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When setting up your longboard, the wheels you choose are one of your biggest priorities. After all, your wheels are what is in contact with the ground and have a massive part to play in the overall feel of your board.
Wheels for longboarding come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and durometer (hardness), all of which dramatically change the way your board feels underneath your feet.
There are wheels made for cruising, wheels made for high speed downhill longboarding, and hybrid wheels designed to slot into both worlds. Before choosing a new set of wheels for your setup, you need to be sure what type of riding it is that you’re doing, and which wheels will work best for your style.
It can be confusing to find the right set of longboard wheels to suit your unique needs, as there is such a wide variety available on the market today. I
In this article, we’ll walk you through the types of longboard wheels available, what to look for when buying, and give you some of our favorite choices. Let’s get started!
How to choose longboard wheels
With the wide variety of available wheels that are designed to cater to different styles of longboarding, it can quickly become confusing and even intimidating to find the perfect set. You’ll need to ask yourself whether you want to fly down hills, cruise around the streets, or use your longboard for transport. Answering these questions will help you find the right set far quicker.
The size of your longboard wheels will affect the speeds you are capable of, plus how smooth your ride feels. Larger wheels have slower initial acceleration but are faster overall once they get up some speed. Also, large wheels are great for small cracks and stones as they roll over them with ease — you are far more likely to get caught up on stones and cracks with smaller wheels.
Typically, longboard wheels tend to be between 60mm and 85mm in diameter, anything smaller is considered a skateboard wheel. For hybrid longboards, you are likely to find wheels in the 60-65mm range, or even smaller, but true longboard wheels average at around 70mm.
Longboard wheels are best sized according to the deck you are riding, and so the longer the deck, the bigger diameter the wheel. This is a general rule of thumb, but many longboarders do not stick strictly to this formula.
Also, bigger wheels equal more stability, which is great for beginners, but they lack the ability to carve sharply. Of course, larger wheels conversely will give you much more chance of wheel bite, depending on the deck you’re using. This is the reason for the “larger board equals larger wheel” rule of thumb.
Durometer is used to measure the hardness of your longboard wheels. In general, the harder your wheels, the faster your board will be, but you’ll have significantly less grip than softer wheels.
Again, a general rule of thumb is the longer your deck, the softer, or lower durometer, your wheels should be. Soft wheels offer more grip and shock absorption, leading to more stability.
The durometer of wheel you choose will also depend on your weight as if you are too light for your wheels the more chance you’ll have of slipping out.
Most longboard wheels are between 75a and 90a, the lower the number giving a softer wheel. The lighter you are as a rider, the softer wheels you’ll want to give you more grip. Heavier riders can go for harder wheels than will give more speed, but again, this is largely down to skill and personal preference.
Like size and durometer, the shape of your wheel will also have an impact on the feel of your ride. There are 3 common shapes of longboard wheels — square edge, round edge, and beveled edge, all of which will affect your turning capabilities, sliding, and stability.
Squared edge wheels generally offer more grip, whereas rounded-edged wheels are great for sliding and carving as there is less friction. A beveled edge wheel is a combination of the two, offering a fair bit of grip but enough of a rounded edge to allow for sliding too.
The contact patch is the area of your wheel that makes contact with the ground. This of course means the larger the wheel, the larger the contact patch, and the faster the wheel can go as your weight is distributed over a larger area. A narrow contact patch has a lees grip, which is great for freeriding, whereas wider contact patches offer way more grip, ideal for downhill.
There are three different factors that make up the quality of a wheel’s core: placement, size, and material.
The placement of the core can be sideset, centerset, and offset. Sideset cores is aligned perfectly with the wheels’ inner lip and will give the least amount of grip, allowing for effortless slides. Unfortunately, a sideset core offers less control, and the wheels tend to wear out unevenly.
Centerset cores are, as the name suggests, directly in the center of the wheel, distributing your weight evenly throughout the wheel. This offers great grip and stability while riding and even wear throughout your wheel’s lifespan.
