The power of a PowerKnob

Posted by Dave on Mar 25th 2024

The power of a PowerKnob

More than 90% of our PowerWheels are ordered with a PowerKnob attached. Partly because of this and partly because we're used to how helpful PowerKnobs are when steering a power boat we take them for granted, but a few days at the New England Saltwater Fishing Show showed us that we may be the outliers here - we were shocked at how many people weren't aware of how much easier knobs can make steering a boat. 

Turning hard over to hard over without a knob means you're crossing your hands over each other 6 or 7 times, which is a lot of hand, arm, and shoulder movement. Turning hard over to hard over with a knob takes drawing a couple of circles with your hand. Except when coming into or leaving a dock, we don't go hard over to hard over all that much, but the gear ratios on most boats are such that when you're running in any kind of swell, you're steering through an arc of at least one or two hand switches. Do that for a couple of hours and it gets rough. Managing the throttle while you're trying to steer with both hands gets really tricky. But the same gear ratio that means you need to turn a lot of wheel also means that it's easy to turn the wheel - so easy that you can do it with one hand on a knob, without any strain at all. 

Fishing guides on the flats and mangroves of FL use their knobs to chase fish much more aggressively, not necessarily running and gunning from school to school, but keeping their angler closer to the fish once hooked up. This requires a lot of wheel and throttle movement, which is made much more easier with a good knob. 

So what makes a good knob? For one, a comfortable shape. Our knobs have what's become the standard shape which fits beautifully in your palm or using a side- or overhand grip. The side grip (first photo) favors our classic knob shape, while the overhand grip (second photo) is often more amenable to our ComfortGrip knobs. It's all a matter of personal preference.

Our wheels and knobs are set up to have the knob directly on the perimeter of the rim. One of the main benefits of our knob design is that the strap attaches directly to the rim on a very unobtrusive and direct way, and of course our wheels allow for mounting the knob directly to the rim. This just makes for a more comfortable experience. 

A free-spinning knob is a must. Some knobs don't spin at all, which hurts my hand just thinking about it. A free-spinning knob lets you comfortably keep a firm grip on the steering. Our knobs use stainless races with Delrin ball bearings. Delrin is a unique hard plastic that doesn't swell in the presence of water, so the bearings keep rolling as designed even in the worst environments. 

An often-expressed annoyance with knobs is that they can either spin, or stay in place on the wheel. Our knob's design isolates clamping pressure from bearing pressure. Honk down on the clamp bolt as hard as you like, and it has no impact on the knob's ability to spin freely. 

One of the funniest things at the New England Saltwater show was how people who have our knobs would endorse them to other people looking at them. Our favorite was "dude, I put one of these things on my boat and it changed my f--king LIFE!" We can't promise that much, but we can say that a great knob makes driving your boat a whole lot easier, and we modestly think our knobs are the best ones around.