The wheels of the longboard shape affect the rideability, speed, smoothness, and overall feel when longboarding.
However, the most commonly used longboard wheels include round shapes. Flat-shaped and offset-shaped longboard wheels.
This guide will discuss the longboard wheel shapes available for longboards and their advantages and disadvantages.
Longboard wheels are a crucial component of your setup, affecting your ride quality and overall performance. When it comes to choosing the right longboard wheels, one of the key considerations is the shape. In this guide, we’ll explore the different shapes of longboard wheels and how to choose the best one for your riding style.
Longboard Wheels Shape
Longboard wheels are the part of your longboard that makes contact with the ground, providing traction and allowing you to roll smoothly. They come in various shapes and sizes, each designed for specific riding styles and terrain. Choosing the right longboard wheels can significantly impact your riding experience, so it’s essential to understand the factors that influence their performance.
Longboard Wheels Important Terms to Understand
The diameter of a wheel determines the speed and acceleration of your ride. The larger the wheel, the faster you can go and accelerate.
This measures how hard or soft a wheel is. Harder wheels tend to grip better on smooth surfaces, while softer wheels are more forgiving when riding over cracked pavement or rough terrain.
The contact patch refers to where the wheel meets the ground surface and affects how much traction it has and how well it slides. More expansive contact patches provide increased traction, while narrower patches allow for more accessible slides.
The width of a wheel affects its stability and acceleration. Wider wheels provide increased stability, while narrower wheels allow for faster acceleration.
Contact Patch Surface
The contact patch surface affects a longboard wheel’s grip and slide characteristics. Smooth surfaces provide excellent grip, while textured surfaces are better for slides.
The type of edge a wheel has affects how easily breaking into a slide is. Round lips provide the least grip, while sharp edges offer more grip but are still easy to initiate slides on.
The position of the wheel’s core affects the overall height and shape. Wheels with a lower core position offer more stability, while wheels with a higher core provide more speed.
Offset is the difference between a wheel’s inner and outer lip, affecting its control, grip, and slide characteristics. Higher offsets offer greater control, while lower offsets provide more slide ability.
Types of Longboard Wheels
Round Longboard Wheels
Wheels are among the most common longboard wheels because they give riders excellent grip and control while cruising on pavement or other hard surfaces.
They create an incredibly responsive ride by providing consistent contact with the ground surface, which helps riders maintain balance as they carve.
However, these wheels do not offer much shock absorption, so they can be rougher when riding on uneven terrain.
Flat-Lip Longboard Wheels
Flat-lip wheels have a flat surface that helps create more contact with the ground and offers riders an incredibly smooth ride.
This type of wheel is excellent for Sliding because they have less grip than wheels, making it easier to break traction to initiate slides. They also provide good shock absorption, so they are great for riding over rough surfaces or cracks in the pavement.
Square-Lip Longboard Wheels
Square-lipped wheels are similar to flat-lipped wheels but offer increased grip due to their sharp edges.
These are great for technical tricks because they allow riders to carve and turn quickly without losing traction.
They are also great for downhill riding due to their increased grip and ability to maintain higher speeds.
Offset Longboard Wheels
Offset wheels have an inner lip that is taller than the outer lip, which helps provide more stability and control at high speeds.
This wheel type is great for freeriding and Downhill because it offers maximum traction but allows riders to break into slides easily.
They also provide shock absorption when riding over broken pavement or rough surfaces.
Hybrid Longboard Wheels
Hybrid wheels combine the features of round, flat-lip, and square-lipped wheels to offer riders a combination of grippy carves, responsive turns, and easy slides.
These types of wheels are great all-around wheels and are perfect for those who want to be able to do a bit of everything on their longboard.
Urethane Rebound, Speed, Grip, and Durometer Ratings
Urethane rebound and durometer ratings are important factors when choosing a longboard wheel.
Urethane rebound is the ability of the wheel to absorb shock, which helps with stability and grip. High rebound urethane provides more cushioning, while lower rebound urethane offers less cushion but a higher speed potential.
Durometer rating measures the hardness of a wheel’s urethane, with higher numbers indicating harder wheels that will last longer and roll faster but won’t grip.
The type of surface you plan on riding your longboard on also affects what kind of wheel you should choose.
On smooth surfaces like pavement or hardwood floors, softer wheels offer better grip for carving, whereas harder wheels provide more speed.
On rough surfaces, softer wheels absorb shock and maintain control, whereas harder wheels will be faster but less comfortable.
Edges and Lips
The edges and lips of a wheel also significantly affect its performance. Wheels with sharper edges provide more grip for turning, whereas rounder-edged wheels offer less gripping power but allow riders to initiate slides more easily.
The wheel’s inner lip is also essential to grip and slide ability. Higher offsets provide increased control, while lower balances offer more slide potential.
Cores and Core position
The wheel’s core is the inner part, usually aluminum or plastic. The position of the core can also affect how a wheel performs, with offset cores providing more grip and symmetrical bodies offering more slide potential.
Flat spots, Conning, and Egging
Flat spots, coning, and egging are common issues with longboard wheels. Flat spots occur when a wheel is worn down and becomes less round, which affects its grip and slide ability.
