What Are Skateboard Wheels Made Of? Facts You Need to Know?

skateboard facts

You won’t be able to acquire the ideal skating sensations even if you have the best skateboard deck or the best skateboard trucks. This is only possible if you purchase the greatest skateboard wheels. Smoother and more thunderous skating rides can be achieved with the ideal skateboard wheels.

Skateboard wheels come in a variety of sizes and styles. These various shapes and sizes are appropriate for various stunts. For example, if you prefer to cruise, square lip wheels are the finest option. Round lip wheels, on the other hand, are ideal for power sliding and complicated tricks.

Therefore, we have brought you a complete guide to tell you what skateboard wheels are made of? What are their different shapes and sizes? How soft or hard wheels can affect your performance? This adequate knowledge will help you to get the best wheels for your skateboard. 

History Of Skateboard Wheels

History Of Skateboard Wheels

Skateboard wheels were first invented in the 1900s. Despite the fact that the first skateboard was claimed in the 1930s, skateboard wheels were used by children in the 1900s. They took old wooden fruit crates and used nails to attach roller skate wheels to them. Crates were tough to move since the wheels were constructed of steel and were hard to turn. Clay wheels appeared later, but they were still wobbly and unreliable.

If you are a beginner check out this article: Is Skateboarding Hard to Learn?

Frank Nasworthy invented the first urethane skateboard wheels in the 1970s. He received the concept for these wheels while riding roller skates with urethane wheels in his friend’s garden. With his skateboard, he intended to use these wheels. He noticed that these urethane wheels provide a smoother ride, and there are no bumpy rides anymore. 

Though skating was going to its declining phase back then, Nasworthy’s urethane wheels were becoming popular, named under Cadillacs

Skateboard Wheel Material

If you are wondering what skateboard wheels are made of, you would be surprised to know that the toughest skateboard wheels are made of plastic or polyurethane. Polyurethane is essentially a polymer. Polyol and isocyanate are combined to make it. This substance delivers the ideal balance of traction and smoothness for skaters. Due to the elasticity of these wheels, you can achieve the most controlled twists and maneuvers without slipping.

Furthermore, skateboard manufacturers are continually experimenting with polyurethane wheels in order to create more durable wheels. Hybrid material wheels, which are more durable, flexible, and provide gliding rides by absorbing shocks, are now available on the market.

How Skateboard Wheels Are Made?

After discovering what skateboard wheels are made of, the excited skaters definitely want to know its manufacturing process. The durable skateboard wheels are made through a heating process. The raw material for wheels is placed in a metering machine with measured proportions. The mixture is then heated and poured into aluminum molds to let it cool. Then, the mixture is cooled and cut on a lathe machine precisely. It is vital that this cutting process is done correctly because the wheel’s diameter and radius are calculated from this process. After that, the wheels are then printed with various logos or designs and packed for sale. 

The tools which are used in the skateboarding process are 

  • Metering Machine
  • Nozzle Dispenser
  • Oven
  • Air Compressor
  • Durometer Gauge
  • Lathe Machine
  • Pad Printing Machine
  • Rebound Tester 
  • Aluminum Molder

Looking to Buy a Skateboard Wheel? : Check Out Our Buying Guide on Best Skateboard Wheels

Shapes of Skateboard Wheels

Skateboard wheels usually come in four shapes. Though the wheels are round their central shape is different which provides you with a variety of grip levels. The four types of wheels are: 

  • Round
  • Beveled
  • Square 
  • Sharp

The round and beveled wheels have less grip, therefore they are perfect for cruising. Whereas, the square and sharp wheels provide more traction. That’s why pro skaters use these wheels to perform intricate tricks like powersliding, stairs, grinding rails, etc.

Hardness Level Of Skateboard Wheels

Polyurethane wheels skateboard hardness is measured using the durometer rating. The durometer rating tells us how strong the wheel can provide grip and how shock absorbent they are. The higher the rating, the more hard and durable wheels are, but less shock absorption capacity. 

When you check the durometer rating, you will also find A or B with a specific number. This shows from which durometer scale the hardness is measured, i.e., A or B. The durometer A scale can measure hardness up to 100 points. If you need to measure harder wheels, then the B scale is used. It shows precise ratings up to 120. Therefore, you can say the 83B wheel will be harder than the 83A wheel. 

