Choosing the best longboard wheels has always been an important matter among longboarders mainly because most users would want to change the original wheels that come with their longboards for better branded wheels.
It is a fact in the world of longboarding that marketed longboards including the skateboards have generally poor to intermediate quality wheels thus with the usual stress on the wheels these get easily damaged and eventually need to be replaced.
Note that these balls are the most preferred wheels among longboard professionals who do a lot of downhilling and extreme sliding.
|Sector 9 Butterball 65Mm||$$|
|Orangatang Stimulus 70mm Longboard Skate Wheels||$$|
|Orangatang In Heat Orange Wheels||$$$|
|Orangatang 4 President 80a 70mm Skate Wheels By LoadedBoards||$$|
|Sector 9 Nine Ball 69Mm 78A||$|
In our opinion, every longboard user should have a good understanding about longboard wheels because these are the most significant parts of any board – be it a skateboard or a longboard while the deck just comes second. The wheels primarily support your weight thus it’s taking the impact whenever you ride it or do your tricks with it. It is in contact with the ground so its features are the best determining factors that influence your speed, stability and performance.
Especially when it comes to hard use like downhilling, the wheels are taking the beatings, pressure and everything that the board carries. When a longboarder does a tight turn, the wheels are also the parts that affect the movements of the rider and taking the stress as well. So basically, if you need to have wheels that will really do the hard work and not just for cruising, choose wheels that are made for this purpose.
This brings us to the topic on how to choose the right longboard wheels that are very durable, very stable, very grippy and slide at its best regardless of the surface it run into. So let’s start on tips on how to choose the best longboard wheels.
The diameter of longboard wheels is measured in millimeters (mm). The measurement has an influence on the acceleration of your longboard and how accurate you can turn your board in tight space. The usual wheel size of skateboards ranges from 54-59 mm. For longboards, it’s 65 mm and above. The rule of thumb in measuring wheels is that, the lower the number of the wheels in mm, the smaller the wheel it becomes.
To guide you on the size of wheels you may prefer, refer to the following:
Advantages of 60-65 mm wheels:
Advantages of 75 mm and above:
Majority of the longboard wheels today are made of Polyurethane materials though they only differ in the durometer scale. The durometer is the measurement of the wheels’ hardness. It is measured in Durometer A Scale from 1-100. Low diameter means softer wheels. Some board manufacturers use Durometer B Scale and use 20 points lower in measuring hardness. For example, durometer 80a has the same rigidity with durometer 60b.
Nonetheless, the B Scaled wheels are wider and are more précised in terms of hardness range. Longboards are generally long and wide so they require soft, larger wheels for stability unlike with skateboards.
Quick quidelines for Durometer range and their advantages.
78a-87a. These are softer thus the best choices for rough surfaces, have better grips and roll easily even on stony pavements. It can also absorb shocks on cracked surfaces. Best choices for cruising, downhilling or smooth riding. Pros prefer these wheels to do their slides because this is what these balls are known for. Like the longboarder experts say, wheels that are round and soft can slide like butter on the road.
88a-95a. Wheels of this durometer range are bit harder but faster. However, it has medium grips but still good for rough surfaces and cruising the streets.
96a-99a. If you want faster longboard wheels but still posses the nice grips, always look for this range scale. This is in general, the all around types of wheels and best for beginners’ longboards. Also a great choice for freestyling, ramping, and anything you want to do with your board on smooth surfaces.
The edge of the wheel or sometimes called lips refers to the outer edges of the wheel’s contact patch. The wheel’s edge can tremendously influence your longboard’s performance so you have to consider the edges if you’ll be using your board for carving, commuting or for cornering tight spaces. Here are the three types of wheel edges and their advantages.
These are actually square on the edge and provides better grip. If your style is with more ground contact to push for more speed, this is the best choice. Perfect for slalom and downhilling.
These wheels are the standard shapes of the wheels of all board types. Not square edged, not very round but the cut are angled on the side which gives you a contact space at the very tip of the wheel. If you like bombing your board during downhilling, this feature makes it easy for you to do this.
Rounded edged wheels have less friction on pavements so these are best choice if your type of play is carving and sliding. They are for smoother ride and even you crisscross your board on the road, you’ll feel that your wheels are more relaxed.
The wheel core is the center part of any wheel and either made up of plastic, aluminum or Urethane. It holds the bearings securely and also helps in dispersing the heat that is produced during the bearing’s rapid rotation which unknown to us can make the core extremely hot.
Based on an online longboard guide, there are three types of wheel core sets and each has a high effect on the wheels’ performance.
The core is on the right side of the wheel. This helps the wheels have better grip on the ground. However, this core can restrict the rider’s flipping style because weight is not evenly distributed all throughout the wheels thus can damage the bearings with extreme flipping.
The cores are not centered nor more on the side but just slightly centered to get the perfect balance. It also allows the wheels to have better grip while leaving the inner lip free to slip during downhilling. Perfect choice for freeriding and bombing the hills.
The core is located right in the center of the wheel for perfect balance. This allows riders to have a more stable landing during flipping and rotating the board. The weight is equally distributed throughout the wheel thus making the wheel to maintain its roundness.
The material of the wheels’ core may vary based from the models or brands of the wheels. However, whatever the material used for the core, this will affect the life of the wheels as well as its riding performance. So here are the types of core materials that you might want to check.
Contact patch is the width of the wheel that touches the surface when the board is laid out on an even ground. It does not include, however, the lips that do not touch the surface. For the best grip, the contact patch should have wider urethane materials that would be in contact with the surface. But if you want your wheels with less grip and more sliding capacity, the contact patch should be thinner.
