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Friday, August 16, 2013

WHEEL SIZES...the big and small of it.

by, Johnny
44mm vs. 70mm - when the extremes become EXTREME!
A lot of information on wheel formulas has been talked about and reviewed over and over again. I myself have spent a great deal of time experimenting and searching for the best formula urethane. All I hear is, "this formula this," and "that formula that," but not enough has been said about wheel sizes.

When I stopped skating, the standards for wheel sizes had already gone up, down, and then up again. It seems that the older crowd chooses to believe "bigger is better," mostly because of what size they once rode, nostalgia, etc.When I started skating again I also felt this way. After much review and constant testing - going back and forth in sizes and shapes of wheels - I have come to believe that maybe "bigger" isn't always "better."
I mostly skate bowls and anything transition-related. It's my passion, but I also like to skate street. I've always heard, "if you are going to skate bowls and ramps, use a bigger wheel." So, I of course did. I didn't grow up skating many bowls and pools as my part of the country had none of these things back in the day. Coming into a modern, bowl-equipped skatepark world, I thought that big wheels were the way to go - but they weren't.

The first year was a constant battle - never for speed, but mostly confidence of being back on a board and regaining the balance of my own body riding a board on all things transition. As I started to experiment with smaller wheels, I started to gain a confidence within my skating that I didn't have when I was skating larger wheels. I felt like me again. The lower center of gravity, and the lower weight under my feet made me feel a bit more at ease. It was easier to pop tricks and it was easier for me to "just go for it" more.

With smaller wheels you have board-on-the-ground feel and control. I look at it like the difference between vulc and cupsole shoes. A thicker sole means less board feel and more impact protection, and a thinner one means more board feel and less impact protection. Smaller wheels and bigger wheels give me this feeling too. Smaller wheels just seem to invoke more feel and confidence of what's under my feet. Maybe it's just me, I like having a good sense of the ground beneath me, and I'm always touching the bowl walls and hips with my hands while I skate. Of course it worked the other way around when I would skate rocky, rough terrain - cracks in sidewalks and bowls with coping that stuck out a lot in the deep end. It made me hold myself back a bit on doing things faster, not because the wheels wouldn't go fast - not at all, they were plenty fast - but because I didn't want to eat shit on the infamous pebble or hangup. In the end I've learned that it's all in your mind, but the wheels maybe help us get there a little easier.

Smaller wheels vs. bigger wheels still seem to have a weird stigma with people after all these years, like "I want to go fast, so I skate big wheels," or "oh, I skate bowls and vert, so I need big wheels." To me that's great if you are an experienced bowl or vert skater and never stopped skating, but for a lot of the older guys just getting back into it after a long time off, following those "rules" just makes the hump of getting comfortable back on a board after many years off, that much harder. Our bodies just aren't the same as they once were - it's just the truth. I say this out of experience, not attitude. I love big wheels, and I love everything the 80's, but I have to be honest here and tell it like it is. If you really want to know what works best for you and your skating and what doesn't, you gotta go out and try different things. Step out of your box and spend some time to see what works best with ALL the available options we now have - that's really all it comes down to. Here, I'll do my best to try and help steer you in the right direction from my own experiences after being gone for a while.

If you skated back when you were younger and now you are starting all over again and jump up to big ass wheel sizes from when you were a kid in the 80's right off, it's going to take you a bit longer to get over that hump of riding again. The hump, you know what I mean - "the fear!" We all have it at the beginning again, and eventually it will go away - not entirely, but enough to just let yourself go and not think too much, so your skating takes on a more natural, fun, and happy form. Whatever we need to do to get to this point no matter what it takes to get there, I say fuck it, DO IT! Do whatever you damn well have to! Skateboarding is supposed to be about having fun, and not worrying all the time if you are going to fall and get hurt and be a hindrance on yourself and your family because "you are now an old man," "need to grow up," etc. Fuck it, just go out there and fool around, be creative and always have fun no matter what's under your feet.

Personally, I've never have had a problem with things like speed and control using smaller wheels in bowls or at the parks. (Realize that Pedro Barros only uses 55mm wheels and goes faster and blasts higher than anyone out there alive today, so swallow that for a second if you think I'm nuts for writing all this). It's all in how you pump, how you carve, and when and where you do all these things on the transition. Eventually you'll just learn to get speed anywhere in a bowl, and it will all be natural and none of this will matter too much anymore.

