Skateboard wheels have revolutionized and evolved greatly like skateboard decks since the birth of skateboarding. One of the best skateboard wheels that were first created was made of steel, unlike clay which is more difficult and unpredictable to ride. Now, skaters can carve turns and roll over without sliding and feeling rough road vibrations.
In the 1970s, urethane skateboard wheels were developed, changing skateboarding from primordial clay and steel wheels to durable urethane wheels, with the ability to rebound and grip.
So, let’s learn the best features, benefits, brands of skateboard wheels, and best skateboard wheels for rough roads and how they affect skateboarding performance.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks
Ricta Clouds 92a Skateboard Wheel The Clouds wheels are suitable for the roughest surfaces, feeling like a smooth warehouse flooring. It has a modern shape and it’s not bulky or heavy, which is perfect for cruising and filming. (Check Price at Amazon)
The Powell Peralta Rat Bones Re-Issue wheels are still similar to the originals, which are quiet, smooth, and grippy. If you’re going back to skateboarding, the Rat Bones Wheels won’t disappoint you. (Check Price at Amazon)
The Spitfire Bighead comes with standard wheel sizes and the wheels are sold in sets of four. You’ll ride nothing short and you’ll enjoy park skateboarding and street skateboarding. (Check Price at Amazon)
Reviews of Best Skateboard Wheels
The Ricta Clouds 78a Skateboard Wheel measures 52 millimeters. The wheels are smooth-rolling and incredibly fast with a Durometer count of 78A. It is made of soft urethane with a 78D and solid core. The Clouds wheels make the roughest of surfaces, feeling like a smooth warehouse flooring. It has a modern shape and it’s not bulky or heavy. It’s perfect for cruising and filming.
These wheels are enjoyable to ride on, making most surfaces, smooth or rough, not an issue, and rolling smooth. You’ll love the quieter wheels as compared to normal wheels. It’s a good hybrid for riding around and fantastic tricks. Also, you can insert or install the bearings easily. You can get anywhere using these wheels without getting rattled by every bump or pushing every time.
You’ll ride smoothly and very fast on all surfaces. Initially, I bought these wheels with low expectations. These wheels are so soft. I was amazed when I installed them on my skateboards. They’re so smooth and quiet. These wheels are a delightful change from the old ones I had. These wheels are the fastest, making me a little afraid but now enjoying skating these NY roads.
These wheels provide a perfect balance of size and balance. These are not too hard or too soft. With these wheels, you can roll over cracks and small rocks without dying. Enjoy a smooth ride without too obnoxious and noisy. Also, these great wheels are perfect for cruising asphalt. Skateboarding is never more fun and exciting if you can smoothly glide and roll-over with the best skateboard wheels ever.
The Clouds can reduce hurting your legs and shaking while skateboarding. The wheels are smooth enough with good wheel clearance. I bought these 52-millimeter 78 wheels. Skateboarding is so much easier. I don’t regret purchasing these wheels for a second. I highly recommend them and I will buy again when these wheels wear out.
- Perfect for tricks
- All-around use
- Fast and comfortable
- Get stuck on sliding tricks
The Powell Peralta Rat Bones Re-Issue wheels are still similar to the originals. They are quiet, smooth, and grippy. These wheels are the best for 10-inch wide OG boards. You wouldn’t want to try other skateboard wheels after gliding the Rat Bones. If you’re going back to skateboarding, the Rat Bones Wheels won’t disappoint you.
These re-issues are spectacular like the originals back in the 1980s. That’s why it’s a great value for money. You’ll find the Powell Peralta Rat Bones impressive which is ideal for terrain riding. It measures a 44-millimeter width with a 60-millimeter wheel.
It is soft enough to be smooth, quiet, and fast. It is hard enough so you can slide down and be durable. The 44-millimeter width of the wheel is ideal because it is not too narrow nor too wide. It’s very stable but not that wide for skateboarding on flat surfaces and roads.
You will love these wheels because they are exact replicas of the old wheels of a 10-inch deck that look like a little roller skate today. While these wheels are quite heavy to perform tricks, you can float over rough stuff doing tricks. These wheels make a fantastic compromise between just cruising and street transportation.
You’ll love the feel, sound, and the grip that come back in your initial push. Now that I can better afford to build my own, I can transform my super reds vintage to cloud 10. Unlike when I was still a teenager when I had to save just to purchase a Powell ripper having bones wheels. Skateboarding is now more fun and exciting because you can smoothly glide, perform tricks, and roll-over with one of the best skateboard wheels today.
