How to differentiate the hardness of skateboard wheel
Which level of hardness of the wheel is suitable for my skateboard?
When manufacturing, each wheel producers have clearly stated the hardness level of their products. It is measured on the durometer scale Shore A or Shore B. In fact, this topic is quite complicated, so we decide to make it more easy-to-understand by dividing the skateboard wheels into the two main types.
1. Hard Skateboard Wheels
Firstly, let's have a search of the hard skateboard wheels. This type of wheels is usually for skateboarders who are in love with park skateboarding and technical street skateboarding.
Manufacturers make use of hard materials such as a compound of urethane and recommend skaters to skate on even and smooth surfaces. The average diameter size is 50 – 60mm. In case you want to find to know more, check What Size Skateboard Wheels is.
2. Soft Skateboard Wheels
These soft skateboard wheels are mainly used in longboards and cruisers. Skaters stated that this type, with the large size of diameters, is more suitable with rough terrains than the above one. 55-75mm is the average size of these wheels.
The exact information about the hardness level of skateboard wheels
These days, almost wheels are made of plastic, rubber, and urethane, which is considered as a combination of the most outstanding features of plastic and rubber.
The common range of the hard skateboard wheels in small sizes is from 97A to 104A, among them, you will see the wheels with the sizes from 99A to 101A the most. However, this type of wheels is a little bit too slippery and smooth; so it is mostly used for even areas like streets.
You have better not try to skate the skateboard with these wheels on the rough surfaces since it may make you feel unsafe. In addition, you have better know Skateboard Deck Sizes to get the right wheels.
When the hardness of wheels ranges from 75A to 95A, it means that these wheels are soft wheels. Skaters who use longboards and cruisers said that the common durometer for their boards that you may see in any skate shop is about 78A. This size of wheels offers a smooth feel while rolling over rough terrains.
However, anything has some exceptions, so do skateboarders. Sometimes they want to break the rules by using soft skateboard wheels for park skateboarding or hard wheels for downhill skateboarding.
A lot of people admire this sport since it has no strict rules, you can do anything you want as long as this makes you happy. Therefore, we write this article with the purpose of giving you the overall knowledge of what you are going to have.
If you are going to build a board for street and park skateboarding, it is highly recommended to choose hard wheels. In case you would like to ride a longboard or cruiser, a set of softer wheels is more suitable.
How can we measure the level of hardness?
A specific instrument is used to measure the level of hardness. People use it to make the material scratch, indent or rebound. We can measure the level of hardness for anything, from soft things like sponges, cotton to the hardened things like metals or diamond. In the engineering field, there are a lot of hardness tests, including Vickers, Rockwell and Brinell tests. And Shore Scale is chosen to test the common materials in making the skateboard wheels, such as plastic, rubber, and urethane.
Shore Scale is not the hardness testing system for the skateboard wheels only but also other things. It consists of different scales, while the A and B scales are the common ones using for the wheels. Durometer is an instrument to measure how hard the urethane is. It includes a gauge with a needle, people push this part to the wheel. The deep level the needle goes into the wheel will be shown on the gauge, allows people to know how hard the material is.
The A scale is the most common and the best scale that people used for soft materials. The level of hardness in this scale is from 1 to 100, as the increase of the hardness. On the other hand, the harder ones use the B scale which gives the hardness reading with more accuracy. Over-95A materials should not be used the A scale since the result is not completely right, used the B scale instead.
If you want to measure the harder skateboard wheels, use the Shore Durometer B scale. It is the same as the A scale with the soft wheels. The point is lower up to 20 points, so you can extend the scale by these points.
The similar soft spring which is a part of the A scale is used in the B scale with a different shaped conical needle that the D scale includes. The combination gives an exact and reliable result for harder materials which is used to manufacture the skateboard wheels.
Is there any relationship between the color and the hardness of the skateboard wheels?
Skateboard wheels come with different colors, and people wonder whether the color of the wheel has any relationship with its hardness or not? In fact, there is no official research about this issue, we just assume that the color which is added while making the wheels may somehow change the formula.
But only chemical engineers can give us the final answer for the increase/ decrease of the wheels' integrity. From the experience that we have got, we feel that the colored urethane wheels are a little bit softer than the natural ones. But it is my opinion only, the others may have another thought.
Are colored wheels better than the natural ones?
There is a wide range of colored skateboard wheels available on the market. The colored ones are various too, from solid and clear ones, translucent or swirled. A lot of people would like to have them.
Are they good? No one has the same answer, depending on their hobby and demand for what the best skateboard is. Some like the natural color of urethane, which will turn from milky white to yellow-brown after a period of time using it under the sun while the others want their wheels to have a crisp appearance with completely white color.
Can we color the urethane wheels?
The answer is yes. People can color their urethane skateboard wheels by dropping some dye into the formula. Most wheel manufacturers have a wide range of good products, from natural to colored skateboard wheel so you can choose freely ones you love without the fear of low quality.