If you’re a skateboarder, then you know how important wheels are. They dictate your ride – how fast you go, how smooth the surface is, and how much control you have. After all, they’re what make it possible for you to move around. So you want to make sure that you’re taking good care of them and that they last as long as possible. In this post, we’ll take a look at what factors affect wheel life, and offer some tips on how to skateboard without falling and get the most out of them.
How Long Do Skateboard Wheels Last
Skateboard wheels are made of hard polyurethane and are designed to roll smoothly over rough surfaces. Most skateboarders ride on concrete or asphalt, which can wear down the wheels over time. The average lifespan of a skateboard wheel is about three to six months, but this varies depending on the rider’s weight, riding style, and the type of surface on which the skateboard is ridden.
Heavy riders and those who do a lot of Motions will go through Wheelsmore quickly, while lighter riders and those who stick to smoother surfaces will get more miles out of their wheels. Ultimately, how long skateboard wheels last depends on a number of factors, but most riders can expect to get several months of use out of each set.
As for where you’re skating, the conditions affect the lifespan of your wheels as well. If you’re going down a steep hill with crumbling asphalt or pebbles, your wheels are going to have a shorter life because of the amount of force they go through. The same goes for skating over deep cracks in the road. If you’re encountering stuff that’s hard on your wheels, you’d do well to slow down and approach it with care.
Skateboarders tend to be rough on their gear, that is why it’s hard for the average person to gauge how long wheels last. Practice makes perfect, after all, and you can’t get better if you don’t push yourself.
Other factors would include the board you’re using. We’ve all seen those skaters with boards that look like they’ve been through a war. That’s because the concave shape of the best skateboard deck affects how much force is exerted on your wheels. This means that if you’re riding a board that has widely spaced pockets, you’re going to experience a shorter wheel life. You’ll also notice that longboards tend to have a bit more life in their wheels, simply because they’re built differently in terms of shape and design.
There are many types of skateboard wheels, each with its own usage. A good example would be the Ricta Clouds 90A. These are perfect for rough surfaces or bumpy rides where you need more grip. If you’re looking for something that’ll give you a smoother ride, however, the Spitfire Classic Formula Four 99A might be more what you’re looking for. That said, there are wheels that can do both like the Seismic Hot Spot 97D. If you’re not sure which ones to pick up, always ask a professional skateboarder or go by reviews online.
The Best Wheels Come Down to Your Personal Preference
How long a wheel will last comes down to your personal preference. If you want a wheel that you can use every day without having to worry about replacing it, a harder wheel is probably the best skateboard wheel brand for you. However, if you prefer softer wheels then those are going to be better suited for the type of skating that you do.
Skating for distance is considered longboarding. It involves traveling downhill with high speeds and lots of momentum. This form of skating can put quite a bit of strain on your wheels because they are used to absorb the impact that’s caused by small cracks in the road. On harder, more rigid wheels, this impact won’t be nearly as hard thus increasing the chance that you’ll have to replace them much sooner.
If you are a novice longboarder, softer wheels are probably your best bet because this will give you more control over the board while also being able to absorb road imperfections much more easily. If you can learn how to use urethane in order to turn and do other skateboard tricks then this, too, will increase the life of your wheel. Softer urethane wheels are also more likely to give you a cushioned ride which is great for your body because it’ll prevent some of the vibrations that would otherwise jolt throughout your leg muscles while skating on roads with lots of bumps and cracks in them.
The Science Behind Skateboard Wheels
Wheel urethane is a type of material used in the manufacturing of skateboard wheels. Urethane is a polymer that is a cross between a rubber and plastic substance with some unique properties. The most significant property is elasticity, urethane has the ability to return to its original shape after being bent or contorted. This elasticity also allows for an increased energy return by absorbing the force of impact.
The hardness or softness of urethane is measured in Shore Hardness. There are various scales for measuring Shore Hardness, but all provide an accurate number that can be used to compare relative hardness. A typical wheel might range between 70A and 95A on the Durometer scale, which is the most common. This means that the wheel will deform ever so slightly upon impact and provide a nice, predictable grip on the ground.
Urethane has excellent vibration-dampening properties which makes it great for many different applications; skateboard wheels being one of them.
The wheel abrasion is the actual wearing down of the wheel and is caused when any material, usually rubber or urethane, comes into contact with another surface. This abrasion causes both materials to wear down over time and is irreversible. Some believe that grip tape helps prolong the life of wheels by providing a layer between them and the ground; this, however, has not been scientifically tested.
Most of the world records for longboarding are held by Team News Corp and Team Hoverboard USA who regularly skate 60-80km in a single session. Unfortunately, they regularly use extremely hard wheels to ensure maximum grip; these wheels often only last a fraction of their sessions at 50% or less durability.
The wheel Concentricity tester is a way to measure the deviation from perfect roundness. In this test, a wheel is kept straight while it’s rotated on a machine that measures its deviation from perfection. A perfectly round wheel will have an extremely low reading while one with a lot of flat spots will come back high and outside of the norm.
