Different types of skateboard wheels any skaters should know
If you are into skateboarding or longboarding, you should know about different types of skateboard wheels in order to choose the right one for your purposes. So how many types of skateboard wheels are there in the market?
What are the wheels of skateboards and longboards?
The skateboard wheels are an important part of your skateboard that allow you to move. They also help determine how fast you can go. Skateboard wheels are typically made of polyurethane, and as different people prefer different styles of skateboarding, the wheels come in a wide range of sizes, colors, and durability levels. You will surely find the ones that suit your preference.
There are two main factors that you need to pay attention to when you measure skateboard wheels. They are the size of the wheel and the hardness of the wheel, also known as its diameter and durometer. Depending on how you prefer to skateboard and what you are going to do with your board, you will know which one among different types of skateboard wheels that you need. Besides, you can opt for the custom building to have the best wheels that match your deck, trucks, and hardware.
Buying guide skateboard, longboard wheels
Choosing the size of your skateboard wheels
Your skateboard wheel size not only will affect your speed, but also how tightly you can turn. The diameter range of your skateboard wheel is from 50-75mm. If you are looking for small wheels, the size you will need to look at is around 50mm. And you should opt for around 70mm if you need big wheels. In case you are still wondering which size of skateboard is the right fit for you, these will be useful information.
Smaller wheels are better for a slower ride. If you are a fan of technical skating and street skating, small wheels are the size you need. The main reason is that small wheels are lower to the ground, allowing you to control the board easier. That also means smaller wheels are more suitable for advanced riders.
For those who want a faster ride, larger wheels will be the right choice. As riding a skateboard is your way of commuting, low key cruising or vert skating, you might need larger wheels. The increased diameter allows for better speed and balance. Beginners would love to have these wheels for easier practices.
As we already mentioned, skateboard wheel diameter refers to the size of the wheel. When you look at the product details, you will see this figure in millimeters (mm). And most wheels range from 50-75 mm. Keep in mind that your height and weight can affect your selection of size wheels. Here are more details about the wheel diameter.
50-53mm: Wheels that have this size are considered to be small and slower. They are stable for trick riding and smaller riders, skating street, skate parks, and bowls.
54-59mm: This is the average wheel size which is suitable for beginners and bigger riders, skating street, skate parks, bowls, and vert ramps.
60-75mm: This large size is made for specialty riders who love skating longboards, old-school boards, downhill, and dirt boards. They are ideal for rougher surfaces as well.
Wheel contact patch
Apart from the size of the wheels, it’s also important to consider contact patch which plays a crucial role in skateboard wheel performance. A wheel’s contact patch is the area that actually makes contact with the pavement. The larger your skateboard wheels are, the larger your contact patch will be.
So what makes contact patches an important factor? A large contact patch can help distribute your weight over a larger area. It can also reduce the compression of the urethane in your wheels as well as decrease rolling resistance, which can slow down your wheel.
The size of your contact patch is affected by wheel shape. If you have rounded wheels, they will make less contact with the pavement. If you have square wheels, they will make maximum contact with pavement. In addition, the placement of contact patches can also affect wheel performance.
3 Main Types of Skateboard Wheels
So we have learnt about how to choose the right skateboard size for your practice. Now, let’s take a look at different types of skateboard wheels in the market.
Street skateboard wheels
Some people enjoy riding a skateboard inside a skatepark, some others prefer riding on the streets. So what are the differences between skatepark and street wheels and what do they have in common?
For those who don’t know, skatepark wheels are normally used for riding on very smooth surfaces, mainly skateparks. And street skateboard wheels are used for any skating you do outside of a skatepark such as gaps, sets of stairs, or any streets around your area.
These wheels are lightweight, small, hard, and smooth. The ones that have white color tend to be harder. Not only do these wheels roll well on most smooth surfaces, but they can also be able to slide almost effortlessly. If you enjoy doing ledges, bowls, rails, and flip tricks, you should get these wheels.
