Finding Perfect Wheel Size for Electric Skateboarding

By Matt Powell •  Updated: 02/14/24 •  8 min read

Choosing the right wheel size for your electric skateboard can significantly enhance your riding experience. Navigating the world of skateboard wheels can be daunting with such a variety of sizes, attributes, materials, and designs available on the market. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of wheel basics, including diameter, durometer, and contact patch, and how these properties interact to affect the performance and ride quality of an electric skateboard. We’ll also delve into the types of terrains you may be riding on and how they directly influence your wheel size choice. Furthermore, the importance of considering personal preferences, riding styles, comfort, and safety will be emphasized throughout the guide.

Understanding the Wheel Basics

Understanding the Influence of Wheel Size on Electric Skateboarding Performance

Electric skateboarding is an exciting sport that brings together a blend of speed, agility, and outdoor enjoyment. Building the perfect electric skateboard can be a rewarding experience, providing an in-depth understanding of the numerous variables affecting overall performance. In this inexplicably thrilling realm, wheel size plays a tremendous role. Analyzing it from a scientific approach is incredibly vital in optimizing the ride for speed, stability, and comfort.

A fundamental element that determines the performance of electric skateboards is wheel size. It’s a hard-and-fast rule in the world of wheels: smaller sizes correlate with acceleration, while larger ones prioritize top speed. In addition, they could also significantly impact ride comfort and obstacle traversing abilities.

Small Wheels: The Need for Speed

Small wheels, typically measuring 70-75mm, are highly favored for their exceptional acceleration capabilities. They’re lighter, spin faster, and have a lower center of gravity. In other words, they can easily get from 0 to their top speed in a short amount of time, ideal for urban commuters who travel through areas with frequent stop-and-go situations. However, it’s important to note that these might not provide the smoothest ride on rough or uneven terrains, and they aren’t ideal for high-speed runs due to their lower top speed.

Large Wheels: Trading Acceleration for Top Speed

As wheel size increases (90mm or more), you’ll notice slower acceleration but increased top speed. The larger contact surface ensures more grip, providing stability at high speeds. Thus, these wheels are the preferred choice for adrenaline junkies who want to reach the highest possible speeds on smooth roads.

There’s more to this story, though. Larger wheels, due to their increased diameter, make it much easier to cover rough terrains, passing over debris and road imperfections. Therefore, if your rides often involve imperfect pathways or if smoothing out bumps is high on your list, going big may be the smart choice.

Medium Wheels: A Balance in the Middle

For riders who want a balanced performance between speed, stability, and comfort, medium-sized wheels (around 80-90mm) are often the go-to. They offer substantial riding stability and smoothness, without significantly sacrificing acceleration or top speed. They provide an optimal balance that’s versatile enough for various riding conditions.

The Downside: Battery Life

Perhaps it’s essential to mention, larger wheels can drain your electric skateboard’s battery life faster. Due to the higher rolling resistance and the increased effort needed to rotate them, your skateboard needs more energy, and this can affect the battery’s autonomy.

In conclusion, understanding how wheel size impacts electric skateboarding performance can greatly enhance our riding experience. It’s not just about bigger or smaller; it’s about finding the perfect balance for your specific needs. Whether you’re an urban commuter, speed enthusiast, or off-road adventurer, the key is understanding how your gear meets your demands. Happy riding!

Illustration of an electric skateboard with wheels of different sizes, representing the influence of wheel size on electric skateboarding performance

Terrains and Wheel Size

Choosing an Electric Skateboard Wheel Size Based on Terrain

The decision-making process on the type of terrain you’ll be riding your electric skateboard on is as essential as picking out the board itself. Terrain varies significantly, from smooth urban surfaces to rocky mountain paths, and selecting the right wheel size can make all the difference to your ride’s performance and comfort.

