Types of Skateboard Wheels

Types of Skateboard Wheels and How to Choose the Best Ones

Skateboard wheels are more than just colorful plastic skateboard parts. There are many types of skateboard wheels; you must know the different kinds, what these are for and the best ones to go with your type of board and your riding preference. 

The type of skateboard wheels varies depending on the material, size, skateboard wheel hardness, and use. If it’s your first time choosing wheels for your skateboard, let us help you find the best ones with this skateboard wheels guide. 

The Different Types of Skateboard Wheels

A few factors must be considered when selecting the best board and probably the most important one is the wheel size. The skateboard wheel size determines how fast you can go. It also determines the complexity of your ride whether you want an easy or technical ride whether you’re riding on rough or smooth surfaces.  

Large skateboard wheels – made for different terrain

Large wheels will give you a smooth ride. Also, larger skateboard wheels will allow you to ride on different kinds of terrain. You’ll find large wheels in varying degrees of hardness and for all skateboard deck sizes. These are also used to prevent wheel bite.  

Small skateboard wheel size– high-performance wheels

Small skateboard wheels are much better if you want to perform all kinds of flip tricks. It is best for turning as these wheels are more versatile, more agile than larger ones. 

Wider skateboard wheels – not for high-performance riding

You may also find a wider skateboard urethane wheel, a lot different than small and large wheels. Wide skateboard wheels will give you a smoother ride however, these are not made for performing flip tricks and for tight turns. Large skaters, beginners, and commuters may prefer a wider wheel because these have the best grip.

Narrow wheels – for a lighter, carefree ride

Narrow-lipped skateboards are best if you want a lighter ride and reduced friction. This type of board is more responsive especially if you want to move quickly and seamlessly as you perform tricks.

Large diameter skateboard wheels – for a faster ride

Another determining factor in selecting the right skateboard wheel is the diameter. The wheel diameter is the size of the wheel and is measured in mm or millimeters. The most common range is from 50 to 75 mm; the smaller the number, the smaller the wheel. 

Bigger wheels are cruiser wheels and will produce a faster ride. Large diameters are 60 mm or higher and are best for specialty riding including speed skating, slick and rough surfaces skating, and transition skating. A good example of big wheels/ cruiser wheels  are longboard wheels but you can also find these in older skateboards, and cruiser boards. If you plan to skate in halfpipes and bowls, a bigger diameter, longboard wheels are better but you need riser pads to install these cruiser wheels.

Moderate skateboard street wheels diameter – great for skate parks

Moderate or average-sized skateboard wheel diameter are from 54 to 59 mm and are the best choice for beginner riders and larger skaters. These average-sized wheels are also great for skating in bowls and skate parks. You may also use these wheels for easy, daily riding, for street skaters, and for very smooth surfaces.

Small diameter skateboard wheels – for technical skating

Skateboard wheels that have 50 to 53 mm diameter are small diameter skateboard wheels and are mainly used for trick riding and technical skating. You may use boards with small wheels or skatepark wheels and skating bowls. The downside of using smaller skate wheels is you’re very close to the ground which leads to wheel bite. Small wheels are some of the hardest wheels which make the board faster.

Skateboard wheel size based on durometer

You’ve probably heard about the term “durometer” when referring to the right skateboard wheels. Durometer is the term for the hardness or how soft skateboard wheels are. When reading the Durometer Scale, a smaller number means that the skateboard wheels have a lower durometer and larger numbers are for larger durometers.  The scale has 100 points and it determines how firm or how soft wheels are. 

Some wheel manufacturers use the Durometer B Scale with a 20-point difference when it comes to the durometer. An average durometer is 99 for the Durometer A scale while 80 is for the B scale.

Skateboard wheels with hard skateboard wheels durometer are faster. Meanwhile, these are slower wheels as they tend to grip the road or the ground more. In some skateboard wheel brands, a dual-durometer wheel is available. This is where the inside part of the wheel is measured the other way and the outer part may be softer or harder. These are for skaters custom-made harder wheels. 

78 to 87 A

These are soft skateboard wheels and are best for riding on rough surfaces and for longboarders. These are softer  wheels with more grip and thus, street skaters and pros can ride soft wheels over a mini ramp, hills, rocks, cracks and other rougher surfaces. Soft wheels can ride over rough surfaces with ease while softer wheels will help you move over different small obstacles but will make you move slower like the softest wheels from Bones Wheels and Filmer Wheels. Also, sticky or gummy wheels are great vert wheels.

88 to 95 A

At this average wheel durometer skateboard wheels range, the wheels have less grip but may still be enough for longboards or boards for street skating and rough surfaces. Bones Wheels at this durometer will glide well on rough surfaces but not on extremely uneven areas.

96 to 99 A

This type of wheel is for riders who prefer an all-around skateboard wheel. These are best for mini  ramps, skate parks, skate bowls, and also for beginner riders. These are skate park formula wheels meant for street skating and all kinds of activities.

101+ 

Wheels at this durometer are harder wheels and therefore faster. There’s minimal grip therefore you can use these wheels to perform all kinds of tricks. Professional riders prefer wheels with this durometer but won’t work well for street skating.

Skateboard wheels with a larger contact patch -for easy weight distribution

The term contact patch is the area of the wheel that’s in contact with the ground or the riding surface. Larger skateboard wheels have larger contact patches while smaller ones have a smaller area of contact. This is useful in distributing the rider’s weight on the skateboard. 

The shape of the wheel also determines the size of the contact patch. Round wheels can produce more contact with the pavement compared to square wheels. If you wish to enjoy a stable ride, use larger wheels. If you prefer to shift your weight as you ride, you must use a smaller wheel.

Conclusion

There are many types of skateboard wheels and the type of wheel that will work best for you will depend more on what you want to do with your board. If you prefer to go fast then larger and firmer wheels will work best. If you want to go slow or stay safe as you ride or perform tricks, softer, smaller wheels will do nicely. Assess your needs to find the right wheels for your board. 

How did you like this list of the best skateboard wheels? Tell us in the comments section below. If you like this post, share it with anyone who’s planning on buying skateboard wheels.

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