Vertical flywheels are a type of heavy rotating weapon which first became prominent in later series of Robot Wars. The first robot to be equipped with such a weapon was Torque of the Devil in Series 1, while the most successful UK Series competitors to be equipped with one include fourth-place finishers X-Terminator (Series 7) and Aftershock (Series 9), Series 5-6 Semi-Finalist S3 and Battle of the Stars co-champion Kadeena Machina. House Robot Matilda was also equipped with a rear-mounted vertical flywheel from Series 5/Extreme 1 onwards, replacing her chainsaw in the UK Series and being made interchangeable with it in Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors and Nickelodeon Robot Wars.

Whilst vertical flywheels were not as common or initially as famous as their horizontal counterparts in the UK Series, robots with this weapon type also enjoyed considerable success in international versions of Robot Wars. Dutch Series 2 Champion PulverizeR and German Series champion Black Hole were both equipped with these flywheels, as was US competitor Cyclone, which won the Annihilator in the second season of Extreme Warriors. They also enjoyed some success in the lower weight categories, with Argh! winning the Extreme 2 Featherweight Championship by using a vertical flywheel to devastating effect.

Definition[edit | edit source]

The first vertical flywheel on Torque of the Devil

  • A flywheel is a comparatively heavy spinning disc weapon that spins at high speeds. To cause damage, one or more "teeth" are welded onto or integrated into certain places along the disc's circumference, in order to gouge and tear large sections off of opponent's armour or destroy vital components.
  • Compared to the horizontal flywheel, these flywheels are mounted vertically, and are intended to strike the bottom edges and sides of other robots.

Advantages and Disadvantages[edit | edit source]


S3 shreds Plunderbird 5

X-Terminator tosses Killer Carrot 2 out of the arena

Kadeena Machina throws Dee into the air

Bulldog Breed's flipper plate was badly buckled after repeated attacks from X-Terminator's flywheel

Big Nipper causes damage to Eruption as it lands after a flip

  • Like the horizontal type, vertical flywheels are capable of inflicting substantial amounts of damage to their opponents, tearing into and ripping off sections of armour plating as well as destroying their chassis, wheels and weapons. S3, PulverizeR, 259, Cyclone, Black Hole, Kadeena Machina and Aftershock are among the most prominent examples.
  • Vertical flywheels can also double as flipping weapons. Most robots equipped with them - famously 259 and Aftershock - are capable of throwing opponents over as well as damaging them at the same time.
  • They often target the underside of a robot, usually considered its weakest point, allowing for maximum damage to its chassis and wheels/tracks. S3 particularly destroyed Plunderbird 5's chassis, armour and wheel mounts during its first ever battle, and Kadeena Machina was able to shred Dee's wheel off.
  • Vertical flywheels also deliver more powerful blows for the same amount of stored kinetic energy as their horizontal counterparts, as robots equipped with them are braced by contact with the arena floor when they hit opponents. This enabled robots such as 259, Kadeena Machina and Aftershock to remain stable even while making repeated attacks on their opponents.
  • They are especially effective against robots equipped with wedges and flippers, effectively neutralising them by buckling the wedge/flipper plate and rendering them unable to negotiate the wielder's ground clearance. X-Terminator demonstrated this in its Series 7 Semi-Final fights against St. Agro and Bulldog Breed.
  • Very rarely, this type of flywheel can also double as a self-righting mechanism, being able to 'kick' robots back onto their wheels if the flywheel hits the arena floor or walls. Aftershock was the only Robot Wars competitor to demonstrate this capability.
  • If a robot wielding a vertical flywheel is thrown upside-down, the flywheel is still capable of causing damage to nearby opponents if it lands weapon-first on them. Aftershock and Big Nipper, for example, were still able to damage Eruption with their discs as they landed on top of the latter during their Series 9 Grand Final Group Battle and Series 10 Heat Semi-Final respectively.


