Top 10 Best Skateboard Wheels For Rough Roads (Tested 2021)
For harsh conditions like uneven surfaces with plenty of bumps and pebbles, you can't just slap any set of wheels into your skateboard and expect a pleasant ride afterward. A wrong choice here may not just make the ride uncomfortable but also lead to falls and injuries.
Skateboard wheels have evolved significantly from the first days in this sport's history. Manufacturers have developed certain characteristics to make them fit into certain circumstances, which make finding the best skateboard wheels for rough roads much easier. Continue scrolling, and we will show you how.
10 Best Skateboard Wheels For Rough Roads
1. MBS All-Terrain Longboard Wheels - Top Choice
Cast with super-high-rebound urethane, the purpose of these big 100mm wheels is to add off-road capabilities to any longboards.
It's easy to recognize the raised parts on the wheels, which can give your skateboard better traction over any kind of rough surfaces you intend to ride on. The wide 65mm profile also helps. Whether it's regular riding or some simple tricks, the MBS wheels are up to the task.
However, only the middle strip contacts the ground when the wheels are still new, resulting in a tiny contact patch. They may need one or two weeks to break in and provide a good grip as intended.
These are among the biggest and softest longboard wheels you can find for off-road riding. With a durometer of 78A, the MBS wheels can handle gravel, grass, and dirt (the obstacles that usually stop smaller and harder wheels) like nothing.
The large size and high ground clearance make sure you can ride over most debris found in your way. Your longboard will still be no match for a typical mountain board, but for everyday skateboarding on some rough terrain, these longboard wheels are phenomenal.
You can install the MBS wheels into most drop-through decks. If your board has a pintail, however, it may be necessary for you to install riser pads to avoid wheel bite.
It should be pointed out that due to their textured surface, these wheels tend to wear out sooner than flat ones. Keep an eye on them, and you can know when you should replace them.
Aside from the exorbitant cost, weight is another huge downside of these wheels.
At 3 pounds and 7 ounces, a set of four wheels like these could add significant weight to your existing longboard. It could be a huge deal for some setups where the riders want to have the lightest possible skateboard. Anyway, they are meant for longboards, so this weight is understandable.
2. Orangatang Caguama 85mm Wheels - Runner Up
Orangatang has well-earned popularity among the skateboarding community due to their balance of riding smoothness and style, and the Caguama is no exception.
There is no texture on these longboard wheels, making them a strong contender for the leading choice for skating on sidewalks and pavement (no raised parts mean no fast wearing down). But you can also find the Caguama wheels outside of those flat surfaces, where the ride demands more stability from your skateboard.
Admittedly, the 85mm diameter is not a common choice for riding at a skatepark. But these Orangatang wheels can have their moment when you need to cruise downhill and expect to encounter a lot of sticks, rocks, and cracks.
The 56mm contact patch offers a stronger grip, while the rounded edges propel the skateboard through pavement cracks smoothly. Meanwhile, these large wheels roll fast, and the big, supportive 46mm core means your skateboard can pick up speed quickly from the initial momentum.
Another component that helps the Orangatang Caguama wheels strike a perfect balance between stability and resistance to vibration and bumps is the over-8-cm ring at the center. Overall, riders should have enjoyed a nice, softer feel and have better turning despite road vibrations.
However, the lack of spacers and bearings is definitely a deal-breaker given the price Orangatang is asking for their longboard wheels. The whole installation is a breeze if you're familiar with it, but having to find and buy bearings separately is still a hurdle for such expensive products.
3. Freedare 90A Street Wheels - Cheapest Option
You would have a hard time finding a cheaper yet workable option than these Freedare skateboard wheels. They could work great if you need a temporary solution to make time to find the long-term wheels for your skateboard.
The 90A hardness lies near the upper limit when it comes to soft wheels, and it's good enough to overcome obstacles on rough roads.
Slightly harder than most of the selected products here, these Freedare cruiser wheels make sure your feet don't go numb on uneven ground while not preventing your skateboard from picking up momentum. They do everything you need them to do at this price range: going over pebbles and small rocks without getting locked up.
It's not easy to slide with these wheels at all, however. You should pay attention to that if the sliding is one of the skills you long for.
