Choosing your the right wheels for your longboard is very important because this will ultimately impact the way you ride and the style of longboarding you do. Longboard wheels come in a variety of colors, sizes, and edges. However, there are some things you may want to be aware of before choosing the best longboard wheels for your board.
Longboard wheels come in a variety of sizes. The two numbers on longboard wheels that you want to look at are diameter and width.
– Diameter: Wheel diameters can range from 60mm to 80mm. Smaller wheels tend to have faster acceleration but slower overall speed. Larger wheels are faster but accelerate more slowly. Quick Tip: Be cautious of getting wheels that are too large. This can cause wheel bite if you are not careful. You will also notice a difference in how high you are riding based on riding small, medium, and large wheels.
– Width: The wider your wheels, the larger your contact patch to the ground. The contact patch is the amount of wheel that is actually in contact with the road surface. This can have an effect on speed and carving.
Durometer is the hardness and softness of the longboard wheel. All longboard wheels are made out of urethane, a rubbery abrasion resistant and grip-prone material. The softer the urethane, the more grip your longboard will have with the pavement. This will give you slower speeds and more control, especially when running over bumps in the road. The harder the urethane, the easier it will be for you to slide and you will be able to accelerate faster. Most longboard wheels come in “a” type urethane (72a, 78a, etc.) The “a” refers to the hardness of the urethane. However, the number is the most important part you want to pay attention to. A lower number means a softer wheel, and vice versa.
Longboard wheels come with 3 different types of edges or lips.
– Rounded edge: Rounded lip wheels, or radiused wheels, have circular edges and are used mostly for sliding. The rounded edge provides less of a contact patch, making it easier for your board to lose grip when you want it to.
– Squared edge: The squared edge wheel has a 90 degree angle on all four of its corners. This type of wheel is great for carving and downhill, and is the most durable.
– Beveled edge: Beveled edge wheels are a wheel that is in between rounded and squared. They have less grip than a squared edge, but more grip than a rounded edge. They are a good in-between rounded and squared edge wheels.
There are several good longboard wheel brands to look at in our Longboard Gear Guide.
For a more technical in-depth guide on longboard wheels, check out Jeff’s All You Need To Know About Longboard Wheels.