When looking at a skateboard from a distance, the wheels may all appear to be the same size. Skateboard wheels are a crucial component of the board, and choosing the right size can significantly impact your riding experience. So, what is the standard skateboard wheel size?
Skateboard wheels come in a variety of sizes, but the most commonly used sizes are 52 to 56 millimeters in diameter. However, skateboard wheels are available in a wide range of diameters, ranging from 48 to 60 millimeters.
To get the best riding experience, you need the right skateboard wheel size. The majority of skateboarders prefer standard sizes, but it’s important to consider when larger or smaller wheels are better. I’ll talk about the benefits of standard and different skateboard sizes in this post.
Skateboard Wheel Anatomy
Skateboard wheels have five main components that make up their anatomy: wheel size, durometer, contact patch, core, and lip shape.
Durometer is a term used to describe the hardness of a skateboard wheel. It is measured on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the hardest and 1 being the softest. Durometer is often abbreviated as “duro,” and it is an important factor to consider when choosing skateboard wheels.
Wheel size and durometer rating are usually printed on skateboard wheels. Below is a brief explanation of the durometer scale to give you an idea of what to look for.
Skateboard wheels come in different shapes, including round, conical, and square. The shape of the wheel affects its overall performance and feel. For example, round wheels are more versatile and offer a smoother ride, while square wheels provide more stability and control.
The contact patch is the area of the wheel that makes contact with the ground. The size and shape of the contact patch can affect how the skateboard performs. A larger contact patch provides more grip, while a smaller one offers less resistance and more slide.
The core is the center of the wheel and can be either a solid or hollow design. A solid core provides more stability and durability, while a hollow core offers a lighter weight and greater speed.
The lip profile refers to the shape of the outer edge of the wheel. Different lip profiles can affect the way the wheel grips or slides, as well as the overall stability of the skateboard. Some common lip profiles include square, rounded, and beveled.
Brand and Material:
The brand and material of the skateboard wheel can also affect its performance and durability. High-quality materials like polyurethane are often used for skateboard wheels, as they provide a good balance of durability and grip.
Standard Skateboard Wheel Size & Why It Matters
Standard skateboard wheels come in different sizes, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common wheel sizes are:
50-53mm: These wheels are smaller and perfect for technical tricks. Because they are lightweight and have a low moment of inertia, they are easier to flip and spin. A lighter board is also suitable for smaller riders or those who prefer a lighter board.
54-59mm: There is a wide range of riding styles that can be accommodated by these wheels. For street skating and cruising, they offer a good balance between speed and maneuverability.
60mm and above: The larger size of these wheels makes them ideal for cruising, transport, and downhill riding. Their faster speeds and smoother rides on rough surfaces are counterbalanced by their heavier weight and reduced maneuverability.
|Wheel Size (in mm)||Best For||Speed||Acceleration|
|48-51||Flat surfaces only||Lower peak speed||Quicker acceleration|
|52-54||Any surface||Higher peak speed||Slower acceleration|
|55-60||Skateboard parks||Even higher peak speed||Even slower acceleration|
|61+||Cruisers/Longboards||Smooth rides only, not for tricks||Very slow acceleration|
How to Choose the Right Wheel Size?
Choosing the right wheel size is crucial to ensure the best riding experience. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right wheel size:
Riding Style: The wheel size required for different riding styles varies. If you want to do technical tricks, you’ll need smaller wheels; if you want to cruise and go downhill, you’ll need larger wheels.
Terrain: Wheel size is also affected by the type of terrain on which you will be riding. A smaller wheel is ideal for smooth and flat surfaces, while a larger wheel is ideal for rough and bumpy surfaces.
Rider Experience Level: The smaller wheels may be preferred by beginners due to their ease of control, whereas the larger wheels may be preferred by more experienced riders because of their speed and maneuverability.
Personal Preference: Choosing the right wheel size is a matter of personal preference. Depending on how it feels while riding or for its aesthetics, some riders may prefer a certain wheel size. Finding the right wheel size for your needs requires trying out different sizes of wheels.
What are skateboard wheels made from?
Skateboard wheels are made from a variety of materials, with the most common being polyurethane (PU). PU is a durable and abrasion-resistant material that can withstand the wear and tear of skateboarding.
Some wheels may also have a core made from materials such as plastic, aluminum, or magnesium, which can affect the weight and performance of the wheel.
The hardness of the wheel is determined by the type and amount of additives added to the PU mixture during manufacturing. Other materials used in skateboard wheels include ceramic, steel, and carbon fiber, although these are less common.
Is 52mm wheels too small?
52mm wheels are considered a small wheel size, but they are suitable for technical tricks and street skating. They are also suitable for smaller riders or those who prefer a lighter board. However, they may not be suitable for cruising or downhill riding.
How do I know my skateboard wheel size?
Skateboard wheel size is usually printed on the side of the wheel in millimeters (mm). If you can’t find the size of the wheel, you can measure the diameter of the wheel using a ruler or measuring tape.
Are 78A wheels too soft?
78A wheels are relatively soft and offer a good grip on smooth surfaces. They are ideal for cruising and transportation, but may not be suitable for tricks or rough terrain.
Are 95A wheels too soft?
95A wheels are considered medium-soft and offer a good balance of grip and slide. They are suitable for most types of riding, including street skating and cruising, but may not be ideal for downhill riding or rough terrain.