Going down from a 58mm wheel to a 52mm wheel in bowls and in parks, and skating lower trucks my skating finally 'clicked' for me this year, and I felt I could let go more and just go for it. This past year, I started skating smaller 52 & 53mm wheels in the bowls and on street. I feel I progressed about 75% more than when I first started skating again and was using bigger wheels, and because of this, I was out skating more too.

I like to skate a size larger wheel than what I want to be riding and then wear off that millimeter on the street first, before I take them to the park. It's a pain in the ass, but this widens the contact patch so I have more grip in the bowls; it also removes the horrible treads on some wheels which make indoor bowl skating a dirty, slippery mess!

My favorite 'go-to' wheels for all-around skating have been Bones STF's - on street, on tranny indoors and outdoors. SPF is the best on concrete parks, but unless you have experience skating bowls, do yourself a favor and don't start out with SPF's on indoor bowls! You probably won't have as much confidence because you will be fighting the slipping and sliding all over the place and you will tend to hold back more because of it. The SPF's "fastest wheel around" thing won't matter because you will be slowly trotting along trying to not slip and slide because you aren't used to it yet. SPF's should have a rating on them that says "Experienced riders only." It's not a Novice or Beginners park wheel that's for sure. Us indoor park guys have had the broken bones and bruises from wheel slip to show this when we came back. Once you get your balance and confidence back within yourself and you are ready to skate a faster, slicker, wheel, you will adjust better to them, and you'll be flying around the bowls and won't want to go back to 95 and 97a type wheels. You'll be ready! But, give it time. . . . Also, SPF's need some breaking-in too. Take that for what it's worth as well.

Bones 54mm - ATF, 97a, STF, SPF
Small wheels in bowls and on ramps really aren't bad - don't be so stubborn. It can even be easier to pop onto and off on coping too. You'd think it'd be the other way around, but for some, not so much. Wheel shape also matters here. . . . Smaller wheels are actually a pretty good choice on mini ramps. Like I said before, small, but with a wider contact patch seem to work best.

Nicotine Lights 44mm wheel next to a 50¢ coin.
I tracked down some NOS 44mm 101a wheels to try on tranny (44mm wheels were some vert pro's wheel sizes in 1993, true story). I myself skated this early 90's era so I knew what I was getting myself into.
Honestly, they seemed faster than I thought they would be on my rough New England streets. My feet were numb afterwards, but they weren't that slow afterall. Taking them to the bowl and on the big ramps they were actually fine. No big issues getting over the coping for grinds, and again, seemed faster than I thought they'd be. Skating wheels that small with low trucks and being that low is really fun at parks - and easy too! It's kinda like skimboarding over the tranny. It's actually pretty cool. When you ride them on smooth transitions you wonder why everybody isn't riding these in parks today.

44mm vs. 50mm
Super small wheels really didn't effect my abilities to do what I do in the bowls. I was now at a loss and had to face the facts that in the end, it's never really about what size wheels, what size board, trucks, whatever in the bowls - it's you, and the balls you do or don't have when you're charging out there and just how bad you want it! I'll skate anything, I have skated everything, in every era, and honestly I love it all: big boards, small boards, big wheels and small wheels. They all have a place in skateboarding, and my favorite skaters have always been those that can skate whatever you throw down under them and adapt. I myself try to do my best with this too and don't let myself fall into the "I need this kinda setup or I can't skate" mindset. Those are really just excuses. I'll skate whatever and make the best of it that I can; but I still know what I like, and know what I like riding it on.

So this past year I started getting into grabs and airs out of the transition. Good times! This is where I see larger wheels finally make sense. Not in speed so much, but in the momentum of the speed when you are about to bend down, grab and pop off. My highest most confident little airs have been done with worn-down 52mm wheels - true story. But going back to a larger wheel, I lose less momentum going up the wall and this helps me want to go higher. I thought it wouldn't matter, but now with more experience I see it does a little bit, and I like it. I'm ready to bump my park wheel size up again. But if your goals aren't going to be jumping out of the ramps, and you are kind of new at riding bowls, then honestly. I don't think you need to go with big wheels - just yet.

54mm vs. 58mm
Ok, so the larger wheels thing...
The biggest problem with larger wheels I've found is the pop factor. You are now higher off the ground and now need more force to smack that tail down and pop yourself up. You can't half-ass your ollies with big wheels, folks. Even though with bigger wheels the nose will be higher in the air on pop, and you will be able to bring your pop up higher by dragging your foot up to the nose more vertically, it still requires a little more energy to get there, so take note of that especially if you have a bad back and bad knees/legs. Lower, lighter setups are good for someone with these ailments that wants to still go out and pop tricks all over the place without working too hard to get there. So if you want to go out on the street, and do ollie and flip tricks and you haven't skated in a long time, start with a smaller wheel and a lighter, lower setup. I think it will help you progress further. As time goes by and you re-comfortize yourself with skateboarding and build back up your strength - physically and mentally - then you can go up & down in sizes or whatever you like; you'll be ready for it more. I think so, anyways.