Lastly, offset or backset cores, which are basically a combination of the above, allowing for sliding while still offering enough grip at high speeds.
The Best Longboard Wheels – Our Favorite Picks
|77a, 80a, 83a
|81a, 84a, 87a
|Sector 9 Race Steam Roller
|77a, 80a, 83a
|Cloud Ride! Ozone
|80a, 83a, 86a
|Orangutang in Heat
|77a, 80a, 83a, 86a
|Santa Cruz Slimeballs
|77a, 80a, 83a, 86a
|Blood Orange Liam
|Sector 9 Butter Balls
Best for Downhill
Orangutang Kegel – Top choice overall
Designed for maximum speed and grip while flying downhills, the Kegels from Orangutang are our favorite choice of downhill longboarding wheels. These wheels have an 80mm diameter and come in 3 different durometers including 77a (blue), 80a (orange), and 83a (purple).
The wheels feature a large, supportive, 46mm core that reduces weight while allowing for fast acceleration and easy slides. If you are looking for superior, lighting fast downhill wheels, look no further than the Orangutang Kegels.
Fireball Beast – Best Value
The Fireball Beast longboard wheels are made from “Beast” urethane, a specially formulated material engineered for optimal slide and grip. The wheels are 76mm in diameter and come in 3 different durometers, 81a (white), 84a (red), and 87a (black), with sharp beveled edges for consistent slides and to help them easily roll over stones and cracks. Plus, these wheels come with a set of decent bearings, all for a surprisingly affordable price.
Sector 9 Race — Most Versatile
With a diameter of 73mm and a durometer of 80a, these longboard wheels from Sector 9 are great not only for downhill, but make great cruising wheels too.
They have center-set cores with a 38mm contact patch, making them reliably stable at high speeds and long-lasting while distributing your weight evenly through the wheel and providing a comfortable ride.
They are slightly pricey compared with other wheels on this list, but their versatility makes them worth every penny.
RaceBon 70mm — Best for Beginners
If you are looking for a set of decent downhill longboarding wheels on a budget, the RaceBon 70mm wheels are a great no-frills option. They come in both plain black and white options, plus include a set of Abec-9 bearings and spacers.
They have a diameter of 70mm with a 78a durometer, and a hefty 51mm contact patch. While these wheels may wear out quicker than many other options, they are ideal for beginners.
Best for Cruising
Fireball Tinder — Top choice for cruising
If you are looking for a set of wheels designed for gentle cruising, the Fireball Tinders are a perfect option. With a 70 diameter, 40mm contact patch, and 81a durometer, they are a great middle-ground wheel designed for cruisers, but certainly not lacking in speed.
They have rounded lips to allow for seamless power slides, and a urethane-fiberglass center-set core for stability and even wear throughout the wheel’s life.
Orangutang Caguama — Premium choice
The Caguama wheels from Orangutang are large, wide, and designed for a smooth and comfortable ride on your cruiser.
They are ideal for commuting, carving, and long-distance riding, with an 85mm diameter, 56mm contact patch, and three different durometers, 77a (blue), 80a (orange), and 83a (purple).
The wheels come pre-loaded with Jehu V2 bearings plus integrated spacers and speedrings, and so are ready to roll as soon as you receive them. While these wheels are expensive, they are certainly worth paying the extra cash.
Cloud Ride! Ozone
These center-set, Ozone wheels from Cloud Ride! are great for sliding, and a perfect addition to any cruiser setup. The center set design will give your wheels even wear and make them last longer from day one, but if you slide a lot you can always flip them to even out the wear.
They have a round lip for added slide ability, with a wide, grippy contact surface for higher speeds. They are 70mm in diameter and come in three different durometers, 80a, 83a, 86a.
Orangutang in Heat
The Orangutang in Heat longboard wheels are designed for maximum speed, but with plenty of grip and contact that make them ideal cruisers too.
They have a 75mm diameter and come in 4 different durometers, 77a (blue), 80a (orange), 83a (purple), and 86a (yellow), and a whopping 56mm contact patch that can plow over cracks, sticks, and small stones.
