What Size Skateboard Wheels Should I Get? – Tips to Buy The Best
Are you wondering what size skateboard wheels should I get?
Indeed, choosing the right wheels for your skateboard will significantly boost your performance. On the other hand, wrong-sized wheels can be an unexpected enemy on your way to becoming a skateboard champion.
In this article, we’re going to touch on what size skateboard wheels you need and give you some advice on how to choose the best size for your preferred skating styles. Let’s get right into it!
Skateboard Wheel Size Range
Tiny 48mm – 50mm Wheels
Tiny Skateboard wheels were the most popular option in the early 1990s. Skaters back in the day loved to perform finessed tricks on skateboard wheels as small as 36mm in diameter.
Tiny Wheels Can Be As Small As 36mm
The reason for that was mainly due to the preferable skateboard length back then. The boards were much shorter and thinner than they are these days.
Their heat started to cool down in the early 2000s since people replaced small decks with larger ones. Therefore, you can rarely find tiny wheels in the market at the moment.
Also, these wheels seem to provide little support for skaters. They are difficult to control on rough surfaces and tend to wear down the flat spot when riders perform sliding techniques.
Small 51mm – 52mm Wheels
Small wheels are the most competent contender for transition skateboarding – the technique involves shifting from a horizontal ground to a vertical incline.
Small skateboard wheels
The main feature of these wheels is the resistance to speed change, so when skaters slide down a sloped surface, the wheels won’t speed up much, leaving you more control of the decks.
Also, they have a low-center gravity, which requires only a slight push to accelerate the board movement. For that reason, if you are a novice skater, we highly suggest you give this wheel size a try.
Medium 52mm – 54mm Wheels
Medium wheels can perform smoothly on various types of terrain, making them another great choice for the inexperienced.
Medium Wheels Are The Great Choice For The Inexperienced
Indeed, they have an ideal appearance, which is neither too tiny, too large, too light, nor too heavy. Thanks to that, wheels of this size range possess a perfect combination of quick initial acceleration and sustainable speed.
Seasoned riders also find this size gives the best protection when practicing risky tricks. They gradually pick up the speed on descent roads to minimize errors happening due to unforeseen pace changes and quick movement transitions.
Medium Large 55mm – 57mm Wheels
If you want to spice up the challenge by increasing the maximum speed for your deck, medium-large wheels are the way to go for you.
With a little more exposed area to the skating ground than the medium wheels, they can absorb cracks and bumps effortlessly when sliding on the most weathered, rough surfaces.
Besides, since larger wheels are longer, the distance between the deck and the wheels will be shorter, causing wheel bits and skating errors. We will talk about this problem in detail in the next section.
For now, just remember to equip the deck with a small riser pad to extend the distance between them.
Large 58mm – 62mm Wheels
Wheels of 58mm to 62mm are the largest option for when riding on standard skating surfaces. The huge size can negatively affect the movement control for skaters, especially those who are inexperienced.
However, they are the popular choice for professional riders specializing in bowling and vert ramping. It is because these wheels can run at such a fast speed and grip while maintaining the optimum transitioned movements, giving riders the best support.
Extra Large Wheel 63mm +
Extra-large wheels are the largest that you can opt for. They were the go-to size for skaters back in the 1980s since large decks of up to ten inches were extremely well-loved.
Extra large wheels
Nowadays, due to their massiveness compared to the average seven-inch deck, they are the less common choice and are considered specialty rounders.
However, this size is the preferred option for longboard wheels and cruiser wheels. They are the biggest decks available in the market.
With a heavier weight and a softer durometer composition, they provide a better contact patch to handle the huge deck on even the roughest ground, such as asphalt or concrete.
How To Choose The Right Size Skateboard Wheels
Skateboard Wheel Size For Cruising
As we stated in the previous section, skateboards for cruising are the largest type of deck. For that reason, if you are looking for a set of cruiser wheels, it would be best to opt for the large or extra-large ones.
Besides choosing the right one for the deck, you have one more concern regarding riding safety when it comes to big-sized wheels.
As you have known, the bigger the wheels are, the closer they will be to the deck surface. If the gap between the wheels and the board gets too tight, you will likely encounter wheel bites.
It is an error caused by the constant exposure of the wheels to the deck while skaters turn or spin the skateboard. It will prevent you from making any forward motion and make the wheels stuck in one place.
The unexpected halt can make riders easily lose control over the board, become off-balance, and experience severe injuries if falling off onto the ground.
Therefore, you must equip your deck with a set of riser pads. The pads don’t need to be as large as the wheels themselves. Opting for any riser pads of ⅛ inch to ¼ inch is enough to keep the game rolling.
Skateboard Wheel Size For Street Skating
Medium and medium-large wheels are the perfect contenders for street skateboarding.
Street skateboarding wheels
Most streets and skate parks have more uneven and rougher surfaces, making landing tricks on the deck more challenging, especially if you use large wheels.
The huge contact area between the wheels and the ground will create unnecessary friction, making the deck’s movement more rigid and dragging.
On the other hand, smaller wheels allow you to skate more smoothly since the friction has been greatly reduced. Additionally, you can accelerate the deck faster to get as much speed in the shortest amount of time with the great contact patch the wheels provide.
For that reason, remember not to choose any wheel diameter of over 57mm if you plan to use them on the streets.
Also, when riding on rough surfaces, it is important to consider the wheel durometer in addition to the sizes. Hard wheels with a durometer scale of between 97a and 99a are the most suitable options.
Wheel Size For Bowls, Mini Ramps, And Vert Skating
For anyone who is not familiar with these terms, they are basically some of the common obstacles used in skateboarding. Each obstacle will have different lines to challenge skaters to their full potential.
A Standard Skating Bowl
For instance, a bowl can have various kinds of divots, surrounding walls, crannies, and hooks to bring the game to the next level. Therefore, skateboarding on bowls, mini ramps, and vert requires more experience, skills, and a specific set of wheels for a smooth ride.
If you consider yourself an average skater, we recommend using medium-large wheels of 55mm to 57mm for mini ramps and medium-sized bowls.
With large-sized verts and bowls, large wheels of 58mm to 62mm will do just fine to support your movement on the deck.
On the other hand, if you are a seasoned rider looking for more fun, opting for extra-large wheels over 62mm is the way to go.
Keep in mind that a few millimeters can make a significant difference in acceleration and speed. It might take a while for you to get used to the fast speed on the playing ground.
Wheel Size For Cruising And Tricks
Suppose cruising around and ollieing up a curb no longer seems to give you a kick. In this case, adding in a few tricks might get you going again.
Wheels for cruising and tricks
However, if you are about to throw in some unique techniques, the recommended sizes for normal cruising might not apply in this situation.
Instead of going for the large wheels above 58mm, it would be best to equip your deck with a set of medium-large wheels, ranging from 56mm to 58mm.
The slender wheels will lessen the friction between the skateboard and the ground and support you more when performing complicated tricks.
So this is our answer to the question of what size skateboard wheels should I get for my skateboard. If you are a complete beginner who just started learning about skateboarding, we highly recommend you pick out the best skateboard first.
You can refer to this article on choosing skateboards for beginners. Besides that, this guide on what size skateboards should I get will help if you are struggling with your deck size. Take care, and we’ll see you in our next post!