The idea of a longboard or skateboard came from surfers. The goal was to experience the feeling of surfing in drylands. Literally, which are those best longboard wheels for rough roads- is very much relevant question, indeed!
I had a pink scooter board when I was younger. Scooter boards are skateboards with a handle. Scooter boards are popular among kids.
But do you know the main difference between skateboards and longboards?
The main difference lies in the shape of the two boards. Longboards naturally are longer and flatter in shape. Skateboards usually have curves at both of their ends (nose and tail).
Features of Longboard:
- Length: The range of the length of longboards can be from 33” to 59” and the width is usually from 9” to 10”. Longboards are naturally longer than skateboards and can be as long as 59 inches. Whereas, skateboards are usually just 36 inches.
- Shape: There are many shapes of longboards. These different shapes change the characteristics of the ride. The shapes are:
- Kick Tail Longboards: Kick tails are seen on both the ends of regular longboards. These tails help the rider to perform tricks by lifting one end above the group. This tail also helps to make quick turns. Kick can be just on one end of the board (directional boards) or both ends (symmetrical boards).
- Longboard Wheel Cut-Outs or Wheel Wells: This shape was made to prevent the wheel bites of the board wheels. This is basically wheels wearing off for cornering too hard or coming in frequent contact with the desk.This shape provides the hardest turn as there is no contact with the board wheels.
- Longboard Deck Concave:
The concave deck means the tails of the board are a bit higher than the body. Concave longboards provide extra grip as the shoes of the rider are in more contact with the board.
The amount of concave or depth of the board depends on the riding style. Downhill and freeride boards are more concave than cruisers.
They are somewhere between square and radiused edged wheels. The wheels are not smooth as radiused wheels but instead, rest at an angle. They are somewhere between square and radiused edged wheels. The wheels are not smooth as radiused wheels but instead, rest at an angle.
- W-Concave: The shape of this board is like a W. It has two concave boards in one. Thus provides more grip than any other longboard. These boards are more expensive and only for downhill and freeride boards.
The things that mount the wheels below your deck are called trucks. The best longboard trucks are flexible as they have to cover a long distance. The width of the trucks is around 150 mm-180 mm. More loose trucks provide more free slides and vice versa.
The base of the board on which the rider stands is called the deck. Longboards have thicker decks to give more stability. The shape of longboard decks is also different from traditional skateboards.
They are large and comparatively soft. Soft wheels are important for longer rides. Larger longboard wheels provide more speed and smaller wheels more acceleration. The durometer of most of them ranges from 75-88A.
Longboard Wheels Guide for Rough Roads:
Before choosing the right wheels for your longboard you should have a good idea about the features of the wheels and things to consider. For example:
The Diameter of the Wheel:
The diameter of longboards is generally large according to their size. A larger diameter means larger wheels.
Bigger wheels help to slide over rough roads and minimize the impact of the shock. The diameter of the wheels for riding on rough roads should be approx 70-76 mm.
It is the measurement of the hardness of wheels. The higher the durometer, the harder the matter. The measurement of the durometer is given with a letter and a number.
Usually, the letter is A. For soft matters, the measurement of the durometer can be 5A. On the contrary, the durometer of longboard wheels varies from 73A and 86A.
For rough roads, soft wheels are needed as they absorb the shock and are grippier. So, a wheel of durometer around 75A is more appropriate for rough roads.
The Roughness of the Road:
What wheel to choose depends mostly on the texture of the road. If the road is minimum uneven with soft cracks then normal longboards with soft wheels should be enough.
The best longboard wheels for rough roads with deep and big cracks are all-terrain wheels.
Types of wheel:
There are a good number of longboard wheels available in the market. Some of them have specific formulas and characteristics to do specific jobs. The wheels are basically categorized into three terms. They are-
These wheels work best on rough terrain. They have more speed and a better trip.
They are more slidey than other wheels. Their durometer is higher as they can slide more easily.
These are harder wheels that provide more speed and are used for power slidings downhill.
The Formula of the Board:
Longboards are made of materials called Urethane. Companies use different proportions and formulas for their board. The property and feature of the boards depend on that formula.
The same goes for wheels. Wheels of the same diameters can have different durometer due to the difference in formula and compositions. So, we have to rely on the companies sometimes to help us choose the best wheels.
There are other so many factors we have to keep in our mind. What are those?
The contact pitch is the distance of the topmost point of the wheel from the ground. The more the contact pitch, the bigger the wheel, which is more grip.
Narrow wheels are smaller so they can slide better.
Lips and Edges:
The sharper the edges, the more the grip. There are different types of edges like like:
The wheels are square like and thus provides more grip. They are not the best choice for sliding or tricks. The square lips of the wheels help to ride on rough roads.
They are somewhere between square and radiused edged wheels. The wheels are not smooth as radiused wheels but instead, rest at an angle.
These are smooth circular edged wheels. They have the least grip but the smoothest slides.
Cores are inside the wheels. Big chores help the wheels to get wear even and smoother slides. The position of the core also makes a significant difference to the wheels.
