Longboard wheels are the most important component that makes up a complete longboard. Also, longboard decks and trucks typically outlast the wheels after some heavy skating so more than likely, you will have to replace your wheels at some point. With that being said, knowing about longboard wheels and what’s out there will certainly help. If you are interested in any of the wheels, you should choose ones from best longboard brands.
Everything Longboard Wheels
Here is some general information about longboard wheels and what effect their characteristics have on your skating. Typically, longboarding wheels are designed with speed and traction in mind. Longboard wheel hardness or softness is specified by the durometer. Lower durometer urethane compositions like 75A are used for improved “grippy-ness”. However, lower durometers mean the wheel is softer so under the weight of the rider, the wheel doesn’t maintain perfect roundness which affects its ability to roll which is why higher durometer wheels are typically favored for speed. You need to find a balance between traction and speed that meets your skating style. The contact patch, which is the length of wheel that’s in contact with the ground, is typically higher to achieve more contact area with the ground. The front profile of the wheel can vary depending on what discipline it’s used for. For hard carving where traction is a priority, the wheel profile is square to give an edged lip to prevent the wheel from slipping sideways. Some people are looking for wheels that break traction easier for sliding maneuvers and look for wheels with rounded edge profiles.
To be honest I could go on forever about longboarding wheels , and I’ll be posting information about other longboarding wheels such as Orangatangs and Abec 11′s. Hopefully this guide will help you select the best longboard wheels that fit your skating style.
By the way, if you are by any chance new to longboarding, check out this awesome video brought to you by the guys of Loaded Longboards. This is Adam S. Riding a Loaded Vanguard with R-II randals trucks and Abec 11 Gumballs.
I’ve noticed that there are a lot of searches coming through for the “best” sliding wheels. Now, if you’ve seen some of the videos on youtube you’ve probably noticed that Adam Colton can slide on just about anything. It’s hard to really say what the “best” is, but there are certainly characteristics about a wheel that can make them good for sliding. First, harder wheels slide better. Softer wheels flatten more due to the weight of the rider increasing the contact area between the wheel and the ground, thus increasing traction. Smaller diameter wheels slide better than bigger ones, due to maintaining a lower profile. A low board ontop of small wheels will have a noticiable effect. Also, if the wheels are rounded in the corners, it helps let the wheel “slip” and break into a slide. Square profile wheels have an edge that provides extra grip during high G turns.
Now, since this is my blog I get to say whatever I want *ho ho ho* and in my opinion, the BEST sliding wheel is hands down the Orangatang Stimulus 86A. These wheels were designed with sliding in mind. With a durometer of 86A, they are hard in comparison to most longboard wheels. Although they have a generally square profile, they are very slightly rounded to allow for nice, controlled slides. Now, to be clear, don’t go on thinking just by buying these wheels you’ll all of a sudden be Adam Colton. Sliding takes a lot of practice, and these wheels are definitely well suited. I full endorse wearing protective gear and using slide gloves. Anyways, look no further people.
Orangatang wheels: In Heat and 4President
The Orangatang wheels have been in development for quite a few years now and are the result of countless trial runs and testing. If you watch the video under the Retro BigZigs post, you will notice that Adam Colton is riding on the prototype Orangatangs. These wheels are meant for high speed and hard carving although in many videos you’ll see the Adams sliding out like crazy with them. Like Gumballs, the Orangatangs can break into controlled slides once the wheels have been broken in. However, Orangatang is releasing a freeride wheel in a couple months that will accommodate us sliders. With that being said, the In Heat and 4President are high quality high performing wheels that offer a very wide contact patch and square edges for tons of grip. The 70mm and 75mm diameters give you a smooth and fast ride. If the orange flavor isn’t fast enough for you, on August 29th Orangatang is releasing the purple flavors which are a bit harder at 83A for better top speed.
As new as these wheels are, I’ve read and seen a lot of good things about them and plan to get a set of my own for my Vanguard. The only noticable difference between the In Heat and 4President are the diameter and contact patch but the overall design is the same. They advertise that the ripples on the In Heat help for energy rebound but can you really tell? Either way, this is a bandwagon you definitely want to jump on so grab a set for you too!