It is a perfect street wheel that is highly recommended to anybody who wants to get around on rough streets or pavement. These wheels are faster than the old-school Sims with Swiss bearings. While smaller wheels of most modern skateboards tend to pop ollie style tricks better, these wheels are practical and are made in the United States.
Using the Rat Bones, I started heading down the parking lot. As my skating speed increases, my body began to experience the windchill. I went a little faster about halfway down as compared to the new school board. Surprisingly, I’m still going faster. It was too fast that I felt like jumping off. A hard longboard tends to slow me but I can ollie and take stunts impressively. The Rat Bones are faster in concrete parks, most especially the half-pipe and pool.
- Great value for money
- No bearings included
The Spitfire Bighead comes with standard wheel sizes and the wheels are sold in sets of four. You’ll ride nothing short using these Spitfire Classics. It has a combination of a 57 mm size and a 99 durometer, keeping you rolling of all sizes of cracks and sliding through almost any terrain. It weighs 2.24 ounces.
The Spitfire Bighead can fit all bearings with 608 size bearings. These wheels will last you a long time without getting flat spots easily. It’s no wonder why Spitfire wheels have been favored by a lot of skaters. These wheels are smooth and reliable.
It’s my first time buying 48-millimeter wheels and I admire them. While these wheels are not the best for long-distance travel or riding on bumpy surfaces, you’ll enjoy park skateboarding and street skateboarding. I love the smaller wheels because of the weight. That’s most freestyle skaters choose them.
Experience no frills on the wheels because these wheels are meant for aggressive skating. These wheels have the perfect hardness for streets or parks. They are slightly wider as compared to classics with graphics on one side. It has a great design for a cooler look, which is an envy for a lot of riders.
Once the tread wears down, experience great natural feel and get a slightly yellow look which is not an issue at all. These wheels are the perfect classics for good reasons. Also, the price is of great value. Skateboarding is never more fun and exciting because you can smoothly glide, slide, and roll-over with the best skateboard wheels ever.
Also, smaller wheels were very popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. I remember that tech skating was in demand, and are seen in every corner of parks and streets after school. Indeed, you can’t go wrong or regret with Spitfire Bighead wheels because they are wide. Also, they’re a little bit softer as compared to most street skateboard wheels.
These wheels allow you to roll over more cracks and pebbles with confidence. These are great for all skateboarding skill levels. Spitfire Bighead is even recommended for beginners because of the softer ride. They’re smoother than the originals, working beautifully with a perfect grip even on smooth concrete, most especially when you’re doing walls or sideways skating.
- Nice grip
- Softness and hardness are balanced
- Flatspot easily
The Spitfire Classic Series is True 99 durometer wheels that are hand poured and shaped. These wheels are made in the United States with a guarantee against defects. It’s perfect for power sliding for an ultimate skateboarding experience.
Indeed, skateboarding is never this easier with Spitfire Classic skateboard wheels. You’ll remember the old times when you started doing tricks, making you bring back those memories that are close to your heart. Whether you’re a new or experienced rider, these wheels will make a huge difference in your skateboarding experience.
Spacers can be fit on the Spitfire Classic Series wheels perfect for a longboarding move. The package comes with eight bearings, one inside and another on the side of each skateboard wheel. These wheels come in 608 or normal size bearings, very good for performing tricks.
With these Spitfire skateboard wheels, you can freely move without worrying about slowing down when it’s not supposed to be. It works on the smooth and rough pavement without giving you a headache. Enjoy skateboarding as a mode of transportation from your house to your university or to do errands, like paying bills or buying anything in a nearby convenience store.
I have been using these Spitfire Classic Series for a couple of months. They’re great because these wheels don’t slow down on the asphalt. Also, the speed is nice. It’s an awesome set of skateboard wheels that are well-made, with nice design, and rolls well. I have no complaints. My skateboarding experience is never more fun because I can smoothly roll-over and glide with one of the best skateboard wheels today.
I bought these Spitfire wheels along with brand new bearings, and they’re so slippery smooth. Now, I can start racing on my skateboard. These are great wheels at a good price. Even my teenage son loves the wheels on this skateboard. So, if you want a classic design but performing wheels, choose Spitfire.
- Great design
- Perfect wheels for tricks
- Nice speed
- Roll easily
- Not a soft wheel
The FREEDARE Skateboard Wheels measures 8-millimeter diameter by 45-millimeter width (2.3 x 2.3 x 1.8 inches and weighs 1.1 pounds) with an 82A Durometer count. These are polyurethane wheels that come as a set of four wheels. The ABEC rating is 7 with steel bearings and spacers, so expect superb performance and speed, suited for aspiring professional skaters.