Centerset cores are in the middle of the wheels so it keeps the wheels even. But it is not the best for gripping and sliding. In backset cores, the wheels are more slidey and progressive.
They are the best for freeride wheels. Offset cores are between the centre and back. They provide the most grips.
Therefore, first of all, consider what kind of roads you are going to ride and then choose one of the two types of wheels:
- If you have to ride on uneven and cracky city roads then choose normal longboard wheels. They are bigger and softer.
- Size: More than 68 mm.
- Durometer: Low
- Choose wheels from a trustworthy brand, for example, Orangatang, Landyachtz (Hawgs), etc.
If the road is in worse shape then you have to go for the all-terrain wheels. All-terrain wheels look like truck wheels. They have the roughest surface. Thus provides the best grip on all types of road.
- Size (Diameter): 100mm+
- Durometer: 70– 80A
- Brand: MBS. Currently, they have the best all-terrain wheels on the market.
Best longboard wheels first depend on the roughness of the road then the purpose of the ride. So, here are some of my recommendations of longboard wheels for sliding, cruising, and downhill-
You would need:
- Narrow contact patch
- More durometer
- Small/mid diameter
- Radiused or bevelled edges
- Backset or centerset cores
- Sector 9 Top Self Butter Balls
Diameter: 65 mm, Durometer: 80A
- Orangatang Stimulus
Diameter: 70 mm, Durometer: 80A
- Santa Cruz Slimeballs OG
Diameter: 60 mm, Durometer: 78A
Freeride wheels should be cheap as they are going to wear off anyway for all those slidings. So look for cheaper ones.
The wheels should be smaller but stronger. Most of the time good slide wheels are made from urethane that breaks up fast to make the wheels slider. So there is no point in buying superior urethane formula longboards.
You must need for:-
- Lesser Durometer
- Round or bevelled edges
- Square Lips for Maximum Grip
- Medium/Large Diameter
- Cloud Ride! Ozone
Diameter: 70 mm, Durometer: 86A
- Orangatang in Heat
Diameter: 75 mm, Durometer: 80A
- Sector 9 Top Self Nine Balls
Diameter: 70 mm, Durometer: 78A
For cruising, you need a good roll speed. Radius-edged wheels will help you roll over the rough surfaces with a larger diameter will help you cover a longer distance.
However, if you want wheels for roaming around the city and tricks then go for smaller wheels as they have higher acceleration.
A smaller contact patch will increase speed as it produces less friction however you have to sacrifice the grip. They are a bit costlier if you want high roll speed wheels.
For downhill & Speed:
You would need:
- Square edged wheel
- More Diameter
- Wide contact patch
- Large Core
- Offset Core
- Seismic Speed Vent
Diameter: 85 mm, Durometer: 77A
- Orangatang Kegel
Diameter: 80 mm, Durometer: 80A
- Sector 9 Race Steam Roller
Diameter: 73 mm Durometer: 78A
Here, it is all about grip and control. For the best grip look for a square-edged wheel and wide contact patch. Downhill wheels are more expensive as they are bigger in size and often use advanced urethane.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Which longboard should a beginner choose?
It can be a big headache for beginners to choose the right longboard for them. It mostly depends on the purpose of the board. Follow the buyer’s guide for choosing the best longboard for you.
What is the difference between penny boards and longboards?
The main difference lies in the size of the two boards. Penny boards are small in size and not used for cruising. Moreover, longboards can be used for a lot more.
Which one should a beginner choose: longboards or skateboards?
If you are interested in learning tricks and stunts then go for skateboards. But, if you wish to cruise or ride around the city streets then you might need longboards.
What wheels are best for bumpy roads?
Buy softer wheels. They absorb the shock and provide more grip. Also buy wheels of a larger shock to minimize the effect of bumpy roads.
What are the best shark wheels for longboards?
The shape of shark wheels makes it different from any other wheels. The best shark wheels for longboards are DNA Formula, Sidewinder, California Roll.
Are Loaded Longboards worth it?
Loaded longboards have been in the market for a while now. Though they have less variety of models compared to Landyachtz, they have good value. They are expensive but durable.
Can I put skateboard wheels on a longboard?
Yes, you can. It might affect your riding experience but technically it is possible.
What size longboard is the best?
The most popular among the beginners are 32” to 42”. The longer the boards, the better the curves. For quick and shorter turns use shorter longboards (28”- 32”).
Choosing the best longboard wheels for rough roads depends on a lot of factors. The wheels of the same durometer can have different width and vice versa. Also, the formulas of the wheels vary from company to company.
So it is important to know the full structure and specifications of wheels to choose the best one to fulfil your purpose.
It is essential to know how rough the road is to choose the best wheel and also the purpose of riding. That’s why I have mentioned the points to consider for freeriding, cruising, and downhill. Furthermore, I have added some of my recommendations for each ride.
However, you can choose the best wheels for you if you keep the essential points in mind.
Maintain full precautions and enjoy the ride!