If you come from a higher-end product, bearings are the part you should replace as soon as possible. As usual, the ones that come with the Freedare wheels are mediocre at best. After a few weeks and some rides on rough terrain, they could fall out and make the whole wheel fall off the truck.
Any decent bearing replacement could work wonders and make these cheap Freedare skateboard wheels perform much better with your board.
4. Shark California Roll - Most Unique Design
You may have seen the Shark Wheel California Roll on FedEx commercials, Discovery Channel, or Shark Tank. And their performance really lives up to our expectations.
These 60mm, 78A wheels are made for skateboards under 30 inches. This sweet spot of both size and hardness makes them versatile - you can use these wheels on a regular skateboard, a cruiser, and even Penny boards.
But the real highlight of these Shark wheels is their ability to ride on all kinds of rough terrain.
You can easily notice at first glance the unique shape of these wheels. The sine waves on the wheels allow them to kick rocks and other small obstacles out of your way.
The manufacturer - Shark Wheel - gets inspired by how drivers usually approach speed bumps at an angle to reduce the impact on the car. The 30-degree waves on their wheels have the same purpose.
While regular skateboard wheels act as a steamroller and directly go over objects in the way, these wheels try to go around the obstacles, deflect them, and reduce the shock applied to wheels.
The overall contact patch and lip profile are large enough to go over cracks, branches, twigs, and similar objects while traveling at high speed. The groover pattern doesn't just grip the ground more but also does a better job channeling things like liquid, dust, pebbles, and small rocks through the wheels.
Additionally, this unique design results in multiple center points and prevents your wheels from developing flat spots - a common issue with soft wheels when you do power slides or other slide tricks.
The Shark California Roll wheels are lighting fast because of their low rolling resistance. You also have better slide control thanks to the three lips (instead of just one like traditional wheels). Slides are now easier to carry out because the friction and surface area are both lower.
This reduced fiction comes from both the sine wave design and the wheels' average hardness that make them not stick too much to the ground, helping the skateboard accelerate easier.
Keep in mind that these Shark wheels are not the best choices for difficult, high-impact tricks aside from sliding. The sine wave design could translate to worse performance in those situations, and the bearings could become loose quickly.
While the wheels themselves should have no problem with performance in the water, it's not advised to skate through puddles with the default bearings unless you want to see them get damaged.
5. Freedare 70mm 83A Wheels - Alternate Affordable Choice
These colorful Freedare wheels come with ABEC-7 bearings pre-installed on them. With a 51mm width and a 70mm diameter, they're designed for skateboarding, longboarding, and cruising on sidewalks, ramps, concrete, asphalt, and rough surfaces.
The affordable price tag makes these polyurethane wheels very accessible for beginners who sometimes don't want to pay a lot of money right from day one. Despite being a low-cost option, the Freedare 70mm wheels are still stable, durable, and ride smoothly.
The edge is grippy - convenient for riding downhill and making it easier for the wheels to clear small pebbles and rocks.
That said, these amazing wheels aren't exactly without faults either.
The ABEC-7 bearings of the Freedare wheels aren't totally on par with those of premium models. Perhaps they come from different manufacturers despite complying with the same standard.
These bearings roll fairly smoothly, but they're not exactly super fast. A good workaround is throwing them away and replacing them with high-end bearings that could be bought separately.
6. Orangatang Kegel - Best Grip-To-Slip Ratio
The In Heat and the 4President are Orangatang's most famous “grip wheels” - the main choice for skateboarding on rough roads. But you should not overlook the Kegel - a new member in this lineup.
The technical specifications of the Orangatang Kegel scream “Ride faster!” out loud. These are big longboard wheels - 80mm diameter and 56mm width. This shape does a great job of picking up speed and keeping a good balance of slide response and traction at the same time.
The cantilevered outer lip could cut you if you're not careful. With a 77A durometer, this straight, square profile is soft enough to hug the road to give you the grip you need and still perform well when the wheels wear. Furthermore, the inner lip and its inward bevel help the rider create predictable drifts and race-worthy traction.
The fully exposed 46mm core is offset with a deep cut. In addition to saving weight, this reduction in cross-section allows the wheels to provide crisp slides, more momentum, and good acceleration.
