The Fly Wheels is an obstacle, firstly introduced on American Ninja Warrior 8, as the third obstacle in Indianapolis.
Competitors must swing across 3 hanging wheels, each with a one-inch ledge on either side. The second wheel was placed higher than the other two wheels, so they would have to make sure their momentum got them high enough to grab onto the small ledge on the second wheel. After the second wheel, competitors would have to maneuver their way onto the third wheel, which was on a pendulum and therefore would swing back and forth, but the wheel itself did not spin. And finally, competitors must make a dismount to the landing platform to advance.
In its debut during Indianapolis qualifiers, the Fly Wheels was proven to be difficult, as numerous competitors who attempted the obstacle, failed to swing their away across, typically due to weak momentum. There was also a slight disadvantage with its placement after the Rolling Log, in which some competitors may have fell due to dizziness and/or lack of focus. A total of 25 competitors fell on this obstacle during Indianapolis qualifiers, including Ruselis Perry and Marcelino Riley.
During Indianapolis finals, the third wheel was removed, creating a far longer dismount. With this modification and its placement after the Rolling Log, it consequently took out Bryce Foley, Adam Stroup, and Alex Bienz.
Other Season Appearances
American Ninja Warrior 9
The Fly Wheels returned on American Ninja Warrior 9, as the third obstacle in Los Angeles, with a similar specification from the previous season, with the third wheel removed during Los Angeles finals (just like during Indianapolis finals on the previous season). During Los Angeles qualifiers, 20 competitors failed on this obstacle, including Chris Workman, Anna Shumaker and Kevin DeBruin. However, no competitor failed on this obstacle during Los Angeles finals.
During Celebrity Ninja Warrior: Red Nose Day, the obstacle featured 3 wheels, with shorter gaps between the wheels and all three wheels placed on the same height, in order to make the obstacle easier for celebrity competitors. Among the 4 out of 9 celebrity competitors who attempted the obstacle, 3 of them (Nick Swisher, Ashton Eaton, and Stephen Amell) completed the obstacle on their first try, while Derek Hough failed on his first try, but tried again and successfully completed the obstacle on his second try.
American Ninja Warrior 10
On American Ninja Warrior 10, the Fly Wheels appeared as the second obstacle during Miami qualifiiers, with the gap between each wheel increased by a few inches, requiring the competitors to build a bigger swing and momentum. Also, the wheels were arranged in a slight decline, in similar fashion to the Cannonball Alley.
Due to its placement as the second obstacle, more competitors attempted the obstacle than during American Ninja Warrior 8's Indianapolis qualifiers and American Ninja Warrior 9's Los Angeles qualifiers. Just like during American Ninja Warrior 8's Indianapolis qualifiers, a total of 25 competitors failed on the obstacle during Miami qualifiers, including Ashley Harel, Joel Neeb, and Dustin McKinney.
Later on the same season, the Fly Wheels reappeared as the second obstacle during Indianapolis finals, replacing the Cannonball Drop during Indianapolis qualifiers. The obstacle also swapped place with the Cannonball Drop, which replaced the Fly Wheels during Miami finals. Both obstacles were coincidentally used in Los Angeles course on the previous season. With the obstacle appearing during Indianapolis finals, this marked its return to Indianapolis course, since its introduction as the third obstacle on American Ninja Warrior 8.
American Ninja Warrior 11
On American Ninja Warrior 11, the Fly Wheels appeared as the third obstacle in Oklahoma City. This time, the second wheel was made much smaller and the wheels were placed at differing heights.
Although only 14 competitors failed on the obstacle during Oklahoma City qualifiers, it had some notable casualties, including Artis Thompson III, Michael Snell, and most surprisingly, Eric Middleton.
During Oklahoma City finals, the third wheel was removed. Despite that, no competitor fell on the obstacle.
Australian Ninja Warrior
On Australian Ninja Warrior, the Fly Wheels appeared as the fifth obstacle in Semifinal 3, and was called as the Big Wheel.
Ninja Warrior UK
On Ninja Warrior UK 4, the Fly Wheels appeared as the fourth obstacle during the finals' Stage 1. However, the obstacle featured just 2 wheels (similar to the one used during American Ninja Warrior 8's Indianapolis finals and American Ninja Warrior 9's Los Angeles finals) and no trampoline at the start, with the pendulum wheel being placed as the second wheel.
Then, on Ninja Warrior UK 5, the Fly Wheels appeared as the second obstacle during the finals' Stage 1. This time, the obstacle featured 2 pendulum wheels, with a giant wheel placed in the middle of the pendulum wheels. Therefore, the obstacle was named as the Tri-cycle.
Ninja Warrior Poland
In Ninja Warrior Poland, the Fly Wheels obstacle appeared for the first time in the first Heat as the fourth obstacle. It consisted of only one pendulum wheel and a cargo net on which the competitor had to jump after correctly swinging on the wheel. Then the obstacle appeared in 4th Heat.
Then, in the 3rd edition of Ninja Warrior Poland, the Fly Wheels appeared as the penultimate obstacle in Heat 2 and 6. The obstacle for women was modified in that an additional landing was added before jumping onto the first wheel, and the second wheel was placed closer the former. The middle circle served as a swing to the third circle
On Ninja Warrior Poland 5, the Fly Wheels appeared as the third obstacle in Heat 2 and Heat 6. It was paired with the Snake Crossing as part of Route A of the Crossroads. This time, the first wheel was a pendulum and the next two were rotating wheels.
- The Fly Wheels was notable for eliminating two amputee competitors: Zach Gowen during American Ninja Warrior 8's Indianapolis qualifiers and Artis Thompson III during American Ninja Warrior 11's Oklahoma City qualifiers.
- Compared to most qualifying cities, the Fly Wheels is an upper-body obstacle despite being as the third obstacle. The upper-body and lower-body (balance) obstacle between the third and fourth obstacles were switched in Indianapolis qualifying course on American Ninja Warrior 8, as the Disk Runner is a lower-body (balance) obstacle. This deviation will eventually continue on American Ninja Warrior 9 (in Los Angeles, Daytona Beach, Denver), American Ninja Warrior 10 (in Dallas, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis), and American Ninja Warrior 11 (in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Seattle/Tacoma, and Baltimore).
- On American Ninja Warrior 10, the Fly Wheels was even deviated as the second obstacle, meaning there were 3 upper body obstacles, each in Miami qualifiers course (along with the Ring Turn and Slippery Summit) and the front half (i.e. the first 6 obstacles) of Indianapolis finals course (along with the Wheel Flip and Spin Hopper).
- The Fly Wheels is also one of the few obstacles where bending the arms at a 90-degree angle is not recommended. In this case, putting the arms straight on this obstacle will give competitors more momentum to swing to the next wheel.
- On several Ninja Warrior's international formats (e.g. Ninja Warrior UK 3 and Australian Ninja Warrior), the third wheel (the pendulum wheel) of this obstacle was combined with the cargo net, with a trampoline at the starting platform. Therefore, competitors must jump from the trampoline and grabbed the pendulum wheel. Then, competitors must build enough swing and momentum to make the transition to the cargo net, and finally reached the landing platform to advance.