When considering the contact patch, you must also be mindful about the durometer of the wheels to determine the “grippiness” of the wheel. And as have been said, wheels with thinner contact patch would be best for sliding or downhilling while those with wider contact patch would be excellent for freeriding and downhilling.
For your best options, we have looked around Amazon and the web to find the best longboard wheels with the most positive reviews, most popular and most precise to give your longboard its greatest asset and for your convenience.
These wheels from Sector 9 have a durometer 80a rating which means they are soft and have the best grips on any solid surface. It can also absorb shock pretty good.
These are 70 mm in diameter, core is centerset which is a good feature for freeriding and only has 38 mm contact patch. It has rounded lip so your ride and slide would be like gliding in the air.
This is the company’s first freeride wheels to cater to people who want their wheels with the best sliding capability.
Buyers in general love the sliding features of these wheels. Pretty smooth, medium grip, easy to control and slides in long distances, this can be your best choice if you want to practice your slides or if you are a beginner who want fast, sliding wheels for your longboard. Though these may get to wear a lot with constant use, the roundness of it would always be perfect. So overall, this is number one on our list.
This set of 4 Orange Orangatan wheels have 80a rating and have a diameter of 70 mm. Wheels are nicely rounded plus a contact patch of 42 mm, all these provide the best grip which you usually find on centerset freeride wheels.
Core material is made of plastic and core setting is offset. These wheels are right for freeriding so they are a bit hard and need to be break-in but once they get rounder they become easier to slide.
On the other hand, these are Orangatang’s softest wheels that’s why they are advertised as cushy and buttery.
People love the buttery slide performance of this wheel thus becoming one of the favorites when it comes to freeriding and downhilling. Not very soft but not too hard, this is the character that most long-time longboarders would like to have on their boards. Using it on too many slides, this wheel may of course wear away but slowly. But the good news is it will wear away evenly and maintain its roundness. So with its overall performance, reliability and no upsetting reviews though it was reported that it underperform on cold road, this popular Orangatang wheels are good to buy for people who love to slide and freeride.
This is only slightly bigger than Orangatang 70mm but that small difference makes a great variation in its use, performance and the play you can do with these. With a 75mm diameter and width (contact patch) of 56mm and a sharp lip profile, you’ll expect that this would be perfect for cruising, downhilling and freeriding.
Durometer is 80a so these are on the softer side but makes them perfect for rough surfaces, have better hugging on the road and will roll smoothly on rough pavements without feeling the vibrations.
Core placement is offset which can be a good choice for freeriding and downhilling. Wheel surface is also smooth to add to its buttery slide performance. Comes in 4 sets.
This Orangatang wheels are definitely the downhill longboard racers choice because these are made with high rebound and high grade urethane for more shock absorbing features and more predictable with regards to drifting and sliding. On an even road, with just a little push, it will roll quickly and fast and you won’t lose speed or control even the road have cracks are on its path.
We like its flat lip design because this makes you gain more control during turning on tight corners. This wheel also has a reputation for buttery slides but still grips the road securely. With lots of slides, the sharp lips may wear down but this will allow for smoother rides. We like this wheel, obviously, because people also like it for its speed and it won’t get bothered tracking rough roads because these are large and have wide contact patch.
These 70mm wheels are made to be grippy thus can be your best bet if you’re looking for wheels for hard carving, pumping and high speed.Once they are broken in, they will slide like butter as well. However, because they have square lips they are not ideal for freeriding. But once you break them in, they will give you the smoothest freeride.
Once they are broken in, they will slide like butter as well. However, because they have square lips they are not ideal for freeriding. But once you break them in, they will give you the smoothest freeride.
Nevertheless with an offset design, this put more power in its grips and with better high energy return. With 80A durometer rating, these are on the softer side.
Contact patch is 53mm wide which is an ideal width to do the plays mentioned above.
You want to see how this wheel performs on freeride and downhills? Check this video out.
Long-time longboarders love the high-rebound feature of these wheels that make it very flexible but give better grip for any types of road. For anyone who freeride a lot, dive the hills too much and expect that the wheels won’t give in, these products can be their best choice. With so much good reviews it get from different sites especially from Amazon and with very little issues that do not affect the overall performance and expectations of the users, these wheels really deserve the admiration.
Sector 9 wheels are also known for their high performance features and durability that’s why we are now presenting to you this 78a durometer Top Shelf Urethane wheels which are the softest on Sector 9 department.
These wheels give the riders more control and perform its best even on rough surfaces. Grip wise, these wheels are really very grippy they will not fail you in terms of successfully turning to tight curves.
With an off-set core, these would perform amazingly when downhilling. Contact patch is 49mm and this is an ideal width for diving downhills.
For their price, performance and life, this Sector 9 wheel is perfect for the budget and yet performs well and almost without issues. Rated as one of the best longboard wheels in 2016, it is still a best bet for 2017. It matches the greatest features of the best longboard wheels Orangatang creates but this wheel is cheaper and good choice as well for cruising, carving and downhilling. In terms of sliding ability, a few break in and this would be perfect for that job.
Here is a video that will explain to you how good it is to have these wheels.
You may have noticed that we only present here two brands (Sector 9 and Orangatang) and this is because both brands always gather the best reviews, give out the best performance and are always the favorite wheels among longboard experts. With their qualities, specs, performance and price, these all deserve the respect.
In terms of recommending them to you, we don’t have to say too many things about them because you can primarily see their features and videos that show you their feats and overall performance. Quality wise, these will satisfy your cravings to find the best wheels for your longboards. For sure, these can last for years and will perform their best anytime.
In essence, these are the best longboard wheels you need to have for 2017.