In the Longboard world, there are thousands of possibilities, depending on your setup (board, axles, wheels, bearings, bushings, etc.). Depending on your chosen material, you can use your board for specific disciplines or others. However, as I said in the previous post, the Longboard is an art, and everyone expresses himself as he wants. Today we will talk about the wheels, how to differentiate them, and what is advisable to use each type.
We can separate the wheels according to 5 categories which we will combine to obtain our ideal wheel: Diameter, the contact surface (thickness), hardness, the shape of the wheel, and type of core.
This is the easiest characteristic of a wheel to guess since it is a basic principle of physics, but if someone does not know it I will explain it, the diameter is the straight line segment that passes through the center and joins two opposite points of a circumference, that is to say, what is commonly known as the height, what property does this have? How could this influence my skate? Very simple, the smaller the diameter of a wheel, the higher its acceleration and the lower its top speed, and vice versa; that is why 65 mm wheels are usually used to go around town and 75 mm wheels to compete in races (You must also take into account the type of circuit, there is no universal wheel for all races).
Note that not all wheel diameters are suitable for all boards. The size and design of the board will also affect the choice of wheels; 75mm wheels are not recommended for technical skateboards or boards with top mounts. This is because the wheels will make contact with the board during turns, causing the well-known and dreaded phenomenon of dry braking followed by unintentional jamming.
Finally, diameter has a significant impact on the smoothness of the setup. Boards with smaller wheels are not as smooth and will vibrate more when riding. The reason is simple: the greater the difference between the size of the wheel and the possible pavement bumps (including pebbles and the dreaded helicopter blades), the harder it is for the wheel to stop on land and the more likely it is to fall over like a skateboard.
As its name suggests, it is the surface of the wheel that is in contact with the asphalt,
How can the contact surface influence me?
Possibly this is the most differentiating characteristic of all, even more than the diameter, since depending on the thickness of your wheel it will absorb more or less the speed, that is, it is not common to use a wheel with more than 50 mm of contact surface for freeride, it is possible, but not recommended. Another factor to take into account, the more contact surface the more friction, and with this the lower top speed, so as I said before, if you are going to compete you will have to see how the circuit is and make a decision about the type of wheels you are going to use.
There are two types of contact patch for longboard wheels, the one that come mold released used for racing that grip are the one polished that are ready for sliding.
Release is a less correct term, but simply put, it is the smooth, shiny surface of the contact patch that is not touched by the stamping wheel. This surface is very sticky and requires some getting used to in order to glide well.
Polishing is a process that removes the gloss from the contact surface. This makes the beads feel like a soft baby’s bottom and allow them to glide right out of the box. Most good freeride wheels are sanded to reduce the time it takes to process the wheel.
The term refers to the relative hardness of a wheel, denoted by the number A. 100A is very hard and 0A is soft.
Wheel hardness is important for shock absorption and traction. However, wear and speed also depend on the hardness scale. The hardness ranges and values for different types of wheels can be found in this chart.
This is the formula with which the wheel material is manufactured, it is selected with a number from 75 to 90 and with the letter a. Each company has its own compound and the hardness of the wheels is relative, the 84a of one brand could be very similar to the 80a of another brand. The main characteristic of the hardness is how easy it is to differentiate, a very soft tire will absorb more speed and leave more pronounced marks on the ground when skidding, as we choose a higher hardness we can see how the skids are longer, in turn more uncontrolled and leave fewer marks on the ground.
- Better grip vs. longer wear
- Lower body weight vs. higher body weight
- Shock absorbing vs. higher speeds
There are other ways to measure the wheel hardness, some brands use their own scale. I.e Matter wheels from the USA uses the Footprint scale, the F0 stands for footprint 0.
- F0 – equals approx. 88A
- F1 – equals approx. 85A
- F2 – equals approx. 84A
- F3 – equals approx. 83A
Durometer A is softer than the Durometer B scale, B is very near to Plastic/Nylon.
Wheel Shape and Core Location
Wheel shape and core location: This is given by the location of the core and there are three ways to place it,
Sideset (at one end of the wheel), offset (at one quarter or one third of one side of the wheel) and centerset (in the middle of the wheel). The position of the core will make the same urethane (material of which the wheel is made) act in different ways, in which a sideset wheel having part of the urethane away from the core makes it soften making it easier to start a skid but not to maintain it (at least during a stand up skid, the wheels are perfectly controllable if you know how to skate them, but there are other simpler options). and on the other side we have the centerset wheels that do not facilitate (or complicate) the skid entry but are much more controllable during the skid, since the urethane is much more compact because of the core. As I said before this also depends on the type of urethane and its construction.
