Choosing the right skateboard wheels might seem a little hard at first glance, but only if you do not know what you need. Read this little guide if you want to know what is right for you.
Types of Skateboard wheels
Street Skateboard Wheels
Often times regular “street” skaters skate with wheels between 50-60mm, and a hardness between 95-101A (durometer scale), as these offer a good balance between weight, speed, and hardness.
Cruiser wheels are bigger and softer than regular skateboard wheels (diameter 54-60mm, durometer 78-90A). These wheels offer the perfect compromise between regular skateboard wheels and longboard wheels, as they fit on almost any board, yet they have the ability to roll smooth and fast on almost anything. Good wheels for cruising from a to B, without to much hassle.
Longboard wheels are the biggest and softest, made for high speed even on rough surfaces and without losing grip when carving corners. The wheels are usually between 60-75 mm (diameter) and between 75-85 (durometer).
Skateboard Wheel Size
The size of the wheel is one of the most critical aspects. You need to focus on the diameter at first, but also pay attention to the contact path and wheel profile.
The diameter equals the size of the wheels. For street skating, you will need light and small wheels, as they are easier to flip, and lighter to pop. For skating pools and using skating as a means for transportation, bigger and softer wheels are recommended as they roll better on all surfaces. If you choose bigger wheels (over 56 mm) you might need some risers in order to avoid wheel bite.
The contact patch determines how much of the wheel that actually touches the surface (also known as the “riding surface”). A more narrow contact patch is often used by street skaters, as they are more flexible and slide easier. A wider Contact patch has more grip, which is good when you skate at high speed or just use the skateboard as transportation.
A sharp profile ads more contact patch, and therefore gives the skater more grip as more of the wheels are touching the surface. It also offers more stability when grinding, whereas a softer edge gives less contact patch and lesser stability during grinds.
The hardness of the wheel is measured on the durometer scale. Often skateboard wheels have a hardness between 75-105a on the scale, the lower number the softer the wheel. As we mentioned earlier, softer wheels are used by longboarders and cruisers, while harder wheels are used by the typical street skater.
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