1998 - Competition
||8209 Future F1
||8217 The Wasp
Cyber Slam Spider
Building on the idea on using flexible pneumatic tubing as a decorative element, flexible ribbed hose was introduced. It serves the same purpose but is more prominent with a larger diameter. In early sets, the hose had to be cut to length by the builder.
Beams and Liftarms
The studless system was expanded significantly. A 6L and 7L thin beam were added to compliment the existing 5L. The 6L remains the only even length studless part. There was also a 3x3 L shaped corner liftarm.
A strangle thick liftarm with a joggle was released. It was used in two sets this year and then never seen again.
The Competition Cannon is a spring loaded canister with a rubber tipped projectile. I can only imagine the arguments between the part developers and the lawyers as they tried to develop a firing weapon that was not too dangerous. They made it quite difficult to disassemble so that children (like me) who wanted to take it apart and put in a stronger spring would be thwarted.
A new type of suspension part was introduced which included a steerable control arm and a support bracket. With only two parts, this was quite easy to assemble for younger builders. The flat tab on the top of the gray part slides into a slot on the black part, then locks in place once rotated. Although very simple, these parts were used on some very large models including this year's flagship.
Wheels and Tires
A new type of very unusual futuristic wheels and tires were introduced this year and then never used again. All of the Tech Build models this year used them. The wheels have 3 spokes and are painted a metallic silver. The tires are NOT pneumatic. They are very low profile solid rubber strips which are quite difficult to assemble and take apart. It is presumably this last fact that lead to their short tenure in the Technic line. The advantage of the solid rubber is that these tires can support very heavy loads without deforming and therefore have low rolling resistance.