Choosing longboard wheels is a personal endeavor because there is no single wheel that suits everyone. For you to get the best wheels, you need to know your style and narrow your wheel choices to suit your local roads. However, there are major factors that you should put in mind when choosing longboard wheels. Some of these essential characteristics are as follows.
The lip of longboard wheels is the outer edge situated on its contact path. The shape of the lips will determine the way a wheel will ride. Thick squared and sharp lips make a wheel to be more grippy, while rounded wheels enable the wheel to break traction easily and provide smoother alterations from grip to slip. Sharp lipped wheels are suitable for downhill movements, while round lipped wheels are ideal for freeriding.
The contact patch of longboard wheels is the rounded surface in which it makes contact with the ground or rolls on. Longboard wheels tend to have contact patches ranging from 20 to 70mm, although most wheels will generally fall between 38 to 55mm. A wheel that has a wider contact patch will have more grip and is mainly suitable for downhill. A narrower contact patch gives the wheel less grip, which makes it suitable for freeriding.
When choosing longboard wheels, you need to determine the size that you want. Most wheels tend to have a size of between 64mm to 80mm in diameter. However, the 70mm wheels are the most common size available. Larger wheels tend to accelerate more slowly, but they have a higher top speed and will roll over debris and cracks easily. On the other hand, smaller wheels tend to fit on more setups, and they will accelerate faster, but they have a slower top speed.
The durometer rating of longboard wheels refers to its level of hardness. Longboard wheels have durometer ranges of between 75a and 88a. This makes these wheels softer compared to customary skateboard wheels that have durometer ratings of between 90a and 101a. Wheels that have lower durometer ratings tend to have more grip, but they roll more slowly, while higher durometer ratings are associated will faster rolling and less grip. The most popular durometer ratings for most forms of longboarding is 78a and 80a because these will have medium grip, slide-ability and roll speed.
For longboard wheels, there are three types of core placements: centerset, sideset, and offset. Offset cores tend to be slightly off the center and they enable easier kick-out into the slides, and will hook up smoothly compared to centerset wheels. Extreme sideset wheels may be unconducive for freeriding because they will wear out unevenly. When choosing your core placement, always remember that this will depend on the intended terrain and your personal taste.
When it comes to longboarding, there is no ideal wheel that suits the needs of every longboarder. The above-mentioned factors are considerations to help you make the right choice. All you need to remember is that one wheel characteristic that works perfectly in one situation can be hazardous in another. This is because terrains can be smoother or rougher, roads may be serpentine or straight, and your wheels will inhibit or accentuate to your style. With longboarding, you can never have many wheel choices because each will be suitable for a different circumstance.