What Features To Look For In a Longboard Sliding Wheel
In Blog - 09/09/2017
One of the more creative and mesmerizing discipline within longboarding is sliding. Whether you’re just learning how to push your board sideways or if you’re neck-deep in the tech-slide scene, gaining knowledge about your gear and its effects is crucial if you want to up your game. For sliding, there are 3 aspects to keep in mind when looking for the perfect a longboard sliding wheels: durometer, shape and core placement.
The first thing a longboard enthusiast will look for when purchasing a new set of longboard wheels is the durometer. This measuring unit, which indicates the urethane’s density or hardness, is usually followed by an A and shown on side of the wheel. The lower the number preceding the letter A, the softer and grippier are the wheels. The higher the number, the harder and icy the wheel. If you’re looking to start sliding, a hard durometer like 86A and over is great. This will allow you to lose adherence with the road more easily while you develop the necessary muscle memory to initiate slides effortlessly. A higher durometer will also allow you to avoid unpleasant vibrations created by the fast friction regain of softer urethanes. If you were looking to do technical sliding, also known as “tech-slide”, a much harder durometer, something around 90A would be more suited for suited for this application.
The shape of your wheel will influence the feel when initiating a slide, as well as the adherence regain when coming out of slides. You’ll notice that different models of wheels have different edge geometries or differently shaped lips if you prefer. You’ll find fat square lips, thin square lips, round lips, beveled lips and everything in-between. Round and beveled lips are the best for sliding because the low angle of the edge in relation to the road allows the wheels to slide over the imperfections in the asphalt and minimizes traction regain. On the other hand, square lips are usually designed to retain and regain traction. A hard 90 degrees edge will tend to grip imperfections in the road making it harder to initiate slides and making vibrations at low slide speeds more likely.
The core, the hard plastic bearing support, and its lateral position within the wheel has a very important role in the overall feel of a longboard wheel. You can find 3 placements: Centerset, offset and sideset. A centerset core will brighten the contrast between traction and sliding making the release point more obvious. A perk to this disposition is the ability to flip your wheels 180 degrees to ensure an even ware of the wheel, making great for heavy sliding sessions. Sideset wheels are what you would prefer if you are learning to slide. The core is placed completely on the inner edge of the wheel. This makes it almost effortless to break you ride into a slide as no significant pressure is forced onto the outside edge. Therefore, it is less inclined to hook onto the imperfection in the road. The downside is that these wheels are prone to massive coning and flat spotting because of the uneven weight distribution through the contact patch. The best of both worlds would have the be the offset core normally placed a few millimeters from center. It still provides a predictable release point while offering a more progressive feel when breaking into a slide. It is also prone to coning but in a less aggressive way than the side-set wheels and you can avoid flat spotting by regularly rotating your wheels between runs.
Try them out
There isn’t one universal design for the best longboard sliding wheels but a round-lip hard wheel will get you started. Like with anything else, you’ll find yourself having preferences for different feels and will choose a wheel that compliments your shredding needs and style. For the most part, you simply need to buy some wheels, get out there and burn some thane. Try different styles of wheels and see what works best for you. Keep in mind that different urethane formulas will behave differently depending of the asphalt so get out there and shred!