These wheels roll extremely smooth and are very durable for street and park skating. Also, these wheels are applicable for penny skateboards. They’re perfect for cruising and doing lots of early street tricks. Also, they do well on asphalt or smooth concrete.
Because of delicate packaging, you can give these wheels as a gift for your son, nephew, brother, or anyone who loves skateboarding. You’ll receive four assembled wheels including spacers and bearings. The wheels measure the 58-millimeter diameter and the Durometer count is 82a. It is a Soft wheel that is good for skateboarding in rough surfaces.
The steel bearing is pre-lubricated for better speed and durability. The wheels are perfect for cruising because they’re too wide and too tall for tricks and smaller boards. These smooth-riding wheels are inexpensive but high-quality, which are also easy to install. You can just simply fit the wheels on the axle like what you normally do with regular wheels.
The FREEDARE Skateboard Wheels fit regular skateboards. However, because these FREEDARE wheels are huge, they will get a “wheel bite”. That’s why if you want to buy them, you need to also get truck spacers, avoiding wheel bite. The 58-millimeter wheels have 82a Durometer count. It is a soft wheel that is good for rough surfaces, street boards, or longboards.
It provides a lot of grips so you can easily roll over pebbles and cracks. These wheels were designed for hills, cruising, longboards, smooth rides, and rough surfaces. These wheels are made from a manufacturing company in China, with more than 15 years of experience in designing and selling sports goods, such as scooters and skateboards.
My grandson just started his skateboarding journey and got the cheap wheels from a sporting goods store. He is totally fine riding on the streets and sidewalks. However, he was complaining that his wheels were too loud and so slow. And then, I ordered FREEDARE 58 mm wheels. Surprisingly, these wheels improved his riding experience.
The new FREEDARE 58 mm wheels were so much quieter and smoother on the road, which is coasted further before stopping. The skateboard had no problems with larger wheels. While my grandson doesn’t do any complex tricks yet, he loves practicing with simple tricks using these wheels. It’s like cruising on a high-quality long-board.
- Good quality
- Smooth ride
- Works on holes and bumps
- Not so good bearings
Buying Guide When Shopping the Best Skateboard Wheels
From the medieval period, urethane wheels have revolutionized skateboarding, making it a form of sports, helping to turn it from a hobby into a lifestyle that is embraced by millions of people worldwide. Both young and adults love skateboarding. After almost fifty years later, every skateboard wheel is virtually poured from urethane.
People have many options when it comes to buying skateboard wheels. If you want a good investment, high-quality urethane wheels are the best skateboard wheels. Learn more about the important factors to consider when shopping skateboard wheels.
#1. Wheel Size
The most important variables when it comes to shopping skateboard wheels are the hardness (called “duro”) and the size. The diameter or size of skateboard wheels can affect the skater’s performance. For instance, a larger wheel diameter goes faster and weighs a little as compared to a smaller wheel. On the other hand, a large wheel raises you and the deck from ground higher as compared to a smaller wheel.
For technical street skaters, they prefer smaller wheels because they are lightweight, enabling them to perform flip tricks easier than larger wheels. Smaller wheels weigh less, sitting the rider closer to the ground, making it easier to maneuver. On the other hand, transition skaters usually opt for larger wheels, carrying more speed.
The diameter of a skateboard wheel is measured in millimeters. The size ranges from 49 millimeters to 75 millimeters, and 26 millimeters may appear insignificant if you have not experimented with different sizes of skate wheels. However, a couple of millimeters make a big difference to experienced riders.
You can break down the wheel size by riding style, so check these out:
- Technical street skateboard wheels: 49 to 52 millimeters
- All-around skating (street skateboarding): 52 to 55 millimeters
- Transition skateboard wheels: 60 to 65 millimeters
- Longboard and cruiser wheels (transition wheels): 65 to 70 millimeters
- All downhill longboard skateboard wheels: 70 millimeters and above
Tip for Beginners: Start with 52 to 55 millimeters range, which is a common range that is perfect for learning the basics.
#2. Wheel Durometer
The durometer refers to the hardness of skateboard wheels which determines the grip of the wheel as well as the amount of absorbed shock. A softer wheel compresses with applied pressure which gives more grip and allows more shock absorption.
