If you are passionate about the sport, researching a bit about your plaything will never fail you. Skateboards are all about their wheels & trucks. And while talking about the wheels, the wheel sizes & the hardness, both matters!
Standard Skateboard wheels are usually made of urethane, a bi-material polymer plastic mixed with rubber, to give you the right amount of bounce. It is essential to know the role of the hardness of your wheel in your ride on deck to select the right one.
You will be amazed to see the vast amount of options there are to choose from when it comes to buying the right wheels. But before that, let me tell you how to measure the hardness of the skateboard wheels.
The Shore Durometer: how is skateboard wheel hardness measured
The wheels of your skateboard can make or break your ride, if not properly chosen. It is vital to know all that it features. Our article here is all around wheel features. Hardness or softness is one of them.
While we start talking about wheel hardness, the Shore Durometer scale comes into the scene. There are other hardness tests such as Rockwell, Vickers, Rockwell and the test of Brinel etc. And for wheels made of rubber or plastics and for urethane wheels, we use the Shore Scale to measure the hardness.
Sometimes, if you look closely at a skating wheel, you will see a figurine encrypted on its body, it is the hardness score from the Shore Durometer.
Alfred Ferdinand Shore, the name this device was referred to after as he invented it in the 1920s.
skateboard wheel hardness scale Explained:
The Durometer uses two scales to determine the hardness of an object. Scale A & scale B. Most typically used is the scale of A and it is for softer objects. The scale of B reads a more precise hardness for wheels.
Scale A demonstrates from the softest to harder wheels with a number between 1 to 100. The reverse is also true.
Substances over 95A are tough to read accurately. They are best assessed with scale of B.
The Shore Durometer B Scale is excellent for harder skate wheels. It is very identical to the A Scale. The only difference is that it scans 20 points lower. Still, scale B wraps up all the hardness extent of skating wheels on one scale.
Types of Skateboard Wheel Hardness
Here’s the skateboard wheel characteristics for different ranges of scale A Durometer:
- 75A-87A: remarkably soft wheels. Preferable for longboards and rough surfaces as they provide better grip for rides especially for beginners. Perfect for street skaters to ride on sidewalks, pebbles, rocky areas, or hill cracks.
- 88A-95A: comparatively harder wheels reside in this range. The wheels are soft enough for riding on bumps & provide a lesser grip. Such wheels make your board suitable for both smooth surfaces like skate parks, yet rough sidewalks. These are also a bit harder and faster. Preferable for all types of street skating in your downtown.
- 96A-99A: these wheels are just about hard enough for a balanced ride with grip and speed. You can skate on the streets and also on skating ramps particularly on these wheels. It is the most beginners’ choice. These are also the hardest wheels on A scale.
Characteristics for scale B Durometer for hardness:
Just when the hardness crosses the 100 range in scale A, we shift to scale B. Scale B is just 20 points subtracted from scale A. As in a 100A wheels are equally hard as 81B wheels.
- 81B-82B: extremely hard wheels with the littlest grip. Manufactured for the rougher surfaces. Only professionals can handle the speed of these wheels.
- 83B-84B: the toughest wheels you will find in the market. Made for professional players only. Preferable for technical skating.
Nowadays, manufacturers make the wheels particularly designed for easy identification of the hardness.
Should I get hard or soft skateboard wheels? (Hard vs. Soft Wheels Explained)
Harder skateboard wheels make you glide through any surface smoothly as a milky way, whereas softer wheels will slow you down.
A deeper look to Harder wheels:
Hard vs Soft wheels, the debate entirely depends on how skillful you are at riding a skateboard. If you like jumpy rides, bumping on the surface or hilly tracks gives you fun, then harder wheels are for you. You can choose wheels from the range of 96A-99A or 81B-84B durometers.
- Assigned for technical skaters
- Faster acceleration rate
- Easy to control in tighter surfaces
- Less bouncy
- Not for longer rides but for tricks
- Higher Noise production
A deeper look into Softer wheels:
Softer wheels are entirely for the beginners, be that you are one or you want your kids to learn skating. Choose from the range of 75A to 95A durometer. They provide softer but slower gliding as you skate through. But they are less risky when it comes to having a grip on your board. if you are an entry-level skater or looking skateboard for your kids, you can check our best skateboard for beginners guide.
- Good speed
- Easy gliding
- Great cruising
- Tremendous grip
- Not suitable for technical players
- Not preferable for performing skating tricks
Lets take a Look at The Self-explained Infograph
Most frequent questions and answers
What is the best skateboard wheel hardness for beginners?
Most beginners will do fine with wheels that are in the 80-95 range. As you get more experienced, you may want to try harder wheels for more speed and easier grinding. But be careful – if your wheels are too hard, they may be more likely to slip on smooth surfaces and could make it difficult to do certain tricks.
What is the best hardness for skateboard wheels?
To say, the best hardness for skateboard wheels resides usually between 75A to 95A. It is the most used hardness for longboard wheels or cruisers. 78A provides the most comfortable grip on rough surfaces as well as on smoother ramps.
What hardness is good for street skating?
As we said earlier, street skating can be rough when we are talking about the sidewalks. Again, it can be smooth if you are riding on a cement pavement or beach walk. However, if you are planning for a less bumpy ride on the sidewalks, you should go for a pair of softer, larger wheels under your deck.
Again, pro-skaters who like to showcase their skills and tricks should choose a pair of harder wheels from scale B durometers that are present in the market.
Determining your preferred hardness for your skateboard wheels is one of the very basics of smooth riding. We believe we have cleared all the doubts you may have in our article above.
The article entirely reflects on reasonably basic information. However, feel free to comment down any queries you may have or share your skating stories with us.