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You’ve decided on size. Style. Deck. Features. Now you’ve got to determine what kind of skateboard wheels are going to get you to where you want to go.
There are two main choices in skateboard wheels: diameter (millimeters) and durometer (hardness). Both of these choices are a matter of personal preference, and what you intend to do on your skateboard.
Skateboard wheel diameter is measured in millimeters and the lower the number, the smaller the wheel. Simply put, smaller wheels = slower ride, larger wheels = faster ride. Smaller wheels make sense for those planning on doing tricks on a shortboard. For cruisers and longboards, larger wheels give you the speed and balance. The most common range for street and park skating is between 50mm and 60mm, while wheels larger than 60mm are usually used on longboards or cruisers. All that said, we advise beginners to start with skateboard wheels in the middle of the range, ~53-55 mm.
As we mentioned, durometer measures the wheel’s hardness. The higher the number, the harder the wheel, and the general rule of thumb is that harder wheels are faster, and softer wheels are slower and offer more grip. If you’re a street skater, you’ll most likely opt for softer wheels. If you’re going to be at skate parks, harder wheels are best for smooth surfaces.
It’s tough to pinpoint exactly how often you should replace your wheels. Wheels gradually wear down and decrease in diameter with use; so the more often you skate, the more you’ll have to replace. Regardless, you’ll have to replace your wheels at some point in time. Use your skate tool to unscrew the nuts on each axle, and then just slide the wheels off. If you want to reuse your bearings, extract them from the wheels using a bearing puller. You can also prolong the life of your wheels by rotating them periodically. All you have to do is remove them and then rotate them in an X pattern: your left rear wheel becomes your right, and your right rear becomes your left.