A harder wheel barely compresses under pressure which gives lesser grip, and lesser shock absorption than a softer wheel. While soft wheels tend to create a smooth ride, hard wheels are more suitable for transition and street skaters because of their responsiveness.
You’ll feel everything while rolling over when riding hard wheels. This awareness is beneficial when you’re navigating through park rolling transitions or negotiating a collage of asphalt and concrete in the urban jungle. Also, hard wheels respond directly to body movements. Whenever you snap into an ollie, the pressure you apply will transfer directly to the wheels and deck, thus giving you a maximum pop.
FAQ Value Section
#1. How to Choose the Right Skateboard Wheels
Skateboard wheels are a crucial part of every skateboard, allowing you to move, and helping determine the speed you can go. Skateboard wheels are usually made of polyurethane, which comes in a wide range of colors, sizes, and durability levels to best suit your skateboard skill level, style, and preferences.
The measurement for skateboard wheels is both by diameter and durometer. When it comes to diameter, it refers to the size of the skateboard wheel. Durometer refers to the hardness of the wheel. All of these factors depend on your personal preference and your intended purpose of using a skateboard. You have the freedom to choose the best wheels that match your deck, hardware, and trucks with a custom building.
#2. What Does the Hardness of Skateboard Wheels Mean?
The hardness level refers to the “durometer” measure of the wheels. It is a matter of preference varying for different terrains. The wheel durometer determines if a particular wheel is more applicable for longboards or skateboards. Most skateboard manufacturers are using the Durometer A Scale. It is a 100-point scale determining the hardness of a skateboard wheel. The average wheel durometer is about 99a.
- Durometer Count 78a-87a: It has been designed for cruising, longboards, smooth rides, rough surfaces, and hills. The soft wheel is good for longboards, rough surfaces, or street boards which need lots of grips, so you can easily roll over pebbles and cracks.
- Durometer Count 88a-95a: This wheel is slightly faster and harder with less grip. However, the grip is still good. It is good for rough surfaces and street.
- Durometer Count 96a-99a: This wheel has a nice grip and speed. It is an all-around wheel. It’s great for novice riders who are skating in the streets, parks, pools, ramps, and smooth surfaces.
- Durometer Count 101a +: It’s the fastest and hardest wheel which is ineffective on rough and slick surfaces because it possesses the least grip.
- Durometer Count 83b-84b: These skateboard wheels that are using the B scale are very hard. They measure 20 points lower as compared to the A scale which allows extension of the scale to another 20 points (harder wheels).
There are some skateboard wheel manufacturers that use the B Scale, measuring 20 points fewer as compared to the A Scale, giving extra 20 points for skateboard wheels which are the hardest. For instance, an 80b durometer has the same hardness as the 100a durometer, with a more accurate and wider hardness range.
Some skateboard wheel brands experiment with dual-durometer wheels, providing a more tailored skating experience. For skateboard wheels that are dual-durometer, the inside could measure the standard of hardness, allowing more durability and speed in the skateboard wheels, because of a combination of strengths coming from both ends of the spectrum measurement.
#3. What Is “A” Scale Durometer?
The commonly used measurement is the “A” scale wheel durometer, which is similar to the one used in determining bushing hardness. The higher the durometer, the larger the number, and the harder the skateboard wheel. For instance, 101A is an extremely hard skateboard wheel. On the other hand, a 75A is an extremely soft one.
The durometer is usually listed with numbers followed by a letter ‘A’ on a skateboard wheel, together with the size of the wheel. The wheel image with the size and the durometer is printed on it. Most transition and street wheels are more than 98A harder. On the other hand, cruising wheels are usually between 78A and 90A.
It is best to stick with 101A because a durometer above 98A performs well in the park or in the street, and softer wheels will tend to slow you down. If you prefer cruising around and interested to learn tricks on your skateboard, better choose softer wheels. A good cruising wheel is anywhere between 78A and 90A.
#4. When Do I Need Softer Wheels?
Softer wheels are suitable for bombing hills and cruising around at high speeds, absorbing a lot of road shock and creating a smooth ride. Soft wheels are not ideally suitable for transition and street skating because they are grippy. They will stick to obstacles instead of grinding or sliding across them. Also, they’re less responsive to movements, making tricks like kickflips and ollies more difficult.
#5. What Are the Different Wheel Shapes?
When it comes to longboard skateboard wheels, they come in various shapes to suit different riding styles. Skateboard wheels with rounded lips are highly recommended for freeriding, sliding, and cruising instead of downhill racing. With a rounded lip, it allows entering of the wheel into slides easier.
