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Michael Lukin
Michael Lukin

Skateboard Wheels Buying Guide

Similar to skateboard decks, skateboard wheels have evolved greatly since the dawn of skateboarding. The first skateboard wheels were made of steel, then clay, and were unpredictable and difficult to ride at best.

skateboard wheels buying guide

The hardness or durometer of a skateboard wheel determines how much grip the wheel has and the amount of shock it can absorb. To break it down, a softer wheel will compress when pressure is applied to it, giving it more grip and allowing it to absorb more shock. A harder wheel will barely compress under pressure, giving it less grip, and less shock absorption. A soft wheel will create a very smooth ride, but hard wheels are preferred by most street and transition skaters for their responsiveness.

Wheels of this size are suitable for any type of street and transition skateboarding. All of the wheel brands that we carry make wheels within this size range in a variety of durometers of and styles and we recommend starting with a 52ml wheel when building your first complete skateboard.

Bigger wheels have a greater surface area which provides a more stable set up alongside. More contact with the ground also makes it easier to maintain speed and for these reasons ramp and vert skateboarders usually favour bigger wheels.

Most skateboard wheel companies provide a range of durometers and formulas that are clearly aimed towards certain types of skateboarding. For example, Bones STF and Spitfire Formula Four 101D are hard wheels geared towards street skating whereas Bones SPF and Spitfire Formulas Four 99D model wheels are better appropriate for transition and ramp skating.

Radial skateboard wheels are the opposite of conical. They have more robustly bevelled edges than standard shaped wheels alongside a greater contact area. This provides more surface between wheels and surfaces providing a smoother ride even in the hardest of durometers.

These wheels have a very low durometer to provide a smooth ride. They are not usually intended for skateboarding that involves tricks and can be found on vinyl cruisers, old school setups and longboards.

Skateboarding wheels are made from polyurethane. Until the development of urethane wheels in the late 1960s skateboarders relied on using roller-derby or clay wheels to keep them rolling. After the introduction of urethane it quickly became the industry standard material for manufacturing skateboard wheels and the rest is history!

Flatspots are literal flat areas of a wheel that develop through use. Some can be noticeable and some can be almost invisible but with over 50 years of history and knowledge to draw on, skateboarding wheel manufacturers constantly work to develop flatspot resistant formulas and provide better quality wheels.

Flatspots do not mean that your wheels are faulty and are a natural part of skateboard wear and tear which occur with general use, when getting caught on something that causes a skateboard to move without the wheel turning and by performing powerslides.

There are many things to consider when choosing your next set of skateboard wheels. Even a small difference in wheel size or hardness can drastically change how your board feels and rides. Finding the best skateboard wheels all comes down to personal preference based on the kind of skateboarding that you want to do.

There are three main types of skateboard wheels that are fun and functional for different types of riding. Watch the video and read below to decide whether park/street wheels, cruiser wheels, or longboard wheels are the right fit for you.

These hard wheels are the best skateboard wheels for park and street skating because they are lightweight, roll fast on smooth surfaces, and slide easily. This makes it easier to do ollies, flip tricks, power slides, and other technical tricks.

Cruiser skateboard wheels, or soft skateboard wheels, are usually slightly bigger and much softer than park/street wheels. Built to fit on any deck and roll fast on any surface, throw on some cruiser wheels for a smooth ride that makes any skateboard a fun and fast way to get around town. Cruiser wheels are also referred to as filmer wheels because they roll smoother and handle rough pavement better, providing a steadier shot.

Simply put, the skateboard wheels are the part of your skateboard that allow you to move, and help determine how fast you can go. Typically made of polyurethane, skateboard wheels come in a range of sizes, colors, and durability levels to suit your skateboard style and preference.

Skateboard wheels are measured by both diameter and durometer. Diameter is the size of the wheel, and durometer is the hardness of the wheel. Both of these factors are a matter of personal preference, and what you intend to do on your skateboard. Custom building allows you to choose what the best wheels are to match your deck, trucks, and hardware.

There are some manufacturers that may instead use the B Scale, which measures 20 points fewer than the A Scale, and therefore allows for an extra 20 points for the hardest wheels. For example, an 80b durometer is the same hardness as a 100a durometer. These skateboard wheels have a wider and more accurate hardness range.

