With skateboards having several components, there is always a chance we’ll prioritize one factor over another. We could be scouting graphics more than identifying the right deck. Or we could be checking wheel colors while ignoring its hardness.
Yes, skateboard wheels have hardness levels, and manufacturers measure them in durometers. So, what is durometer skateboard wheels? Keep reading this article as we explain what wheel hardness is for and how to pick the appropriate wheels.
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What Does Durometer Mean?
Suppose you own a cruiser and a shortboard with standard setups. The cruiser will let you dodge road debris with less vibration, but it won’t work for tricks. Conversely, the shortboard will likely excel at tricks.
Aside from their shapes, what makes the riding experience on them different? Their wheel hardness or commonly known as durometer level.
In a general sense, durometers measure the softness or hardness of an object. The good thing is manufacturers have already established the figures for soft, medium, and hard skateboard wheels using this metric.
Specifically, the durometer scale is a ranking of the wheel’s grip and its capacity to absorb shocks.
Skateboard Wheels Types in Durometer Levels
Here are the two durometer scales you should know.
1. Durometer A
The durometer “A” is the more common skateboard wheels durometer scale. It’s 20 points higher than rollers in the durometer “B” group.
2. Durometer B
Durometer “B” came into existence because of the demand for harder wheels. This lower rating system allows manufacturers to label hard wheels more accurately.
The Durometer Skate Wheels Levels
It’s time to understand what the numbers beside the “a” and “b” on the wheels stand for.
1. The soft wheels
Soft skateboard wheels come in a hardness range of 75A to 87A. These rollers allow the skater to maneuver over rough surfaces, thanks to their grippy finish.
Besides that, 83a longboard wheels and others in the range are also perfect choices for downhill skating because of their riding smoothness.
2. Medium wheels
These rollers go between the previous type and the harder wheels. Specifically, they have a hardness rating of 88A to 95A.
Performance-wise, they’re not as smooth as low durometer longboard wheels. Nonetheless, they’re still able to cruise the bumpy urban roads for street skaters.
3. Hard wheels
If cruiser skaters enjoy soft wheels when riding on road cracks, street skaters take on ramps and tricks with hard rollers.
Although wheels within this range don’t handle rough surfaces well, they allow users to maintain traction while not being too slow.
4. The hardest wheels
Although these are extremely fast, you may not use them for much else aside from tricks. They’re great for competitions, where technical displays are a must.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best durometer for skateboard wheels?
Each number in the durometer wheels scale has benefits and disadvantages. For example, to say that hard wheels aren’t the best for cruising doesn’t necessarily discredit the fact that they work well for the streets.
So, for a fair assessment, let’s identify the best wheel durometers for different styles.
- Street skating – Minimum of 99A
- Cruising, filming, transport, and rough terrains – 78A durometer to 87A
- All around – 90A to 97A
How to choose?
We have already discussed what hardness level to choose when buying skateboard wheels for various skating styles. Let’s finally complete the selection process by checking the rollers’ shapes and the small size chart below.
Based on shape:
- Classic – Narrow-surfaced wheels with a rounded profile for speed
- Conical – Broader riding surface and more lightweight
Based on size:
- Street rollers – 52mm to 54mm
- Parks – 55mm to 58mm
- Note: Use riser pads in the case of 56mm wheels and higher.
- Cruiser skateboard wheels – 59mm and up
So, what is durometer skateboard wheels? It is the scale used to help us identify the perfect hardness of urethane rollers for streets, roads, and parks. Pair these measurements with the ideal sizes, shapes, and other aspects, and we get the best skate wheels.
Thus, let’s always be mindful of these hardness ranges to ensure we get better rides and quality results.
Hi, I am Charles Harris. I opened this site to write as much as I can about my biggest passion – skateboarding!
I started as a clumsy yet passionate rookie 10 years ago to now a still passionate yet much better skateboarder! But I have to tell you, the whole journey has always been fun and rewarding, indeed not without hardship.