The height of wheel should be an important consideration when picking a skateboard wheel. A tall wheel will move faster and more easily on many types of asphalt, rocks, and flat surfaces. A smaller wheel won’t move as quick or easily. However, small wheels will be less in weight and will make the overall skateboard mass lighter.
• When picking a skateboard to use for verts, riders should go for speed and look for boards that are about 55 to 60 millimeters.
• For typical park riding, small wheels are better, especially if many tricks will be performed. They range at about 50 to 55 millimeters in diameter.
• On basic commutes, larger sizes are best, with wheels starting at around 60 millimeters being the ideal size.
The shore durometer of the wheels on a skateboard is determined by measuring the hardness of the wheel’s urethane on a scale known as Shore A. The Shore A scale typically is in the following formats:
If riding in parks or verts, hard urethanes are better and are measured around 97A to 100A. They give off a more comfortable feel and better control under park and vert pavement conditions.
For street skateboarding, softer wheels are the best. Urethanes coming in at 90A to 97A are preferred as they are better suited for the unpredictability of street and road conditions. Softer wheels will not give the same amount of control during turns but will make the ride very smooth, even if the street is not as level.
Some people use skateboards in the same way that cyclists ride bikes. If a skateboard is to be used around town for basic transportation purposes, an even softer wheel is recommended for daily commuting. These come in at a Shore A scale of 80A to 86A. On rough pavement, they will add cushion to the ride and excel in making the rider’s comfort a priority.
The lip radius of a wheel is the change point between the contact patch and the wheel sidewalls. Lips that are more rounded tend to grip the ground less but are much easier to lift in the air. In verts and park locations, rounded lips are the best choice. On longer commutes, both rounded and square lips are ideal, with the latter giving off better grip and easier push acceleration.
Wheel Contact Patch
The contact patch of the wheel is the segment of the skateboard’s tire that comes into contact with the surface that it is being rode upon. Wheels with larger contact patches will grasp the pavement well, with smaller contact patches providing less grip. They can also be slick in their appearance or more firm for better contact but less prone to easy sliding.