Contact patch is an important feature of skateboard wheel performance. A wheel's contact patch refers to the area of the wheel that actually makes contact with the pavement. If you have large longboard wheels, your contact patch will also be large.

The best transition skateboard wheels should have about the same features as skatepark wheels. Anything in the range of 53 mm to 54 mm is fine. The hardness should be around 96A and 101A. Your brand options are Spitfire, Ricta, and Bones. You need something that keeps a bit of momentum but still allows you to do some technical stuff.

Fast forward to today, we have quality wheels that are flat spot resistant (to a certain degree) allowing skateboarders to have more durable wheels. The technology allowed for wheels to last longer, roll faster, improved sliding and last a lot longer.

These are the hardest wheels available on the Shore Durometer B scales. More for pros and technical skateboarders with a lot of experience. They are great for the street and skateparks. Because of their extreme hardness, they allow for quick acceleration and high speeds. Horrible on surfaces that are slippery or rough.

Great for skateboarding at speed. Because they have a larger contact patch they are great for skateparks, Verts, and bowls. They offer great stability but are less suitable for technical stuff. The weight of the wheels takes more effort to get off the ground.

The most popular skateboard wheel out there are Spitfires. Many skaters recommend the formula fours , which are great wheels for not only street but also park skating. They come in durometer range of 99a and 101a.

A contact patch refers to the part of the wheel that comes in contact with the pavement. Large wheels will give you a greater contact patch while smaller wheels provide less contact. The contact patch helps distribute your weight over the skateboard. Round wheels make more contact with the ground than square wheels. Choose a larger wheel if you want a more stable ride. Go with a smaller wheel if you will be shifting your weight around more.

Along with different heights and levels of firmness, skateboard wheels come in different widths. Wheels with a narrow lip will give you a lighter ride with less friction. They are ideal for riders who do tricks because they are more responsive to agile movements.

Street skateboard wheels typically range from 50 mm to 53 ml. This allows the rider to make tight turns more accurately. Anything above 53 mm is ideal for cruising or riding faster. Choosing a harder wheel is a good option if you plan on doing tricks.

A larger wheel helps you skate rougher ground and ride up transitions easier. You can still skate street with larger wheels, but it will result in your skateboard feeling heavier. Wheels between 55-58mm are great for skating slightly rougher terrain or for skating bowls and ramps at a skatepark.

Spitfire skateboard wheels have been keeping the underground lit for nearly as long as Slam has been open. Spitfire are our best selling wheels without a doubt. They make a huge variety of wheels and we like to carry a cross section from the ever popular classics all the way through to Formula Fours. Spitfire Wheels have one of the biggest and most incredible teams in skateboarding. Ride The Fire.

Bones has been around for almost as long as skateboarding has. Coming out of the Powell-Peralta camp, they first produced skateboard wheels in 1977, so you can be sure the production quality of both their wheels and their bearings are as good as it gets. Read on as we breakdown all the different wheels formulas, sizes and models of Bones Wheels and Bearings.

Bones Rough Rider wheels make use of the All-Terrain Formula but are available in a more old-school shape. They feature a really wide riding surface making them ideal for long cruises and downhill skateboarding.

Durometer measures the hardness of the skateboard wheel. Most manufacturers use the Durometer A Scale, which is a 100-point scale that quantifies how hard the wheel is. The higher the number the harder the wheel, although the average wheel durometer is 99a. There are some manufacturers however, that use the B Scale, which measures 20 points fewer than the A Scale, and therefore allows for an extra 20 points for the hardest wheels.

Generally speaking harder wheels are faster, and softer wheels are slower with the added advantage of having more grip. Softer wheels are better suited to street skating, while harder wheels are better for smooth surfaces. Here are some general guidelines for wheel durometer as it concerns your skating preferences and skill level.

There are a few aspects to keep in mind when you are getting the wheels for your board there are hundreds of colors brands and styles you can get for your board, but other than the aesthetic aspect you need to focus on the technical aspect of the wheels because this is what will actually help you to develop your skateboarding skills 041b061a72


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