A skateboard wheel is the most important part of your board, get this wrong and you can destroy your entire experience of it.
Now if you are an experienced skater you probably now the type of wheel you want to get and for what purpose you want to use it for but if you are somebody who is just starting to learn might be confused about all the terminology and types out there.
To make sure you understand what exactly you will need and which one to buy we have made a complete guide for you to go through but if you want to see our picks of best ones you can check out our selection of best skateboard wheels here.
Selecting Skateboard Wheels Guide
Selecting one might feel complicated at first and can also seem pretty hard if you are just starting out but don’t worry at the end of the guide you will have learnt everything you need to know about selecting them.
Size of Wheels
There is only one metric which is used to measure the size of them and that is millimeters or mm.
The size of your wheels is a very important factor and is decided on by the type of skating you will do.
They start from 49mm and go upto 70mm. The size determines what will happen when you are riding them. Large wheels go fast, accelerate well but are harder to turn. Whereas smaller wheels are slow, accelerate decently but they turn sharply very well.
- Small wheels are good for slow riding and for tricks. Usually used in kids boards but can also be used to ride around in bowls, parks and streets. They also keep the board light which is perfect if you are into street tricks.
- Medium level tires are perfect for beginners as they fit right between and can be used for all purposes when learning. Overtime when experienced enough you can move onto choose the wheels of your choice.
- Larger wheels are great for bowls and verts. They provide speed and balance and as you wont be turning much they are used for trick shots.
All in all if you want to do tricks indoor and need speed go for larger wheels, if you want to do it outdoors while roaming the streets then go for smaller wheels.
One thing to keep in mind is that even though tires are specific to there usage the rule can always be broken because of your personal style and preference. As you learn more and more you can choose wheels according to your style and purpose.
In simple terms wheel durometer is the measure of skateboard wheel hardness. Almost all manufactures use the A-scale for measurement. It is a measurement scale of 100, lower the number softer it is and closer to 100 means harder.
While most brands follow A-scale, some brands like the Bones skate wheels uses B scale. B scale is 20 points lower in comparison to A-scale. So an 80b wheel is same to 100a wheel. They have also gone deeper into deeper categories that you can check out.
Just like the diameter this too determines the type of experience you are going to have while skating.
- Softer wheels absorb more shock giving you a more smooth ride.
- Softer wheels are also slow because of the grip they create.
- They are ideally used for streets and cruising because of there ability to absorb shocks and provide smooth ride.
- Tougher wheels rotate faster and provide more speed and acceleration.
- They do not absorb shock as well but do not stick to the ground too due to less friction.
- They are used for tricks, verts and technicals.
Vert Riders – You will need to go for the harder wheels as they create the least amount of friction while providing you with speed. Most verts are made to handle wheels above 97A.
Casual Skaters – If you like to just chill with no other purpose in mind you can go for medium rated wheels for it. They are perfect for cruising around but if you ever want to trick it out they can do the job.
Cruisers – You will have to go with lower end of the rating. Soft skateboard wheels provide shock absorption which leads to comfortable cruising experience.
Before 1970s the entire skateboarding community was in huge troubles over wheels. They couldn’t find a material that was good enough for the rotations while also being able to sustain itself at high speeds and frictions.
Then came a hard composite material called polyurethane and changed everything. This material was cheap to produce which meant it could be available to public for cheap and with that it solved all of skaters problem at once.
This material is used till date in most tires unless stated otherwise. It is good material that means you are getting a quality product for the price.
Contact Area is basically the amount of area that will be in touch with the floor or the ground when you are riding it. It is also one of the important things to consider when you are out purchasing your wheels.
Basically if the contact area is large, when applied pressure such as when you are using it. More weight will be distributed across the wheel. This leads to slower turning of wheels which leads to slower speed.
Same things goes when the contact area is small, more pressure will be focused on a small patch of area which means faster easy rotation and thus more speeds.
What is your choice?
Now that you have understood what wheels are made of and how they are to be used, according to your need you can match them up with the stats and get one that you like.
Once you become accustomed with basic metrics and wheels you can start to choose from your personal preference and style.
Remember after you do get it, you have to also maintain your wheels for longer usage.