To reduce weight, Orangatang uses its original urethane formula (named Happy Thane) to make the stiff core and its large vents. This proven material is known for its grippy, plush, and smooth nature, helping give riders a firm grip (and even some slip when necessary.)
The quality control is quite second-rate for a brand like Orangatang. You may find some air pocket holes and pots inside your newly bought wheels.
On top of that, a set of brand-new Orangatang Kegel wheels still has a shiny sheen, meaning your first few rides will have only grip with almost no slip. It could be a challenge to ride with them out of the box. Just give these longboard wheels a few days to break in while enjoying this short, fun period of pure grip.
7. Bigfoot Cruiser Filmer Wheels - Best For Beginners
The Bigfoot wheels have a diameter of 53mm - great for bowls, parks, and the street. On the other hand, the 83A durometer is what makes them handle rough roads well and give you a smooth riding experience.
These figures are what a novice skater desires. This diameter promises a lower center of gravity, making it easier to perform beginning tricks like ollie. Meanwhile, the 83A durometer falls on the softer side, offering you more grip to effortlessly go through uneven terrain.
These inexpensive wheels are quiet and fast, even on a bumpy surface. Record a video on a skateboard for your YouTube channel? Solve the problem and have minimal vibration with the Bigfoot wheels.
They have a high rebound for smooth operation and greater riding speed. Beginners should have an easy time learning the basics of skateboarding with the Bigfoot wheels.
They aren't quite there with the best skateboard wheels for tricks, but for the first few months on roads, sidewalks, and common rough surfaces, the Bigfoot wheels and their comfortable rides will help you pick up basic techniques first before switching over to another set of wheels.
The urethane wheels can have precision bearing alignment due to the hard plastic core, allowing them to roll faster than soft cores that put pressure on the bearings and, in turn, slow the whole skateboard down.
But we find this hard core cracking prematurely, especially when we try to execute tricks like frontside 180.
8. Fireball Tinder - Best Value For The Price
The Fireball Tinder offers a whole new definition of how a mid-range set of skateboard wheels should be. They're not the cheapest wheels around but still easily within most customers' means, and most importantly, the value they bring is too good to bypass.
These 60mm wheels provide an 81A durometer and a contact patch of 35mm (from a 40mm width). They're soft and designed to handle road debris like rocks, cracks, and bumps, ensuring a smooth ride no matter if you're freeriding, dancing, or cruising.
Fireball doesn't make these wheels exclusively for any purposes. Double-kick skateboards, mini-cruisers, or even some longboards - you can all set them up with the Tinder wheels.
The fact that the Fireball Tinder wheels are designed and manufactured in California gives their customers a firm assurance of their build quality and durability.
Fireball has a proprietary premium formula of its own named Beast Urethane. It's the same kind of material used to make the entire lineup that has helped Fireball make a name for itself and earn respect from the skateboarding community.
The result is durable and sturdy wheels that don't cost you an arm and a leg while still giving a nice ride. Their grip-to-slip ratio is more than good, and their ability to overcome sidewalk cracks, uneven roads, twigs, and pebbles is awesome considering the price.
If you've bought Fireball wheels before, you will encounter the same issue with the Tinder wheels here: they don't come with bearings, and putting them into these wheels could be challenging.
9. Powell Peralta Rat Bones - Best Classic Look
Even though the industry has moved on with many technical improvements, these wheels have never been a bad choice since their introduction in the 1980s, especially when you plan to try to customize your board with a retro theme.
After all those years, the wheels are still pretty much the same as the originals. These 60mm, 90A wheels are grippy, quiet, and smooth - the main reasons the Rat Bones have gathered so much popularity. They're basically a cross between the 80s look and modern engineering.
Riding on these cruiser wheels feels comfortable on most rough surfaces since the 45mm width and 90A durometer are wider and softer than those of most conventional wheels.
But this also means the Powell Peralta Rat Bones may stick out a lot on narrow boards. You should also use a set of risers to avoid wheel bite on a regular deck.
Another thing still true for these replicas is that they're fairly heavy at 3.2 ounces each. Doing tricks with them is as pleasant as other lightweight wheels.
But at the end of the day, these extra weights also help the Rat Bones float above rough surfaces. This trade-off is not ideal, but it's still a good compromise if you prioritize handling debris on the road.