Based on their hardness level, you can get varying results in performance. Let’s see which hardness level suits which particular skating style and tricks. 

1. Soft Wheels 78A–92A

On rough terrains, soft wheels can withstand the most shock effects and provide a smoother ride. The disadvantage is because these wheels do not have turbo speeds, they are not suitable for complex feats.

2. Soft to Medium Hard Wheels 93A–95A

On uneven roads, these low-medium hard wheels provide excellent traction. They’re great for cruising or skateboarding on the street.

3. Hard Skateboard Wheels 95A–99A

These sturdy wheels are ideal for novices because they offer plenty of traction and speed while cruising down the road. These wheels can also be used to nail down skate ramps or parks since they provide more controlled rides.

4. Toughest Skateboard Wheels 100A+

Wheels with a durometer rating of 100A or higher are commonly measured in B. These are the most durable wheels, capable of achieving turbo speeds in a matter of seconds. As a result, they’re ideal for any technique that requires a lot of concentration. On uneven terrains, they don’t provide a smoother ride, but specialists can easily manage their boards with these tough wheels.

5. Harder Than A Scale Wheels 83B-84B

These skateboard wheels are tougher than A scale because B scale can measure 20 points more hardness than the A scale. Therefore, 83B and 84B show the hardest range of skateboard wheels. 

Skateboard Wheel Size

Different skateboard wheel sizes

Skating performance is also influenced by skateboard wheel size. The diameter of the wheels, or how big or little they are, is measured in millimeters. The wheels typically come in diameters ranging from 48mm to 75mm. Depending on your speed preferences, choose the wheel size that suits your needs.. Smaller wheels generate slower speeds, while larger wheels provide thunderous speeds. When purchasing wheels, keep in mind the dimensions of your board. 

1. Small Wheels 

Skateboard wheels in the 48mm to 53mm range are the smallest skateboard wheels. Slower but more steady rides are provided by these wheels. As a result, they’re a great choice for new skaters. 

2. Medium Wheels 

The average size is 54mm to 59mm for medium ones. On shortboards, these wheels are ideal for fast rides.

3. Large Wheels 

Wheels with a diameter of 60mm or more are considered large. These wheels are designed for longboards and deliver the smoothest downhill rides possible. Furthermore, these huge wheels can achieve turbo speeds, making them appropriate for long driving. 

4. Wheel Bites

If your wheels aren’t properly fitted, they’ll come into contact with the deck, slowing you down. Wheel bites are the term for this type of case. Check the size compatibility of your wheels with your trucks and deck whenever you acquire a new one. To avoid getting wheel bites, make sure your skateboard deck is cut out.

Skateboard Wheel Contact Patch

The contact patch of the wheel refers to its width. If your skateboard wheel is wider, it will cover more contact areas with the ground, providing more friction. So, if you want more stable cruising rides, wider wheels with large contact patches are suitable. Moreover, on rough terrains wider wheels also help to get more stable skating rides. 

On the other hand, if you want more powerslides and turbo speed, you need to lower this friction factor as much as possible. The narrow contact patch will provide low grip as less wheel area will be contacting the ground. So, the wheels can slide easily and provide high speed. 

Skateboard Wheel Core Type

The core is present in the middle of the wheel, which provides stability to the round structure of the wheel. You may find wheels with larger and smaller cores. The variety of core sizes affects your skating performance differently. 

Large Cores

Large core wheels are suitable for more speedy rides. A large core helps to distribute the skater’s weight evenly on the whole wheel. Therefore, there is less chance of wheel or bearing deformation due to the even distribution of the weight of the skater. So, the friction due to deformation will be lowered which gives you smoother and faster rides. These large core wheels are perfect for intricate tricks. 

Small Core

Small core wheels provide more urethane depths. These urethane depths also help to absorb shocks on rough terrains downhill. You can experience more grip and smooth rides with these small core wheels. Therefore, you can get smooth cruising with these small core wheels. 

However, these small core wheels are more prone to deformation which increases friction and lowers your skating speed. 

Skateboard Wheel Core Placement 

Core Placement refers to the placement of the core in the wheel. Usually, the core of the wheel can be at three varying positions and affects your riding style differently. 