Coning is when a wheel’s inner lip wears faster than the outer lip due to excessive gripping, making it harder to initiate slides.
Egging happens when the inner and outer lips wear away at variable rates, resulting in an oval-like shape. These issues can be avoided by regularly inspecting your wheels for any signs of wear or damage.
Race Finishing Running Surfaces vs. Stoneground
Most longboard wheels are either stone ground or race finish. Stoneground wheels have a rougher surface, providing more grip and better slide initiation, while race finish has a smoother surface which is faster but less grippy.
How Wheel Shape Affects Performance
The shape of the longboard wheel directly influences its performance in various riding scenarios. Here’s how different wheel shapes affect your ride:
Stability and Grip
Wheel shape affects the stability and grip of your longboard. Round-lipped wheels provide a more stable and grippy ride, while square-lipped wheels offer a balance of stability and slide-ability.
Sliding and Drifting
The shape of the wheel’s lip determines how it slides and drifts. Round-lipped wheels initiate slides more smoothly, while square-lipped wheels offer more control and predictability.
Speed and Acceleration
Wheel shape impacts the speed and acceleration of your longboard. Larger, round-lipped wheels roll faster and maintain speed better, while smaller, square-lipped wheels offer quicker acceleration.
Carving and Cruising
Different wheel shapes are suitable for carving and cruising. Round-lipped wheels are ideal for smooth, sweeping turns, while square-lipped wheels provide more precise control for technical maneuvers.
Choosing the Right Shape for Your Riding Style
When choosing longboard wheels, consider your riding style and the terrain you’ll be riding on:
Downhill and Freeride
For downhill and freeride riding, opt for larger, round-lipped wheels that offer stability and grip at high speeds.
Cruising and Commuting
For cruising and commuting, choose medium-sized wheels with a balance of speed and maneuverability, such as beveled-lipped or centerset wheels.
Freestyle and Dancing
For freestyle and dancing, smaller wheels with square or beveled lips provide the right balance of slide-ability and control for technical tricks.
Role of the Contact patch and wheel width
The wheel’s contact patch is where it meets the ground when riding, and it affects your rideability in many ways.
A larger contact patch will provide more grip but may also make turning harder due to increased resistance from the road surface. On the other hand, a minor contact patch will offer less grip but make turning easier by reducing resistance on the ground.
The width of your wheels also plays a vital role in how you ride, as wider wheels offer more stability, while narrower ones are better for quick carving and technical tricks. Ultimately, it’s up to you to find the type of longboard wheel shape that fits your riding style best.
What Type of Wheels are Good for Freeride
For freeride, the best longboard wheels are usually soft and have a progressive grip. This combination provides increased stability for faster speeds and smoother Sliding, making it perfect for aggressive downhill riding.
Look for wheels with a stone-ground surface to maximize your grip when cornering and initiating slides.
What Type of Wheels Are Good For Cruising
When cruising, you’ll want harder and slightly wider wheels than those used in freeriding. Harder wheels roll faster over flat surfaces, while wider ones offer more stability when tackling rough terrain or roads with cracks and bumps.
It would be best to look for offset cores that provide better contact patch control and sharper edges for increased grip. In addition, look for wheels with a race finish running surface to reduce friction and offer faster roll speeds.
Ideal Wheel Types for Downhill
For Downhill, you’ll want soft wheels with progressive grip. Smooth wheels provide more traction and slide potential, while advanced grip gives you better cornering control.
Look for wheels with a stone ground surface to maximize grip and offset cores for increased contact patch control. Wider wheels also offer increased stability at higher speeds, making them ideal for aggressive downhill riding.
Ideal Wheel Types for Sliding
Regarding Sliding, you’ll want soft wheels with a flat core. Smooth wheels provide more traction, while the flat core helps maintain consistent contact with the ground as you slide.
Look for the best longboard wheels with a race finish running surface to reduce friction and provide faster roll speeds. Wider wheels also offer increased stability when initiating and maintaining slides.
Lastly, look for offset cores that help keep your slides in control while they are happening. All of these types of longboard wheel shapes can be used to customize your setup based on the type of riding you do or the conditions you typically encounter.
What Are The Benefits Of Progressive Grip?
The progressive grip provides more grip as the pressure increases, allowing riders better control when cornering and initiating slides. This makes them perfect for freeriding and Downhill riding since they offer increased stability without sacrificing liability.
How does the contact patch affect my rideability?
The contact patch of a wheel meets the ground when riding, and it affects your rideability in many ways. A larger contact patch will provide more grip but may also make turning harder due to increased resistance from the road surface.
What is a stone-ground surface?
A stone-ground surface is when the top of the wheel is lightly “buffed” using a grinding stone, which helps create more grip while still allowing for easy Sliding.
Are all longboard wheels the same?
Longboard wheels come in various shapes and sizes to fit different riding styles. Downhill riders prefer soft wheels, while harder wheels are better suited for cruising or freeriding. The progressive grip is also good for freeride and downhill, while flat core wheels are ideal for Sliding.
Now that you almost know about the different types of longboard wheel shapes and their associated features, you can make an informed decision when selecting wheels for your board.
With so many options available, there’s sure to be a wheel shape that’s perfect for your riding style.