The wheel Dynamometer test is a way to test the amount of energy that can be absorbed during impact. For example, if you were testing a wheel and it could absorb 100g of energy before deforming, you would call this Max Energy Absorbed (MEA). If you were testing another wheel and it could absorb 200g of energy before deforming, then you would call this Max Energy Absorbed (MEA).
The wheel Slip test is a way to measure the speed at which a wheel will come off of its axle. In order to perform this test, you would place an axle with a wheel onto a spindle that was rotating quickly. If one or more of the bolts were tightened too much, they might snap off.
A wheel Durometer is a way to measure the hardness of urethane using numbers between 0 and 100. A lower number indicates softer urethane while a higher number indicates harder urethane. Wheel durometers are most commonly measured in Shore Durometers (Shore A).
Tips to Make Your Skateboard Wheels Last Longer
There are a few skateboarding tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of your skateboard wheels. The first is simple: adjust them properly. This means loosening up all four of them so that they touch the board evenly without applying too much pressure on any one point. Keeping these in place requires some practice, but once mastered it can save you a lot of money and frustration.
Next, make sure your bearings are in good condition. If they’re worn down or otherwise messed up, it will cause your skateboard wheels to wear out faster than they should which will make the entire thing less fun for everyone involved. You can replace them if need be or have them serviced.
Finally, choose a good surface to skate on. Whenever possible you should avoid going over obstacles and consider investing in a professional skateboard brand if you feel that your wheels aren’t up to the task. This will give you more speed and control which, when combined with a smooth road, can make it much easier for you to do what you want. This is especially useful if you’re skating indoors where the environment is less than ideal.
Replacing Your Wheels in 5 Easy Steps
If you have a set of bad wheels on your skateboard for college, don’t panic. Replacing them isn’t extremely difficult and it doesn’t require any technical knowledge beyond the ability to turn a wrench or screwdriver.
With that being said, here are five easy steps to replacing your skateboard wheels:
- Unscrew the bolts on either side of your skateboard. Make sure you keep them organized so that you know where they go when it comes time to replace them.
- Loosen the wheel from the core by rotating it in a circle while applying pressure until you hear a click.
- Continue this process for each wheel and make sure all four are loose before proceeding.
- Pull your wheel off of the core. You may need to apply extra pressure if they’re especially tight, but that’s all there is to it until you reach the final step.
- Slide your new wheels onto the skateboard where the old ones were and secure them in place with bolts on either side.
- Tighten the bolts on your new wheels and make sure they’re secured properly. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be good to go.
Replacing your skateboard wheels isn’t difficult at all and can even be fun for those who like to tinker with machinery. With that being said, it’s best to learn how to do it before you actually need to.
Are Skateboard Wheels Toxic?
You’re probably wondering if skateboard wheels are toxic. Many people are aware of how dangerous substances like asbestos are to the human body, so they automatically think that any form or derivative of this mineral must be bad for you as well.
The truth is that not all skateboard wheels are toxic, although there have been reports of some people being adversely affected.
Why do Skateboard Wheels Wear Out?
The first thing to understand about skateboard wheels is that they wear out over time, much like your tires. It’s not enough to simply buy new ones because this will place too much pressure on them and cause them to fail within a few days or weeks.
We’re all familiar with how awful it feels when your skateboard wheel suddenly gives out. You’re going as fast as you can and then – boom! – the board jolts, your feet come off of it, and you hit the pavement.
Do Skateboard Wheels Wear Out Faster on Rough Surfaces?
Asphalt should be fine, but you’d do well to avoid gravel. The coarse grain will tear into your wheels and cause them to wear down much more rapidly than they otherwise would. If you’ve ever ridden on rollerblades or in-line skates before, you’ll notice that certain designs hold up better than others.
This is a matter of personal preference, but if you’re looking for durability the Abec11 Flashbacks are some of the best you’ll find. These wheels can handle everything from rough surfaces to loose debris and remain usable for a long time despite it all.
Do skateboard wheels get softer?
Yes. Skateboard wheels do get softer than when they are new, and depending on how you ride, can be significantly softer after just a couple of months. A lot of factors go into how long skateboard wheels last, including your weight, riding style, what kind of terrain you’re riding on, which direction you’re riding, and which brand of the wheel you buy. Most premium-brand wheels will last for more than a year of frequent skating on smooth surfaces.
How do you know if your skateboard wheels are good?
If you can rock your skateboard on its suspension and it doesn’t feel spongy, the wheels aren’t flat, and they’re large enough for your body weight, then they’re fine.
How much does it cost to replace skateboard wheels?
Replacing the worn-out wheels on your skateboard can cost as little as $2 per wheel, or more than $50. Long Answer: The most important factor in determining how much it costs to replace your skateboard’s wheels is which brand of wheel you buy. Most premium brands will cost a couple of dollars a wheel, and cheaper brands, such as the ones included on most pre-assembled complete skateboards, can cost $20 or more for a set of four.
How often should you replace your skateboard?
It really depends on your weight, what you’re riding on, and how often you ride.