What longboard wheel size is best for you?
In Blog - 26/07/2017
Among the many factors that are important to consider when designing your own longboard is your longboard wheel size. After all, your wheels are what determine how fast you can ride, as well as the type of handling your board has to offer. Some wheels are better for beginners, while others may require the addition of riser pads in order to avoid wheel bite.
So which longboard wheel size is best for you? As it turns out, literal size isn’t the only factor you need to consider when choosing your longboard wheels. Paying attention to the following key attributes will help you select the right wheels for your riding style.
The diameter of longboard wheels is measured in millimeters, with the smallest wheels typically starting around 54 mm in diameter, and the largest wheels reaching up to 107 mm. Most wheels are between 65 mm and 75 mm. Your wheel size will affect your speed, acceleration, and turning ability, and as such, different sizes are recommended for different riding styles. It is worth noting, however, that your individual height and weight could also affect which longboard wheel size will feel most comfortable to you.
In general, smaller wheels offer lower speed, but faster acceleration and tighter turning. Many beginning riders and skate park riders find that smaller wheels are better suited for their needs. Larger wheels can achieve much higher speeds, but they don’t have quick acceleration. However, they also offer improved stability when traveling over rough surfaces. As such, they are generally used for cruising and downhill.
Durometer, which measures the hardness of your longboard wheels, is another important element to consider when choosing wheels for your longboard. The wheel’s hardness or softness is measured using the Shore A scale, named after its inventor Albert Ferdinand Shore. The A scale measures wheels on a hardness level of one to 100, and above. The general rule is the lower the number, the softer the wheel.
Those looking for a softer wheel should lean towards a wheel hardness between 75a and 87a. Often used for cruising or hill riding, these wheels offer the extra grip that is necessary to deal with rough surfaces. Harder wheels will measure anywhere between 96a to 99a, and above. They are very beginner-friendly and represent a great choice for those who ride on smooth skate park surfaces.
There are three primary wheel shapes used for longboards, and each of these offers a different level of contact surface, which in turn affects your control. For example, square edged wheels offer superior grip, which makes them a popular choice among downhill riders who wish to maintain speed. Square edged wheels typically have a larger contact patch (the area that comes in contact with the pavement). While this allows for more even weight distribution and greater stability, it also slows down your board.
Rounded edges, on the other hand, are a popular choice for carving and sliding. This is because the smooth edges create less friction when going into a slide. In between these two options is the beveled edge. Not quite square and not quite round, the angled edge cut in this wheel variety allows for better turning during hill runs. With smaller contact patches than square edged wheels, these wheel varieties also allow you to achieve higher exit speeds out of curves, corners and chicanes.
By analyzing the longboard wheel size, durometer, shape, and contact patch size, you’ll be well equipped to find the right wheel for your riding style. And with the right wheels for your board, your experience will be that much more enjoyable.