Both skatepark and street skateboard wheels are not able to handle pebbles and cracks very well. And don’t expect a good performance from them when it comes to riding on gravel. These wheels, however, are perfect for pulling off an ollie, powerslides, various flip tricks because they are small and hard. Many people believe that hard wheels are the best deal for street skating.
Cruiser skateboard wheels
Cruiser wheels are also called filmer wheels. Compared to street wheels, they are a lot softer. You should also choose them for skating on rough pavements and even cracks.
In addition, if you like skating on asphalt, cruiser skateboard wheels can be your best option as they are grippy and they don’t vibrate all that much on rough surfaces. However, they are not the perfect wheels to use for rolling over rough places.
These wheels’ hardness ranges from durometer 78a to 98a which is a large range. However, these wheels are not the hardest wheels in the world. The diameter of cruiser wheels ranges from 54mm to 59mm, which is bigger than street and park wheels.
Keep in mind that any wheel that is larger than 56 mm will have trouble fitting on a regular skateboard. So you need to add a riser to your board, otherwise, your wheels might grind against the board. As a result, you might fall and get hurt or break a limb.
Longboard skateboard wheels
Longboard skateboard wheels are the biggest and softest ones among different types of skateboard wheels in the market. Their diameter ranges from 60mm to 75 mm. If you see any wheels that have this size, that will surely be the longboard wheels.
Furthermore, these wheels are the softest wheels that you could find. They range between 75a to 85a on the durometer scale. For more information, 85a is soft and 75a is extra soft.
If you are going to ride on pavements everyday, these wheels are ideal. They are also perfect to do corners because they are the grippiest skateboard wheels in the market.
Another good point about these wheels is that they are available in many different shapes and sizes. You can use them for carving, sliding, and even racing. Besides, they don’t require much energy to roll. If you ride them on a road full of bends, you will need a good set of longboard wheels. They are peerless for maneuvering corners at high speeds.
- Can You Use Longboard Wheels on a Regular Skateboard?
Yes, you can use longboard wheels on a regular skateboard for a smooth ride and they also look cool on a regular skateboard. However, you need to use riser pads to eliminate the possibility of wheel bite happening and to keep you safe throughout rides. A riser increases the distance between the wheels and the deck, but decreases the stability.
- Hard Wheels vs Soft Wheels
Hard skateboard wheels have a durometer number above 99a and soft wheels have that number below 95a. If your wheels have a hardness number of 78A, it is a very soft one. Hard wheels roll faster as they get much less friction with the ground. Meanwhile, soft wheels are slower and offer you a lot more grip.
So, depending on where and how you are going to use your skateboard, you know harder wheels or softer wheels suit you better. For example, for powerslides or ollies, harder wheels are the right choice. And soft wheels are ideal for bumpy or rough roads.
- White Urethane Wheels vs Other Colors
As we mentioned, white wheels tend to take abuse better than other-colored wheels. But why is that? During the manufacturing process, colored skateboard wheels are dyed. This process dilutes urethane and makes them softer. White wheels aren’t dyed, that’s why they are harder than those in other colors.
- Small Skateboard Wheels vs Large Wheels
Again, it depends on your skateboarding style and where you are going to ride your skateboard. Smaller wheels give you a slower ride but make it a lot easier to control your skateboard. Larger wheels are the best option for beginners.
- Skateboard Wheel Sizes
Standard skateboard wheel size ranges from 54 to 59 mm, which is perfect for beginner riders and larger skaters who enjoy doing bowls, vert ramps, skatepark, and street skating.
- Wide Skateboard Wheels vs Narrow Ones
Narrow skateboard wheels make it easier for you to learn new tricks. They offer a limited amount of grip and experience much less friction, which is suitable for pro skaters. Wide skateboard wheels provide a bit more grip, they’re also sturdier and offer a lot more balance. That’s why they are a better option for your everyday commute and beginner tricks.
Hopefully you have learnt useful information about different types of skateboard wheels in the market. The key is to determine how you are going to use your skateboard, then you will find it easy to choose the right wheels!