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Bobsled 101: The inner workings of a sled

Bobsled 101: The inner workings of a sled

Learn more about the equipment used in bobsled

A sled consists of a main hull, a frame, four runners and two axles. It is also built with a steering mechanism and a brake. 

The main hull, which is also known as a cowling, is constructed of fiberglass. It is closed in the front and open in the back to allow bobsledders to enter the sled. 

The frame is made of steel. The construction of the frame was standardized in 1984 by the sport’s international federation. 

There are two sets of two runners, which are the solid pieces of steel on which the sled rides. They are not allowed to be heated nor receive any substance that would improve sliding.

There are two axles: one connects the two front runners, and the other connects the two rear runners.  

The steering mechanism consists of two pieces of rope that are attached to a steering bolt and turn the front frame of the bobsled. A driver can pull on the rope with his or her right hand to steer the sled to the right, and with the left hand to steer to the left. 

The brake is used by the brakeman after the bobsled crosses the finish line.

Equipment worn by bobsledders:

Burn Vest

Vests worn to protect athletes from ice burns in the event of a crash. 


Required protective gear for all bobsled athletes.

Speed suit

Skin-tight uniform that is designed to reduce drag. 


Shoes that provide bobsledders with better traction on the ice. 


Everything you need to know about bobsled at the 2018 Olympics

Basics | Rules | Origins and Olympic history | Glossary | Equipment | Venue | Qualification

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