From a distance, the wheels on a skateboard all look the same. Believe it or not, there are actually different skateboard wheel sizes. So, what’s the standard size for a skateboard wheel?
The most commonly used skateboard wheel sizes found on most trucks measure 52 to 56 millimeters in diameter. The range of skateboard wheel diameters is 48 to 60 millimeters.
So, why do most people use 52- to 56-millimeter skateboard wheels and when would larger or smaller wheels come in handy? These are two of many questions I will answer in the following sections. So, if you’re interested in learning about skateboard wheels, please continue scrolling down.
Skateboard Wheel Sizes and Why They Matter
When you look at skateboards, you’ll find that their wheels are fastened to the set of trucks via four or eight bearings. The bearings need to be appropriately embedded into the wheels to allow them free movement while the user glides down hills or across flat surfaces.
When looking at the standard skateboard wheel size, you’ll come across various wheel sizes, ranging from 48 to 60 millimeters. Let’s take a close look at the different skateboard wheel sizes, their diameter ranges, and what sets them apart.
Small (48 to 51 millimeters)—small-sized skateboard wheels are typically used by skaters who skate exclusively on flat surfaces. Their small size allows for quicker acceleration but lower peak speeds. In the past, 48-50-millimeter skateboard wheels were popular, but today, the smaller skateboard wheel you will find will be 50 millimeters in diameter.
Medium (52 to 54 millimeters)—medium-sized skateboard wheels can be used on any surface, from bumpy streets to smooth slops at skateboard parks. They have a higher peak speed but slower acceleration as opposed to small skateboard wheels. Anyone who purchases a skateboard starter kit will typically find 52 to 54-millimeter wheels fastened to the tracks.
Large (55 to 60 millimeters)—large-sized skateboard wheels can maintain top speeds for longer, despite their even slower acceleration rates. Many people who skate exclusively at skateboard parks will swear by large skateboard wheels ranging between 56 and 60 millimeters.
Cruise (61+ millimeters)—any skateboard wheel measuring 60 millimeters and beyond is typically found on cruisers or longboards. They offer the smoothest rides of them all, but they’re not used for going airborne and performing tricks.
Additional Skateboard Wheel Considerations
The explanations provided above for each skateboard wheel size only scratches the surface. Here, I will go into greater detail concerning what further implications skateboard wheel sizes pose.
Risk of Wheel Bite
Wheel bite is when the bottom of your skateboard deck touches the top of the skateboard wheel. Not only does it reduce your traveling speed dramatically, but it can also force the rider to fly off the skateboard and seriously injure themselves. The risk of wheel bite is a lot less when using smaller wheels since there is a wider clearance between the top of the when and the bottom of the skateboard deck.
Although the diameter of a skateboard wheel will affect the top acceleration and traveling speed, it does not play a significant role in the overall stability of the ride. For a smoother, safer ride, you will want to take a look at the width of the skateboard wheel.
Skateboard wheels typically measure 50 to 75 millimeters in width. This applies to all skateboard wheel sizes, from small (48 to 51 millimeters) to cruise (61+ millimeters).
Generally speaking, the wider the wheel, the more stability it provides, and the less prone the skateboard deck is to losing balance. However, wider wheels increase the wheel’s overall surface area, which will further reduce the rider’s top speeds.
The durometer scale refers to the hardness of skateboard wheels. The scale starts from 75A (extremely soft) to 100A+ (extremely hard). The hardness of the wheels will affect how much grip the wheels have, which can impact stability, speed, and shock absorbency.
You can find both the measurements of the wheel and its durometer rating printed somewhere on the wheel. I’ll briefly cover the durometer scale below to give you an idea of what to look for.
Soft (75A to 87A)—these are extremely soft wheels, which were mainly designed for longboards or skateboards used on bumpy surfaces, such as sidewalks and roads. Due to their softness, soft skateboard wheels can absorb shocks better than their harder counterparts. While they offer the smoothest rides, the skater will have to exert more power when pushing off on the skateboard to reach higher speeds.
Medium (88A to 95A)—medium-hardness skateboard wheels are denser than soft wheels but can still glide easily over bumpy roads with minimal shock. This hardness rating was made for skaters who skate in the city with minimal downward slopes.
Hard (96A to 99A)—hard skateboard wheels are considered to provide an excellent balance between urban skating and skating at skateparks. While denser than the previous skateboard wheels, they still provide a bit of grip while also allowing riders to achieve higher speeds. However, they are not recommended for use on bumpy roads.
Extremely Hard (100A+)—a skateboard wheel rated at 100A+ is typically used by professional skaters to ride exclusively at skateparks to perform tricks. They provide the least amount of shock absorbency but allow for maximum travel speed.
While skateboard wheels may look identical, there are four distinct shapes to them. Let’s take a look at each of their shapes to understand their impact on the rider.
Standard—standard skateboard wheels are what you’d typically find on most skateboards. They have slightly beveled edges but have the greatest surface area due to their consistent diameter across the width of the wheel.
Conical—a conical skateboard wheel is slightly tapered in shape. The sidewalls are angled inwardly and produce less surface contact than standard wheels, thus, allowing the skater to reach higher top speeds. Conical wheels are generally used exclusively for skating on ramps.
Radial—this skateboard wheel shape is nearly the polar opposite of conical wheels in how their beveled edges are more pronounced. They also provide larger amounts of contact with the ground but is ideal for hard and extremely hard skateboard wheel hardness ratings.
Core—this skateboard wheel consists of two moving parts: inner and outer spinning areas. They are lighter than the other shapes and allow soft skateboard wheels the ability to spin at higher speeds without compromising shock absorbency.