Q: WHY DO SKATEBOARDING WHEELS COME IN DIFFERENT SIZES?

March 20, 2011

Q & A

So if you shop for skateboarding wheels you will find that they are often marked with their size and hardness, something like this: 52 MM (size) and 101 (hardness). Wheel size and wheel hardness (also called durameter) are two of the most important specifications you will need to consider when you are purchasing wheels. Let’s first start with wheel size:

Wheel Size:

Small wheels will provide the maneuverability needed for aggressive technical skating.

A larger wheel will provide a smoother and faster ride, however accelerating from a stop to full speed will require more effort.

Most skaters today are into doing technical tricks. Flipping their board into and out of everything. This is much easier to do on a lighter skateboard. The wheels make up a good portion of a skateboards weight.  So getting a smaller wheels is a great place to save some leg work. Think about it. It wouldn’t be very easy to do a kick flip with a board that weighs 50lbs.

Although, small wheels do have their drawbacks. They are a much rougher ride and are much more susceptible to a skateboarders worst enemies….cracks in the ground and small rocks! With bigger wheels these 2 things are less of a threat.

So……buy wheels based on your normal day to day skating. If you use your board as a source of transportation or around your neighborhood, you will definitely want a bigger wheel. If you skate at the skate park, which are usually smooth surfaces, you can use a smaller wheel.  Here is a general guide line to follow:

Sizes:
50-54 MM – Good for many uses. Street, skate parks, smaller riders.
55-60 MM – Good for many uses. Street, skate parks, bowls, vert ramps. Bigger riders.
60+MM – Specialty rides. Long boards, hill riding, dirt boards.

Durameter:

For most wheels, durometer is measured on the A-scale, with 74A being a very soft wheel and 101A being a very hard wheel. The hardness of a wheel will affect its durability, shock absorption and ability to grip an indoor or outdoor skating surface.

Soft wheels will give a smoother ride and will grip the road better, but a wheel that is too soft will feel sluggish and slow.

Hard wheels can give you a rough ride, but they are usually faster than soft wheels and the will slide more easily.

Here is a general guide line to follow:

87A – Cruiser riding, long boards, hill riding. Very rough surfaces.
95A – Street riding, rough surfaces, smooth, fast, and durable.
97A – All around street, skate park, ramp and pool. Smooth surfaces.
100A – Very hard with least grip. Not good on rough or too slick surfaces.

*Beginners should stick to a softer durameter, as they don’t catch on rocks, glass or cracks as easily and they grip better. More experienced skaters tend to ride the harder durometers as they know how to control their boards during slides and on rougher surfaces. Ask your friends and skateboard shop personnel for additional advice and recommendations.

Happy Skateboarding!

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