1. Centerset

Centerset core is situated in the center of the wheel which gives equal hub distance. This wheel style is suitable for enhanced traction which gives more controlled rides. The center set wheels to wear evenly. On the downside, these wheels don’t slide well so you can’t use them for power sliding. 

2. Sideset 

The sideset core is between the centerset and offset. This sideset provides low traction because the inner lips are smaller, therefore, good for street skating or sliding. However, this uneven placement leads to quick wear off of the wheel, and sliding will be uncontrolled. 

3. Offset

The offset core is at the edge. This core is widely used for powerslides or other challenging tricks. The reason is when the skater lifts off the board to slide; his weight is shifted inwards. This inward shifting weight leads to lifting off the edge of the wheel, which ultimately lowers the contact patch and produces smooth slides. 

Moreover, these offset wheels provide more traction with square lips. That’s why they are good for cruising. 

Skateboard Wheel Lip Profile

While buying skateboard wheels, you will also see the term ‘Lip profile’ in the features of the wheels. This profile determines the traction of wheels. Usually, the skateboard wheels are either round lip or square lips. 

  • Round Lip provides less grip as the wheel surface is round from the edges which lower the contact patch. 
  • The square lip provides more traction as there is an increased contact patch due to the square-shaped edges of the wheels. 

Wheel Material Formula

The wheel material formula refers to the composition of the wheel, i.e., what components are used to make the wheels. Companies give their wheel material a special formula name so you can instantly know what good this particular composition wheel can do to your performance. Some of the well-known chemical formulas for skateboard wheels are as follows. 

1. Buttery

The word buttery itself suggests that you will get smoother rides. As we know, smooth rides don’t provide good speed, so you won’t be able to get accelerated rides with this formula. 

2. Greasy

This formula represents that these particular skateboard wheels’ rubber will provide you with more shock absorption and you will glide over the bumpy roads. 

3. Chalky

This formula name is used for wheels that are good for riding on rugged terrains. These wheels can absorb the impact of even small pebbles and give you smoother rides. However, they are not as smooth as buttery or greasy wheels are. 

4. Icy

These wheels are good for sliding as these wheels are super slippery representing no traction. You can use these wheels for sliding on rails or ramps.

5. Grippy

This chemical formula shows that wheels will show increased traction. You can perform safer rides with grippy wheels. 

How To Attach Skateboard Wheels To Trucks?

Attaching Skateboard Wheels To Trucks
Attaching Skateboard Wheels To Trucks

To attach your wheels to the skateboard, you first need to install the bearings and then connect your wheels to these bearings. You can install bearings on the truck’s axle in the following way. 

  • Hold the skateboard in such a way that its axle side faces towards you. 
  • Place the bearings on the axle. 
  • Add washers and axle nuts. 
  • Now place the wheels on the bearings so that it gets fit in the wheel core. 
  • Now insert the bearing spacer from the opposite side to the center of the wheel. 
  • When spacers get fixed, you will hear the pop sound. This represents that the wheels are attached properly to the bearings and ultimately to your truck. 
  • Repeat the process with all four wheels. 
  • Your skateboard is ready to give you magnificent rides. 

While installing the wheel to the bearing, ensure that you are not applying too much force. Otherwise, you may damage the core of the wheels. 

Also read this article: Best Skateboard Helmets

How to Maintain Skateboard Wheels?

If you want your wheels to work longer, you should continue swapping them from time to time. This reduces the effect of wear or tears on a single wheel. You can change the wheels in the following way

  • Swap the wheels in X-form. Place the rear left wheel to the front right and the front left to the rear right. 
  • You can also change the wheels’ direction by removing the inward-facing wheels and placing them in the outward direction. 

Moreover, check your bearings if you notice that your wheels have stopped turning, whereas they are in proper shape. Usually, the bearings are damaged due to which wheels don’t perform better. 

If you don’t know what skateboard wheels are made of, you can’t buy the right wheels. The durable wheels are made of polyurethane. If you choose the right size, shape, and hardness, you can easily skate with your own preferred style. But, you need to know which wheel features go best with your skating style. Therefore, this comprehensive guide will let you get the most appropriate skateboard wheels for your skateboard. 

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