Are you new to skateboarding and wondering if skateboard wheels are universal? What do different wheel sizes mean and how can they affect your riding performance?
With such a wide variety of styles, materials, sizes, colors, hardness ratings, and more available on the market today, it can be difficult knowing which set is right for you.
In this guide, I’ll dive into the details so that when it comes time to pick up a new set of wheels you have all the information necessary to make an informed decision.
Read on for everything about skateboard wheels – from size categories to choosing between cruiser vs street setups.
Quick Facts: Skateboard wheels are not universal. Wheels are made to fit the axle size and shape of the skateboard they will be used on.
Can you put any wheels on a skateboard?
No, you cannot put any wheels on a skateboard. While some wheels may fit the skateboard’s axles and be able to turn, they will not offer the same degree of performance as the standard skateboard wheel.
The ideal skateboard wheel is specifically designed with a hard outer urethane layer to provide superior grip on the pavement or ramps and park surfaces typically ridden. Many large chain stores carry generic “skateboard” wheels that are not suitable for riding and lack any real performance benefits.
In addition, these wheels are often too soft and have curved walls that reduce the amount of contact between the wheel and the surface, resulting in poor traction and an increased risk of slipping. A good quality skateboard wheel should have a durometer rating between 78A-101A depending on personal preference, the terrain being ridden, etc.
It should also be constructed with an inner core as well as an outer edge lip for long-lasting wear and durability. Furthermore, proper maintenance including cleaning bearings regularly is necessary to ensure smooth rolling performance over time.
How do I know what wheels will fit my skateboard?
Finding the appropriate set of wheels for your skateboard can be daunting at times but with the right measurements and research into what fits best initially, choosing those perfect wheels should be much easier. So, to start off let’s take a look at skateboard wheel sizes.
Skateboard wheels are categorized into four main categories, which are: mini, mid-size, full-size, and super-sized. Mini wheels are typically around 48mm in diameter while the largest can go up to as large as 80mm. The standard size for most skateboards is around 52-56mm.
As far as axle width goes, most trucks (the metal pieces that attach to the board and hold the wheels) come in either 7.5” or 8” sizes. When purchasing a set of wheels make sure you know your board’s axle size so you can be sure to get the wheels that fit properly.
Step 1: Measure Your Deck Size
The first step is to measure your deck size. This will allow you to determine what size wheel will fit on your skateboard.
To measure your deck size, use a ruler or measuring tape and measure from one end of your board to the other.
Record this measurement in millimeters (mm).
Step 2: Check Your Wheelbase
The next step is to check your wheelbase. The wheelbase is the distance between two sets of mounting holes on your board.
To measure it, use a ruler or measuring tape and find out how long the distance is between two sets of mounting holes on each side of your board.
Record this measurement in millimeters (mm).
Step 3: Choose Your Wheels
Now that you know both measurements, it’s time to choose which type of wheels will fit best on your board.
Most skateboarders prefer soft urethane wheels for street skating because they provide more grip when turning corners and have better shock absorption than hard plastic wheels.
But if you plan on doing tricks or just want something different, there are plenty of other types of wheels available such as polyurethane, polycarbonate, and even metal core wheels.
Just make sure that whatever type of wheel you choose fits within both measurements deck size and wheelbase that you recorded earlier.
What factors affect wheel size and type?
Every skateboarder needs to understand the factors that affect wheel size and type, as this will help them pick the best wheel for their skating style. There are five main factors that determine wheel size and type: terrain, speed, weight, riding style, and board size. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.
The terrain you plan to skate on is one of the biggest factors in deciding wheel size and type.
A wheel designed for smooth surfaces won’t work as well on rough pavement or off-road conditions.
Similarly, a wheel designed for off-road will not be ideal for smooth surfaces such as ramps or pools.
So it’s important to choose wheels according to the terrain you plan to skate most often.
Another factor that affects wheel size and type is speed.
Generally speaking, bigger wheels provide more speed than smaller ones because they have a larger circumference and therefore cover more ground per revolution.
However, if you tend to ride slowly then you may want to opt for smaller wheels which can be more maneuverable when low speeds are involved.
Your weight will also determine what kind of wheels are best suited for your skating style.
If you are a heavier rider (over 200 lbs) then you will want larger wheels with a higher durometer rating so that they can hold up against your weight without deforming or losing shape quickly.
For lighter riders (under 150 lbs) smaller wheels with lower durometer ratings should suffice since they don’t need as much material in order to stay intact under pressure from your body weight.
Your riding style should also be taken into account when choosing wheels. Do you prefer cruising around town?
Then softer wheels would be better suited for that purpose since they offer more traction and control at slower speeds.
If you like going fast downhill then harder wheels would give you greater stability on slick roads while still allowing enough grip to safely navigate turns at high speeds.
Board size should play a role in deciding what kind of wheel works best for your needs—smaller boards require smaller wheels while larger boards need bigger ones in order to maintain balance and stability while riding them at high speeds or on steep hillsides.
At the end of the day though it all comes down to personal preference; some riders like having large wheels while others prefer small ones depending on what makes them feel comfortable while skating.
Skateboard wheels are a complex topic with many factors to consider. In general, though, most skateboarders can use the same type of wheel without too much trouble.
The Width, Diameter, and Hardness are the three main variables that affect how your skateboard will perform, so be sure to keep those in mind when choosing your next set of wheels.
However, wheels are not universal and will vary depending on, skating style, and terrain. Therefore, it is important to do your research and make sure you get the right wheels for your setup.
Do all skateboard wheels fit all skateboards?
No, Skateboard wheels vary in size and shape, so not all wheels will fit all skateboards. You’ll need to choose wheels that are the same size as, or smaller than, the ones currently on your skateboard. And be sure to get wheels that are made for street skating, as other types of wheels won’t work well on most surfaces.
What is the best wheel for a beginner skater?
The best wheel for a beginner skater is a softer wheel. Softer wheels are slower and provide more grip, making them ideal for beginners who are just starting to learn how to skate. As you become more experienced, you can switch to harder wheels that are faster and offer less grip.