Top 5 Features To Consider In Skateboard Wheels

Explore the top features to look for in skateboard wheels to enhance your performance.

Sep 28, 2023 - 22:56
Oct 3, 2023 - 11:32
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Top 5 Features To Consider In Skateboard Wheels
Top 5 Features To Consider In Skateboard Wheels

Choosing the right skateboard wheels can greatly improve your performance. In this article, we will explore the top 5 characteristics to consider when selecting skateboard wheels. Understanding the significance of these skateboard wheels features can make your skateboarding experience more enjoyable and efficient.

Delving Into Skateboard Wheels Features

Skateboard wheels aren't just about aesthetic appeal. They are a fundamental part in defining your board's performance. When it comes to picking the right wheels, it's important to understand that different types of skateboarding require different wheel features. Shaping your choice based on these features can ultimately enhance your skateboarding expertise.

Table of Contents

Durability: A Primary Requirement 

Size Matters: Choosing the Right Diameter 

Hardness: Understanding Durometer Scale 

Material: Urethane Reigns Supreme 

Shape: Matching your Skateboarding Style

Durability: A Primary Requirement

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Skateboards are subjected to various elements, so durability undoubtedly tops the list of skateboard wheel features. The longevity of a wheel predominantly depends on the rider's style, the terrain on which it's used, and the wheel's construction itself.

A highly durable wheel will sustain its grip for a longer period, prevent unusual wear-out, and survive intense skateboarding sessions. It's essential to note that increased durability may enhance the lifespan of the wheels but can somewhat compromise the smoothness of the ride.

The Lifespan of Skateboard Wheels

The longevity of wheels significantly varies and depends on several scenarios. For instance, doing a lot of power slides can drastically reduce the lifespan of your wheels. Also note, wheels worn down to 10-20% of their original size should be replaced for optimum performance and safety.

Size Matters: Choosing the Right Diameter

When it comes to skateboard wheels, size truly matters. The wheel diameter is measured in millimeters (mm), and standard skateboard wheel sizes typically range between 50-60mm. The size of the wheels directly influences your skateboard's speed, turning radius, and ability to move on different terrains.

  • Smaller Wheels (50-53mm): Ideal for street skating or technical tricks, offering quick acceleration and easy maneuverability.
  • Medium Wheels (54-59mm): Suitable for beginners and for all-around street, park, pool, and vert skating. They provide a balanced blend of speed and control.
  • Larger Wheels (60mm and above): Best for professional downhill racing or old-school boards, enabling high speed and smooth rides over bumpy surfaces.

Remember, choosing the right skate wheel size significantly impacts your performance.

Hardness: Understanding Durometer Scale

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Another critical skateboard wheels feature to consider is hardness, commonly referred to as durometer. Durometer measures the wheels' hardness, which influences the grip, speed, and smoothness of the ride.

Most manufacturers use the 'A' scale durometer, where a higher number signifies a harder wheel. For instance, a wheel marked 78A is soft, while a 101A wheel is harder.

How Hardness Affects Performance

Soft wheels (78-87A durometer) excel in gritty terrains, offering a smooth ride by absorbing shocks and vibrations. They are slower but offer excellent grip, making them ideal for cruising, hills, and rough surfaces.

Medium hardness wheels (88A-95A) strike a balance between grip and speed, suitable for street or rough surfaces.

Hard wheels (96A and above) slide easy, are fast, but offer less grip. This trait makes them ideal for smooth surfaces like park and pipe skating.

Understanding these characteristics can help you pick the right hardness for your specific skating style and terrain preference.

Material: Urethane Reigns Supreme

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Safe to say that urethane has revolutionized the world of skateboarding since its inception in the 1970s. This synthetic material has become the gold standard when it comes to wheel construction, overshadowing other choices like plastic and rubber.

Urethane wheels differentiate themselves with their superior grip, durability, and ability to maintain speed, thus making your skateboarding experience a delightful one. They are available in various forms and densities to match various skateboarding styles.

While urethane leads the way, it's important to mention that the quality of urethane can fluctuate depending on the manufacturer. Skateboard wheels from reputed brands usually employ high-grade urethane to ensure performance and durability.

The Evolution of Urethane in Skateboarding

Before urethane wheels came into the picture, skateboard wheels were made of either steel, clay, or wood. These materials severely limited the ride quality and performance. When urethane wheels were introduced by Frank Nasworthy in the early '70s, it marked the dawn of modern skateboarding. Not only did these wheels offer better grip and durability, but they also opened up the possibility of new skateboarding techniques, effectively transforming the sport.

Shape: Matching your Skateboarding Style

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Last but definitely not least, the shape of skateboard wheels plays a considerable role in affecting the overall skateboarding performance. Generally, skateboard wheels come in two major shapes: square-edged (also known as "sharp-lipped") and round-edged. The lip, or the edge of the wheel, can have a significant impact on the board's grip and slide.

  • Square-edged Wheels: These wheels have a flat edge that offers maximum grip. They're excellent for downhill rides and carving where lateral grip is important.
  • Round-edged Wheels: With their curved edges, these wheels slide easily, which is why they're favored for technical or trick-based styles like street or park skating.

NOTE: The overall wheel shape can also affect the ride. Some wheels have a narrower contact patch that minimizes friction, thus providing faster rides, while wide wheels offer more grip. It's advisable to choose a shape that is compatible with your style of skateboarding.

Summing Up

Choosing the right skateboard wheels involves a deep understanding of your skating needs and the terrain where you'll be skating. By taking into account these important skateboard wheels features — durability, size, hardness, material, and shape — you're well on your way to enhancing your skateboarding performance. In the end, remember to have fun and stay safe while riding your skateboard.

As they say, "The right wheels can make your board feel like a totally different skateboard." So pay attention to these features and find the perfect set of wheels for your board. Roll on!

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John Williams Hello, I'm John Williams. Known for my analytical eye and penchant for complex systems, I've always been drawn to the intricacies of wheels and tires, the unsung heroes of the automotive world. Welcome to WheelWorldDigest, where we explore everything from the latest tire compounds to the craft of wheel design. I aim to provide a comprehensive resource for all your wheel and tire needs. Whether it's understanding the differences in tire tread patterns for various weather conditions, or delving into the latest advancements in alloy wheel technology, WheelWorldDigest has got you covered. Come along for the ride as we roll through this captivating domain, keeping you updated and informed on all things wheels and tires.