259 being counted out, unable to self-right after being struck by Fluffy during the UK vs Germany special

After being flipped over by Philipper 2, Black Hole's discs lost their effectiveness, and were eventually unable to prevent it from being pitted

The gyroscopic forces of Kadeena Machina's disc resulted in the robot frequently lifting itself onto one side whenever it tried to turn with the weapon spinning

  • Vertical flywheels are often hard to combine with invertible designs except for axlebots, especially larger ones like those used by 259 or Cyclone. This often meant that a robot with this weapon type either required an additional srimech (e.g. Cedric Slammer) or had to adopt smaller flywheels (e.g. Black Hole, the Series 8 and 10 incarnations of Big Nipper).
  • Also, the weapon's effectiveness can often be decreased when inverted, due to many flywheels spinning in only one direction. This problem especially affected Black Hole in its European Championship battle against Philipper 2, with its discs spinning towards the ground once the robot was flipped over and causing it to jump upwards upon striking Philipper 2's armour.
  • Vertical flywheels have a narrower attack range than their horizontal counterparts, limiting their precision. Black Hole circumvented this through using two flywheels attached to the same axle, each mounted on either side of the machine.
  • The gyroscopic forces of a vertical flywheel can adversely affect the robot's manoeuvrability, making it difficult for it to turn when the weapon is spinning. Additionally, they could also lift the robot up onto one side or even cause it to overturn when turning left or right. Though commonly displayed by more modern spinners such as Kadeena Machina, Aftershock, Pulsar and the Series 10 version of Big Nipper, early instances of this happened to Matilda during the first heats of German Robot Wars and the Extreme 2 New Blood Championship, as well as Black Hole in its aforementioned European Championship battle.
"We didn't do a vertical spinner because the gyroscopic effect makes steering very difficult."
— Dave Rose of Hypno-Disc[1]

List of Robots with Vertical Flywheels[edit | edit source]


Aftershock in Series 10

Argh!, Extreme 2 Featherweight Champion

Big Nipper in Series 10, with the disc fitted

Black Hole, the only German Series champion

Cedric Slammer, Extreme 2 New Blood Grand Finalist

Cyclone as it appeared in Extreme Warriors Season 2

Daisy Chopper

Diotoir in the World Series

Kadeena Machina, Battle of the Stars co-champion

Matilda at the time of Extreme 2

PulverizeR, Dutch Series 2 Champion

S3, Series 5-6 Semi-Finalist

The Bat

Vader in Series 6

X-Terminator, as it appeared in Series 7

Robots are listed alphabetically. Robots which are not heavyweight entries are listed with a green background. House Robots are listed with a yellow background.

