Skateboarding 101: Factors to Consider When Buying Wheels

Skateboarding is a sport that’s maintained its popularity over the years thanks to the fun and challenges it offers. Many young people are drawn by the adrenaline rush it provides, as well as the way it helps boost physical agility, overall well-being, and social interactions.

Same as any other sport, it requires the proper gear and when we look into the bare essentials, it can’t be anything other than the deck and the wheels. Since they’re also the equipment bits that endure most of the wear and tear, the wheels in particular, you need a reliable design to serve you well. Moreover, they’re the parts that can make or break your overall experience too.

Given that there’s a wide range of skateboard wheels online and brick-and-mortar stores specialise in, there are some factors you ought to have in mind when you carry out the shopping. Remember, in addition to choosing an eye-pleasing set, with colours and patterns that most speak of your personality, it has to be one that’s durable to pull through all the tricks and turns you plan on using it for.

Types of Skateboard Wheels

The two basic categories of skateboard wheels you’d come across are soft and hard.

Soft Wheels

soft skateboard wheels

As you might guess by the name, this type of skateboard wheels is known for the softness, and as such it differs from the hard counterpart in both elasticity and density. Ideal for cruising through the streets, these wheels are perfect if you’re a beginner in the sport and are just trying to get the gist of it by taking things slow and avoiding tricks and parks for the time being.

Thanks to their design, they provide a smooth and easy ride due to the added benefit of sticking to the surfaces (regardless of their textures) thus offering a great deal of grip. They’re better with shock absorption as well, an aspect that’s essential when you’re still learning how to balance on the deck properly.

Another property you’d love with the ingenious smooth skateboard wheels online for sale at the specialised stores is the lack of noise they create because of their beneficial composition. The less distraction you have from the noise, the better you’d be able to focus and master the sport!

Hard Wheels

hard skateboard wheels

Once you’ve mastered balance, you’d probably be up for experiencing everything skateboarding has to offer – including landing some pretty neat tricks! In this case you’d require the help of the alternative known as hard skateboard wheels.

As suggested, they differ from the soft in the composition. What’s characteristic of this type of handy skate wheel is the higher density which is the very property that makes it suitable for the skateparks since it responds better to your movements. You’d be able to feel all the pressure you apply transition into the deck and wheels.

No matter whether it’s trying out some challenging skateboard moves, like the kickflip, hardflip, and the backside tailslide, or accelerating, you can rest assured these wheels would do their job. A word of caution is to avoid them if you plan on using your skateboard for long rides since they lack the grip the soft type has.

Furthermore, they don’t offer that much stability either and they can be quite noisy. This is especially the case with uneven surfaces as they send off vibrations throughout your whole body. In other words, you feel and hear every bump on the road!

Types of Durometer Scales for the Wheels

dual durometar scales wheels

Ever since the beginning of the sport, the vast array of wheels was rated in scale A in terms of hardness. This is no longer the case considering wheels of the past used to be much softer, made from flexible rubber, than today’s skateboard wheels online and offline retailers sell which are harder and made from more rigid materials.

For better accuracy with the harder wheels, especially with the mono and dual-durometer wheels made for higher performance, there’s now even a D scale. Such is the case with certain brands like Spitfire, and Coretech which offer bigger inner wheel hardness than what the A scale can indicate.

Some brands, like Autobahn, Bones, and Ricta have even begun using the B scale with some of their wheels, which is between A and D. Since it can read 20 points lower than A, it’s perfect for covering the entire hardness range. In terms of simple conversion from A to B, go 20 values below. To give you an example, it would look like this: 101A is 81B.

As for converting A to D, though the two scales aren’t that linear, most beginner skateboarders find it easy to buy based on the A ratings, so you might be interested in knowing the difference. There are some articles that give an example as to what D to A would look like, as in the case with Darkstar’s mono-urethane 52D wheels which turn out to be about 102A. That is, if the A scale would go higher than usual. 

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