Skateboard wheels come in a plethora of brands, types, sizes, colors, and durometers to meet every rider’s preference. You would be hard-pressed to find any other part of your skateboard that impacts the way you roll, move, and turn more than your wheels do.
Skateboarders looking to satisfy their need for speed will agree that tight skateboard wheels perform so much faster and provide better stability. In this article, I’ll help you find out how tight should skateboard wheels be. The answer depends largely on your skill level, riding style, as well as safety and comfort. Check out the details below to learn more:
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How Tight Should Skateboard Wheels Be: Every Rider Should Know
Ultimately, determining how tight your skateboard wheels should be is a matter of preference.
There are conflicting opinions about how to adjust skateboard wheels for a better riding experience and there are pros and cons to consider if you want them real tight. After all, achieving the perfect wheel adjustment without compromising one benefit over another is close to impossible.
If you are after unparalleled speed and stability, you will want your wheels tight but not up to the extent that it impedes how they move and roll. Loose wheels tend to offer more fluidity for effortless turns and overall maneuverability.
Here are the reasons why you should consider tightening your wheels:
- Unrivaled Speed
Tight wheels are unmistakably fast, slick, and roll at mind-blowing speeds. Tightening your wheels will also allow you to control your speed more efficiently resulting in smoother yet action-packed rides.
In addition to exhilarating speeds, tight wheels also give you the ability to reinvent and revolutionize how you cruise and free-ride. Being able to modify your style of riding is one of the most enjoyable parts of skateboarding.
- Prevents Wheel Bite
Wheel bite kicks in when your wheels come in contact with your skateboard, stopping you dead in your tracks. As a consequence, you may lose your balance or get jolted off your board. This is unsafe and can easily lead to serious injuries. At the end of it all, remember to keep your safety gear secure!
Tighter wheels stay in place and reduce the possibility of friction, thus ensuring the safety of your ride.
- Unmatched Stability
Tight wheels give you the added advantage of stable and secure rides. Whether you’re a beginner still trying to learn the ropes or an experienced rider who enjoys making your way down skate ramps, tighter wheels will protect you by distributing your weight more evenly.
Stability in your ride means that you are free to ride the way you want with greater confidence.
While tightening your wheels comes with exciting benefits, here are the drawbacks:
- Limited Turning Radius
Tight wheels hinder your ability to turn and steer swiftly. With limited maneuverability, taking on sharp turns and curves is a challenging feat. You may have a difficult time adjusting to the tension in your wheels, which will make for a less enjoyable ride.
If your skating style requires free movement and flexibility, keeping your wheels moderately loose is a better idea. Just be sure not to loosen excessively for your safety.
- Incompatible with Performing Tricks
Tight wheels suppress your fluidity, making it difficult to perform tricks. You might have to push harder or press the tail of your skateboard down to pull off a trick or two.
Alternatively, you can loosen your wheels a bit to make doing stunts a more enjoyable experience. Then, you can switch back to tightening your wheels when riding more casually.
- Less Lenient For Landing
Landing slightly askew on loose wheels is way easier on the feet and ankles. With tight wheels, you will have to put pressure on your skateboard to force it from going out of line. The tighter your wheels, the closer you need to be to a seamless landing, which is not always possible.
Although these drawbacks seem discouraging, tight wheels will work to your advantage when you do these activities:
- Barrelling Downhill
Tightening your wheels is the best option when going downhill because they accelerate faster and provide the stability you need to maintain your balance. This makes the descent much smoother and easier to control, upping the enjoyability of the ride.
There is no exact configuration for tightness so this completely depends on your comfort and skill level. However, as a rule of thumb, keeping it within 70%-80% is advisable.
- Going Down A Skate Ramp
Just like when barrelling downhill, your wheels need to be remarkably fast and stable when making your way down a skate ramp. Most importantly, they should be tight enough to resist wheel bite and speed wobbles. This makes for a smoother and safer ride.
If you enjoy flexing tricks on the skate ramp as much as we do, keeping your wheels moderately tight is the way to go.
- Flipping Your Skateboard
Learning to flip a skateboard is probably every rider’s aspiration. This stunt is pulled off by rotating the board around a horizontal or vertical axis. Landing this trick is impressive, but you may need to adjust your wheels to do it just right.
For a safe and stable landing that’s easy on the ankles, finding the middle ground between loose and tight wheels is the best route to take. This will allow you both the fluidity and stability required to perform the trick successfully.
How To Tighten Your Skateboard Wheels
Now that you have discovered the ins and outs of tightening your skateboard wheels, it’s high time you learn to master the art of adjusting your wheels to suit your preference, riding style, and skill level. You will be surprised to know that it’s not as difficult as most presume it to be. A socket or a ½-inch wrench is all you need to get the job done.
Start by either tightening or loosening the Nyloc nut on the axle with your wrench or socket. Grip one of the wheels and shake it to determine if you got the right adjustment. If the wheel shakes sideways, it needs further tightening.
If you hear a rattling sound as you move and perform tricks, this is a tell-tale sign that your wheels are too loose. Aside from being a safety hazard, loose wheels contribute to imprecise steering. Tightening the axle nut down should take care of this.
On the other hand, to ensure your wheels are not too tight, spin one of the wheels you’ve tightened – if it doesn’t roll for a long time and comes to a sudden stop, consider loosening them a bit.
Check out this video as well as forums on reddit for more info about adjusting your wheels to suit your riding preference:
Wheels are an incremental part of a skateboard and so is determining the answer to “How Tight Should Skateboard Wheels Be”. Remember to consider these points when making adjustments:
- Skill level
- Riding style
- Safety and comfort
Choosing high-quality polyurethane wheels from reputable brands that are resilient and reliable is another factor worth mentioning.
If you found this article insightful, share it with other riding enthusiasts you know. We’d also love to see your thoughts in the comment box below!