Skateboarding is a popular form of recreational activity and an art form in its own right. However, with so many different skateboard wheels on the market, it can be challenging to choose the right ones for your style of skating.
Skateboard wheels play a crucial role in the performance and overall feel of your skateboard. The right wheels will help you grind, slide, and carve with ease, while the wrong ones can impede your progress and even lead to dangerous accidents.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about skateboard wheels, including what they are made of, their size and durometer, and how to choose the best ones for your needs.
What are Skateboard Wheels Made Of?
Skateboard wheels are typically made of high-density polyurethane (PU) material, which is a type of plastic that is extremely durable and flexible. This material is ideal for skateboard wheels because it allows them to absorb shocks and vibrations from the road, making them more comfortable and less likely to crack or shatter.
The PU used in skateboard wheels is also formulated to provide a high level of grip, which is essential for performing tricks and staying in control while riding. Some skateboard wheels are also made with a softer PU formula, which provides a more “gummy” feel and allows for easier sliding and grip.
It is important to note that not all skateboard wheels are created equal, and the quality of the PU used can greatly impact the performance and durability of the wheel.
What is the Right Size and Durometer for Skateboard Wheels?
The size and durometer of skateboard wheels are two of the most important factors to consider when choosing the right wheels for your skateboard.
Wheel size is measured in millimeters and ranges from 49mm to 60mm. The most common size for skateboard wheels is between 53mm and 59mm. Smaller wheels are typically lighter and faster, while larger wheels are slower but provide more stability and control.
The durometer of skateboard wheels refers to their hardness and is measured on a scale of A to D, with A being the softest and D being the hardest. The most common durometer for skateboard wheels is between 78a and 101a.
Softer wheels provide more grip and are better for cruising and carving, while harder wheels are faster and better for tricks and sliding. If you’re not sure what durometer to choose, it’s best to start with a medium hardness (around 86a) and experiment from there.
How to Choose the Best Skateboard Wheels for Your Needs
- Determine your riding style: The first step to choosing the best skateboard wheels is to determine your riding style. Different riding styles require different types of wheels. For example, park riders need wheels that are durable and hard, while street riders need wheels that are fast and have a good grip.
- Size of the wheels: The size of the wheels affects the speed and stability of the skateboard. The standard size for skateboard wheels is between 50mm and 60mm. If you want to go fast, choose a smaller size, while larger wheels are better for stability and control.
- Durometer: Durometer measures the hardness of the wheels. Soft wheels have a low durometer rating, while hard wheels have a high rating. Soft wheels are better for rough terrain, while hard wheels are better for smooth surfaces.
- Wheel shape: Wheel shape is important for both speed and grip. Round wheels are good for speed, while square wheels are better for grip. Wheel shape can also affect stability and control.
- Wheel core: The core of the wheel affects how it rides. Wheels with a metal core are stronger and more durable, while wheels with a plastic core are lighter and more flexible.
- Brand: Choose a reputable brand to ensure that you get a quality product. Look for reviews and ratings from other skaters to see which brands are the best.
- Budget: Finally, consider your budget when choosing skateboard wheels. High-quality wheels can be expensive, but they are worth the investment if you want a safe and enjoyable ride.
In conclusion, choosing the right skateboard wheels is crucial for your skateboarding experience. It can make the difference between a smooth and enjoyable ride or a frustrating one. There are several factors to consider when choosing your wheels such as size, hardness, shape, and core. Understanding your personal style and what type of skateboarding you will be doing will help guide you in selecting the right wheels for you. Remember, the right wheels can enhance your skateboarding performance and make your ride more enjoyable.