On side wheels, the core is located at the end of the wheel near the plate. This position is where all the pressure is applied to make the wheel slide better and is key to getting a very slippery wheel. In a freeride setting, side wheels are one of the most interesting wheel types, but side wheels have the disadvantage of being the fastest spacers. Riding on side wheels can be expensive.
Examples of Sideset Wheels:
Cult Wheels Classic
The offset wheel is neither centered nor lateral, but perfectly balanced between the two positions. This allows for more grip, but with a shorter inside edge, allowing the wheel to slide slightly when needed. Some wheel edges are better suited for downhill stability while softening steep descents. These all-round wheels are ideal for freeriding and downhill riding.
Orangatang 4 president
Abec 11 Grippins
The core is located exactly in the middle of the wheel. This distributes the weight over the entire surface of the wheel, resulting in smooth wear. However, these wheels are not suitable for highway driving because of their stability and grip. They also have a longer service life and can be rolled on the axle for even wear when they begin to wear. Center-mounted wheels are more prone to idling.
We can differentiate 2 groups, aerated core, and closed core, the latter is the most common:
The vast majority of brands use it for almost all their wheels, on the other hand.
We have the aerated core, looking like a car rim, perfect for rainy days, and unlike the other type, it gives more consistency to the wheel, making it faster, but at the same time creates less resistance and that extra speed that could give you in a race makes you have to make a bigger skid in a curve to reduce the same speed.
Best Wheel for Each Discipline
How to choose the perfect Freeride wheel?
- Choice of diameters: holds 68-72mm wheel diameters.
- Choice of lip shape: rounded or smooth lips. (Yes, they look good!) ) – Holds a variety of lip shapes – rounded lips, smooth lips.
- Choose a stiffness setting: depending on your weight, 80-86a is a good range.
- Choose your essential position: the center of the wheel will give you a solid base to start with
- Choose the wheel’s width: depending on the wheel itself, the narrower the wheel, the slightly more slippery it will be.
How to choose the perfect downhill wheel?
- Lip shape selection: sharp lip for better adhesion
- Diameter selection: choose wheels in the 70-75mm range
- Choice of hardness: depends on weight but keeps well in the 80-86a range
- Selection of core position: offset wheels offer a better balance between speed and grip
- Select wheel width: wider wheels provide more grip and maintain higher rolling speeds
Here you can find an article explaining in depth how to choose the perfect downhill wheel
Fastest Longboard Wheel
Are you looking for the fastest wheels to go downhill? Here we have the top 6 wheels that pros are using
Best Cruising and Carving wheels
- Orangatang 4 president 70mm
Orangatang Kegel 80 mm Downhill Longboard Skateboard Cruising Wheels
How to choose the perfect cruising wheel?
- Diameter – Size of wheel
- Durometer – Measured on a standard grade “A” durometer.
- Shape – Rounded corners, rounded corners…
Best Slalom Wheels
- ABEC 11 Longboard Wheels Flashback 70mm-81a
What is the best wheel for slalom?
- Good rolling speed
- Maximum grip
- Fast acceleration
- Small to medium diameter
- Square Edge
- Large contact area
- Offset potentiometer core
- High-performance urethane compound
If you want to know everything about wheels, ask a slalom racer Slalom is a very demanding sport, so various wheel shapes come to the fore.
Note the small diameter (approx. 65-72 mm) for fast acceleration, the wide ground contact area, the core with lateral reinforcement and square grooves for better grip, and the high specific gravity urethane.
Best Dancing Wheels
How to choose the perfect dancing wheel?
Jumping is surprisingly tricky for hard wheels! The side-to-side swaying during somersaults and glides can easily damage the wheels, crack the core, or tear up the lips.
For an ideal setup, finding a balance between weight reduction and proper rolling speed is necessary. Dancing and doing tricks are recommended to be around 63-70 mm with predictable and softer hardness for a smooth ride.
This is every that you have to know about longboard wheels, if you feel like we are missing anything and that we can upgrade this guide, don´t hesitate to contact us! Also remember that you can get featured in our website, contact us to learn how!!