Introduction: Bebe Confort Pram Wheel Replacement Using Scooter Wheels and Bearings
I inherited a bebe confort Streety pram, which was ok except the awful wheels. After tearing it apart, I found that the wheels are simply nylon rotating on a metal shaft, and that besides this, at the edges the nylon wheels had worn a cylinder into the forks holding the wheels, creating even more drag.
As I never understood how pram companies have the cheek to charge hundreds of quid for pathetic plastic wheeled designs, I wanted to add some bearings. The axles have an 8 mm diameter which is luckily the standard for skate wheels.
Originally I wanted to drill out holed for bearings in the actual wheels, but in the end I though I would try first with alternate wheels so that there was a way back. The Streety rear wheels are 150 mm diameter, but the 175 mm diameter oxley wheels from Decathlon looked like they would fit fine. I actually got four to replace all wheels, but 175 mm wheels do NOT fit in the front.
Step 1: Remove Axle Covers
- Insert a flat head screwdriver behind the top, round, part of the wheel cover
- Slide around and down the side, twisting to free one of the latches near the top
- Wiggle by hand to free the other
- lastly, rotate the grey cover carefully away from the wheel, lifting up if needed to free the bottom catch.
Step 2: Make Axle Spacers and Fit New Wheel
The wheels are 32 mm wide at the bearings, but the bebe confort streety I have was 55 mm wide across the axle. You will need spacers to bridge the gap. In the picture I have extracted the bearings and internal spacer from the wheel, and shown my top and bottom spacers and washer.
I used some almost-fitting pipe I had lying around, cut with a hacksaw and then filed to smooth the edge. I decided to use washers at the edge of each axle, otherwise the spacers would rest directly on the plastic forks that hold the wheels. These forks were already pretty worn.
After making the spacers I fit the wheel to see if it was ok. Interestingly it didn't spin great while upside down, but when you put load on it it works so much better than the previous setup with nylon bearings.
Step 3: Add Fixtures for Brake
In my case, the brake consists of a small metal pin that moves closer to the axle to when the brake is engaged. It can be seen at the bottom of some of the pictures above. On one wheel the pin is metal and sits below the axle, while on the other side it is plastic and sits above.
The previous wheel had a large diameter spoked inner hub section that sat just inside the diameter of the brake when not engaged, and then when the pins move towards the centre they move in between the spokes of the hub and stop movement.
I just drilled holes in each of the wheel spokes and bolted a few 40 mm long M5 bolts through the holes using locking threads. This is a bit ugly but works fine, but I wish I had left a little more clearance for the brake in the open position.
Step 4: All Done!
So, they actually look really good!
I noticed the alignment on the pram could be better, there is a bit of toe-in with the wheels not parallel.
Haven't tried it out for real yet, but in the house it is about 10000 times better haha. One of the risks with this is that the wheels have a much narrower cross-section, so could get bogged down in grass, sand, softer earth and so on. I'm hoping the increased diameter will help that.
So, will let you know what I think. Total budget - 2 euro for the pipe I cut the spacers off, 9.90 per wheel x2, 2 euro for bits and pieces to make the brakes. Call it £20 or 25 euro and from what I see it's made all the difference in the world.