As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
Do bigger wheels really make a difference when it comes to longboarding? If you’re a beginner or even an experienced rider, you may have wondered if upgrading to larger wheels will improve your performance and overall experience. Well, you’re in the right place to find out the answer!
In the world of longboarding, there’s a constant debate about whether bigger wheels are better. Some riders swear by the advantages of larger wheels, while others argue that it’s all about personal preference and riding style. So, if you’re looking to gain some clarity on the matter, keep reading as we delve into the pros and cons of bigger wheels for longboarding.
In this article, we’ll explore the various factors to consider when choosing the right wheel size for your longboard. From speed and stability to maneuverability and comfort, we’ll break down the advantages and disadvantages of bigger wheels, helping you make an informed decision about whether they’re the right choice for your longboarding adventures.
So, Are Bigger Wheels Better For Longboarding?
Bigger wheels can provide certain advantages for longboarding. Firstly, larger wheels allow for a smoother ride over rough surfaces. They can roll over cracks, pebbles, and other small obstacles with ease, minimizing the risk of wheel bite.
Secondly, the increased size of the wheel also means a larger contact patch with the ground, which translates to better grip and stability. This is particularly beneficial when going downhill or performing slides and tricks, as it enhances control and maneuverability. Lastly, bigger wheels generally have a higher roll speed, allowing for faster cruising and longer distances covered.
However, it’s important to consider other factors such as the durometer (hardness) of the wheels, the urethane formula, and the wheel shape to ensure optimal performance based on individual preferences and the specific type of longboarding.
Understanding Longboards: Wheels
When it comes to longboarding, the wheels play a crucial role in determining your riding experience. The size, shape, hardness, width, edges, and core of the wheels all contribute to how your board performs. Here’s what you need to know to choose the right wheels for your longboarding adventures.
- Wheel Size: The size of longboard wheels is measured by their diameter in millimeters (mm). Larger wheels, over 100 mm in diameter, roll faster but have slower acceleration. Smaller wheels accelerate faster but have a lower top speed. If you ride on rough surfaces or want a smoother ride, opt for larger and softer wheels. However, keep in mind that bigger wheels may require more effort to gain speed.
- Wheel Shape: The shape of the longboard wheel, also known as the contact patch, is crucial for grip and speed. Square lip wheels have a larger contact surface, distributing your weight over a larger area and reducing rolling resistance. This allows for faster speeds and is ideal for downhill and freeride longboarding. Round lip wheels, commonly found on standard skateboards, have less surface touching the ground, making them slower. They work well for cruiser longboards.
- Wheel Hardness: The hardness of the wheels is measured on the Durometer A Scale. Harder wheels (90A-101A) roll faster but are harder to slide and have less grip. Softer wheels (70A-80A) offer better grip, absorb vibrations, and are easier to slide. A 70A hardness is a good starting point for cruising, but you can experiment with harder or softer wheels based on your preferences.
- Wheel Width/Contact Patch/Edges: The width of the wheels and the size of the contact patch determine grip and traction. Wider wheels provide more grip, while narrower wheels allow for easier sliding and drifting. Square edges create a larger contact patch, reducing the ability to initiate drifts. Beveled edges (45 degrees) are commonly found on shortboard wheels and offer a compromise between grip and slide. Rounded edges provide a more curved edge that allows the wheel to slide more easily, but with less contact with the surface.
- Wheel Cores: Cores play a significant role in longboard wheel performance. Plastic cores offer a comfortable ride and help dissipate heat at high speeds. Most longboard wheels use cores to maintain regular wear and stability. A centered core allows for even wear and easy flipping of the wheels. An offset core, closer to one side of the wheel, facilitates power slides but may result in irregular wear known as “coning.”
Understanding the features and characteristics of longboard wheels is essential to find the perfect match for your riding style and terrain. Consider factors such as size, shape, hardness, width, edges, and core placement to optimize your longboarding experience. Experiment with different combinations to find the best setup that suits your needs and preferences.
Electric Skateboard Wheels
When it comes to electric skateboards, the choice of wheels is crucial for establishing a tight bond between the wheel and the road. To achieve this, it is recommended to use larger, soft but durable wheels with a centered core. This combination allows for better grip and traction, ensuring a smooth and stable ride.
Additionally, considering the conditions of the roads you will be riding on is essential when selecting the right wheels. Since the electric motor provides acceleration, pushability is not a major concern. However, some brands may have specific requirements for wheel compatibility, especially with hub motors.
When setting up a Mellow Board, it is recommended to use 80mm 86a wheels as the standard choice. While slightly larger or smaller wheels can also be used, it is best to match the size and hardness of the drive wheels for a more precise riding experience. If you are interested in supporting Mellow, you can purchase official Mellow Wheels.
Choosing Longboard Wheels
Choosing the right longboard wheels is essential for a smooth and enjoyable ride. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting your wheels:
- Surface Type: Consider the type of surfaces you will be skating on. For rough or uneven terrain, larger wheels are recommended as they provide a more comfortable ride and better absorption of bumps and cracks. Opt for wheels with a size ranging from 70mm to 76mm. In contrast, smooth streets or sidewalks are more suitable for wheels in the range of 65mm to 70mm.
- Wheel Size: The most popular wheel size for traditional longboards (36″ or 40″) is around 70mm, providing a good balance of maneuverability and stability. For mini longboards, go for slightly smaller wheels around 65mm for better control.
- Durometer Number: The durometer number indicates the hardness or softness of the wheels. The choice depends on the type of skating you plan to do. If you want to perform slides, opt for harder wheels such as 83a or 85a. They offer more grip and control when sliding at a 90-degree angle while still moving forward. For cruising around the streets, go for softer wheels with a durometer rating of around 78a. These provide a smooth and comfortable ride.
Remember, finding the right longboard wheels depends on your personal preferences and riding style. Experimenting with different wheel sizes and durometer numbers can help you achieve the perfect combination for your desired performance.
Choosing longboard diameter
When considering the diameter of longboard wheels, it is important to take into account several factors as they can significantly affect your longboarding experience.
- Firstly, wheel diameter is measured in millimeters (mm). Smaller wheels, typically starting at around 54mm, result in a slower ride. In contrast, larger wheels, which can be upwards of 60mm, provide a faster ride. So, if you want to commute quickly and smoothly, opting for a big-wheel longboard or cruiser would be a good choice.
- Additionally, the diameter of the wheel has an impact on acceleration and turning ability. Smaller wheels allow for faster acceleration but may restrict tight turns, while larger wheels may require more time to accelerate but offer improved maneuverability.
It’s important to consider factors such as your height and weight. These factors can influence what size wheels feel right for your board. Taller or heavier individuals may prefer larger wheels for added stability and a smoother ride.
While bigger wheels offer certain advantages like better stability and roll speed, they may not always be the best choice. Factors such as riding style, terrain, and personal preference should be considered when selecting wheel size.
Harder wheels (78A-87A) offer more slide control and are suitable for freeriding and downhill. Softer wheels (78A-85A) provide a smoother ride and better grip for cruising and commuting on rougher surfaces.
Wheel shape, with its variables such as contact patch size and lip shape, influences grip and slide performance. Square-edged wheels provide more grip, while rounded edges offer smoother slides.
The question of whether bigger wheels are better for longboarding depends on personal preference and the specific type of longboarding you are interested in. While larger wheels may provide more stability and a smoother ride on rougher surfaces, they may also sacrifice maneuverability and responsiveness.
It is important to consider your own riding style and the conditions in which you will be longboarding before deciding on the size of your wheels. Ultimately, the most important factor is finding the right balance that allows you to enjoy the sport and feel comfortable on your board.
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.