10. Ricta Clouds - Another Solid Mid-Range Choice
Ricta Clouds may not be the most exciting skateboard wheels in terms of design (the manufacturer still retains that iconic white color theme after many generations). But for skateboarding with a diverse array of setups and terrain, these wheels never disappoint.
This 78A option is the softest wheel of the series. Made from Ricta Naturals urethane, they have a balanced formula for smooth roll and maximum speed.
When we tried on smooth pavements, old sidewalks, brick, and asphalt, the riding experience was very consistent all the time. And when cracks and bumps appeared, the Ricta Clouds wheels handled them with ease.
Inside of these 52mm wheels are the 78D cores that can maintain shape integrity when doing tricks and give less feedback than other urethane wheels when rolling over cracks.
The special thing about these cored cruiser wheels is that Ricta puts urethane around the bearings just like on non-cored wheels. Now you have the best of both worlds: reduced friction of cored wheels and more speed on non-cored ones.
But like other soft wheels, the Ricta Clouds are a bit slow on smooth surfaces like a dedicated concrete skate park. Some rare minor quality control issues are expected as well (such as untrimmed wheels), but you can exchange them for a new set of wheels by contacting Ricta's customer service.
How To Find The Best Skate Wheels For Rough Roads
The rule of thumb is that longer decks should have bigger wheels. But as rough roads are our main concern here, there are some limitations you should keep in mind.
Skateboard wheels between 50mm and 60mm in diameter are generally slower and more stable for doing tricks. But if you plan to ride on uneven surfaces with plenty of cracks, rocks, and other debris, start with the 60mm wheels.
These wheels provide a wider contact area and higher clearance, which makes more sense if you don't want your skateboard to get stopped by some pebbles.
If we have to choose the only thing that matters on rough terrain, it should be hardness. Measured in a durometer, it defines how the wheels are going to respond to obstacles along the way.
To make sure you have a stable and smooth ride, get soft wheels with a durometer lower than 96A. Softer wheels have a better grip, which allows them to easily roll over cracks and bumps.
The wider the wheels, the more contact they have with the ground. Street skating or freeriding usually prefer narrow wheels (such as rounded wheels) because they allow the skateboard to slide easier.
On the other hand, cruising on rough roads is when wider wheels with more contact with the ground shine the most as they offer better grip at high speeds.
Durability And Price
Like most products, these factors usually go hand in hand. Think through how you're going to skateboard with these wheels? Daily commute? Occasional practice? Only on weekends?
Pricey premium wheels obviously will cost you more at the beginning. But rough roads also mean your wheels will wear down faster, and in some cheaply made products, a premature failure isn't worth the hassle.
Some skateboard wheels come with bearings installed, but some don't. If you're a newcomer and not yet familiar with the installation and maintenance of bearings, stick with models that are ready to use right out of the box.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Techniques That These Wheels Can Do On Rough Roads?
Like regular models, skateboard wheels for rough roads can perform basic techniques like turning, stopping, gliding, and so on.
Is It Possible To Do Tricks With Skateboard Wheels For Rough Roads?
As these wheels are typically softer, performing tricks with them is quite difficult. You should use harder skateboard wheels to learn complicated skills.
Can I Use Wheels With A Hardness In The B Scale?
No. Those wheels are extremely hard, and you won’t have a pleasant time with them on uneven terrain.
What Is The Best Wheel Material For Rough Roads?
Some manufacturers like Bones, MBS, and Powell Peralta use all-terrain formulas that can work well almost everywhere regardless of road quality. Other quality polyurethane wheels can get the job done as well.
Should I Wear Safety Gear When Skateboarding On Rough Roads?
Absolutely. You should use protective gear no matter if it's a flat or uneven surface. Having the best skate wheels for rough streets doesn’t change this fact.
Generally, the best skateboard wheels for rough roads should have a diameter of 60mm or larger and be softer than the 96A hardness. There are plenty of options that check all those boxes from different manufacturers at various price ranges.
If you're still unsure about your learning or riding requirements, the MBS All-Terrain wheels are the best skateboard wheels for rough roads and tricks. They are pricey, but their off-road capabilities are unmatched. For budget choices, stick with any Freedare options on the list.