Urban environments and smooth surfaces are where smaller wheels truly shine. Given their reduced contact surface, small wheels offer exceptional maneuverability, making them perfect for city commuting. However, it’s important to keep in mind that their smaller diameter may present challenges when crossing over obstacles. So, stick to flat roads devoid of any drastic bumps or cracks to experience the best ride with small wheels.

If you plan on traversing gravel or rocky terrains, larger wheels are the go-to choice. These wheels, generally over 75 millimeters in diameter, allow for an even weight distribution, significantly reducing the impact of uneven surfaces on the ride. Considering larger wheels’ increased contact surface, it’s no surprise that they offer superior grip and stability when compared to their smaller counterparts. But remember, these benefits come with a tradeoff in terms of agility.

If your traversing terrain is a mix of smooth streets and rougher patches, consider medium-sized wheels. These give you a blend of stability from larger wheels and the nimbleness of smaller ones. Given their balanced performance profile, they can handle cement, asphalt, and mild off-road conditions. Choosing a wheel around 70 millimeters in diameter could be just the ticket for a ride that’s not confined to one type of terrain.

Sometimes, it also pays to switch between wheel sizes, depending on the terrain you’re tackling on a given day. It might take a little extra effort, but experimenting will eventually lead to a ride that’s tailored to your unique style and terrain requirements.

The world of electric skateboarding is as varied and diverse as the terrains these boards are ridden on. And the wheel size can significantly influence your board’s agility, stability, ride comfort, and battery life. When you consider all these factors, you get to appreciate how the simple choice of wheel size can drastically alter your ride. Happy skating!

An image showing different wheel sizes for an electric skateboard.

Rider Preferences and Comfort

Choosing the right wheel size for an electric skateboard can be influenced by an array of personal preferences and comfort factors in addition to the elements mentioned earlier. Given that everyone’s experience and expectations differ, it is only logical that these things would factor into the equation.

Primarily, rider experience plays a significant role. A novice rider may prefer larger wheels as they provide added stability and smoothness, aiding them as they adjust to the new hobby and build their skills. On the contrary, veteran riders might opt for smaller wheels, favoring the agility and sharp carving capabilities for thrilling rides or quick commutes.

Moreover, the frequency and duration of rides might also impact this choice. For shorter, frequent trips, smaller wheels might suffice, providing enough comfort and performance. For longer escapades, larger wheels might be more practical, providing smoother rides and less fatigue over prolonged periods.

A person’s physical comfort levels can also be a significant consideration. For taller riders with a higher center of gravity or those seeking additional balance, larger wheels might be more to their liking. Simultaneously, smaller riders or those confident in their balance might lean towards smaller wheels for their agility and nimbleness.

Lastly, let’s not overlook the aesthetics and personal style. Just as our style reflects our personality, the wheel size chosen can become part of our identity. Some prefer the sleek look of smaller wheels, while others enjoy the bold statement larger wheels can make.

Regardless of personal preferences, don’t fret too much! Remember, wheel sizes can be changed as preferences evolve, skills improve, or as one’s riding adventures span different terrains. It’s not uncommon to see avid electric skateboarders swap their wheels to meet specific needs, whether for a daily commute, an exhilarating downhill ride, or even a thrilling venture on off-road paths.

Ultimately, the selection of wheel size for your electric skateboard should factor in both performance dynamics for your intended use and personal comfort preferences. Through experimentation and experience, finding the perfect wheel size to suit personal preferences isn’t just part of the challenge; it’s part of the fun!

Illustration of an electric skateboard with different wheel sizes, showcasing the options available for customization

While it may seem complex, the task of selecting the appropriate skateboard wheel size boils down to understanding the fundamentals, identifying your needs and preferences, and considering the terrain on which you will be riding. Bigger wheels offer more stability and speed, making them ideal for rough terrains, while smaller wheels are suited best for smooth pavements and tricks. Personal preferences and comfort play a crucial role in your choice. By weighing all these aspects and equipping yourself with the right knowledge, you are well on your way to enhancing your electric skateboarding experience.

Matt Powell