The wheels on a skateboard are the most commonly replaced parts simply because they take the most abuse. That being said, replacing your wheels with brand new ones once your current ones are starting to wear down can be crucial. This is so because wheels impact your riding in various ways, including your speed, your ability to control the board, and the way you feel the board. Obviously, all of this makes your next wheel choice a crucial factor in the set-up, so before settling for a wheel design, you should consider a few factors first in order to make the best choice possible.
If you’re looking to buy skate wheels, you’ll soon learn that most of them are made of polyurethane, which is a hard composite material. The introduction of polyurethane wheels back in the 1970s changed skateboarding forever, as the wheels become more durable, resistant to abrasion, which was what skateboarders needed. Additionally, polyurethane wheels are inexpensive to manufacture, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to buy quality.
Next, you should consider the durometer rating of the wheels. The durometer indicates how hard and resistant to penetration the wheels are. The durometer ratings fall under a few categories, but the durometer rating for skateboarding wheels is expressed as “A”. With that being said, you’ll come across wheels that read “75A” or “90A” – with the higher numbers indicating harder wheels.
The ideal hardness of the wheel will depend on the type of riding you perform. For instance, if you ride vert – you should get harder wheels, as they’re great at fighting the lack of vibration dampening and allow for easier control. Street skating has pretty similar requirements, and once again, you should look to buy skate wheels with a high durometer (97A or more). On the other hand, if you’re a cruiser or all ’round skater, then slightly softer wheels with an around 90A durometer will suffice.
Lastly, the diameter (size) of the wheel is equally important. The wheels’ size can impact the board’s top speed, the ability to turn, and the acceleration. Skate wheels are typically measured in milimetres, and they usually range in size from 50mm to 75mm. Larger wheels provide a faster ride because a single wheel rotation will cover more ground. However, larger wheels also make it more difficult to take sharp turns and accelerate as quickly as you would with smaller wheels.