help you create a rail rider. So, you should consider the following items:

Instant Download eBook: How to Build a Rail Rider
Complete Rail Riding Kit: Ultimate Rail Rider Kit

Comments 3

  1. Troy

    I purchased the eBook on the Rail Riders just to see if I was “missing anything” from what I read on other articles on the web. After reading this eBokk, I have to say that I was extremely disappointed in the poor editing and instructions. You can basically go to any free web-site and get the exact same info presented in this book AND for it to be presented and with no techinal errors. e.g. the book tells you mark an axel heading @ 1200, then install said axel with the dot up at 1200. This is TOTALLY wrong. Also, there are some confusing points while readin which I will not get into. Overall, a big disappointment – spend your $10 on a couple of tools or extra derby kits.

  2. DuginMT

    I don’t know about this. My rail rider is set up to rub against the raised wheel, and it just won first in the open class. I am thinking there is less friction running against the raised wheel, which is not contacting the track.

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