Robot Series Appearances with Vertical Flywheels Notes
259 Series 6 Large four-toothed disc powered by an 89bhp electric motor. Won the 'Best Design' award in Series 6.
259 (Middleweight) Extreme 2 Middleweight version of 259. Three-toothed disc spinning at 1,750rpm and powered by a 750W motor. Extreme 2 Middleweight Finalist.
Aftershock Series 9-10 Two interchangeable discs, each weighing 24kg (Series 9-10) and 30kg (Series 10) and spinning at 2,400rpm. Interchangeable with a 14kg vertical bar spinner (Series 9-10) and an aysmmetric bar spinner (Series 10 only). Series 9 Grand Finalist, finishing fourth overall.
Argh! Extreme 2 Extreme 2 Featherweight Champion.
Big Nipper Series 8, 10 Part of its interchangable weaponry, alongside its signature crushing/lifting claws. Flywheel mounted on a lifting arm, weighed 20kg, and was capable of spinning at up to 4,000rpm in five seconds in Series 8. Series 10 iteration features a 20kg single-toothed disc with a tip speed of 180mph, which can be reached in three seconds. Only competitor robot in the reboot to flip an opponent out of the arena with a flywheel.
Black Hole German Series 1, UK Extreme 2 German Series champion. Two 4,000rpm four-toothed discs mounted either side of the robot and connected to the same axle.
Bot Out Of Hell Series 5 Disc was disabled on television for safety reasons.
Cedric Slammer Series 6, Extreme 2 Disc was made out of a car wheel and featured two 4kg steel blades attached to the rim. Spun at 3,000rpm. Extreme 2 New Blood Grand Finalist, finishing fourth overall.
Crazy Coupe 88 Series 8 Features its vertical disc at the rear, with a heavier horizontal blade at the front.
Cyclone US Season 1-2 US Season 2 Annihilator champion. Original US Season 1 version used a two-toothed disc; US Season 2 version (Cyclone 2) featured a four-toothed disc spinning at 700rpm. First robot with a vertical flywheel to throw an opponent out of the arena.
Daisy Chopper Series 3 Erroneously referred to as a 'circular saw' or 'hammer' on the show. Two-toothed weapon weighed 20kg, was powered by a hatchback car motor and spun at up to 600rpm.
Derek 2 Series 6 Two-toothed weapon was inspired by that of 259. Replaced the original robot's pneumatic forks and small rear spinning disc.
Diotoir Series 10 Applies only to the version competing in Robot Wars: World Series, where a loanerbot which previously competed as Kadeena Machina was loaned to Team Nemesis to represent the Republic of Ireland.
Doctor Fist Series 6, Extreme 2 20kg four-bladed disc powered by two 5hp petrol engines, spinning at 2,000rpm. Weapon spun downwards rather than upwards.
Hyperactive US Season 2 29-inch, 35lbs disc with two teeth and a rotational speed of 215mph. Interchangeable with a large cutting disc originally used by Unibite, although only the two-toothed disc was used on television.
Inshredable Series 6 Two-toothed steel disc spinning at 1,000rpm.
Kadeena Machina Series 9 Competed in Battle of the Stars only. Flywheel weighs 15kg and spins at 2,000rpm. Entered by Paralympian Kadeena Cox. Joint Battle of the Stars Champion along with Arena Cleaner. Later remodeled into the World Series version of Diotoir.
Major Tom Series 5-6, Extreme 1-2 Small front-mounted disc rotating at 35mph; teeth enlarged for Series 6 and Extreme 2.
Matilda Series 5-10, Extreme 1-2, US Season 1-2, Nickelodeon, Dutch Series 1-2, German Series Weighed 27kg in Series 5-7 and 35kg in Series 8-10. Interchangeable with her chainsaw in US and Nickelodeon series.
Meshuggah Dutch Series 1-2 Dutch Series 2 Grand Finalist.
Mesmer 2 Extreme 2
Neoteric Extreme 2 Walkerbot from Team Roaming Robots.
ODT-Zero Dutch Series 2 Interchangeable with a flipping weapon. Only the flipper was seen on television. Flywheel weapon was not directly stated to spin vertically, but can be presumed from the layout of the robot's weapon module.
Pika 2 Dutch Series 1 Inaugural Belgian Champion.
PulverizeR Dutch Series 1-2, UK Series 7, Extreme 2 Dutch Series 2 champion.
S3 Series 5-6, Extreme 2 Series 5-6 Semi-Finalist, reaching the second round of the semi-finals in both of its UK Series appearances. Disc was 18 inches in diameter and weighed between 17-20kg, spinning at 1,000rpm.
Storm 2 Series 8 Features an interchangeable, two-toothed vertical flywheel, at the expense of the robot's invertibility. Not used in battle.
The Bat US Season 2 Six-toothed, 2,500rpm flywheel, powered by four EV Warrior motors.
Thorgrim German Series Robot ultimately never moved.
Torque of the Devil Series 1 First robot to be equipped with a vertical flywheel. Four teeth bolted onto the weapon's circumference.
Vader Series 6-7, Extreme 2 Original Series 6 incarnation featured a two-toothed 20kg disc, which spun at 850rpm. Series 7 incarnation featured a 10kg disc and an improved weapon motor.
Vortex Inducer Dutch Series 2 Mounted on an arm which allowed it to twist into vertical or horizontal positions.
X-Terminator Series 7 Series 7 Grand Finalist, finishing fourth overall. First UK series competitor with this weapon type to perform out of the arena flips. Disc weighed 14kg and spun at 1,500rpm.

References[edit | edit source]

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