Having a rounded lip when you’re racing creates issues because the edges won’t grip the streets when turning. Straight edges are designed to give skateboard riders with more control and grip as compared to a rounded edge. On the other hand, straight-edged wheels are better for downhill racers who need to grip the streets.
#6. What Is Wheel Bite?
When your skateboard wheels and deck rub together, it is called wheel bite, which usually occurs when you’re landing a trick or turning hard, and then you suddenly stop upon impact. Wheel bite may leave indents where the deck and wheels meet. You can prevent this from happening by assembling your skateboard with medium to high trucks or riser pads.
#7. How Is Skateboard Wheel Diameter Measured
The diameter of skateboard wheels is measured in millimeters. Most skateboard wheels range from 50 to 75 millimeters, and the smaller the skateboard wheels, the lower the number. Your skateboard wheel diameter affects the speed of your acceleration and the tightness of your turns.
Smaller wheels usually result in a slower ride, while larger wheels are faster. Because smaller wheels are lower to the ground, they are easier to control. Also, smaller wheels are suitable for street or technical skating.
For beginners or someone who wants to use a skateboard as daily transportation, it is best to choose larger wheels instead. The increased diameter wheels are offering great balance and speed, which are perfect for vert skating or low-key cruising. In addition, your weight and height and weight can affect the size of the wheels that is right for you.
- 50 to 53 millimeters: Small and slower wheels which are stable for smaller riders street skating, trick riding, and skating in parks and bowls.
- 54 to 59 millimeters: The average wheel size for newbies and bigger riders who are skating in streets, skate parks, vert ramps, and bowls.
- 60 millimeters and over: These are recommended for specialty riders who are skating using old-school boards, longboards, dirt boards, and downhill which are made for rougher surfaces and speed.
Tips When Choosing Skateboard Wheels
- Skateboard wheels come in various cuts and shapes, including wide or narrow lip, and the cruiser wheel shape. The wheels with a narrow lip are better if you are looking for a skateboard ride with less weight and friction. It will help you learn and master that next tricks because of more responsiveness to quick movements.
- For commuters and newbies, investing in cruiser wheels provide the best grip and rounded outer lips. Consider standard wide lip skateboard wheels to get the best of both worlds because of less speed inclination as compared to narrower models. Also, these are more balanced and sturdy, making them a great asset to average skaters both on the streets and around the park.
- Softer skateboard wheels are suitable for street skating, while harder wheels are highly recommended for smooth surfaces, like skate parks. The harder wheels are generally faster, and the softer wheels are generally slower with more advantage of more grip.
How to Replace Skateboard Wheels
Skateboard wheel replacement will only take 5 to 10 minutes. You can reuse old bearings, or buy new ones. The tool you need is a 13-millimeter wrench. The parts you’ll need include four skateboard wheels, eight skateboard bearings, four bearing spacers, and eight washers.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to replace skateboard wheels:
- Step #1: Using the 13-millimeter wrench, start removing the axle nut that is located in the middle part of the wheel. You can set aside the axle and remove the skateboard wheel.
- Step #2: Now you can remove the skateboard bearings by positioning the skateboard wheel at the axle end. Gently pry the skateboard wheel at a downward angle when removing the bearings. You can do this prying process on both wheel sides. Once the skateboard bearings are removed, the bearing spacer will fall out.
- Step #3: Next, position the new skateboard wheel on a flat surface, pressing the skateboard bearing into the new wheel’s hole until it snaps into place. The outside edges of the skateboard bearing should flush inside the bottom edge of the skateboard wheel.
- Step #4: Insert the spacer into the rear of the wheel.
- Step #5: Insert the skateboard bearings into the back of the wheel by repeating step 3. The skateboard wheel is placed on the axle with the skateboard bearings in place.
- Step #6: Next, slide the washer on the axle, going through both spacer and bearings.
- Step #7: The second washer is slide onto the axle outside the wheel.
- Step #8: Tighten your axle nut firmly but avoid over-tightening, allowing the wheels to spin freely.
The best skateboard wheels are the Ricta Clouds 78a Skateboard Wheel because it is smooth-rolling and incredibly fast. It works on the roughest of surfaces, feeling like a smooth warehouse flooring with a modern shape that is not bulky or heavy. It’s suited for cruising and filming. You’ll love the quieter wheels for riding around and fantastic tricks. You can get anywhere using these wheels without getting rattled by every bump or pushing every time.