Hey there, fellow skaters! It’s Matt, your skateboard specialist, and today; we’re embarking on an exciting journey to demystify a crucial aspect of our beloved four-wheeled companions – skate wheel hardness.
If you’ve ever wondered whether your wheels are too hard, too soft, or just right, you’re in for a treat.
Join me as we explore the nuances of wheel hardness, unravel the secrets behind durometer measurements, and discover how this seemingly small detail can significantly impact your skating experience.
Buckle up your helmets, grab your boards, and let’s dive into the fascinating world of skate wheels to ensure you’re rolling with confidence on every ride.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting to carve your path in the skateboarding realm, understanding your wheel hardness is a game-changer.
So, let’s kick off this guide and roll into the heart of the matter!
The Basics: What’s the Big Deal About Wheel Hardness?
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of determining wheel hardness, let’s quickly grasp why it matters.
The hardness of your skate wheels can profoundly impact your ride, affecting speed, grip, and overall maneuverability.
Whether cruising the streets or tackling tricks at the park, having the right wheel hardness is crucial for an optimal skating experience.
Feeling the Durometer: A Crash Course in Skate Wheel Hardness
Understanding Durometer Measurements
The durometer is the key to unveiling the hardness of your skate wheels.
It’s a scale that quantifies how hard or soft a material is.
Skate wheels typically range from 78A to 101A on the durometer scale, with lower numbers indicating softer wheels and higher numbers indicating harder ones.
The Soft Side: 78A to 87A
Soft wheels (78A to 87A) are like the shock absorbers of the skateboarding world.
They provide a smoother ride by absorbing bumps and cracks in the pavement.
If you’re into cruising or commuting, soft wheels are your best bet for a comfortable journey.
Additionally, they offer better grip, making them ideal for carving and cruising around the city.
The Middle Ground: 88A to 95A
Mid-range wheels strike a balance between soft and hard.
These wheels fall within the 88A to 95A range and are versatile and suitable for various skateboarding styles.
Whether a street skater or a park enthusiast, mid-range wheels offer a good compromise between grip and slide, allowing you to explore different terrains.
The Hard Truth: 96A and Above
Hard wheels (96A and above) are the go-to choice for street skaters and those aiming for maximum speed.
These wheels provide less grip but excel in sliding, perfect for executing tricks and maneuvers requiring controlled slides.
If you’re all about mastering technical skills, hard wheels might be your weapon of choice.
The Bounce Test: A Simple DIY Method
Now that you know the theory, let’s get hands-on with a simple test to determine your wheel hardness: the bounce test.
Drop your skateboard from a low height and observe how high it rebounds. Soft wheels absorb more impact and bounce higher, while rugged ones have lower rebounds.
It’s a quick and practical way to assess your wheels’ hardness without fancy tools.
Surface Matters: Tailoring Hardness to Terrain
Smooth Sailing on Rough Roads
If you frequently skate on rough, uneven surfaces, opting for softer wheels is smart.
The added grip and shock absorption will make your ride more enjoyable, ensuring you don’t feel every pebble on the pavement.
Hard Wheels for Smooth Surfaces
Conversely, rigid wheels are your ticket to speed and controlled slides if you enjoy smooth surfaces like skate parks or well-paved streets.
The reduced grip on these surfaces allows for quick, precise movements and is essential for executing technical tricks.
Personal Preference: Finding Your Perfect Match
Ultimately, the ideal wheel hardness boils down to personal preference.
As you gain more experience on your skateboard, you’ll understand what feels suitable for your riding style.
Don’t hesitate to experiment with different durometers to discover the perfect balance between grip and slide for your skating adventures.
|78A to 87A (Soft)
|Shock absorption, better grip
|Rough surfaces, cruising
|88A to 95A (Mid-Range)
|Versatile, balance between grip and slide
|96A and above (Hard)
|Less grip, excellent for sliding
|Smooth surfaces, technical tricks
Fellow skaters, we’ve journeyed through the terrain of skate wheel hardness, unraveling the intricacies that make our rides unique.
With knowledge about durometer measurements, the bounce test, and the impact of wheel hardness on different terrains, you’re now equipped to make informed choices about your skate wheels.
Remember, it’s all about finding your perfect match, whether you lean towards the shock-absorbing comfort of soft wheels, the versatile middle ground, or the adrenaline-pumping precision of hard wheels.
Your skating journey is as unique as you are, and tailoring your wheels to your style and preferred terrain ensures that every ride is thrilling.
So, the next time you step onto your skateboard, let the wheels beneath your feet reflect your skating spirit.
Roll on, ride hard, and savor the exhilarating freedom of mastering the art of skate wheel hardness.
Until our wheels meet again on the pavement, keep shredding and enjoying the ride!