The wheels have sharp, square lips for maximum traction and an offset, encapsulated core for added traction and effortless slides.
Best for Sliding
Santa Cruz Slimeballs — Top choice for sliding
Santa Cruz make some of the best skateboarding components on the planet, and their expertise extends to longboarding too. Their “Slimeballs” range is an iconic set of wheels, and for good reason — they are reliable, tough, and long-lasting.
These wheels have a 66mm diameter and 78a durometer, and this smaller size and narrow profile make them ideal for sliding around tight corners.
The Orangutang Stimulus longboard wheels are great all-round, excellent for downhill, cruising and freeriding. At 70mm in size with a 42mm contact patch, they are large enough for rolling over stones and crack but still small enough to perform tricks and slides.
These wheels come in 4 different durometers to suit your preference, 77a (blue), 80a (orange), 83a (purple), and 86a (yellow), and have a strong, supportive, encapsulated core for a smooth, crisp sliding experience.
Blood Orange Liam Morgan
At 60mm in diameter with a 33mm contact patch, these “Liam Morgan Formula” wheels from Blood Orange are by far the smallest wheels in our reviews. The small size and contact patch make them a joy to slide, as well as the saddle core design and 82a durometer urethane.
While they are not what most would consider a “traditional” longboard wheel, we love having the option of smaller wheel to slap on to a cruiser longboard or even a skateboard.
Sector 9 Butter Balls
Last, but certainly not least, just the name of these wheels gives you the impression of slide capable set of longboard wheels. The Butter Ball wheels from Sector 9 feature a pre-ground surface, rounded edges for catch-free sliding, and an 80a durometer for the ideal mix of grip and slip.
They are 70mm in diameter and come in at a highly affordable price for wheels of this caliber. You cannot go wrong with any component from Sector 9!
Frequently asked Questions
Answer: Yes! In general, longer boards work better with bigger wheels, and shorter board work better with smaller wheels. The bigger your wheels, the more traction and speed you’ll get, plus a more comfortable ride.
Bigger wheels are faster overall, but have a slower acceleration, whereas smaller wheels, like those used on skateboards, have a very quick acceleration but a slower speed capability.
In the end, it’s up to you, the ride, which size wheels you choose to ride, but we recommend going with a mid-sized wheel — around 70mm — when first getting started, and then adjust from there.
Answer: This is a subjective question, as there is really no “best” wheel size for longboarding. That being said, if you are primarily a downhill rider looking for ultimate speed and acceleration, the bigger the better.
If you are using your longboard strictly for cruising, around 70mm is ideal, and if you want to perform a few r=tricks on your board, anything between 60mm-70mm is perfect. You should also aim for a medium durometer, around 80a, until you have dialed in exactly what you want from your ride.
Answer: The world of longboarding and skateboarding often intersect, and on a cruiser setup is where this happens the most. In general, anything up to 70mm is fine for a cruiser, but anything bigger is likely to result in some serious wheel bite!
Even at anything above 55-60mm, you’ll want to install riser pads to get enough clearance between your wheels and deck. Harder, tight bushings are also highly recommended.
In the world of longboarding, wheels are arguably one of the most important decisions to make, and there have been countless arguments as to which diameter and durometer are best for different variations of longboarding.
Of course, the choice is largely subjective, and it may take some trial and error to find the perfect wheels for your unique needs.
For downhill longboarding, the Orangutang Kegels are our favorite choice with an 80mm diameter, 3 different durometer choices, and a large, supportive, 46mm core.
For cruising, we recommend the Fireball Tinders, with a middle-ground 70 diameter, 40mm contact patch, and 81a durometer, plus a urethane-fiberglass center-set core for stability and even wear.
If you are into sliding, the classic Slimeballs are an iconic set of wheels, and with a 66mm diameter and 78a durometer are reliable, tough, and long-lasting.
It can be really confusing to choose the right set of wheels for your longboard, especially if you are new to the sport. Hopefully, our in-depth reviews have narrowed the options somewhat and helped you find the best set to suit your unique needs.