Exploring the Hardness Level of Skateboard Wheels

Learn about the role of hardness in skateboard wheel performance. Enhance your riding experience.

Oct 1, 2023 - 04:29
Oct 1, 2023 - 11:16
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Exploring the Hardness Level of Skateboard Wheels
Exploring the Hardness Level of Skateboard Wheels

Decoding the mystery behind the hardness of skateboard wheels might seem overwhelming, especially for beginners. But, understanding the hardness skateboard wheels can significantly impact your riding experience. This article aims to unravel the complexities of skateboard wheel hardness and provide comprehensive insights into how it contributes to the performance of your ride.

Understanding the Essentials of Hardness Skateboard Wheels

The hardness of skateboard wheels is often overlooked, but it's an integral element that dictates the performance, speed, and comfort of your ride. This guide will help you comprehend the ins and outs of skateboard wheel hardness.

Table of Contents

Role of Hardness in Skateboard Wheels

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A skateboard wheel's hardness, also known as durometer, directly correlates with its performance. Fundamentally, there are two contrasting aspects determined by the wheel's hardness: grip and speed. Softer wheels typically have more grip but are slower, whereas harder wheels are faster and have less grip. Let's dissect this in-depth:

Softer Wheels (Low Durometer): Skaters often opt for softer wheels for cruising or weaving through crowded city streets. They tend to provide more grip due to a larger contact patch with the ground, resulting in a smoother ride. Low durometer wheels are perfect for absorbing shock over bumpy surfaces, offering a comfortable ride.

Harder Wheels (High Durometer): For those looking for speed and acceleration, harder wheels are your go-to. As they have less contact with the ground, they reduce friction, allowing you to achieve faster speeds. However, harder wheels may be rougher over uneven terrains.

Measuring Wheel Hardness

In the skateboarding industry, wheel hardness is measured using a unit called a Durometer. The most common scale used is the 'A' scale. Skateboard wheel durometers typically range from 75a to 101a, with the higher number indicating a harder wheel.

Understanding the 'A' Scale

The 'A' scale is a standard for measuring the hardness of skateboard wheels. This is what the range looks like:

  • 78a – 87a: These are softer wheels that provide a smooth ride, ideal for rough surfaces, longboards, or street boards.
  • 88a – 95a: Slightly harder wheels, suitable for both street and rough terrain rides. These wheels offer less friction and good grip.
  • 96a – 99a: A perfect compromise between speed and control. These are excellent all-around wheels for experienced riders.
  • 101a and above: The hardest wheels available. Ideal for pro skaters who need speed and run on smooth surfaces.

Hardness and the Terrain

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Skating isn't one-size-fits-all, and the terrain you ride greatly influences the hardness of the wheels you should choose. Rough surfaces require softer wheels while smooth surfaces like in skate parks or ramps work better with harder wheels.

Here's a quick rule of thumb:

"Soft wheels for rough roads. Hard wheels for smooth roads."

When skating on rough terrains, soft wheels can absorb the irregularities of the surface, providing a steady ride. For smooth, well-maintained surfaces, hard wheels are often preferred because they offer a high level of responsiveness and speed.

Choosing the Right Wheel Hardness

Selecting the right hardness skateboard wheels might not be as easy as it sounds. You need to consider various factors such as your skating style, the terrain, and personal preference. For instance, if you enjoy speed, a harder wheel will serve you better. On the other hand, if your focus is more on control and enjoying a smooth ride, you might want to opt for softer wheels.

Your ride, Your Rules

The most important aspect of choosing a wheel isn't necessarily the hardness itself but how it aligns with your riding style. So, here are some tips based on common skating styles:

  • Cruising: Softer wheels, preferably between 78A-87A.
  • Street Skateboarding: A harder wheel, around 88A-95A, will be ideal.
  • Freeskating: Opt for harder wheels, usually above 96A.

Types of Hardness Skateboard Wheels

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As exciting as it might be to dive into the world of skateboarding, it's crucial to know your wheel types, as each serves a specific purpose. For ease of understanding, we can break them down into two primary types - Soft wheels and Hard wheels.

1. Soft Wheels

As stated previously, soft wheels are excellent for rough terrains and are suitable for beginners because of the grip and control they provide. Renowned wheel brands like Ricta Clouds and Orangatang specialize in soft wheels.

2. Hard Wheels

If speed thrills you, look no further than hard wheels. Ideal for smooth terrains or skate parks, these wheels lack in the grip but make up for it with stellar speed and responsiveness. Brands like Spitfire and Bones are experts in this wheel type.

Best Hardness Skateboard Wheels in the Market

  • Ricta Clouds (78A): Perfect for cruising and filming, thanks to their smooth ride.
  • Orangatang Stimulus (83A): These wheels offer a nice balance of grip and slide-ability, making them great all-around wheels.
  • Spitfire Bighead (99A): A great choice for street skaters who need a firm grip and fast ride.
  • Bones STF V1 (103A): This choice is for the speed demons among us, offering optimum speed performance on smooth surfaces.

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These are just some of the many wheels that cater to different hardness preferences, and will help you to get the most out of your skateboard.

Conclusion

Your wheels are the touchpoint between your board and the ground, and selecting the right hardness skateboard wheels can greatly impact your ride. Understanding the hardness scale and knowing the type of riding you enjoy will lead you to make an informed decision. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to choosing your wheels - what matters is what works for you and your skating style. So, go ahead, pick the right wheel, and kick-start your exciting skateboard journey today!

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Erik Ido Hello, I'm Erik, your go-to expert for all things wheels and tires here at WheelWorldDigest. With over a decade of hands-on experience and research in the tire industry, I've become a connoisseur of rubber compounds, treads, and everything that keeps your vehicle moving. Living in Florida, with its challenging weather and varied terrains, has been the ultimate proving ground for understanding the dynamics and demands placed on wheels and tires. But I don't just stop at the practical aspects; I delve deep into the evolving technology that continues to shape this critical component of automobiles. From airless tire innovations to advancements in wheel materials like carbon fiber, I've got my finger on the pulse of what's coming next. So, if you're keen to explore the cutting-edge technology, latest safety standards, and emerging trends in the wheel and tire sector, WheelWorldDigest is where you'll want to be. Let's roll through this fascinating world together.