The graphic design of skateboard decks may first capture your eye, but it’s the wheels that will speed you on your way. Size and hardness are the two variables to consider when you are choosing from the staggering array of skateboard wheels available at your skate shop. Your style of riding skateboards will tell you which to pick. Do you want wheels to enhance the thrill of performing skateboard tricks, or do you want wheels that will cushion your ride over rough terrain? Think about the kind of riding you’ll be doing as your skating improves, and select the hardness and size that will enhance your style.
Skaters who perform technical moves such as flips and manuals look for lighter skateboard wheels, and that means they favor smaller wheels. Larger wheels are heavier and better suited for cruising around. The smallest wheels at 50 mm are quite small, while the big cruiser styles are huge at 65 mm.
Harder Skateboard Wheels Make for Better Slide
Another important option in choosing skateboard wheels is hardness, which is measured on a scale of the hardest to the softest. The larger the number, the harder the wheels.
The number 101 is the hardest skateboard wheel widely available, while the softest wheels number around 78. Most skateboarders ride the hard ones. One prominent retailer says about 80 percent of the skateboard wheels he sells are quite small and very hard. The harder wheels provide slide, and skaters who are doing skateboard tricks want the board to slide around.
Riders can start skateboards turning before taking off or before landing if they have hard wheels. Big, soft wheels provide grip and would make skaters lose spin if they tried to throw the board around.
Those who are buying their first skateboard will find larger skateboard wheels tend to be softer, while smaller wheels are harder. Shop around enough, and you may find wheels that don’t fit into this pattern, but most do.