56mm vs. 58mm
A lot of guys are trying to get back into skateboarding after all these years because of the nostalgia re-issue factor. With all the size- and shape-accurate re-issues that companies have been releasing, more and more older dudes are again wanting to get out there and skate. So what do we all do? We all get stoked, order up a Powell Peralta or Santa Cruz, rails, big Indys, risers and big ass 80's sized wheels and think that it will be like 1987 all over again! Guilty! Yeah, I've been there. The Hosoi documentary brought me back into skating after being gone over a decade plus, and I'm sure now that the Bones Brigade doc is on Netflix there's a whole other bajillion old men who will want to skate again. (Let's hope they find our page helpful, if so, "Hi old dudes, keep shredding!")

Let's face it - 2 things have changed since we were younger in the 70's, 80's and 90's - the gear, and our bodies. Old man knees, legs, and backs and big heavy clunky flat boards don't work as well as we wish they would in our sweet nostalgic brains and hearts. But, they can. You gotta get that muscle tone, that muscle memory and get yourself over that hump again! Then you can mess around with whatever type setup you want and it will all fall into place better for you and not really matter as much anymore. Stop making things difficult for yourself! Modern boards make it easier to do things. They may not look as pretty or as nostalgically cool and fun, but honestly, they have evolved for a reason: ease of use. In all reality, you can get used to skating anything. When you think about the setups that the 80's legends rode, how big, clunky and burly they were and everything incredible those guys did with them, then you look at the young cats of today and see what they are doing with streamlined and very different equipment, we say, "is it because the 80's dudes were better?" No, not really . . . they may look cooler and have 1000% more style, but no. It's just that whatever us skaters have to work with we will eventually get comfortable on. We are adaptive, it's what skateboarders do! We adapt to our environments and we adapt to our boards. When we feel "one with our board," then we can fully be free. Some just choose a different type of weapon to get that free feeling and that's just fine - in the end, it's all skateboarding and it beats the hell out of every other feeling in the world. So was a 1080 humanly possible back in 1985? Sure, yeah it was. Humans haven't evolved, the gear and ramps have, so take that how ever you want to take it.

Use this guide and make what you will of it:

50 - 54mm - If you are starting out again and are skating parks and bowls and aren't going to be doing big pool coping grinds and airs out of the tranny. If you aren't going to be doing these things you don't need big wheels, all you DO need is confidence within yourself and you can make anything work! If you are going to skate street too and want to pop and flip the board easier, I think this area of size will help you progress quicker; you can go up or down in size later on.
Works good on mini ramps too.

54 - 58mm - Once you've been skating a bit more, and are starting to attack gnarly pool coping and are getting into doing airs. 54mm is probably the best all-around multi-style wheel size out there.

58 - 60mm - The standard modern vert & big bowl skaters choice, although not needed to shred the smaller parks. The bigger, and taller the bowl, then go up on wheel size. Unless you're skating something like the combi at Vans I wouldn't worry too much about getting bigger than a 58mm wheel.

60mm - 70mm - Big speed, less ground feel, minimal resistance to popping over or off of coping.
Again, it's all your choice, for what you are going to be doing out there and how you want do it.

Also on the topic of larger wheels the issue of risers comes up. Do you need risers? Probably not.
Most of the Masters Division of legends that skate 60mm wheels today do NOT use risers. So take this for what it's worth. All your preference, but I personally don't use risers, and I skate really loose trucks. Wheel bite happens with loose trucks regardless of wheel size. I got wheel bite with those 44mm wheels the same as I got it with 60mm wheels. I get it with risers and I get it without risers. No matter what size I ride, I choose to go without. Try it both ways to see what works for you.

As for softness, smaller wheels do not like to be that middle-soft hardness, there's a reason street wheels got really hard when they got really small in 1992. Softer, smaller wheels do not get and/or maintain speed very well. When riding smaller wheels if you want more speed, then you'll probably want them a bit harder too.
90-97a type wheels grip really well on slick surfaces, but in my experience they suck for speed when they're smaller. This is why there aren't too many small soft wheels that aren't cored cruiser/filmer wheel durometers (78-85a). The middle area of a 90-97a type wheel doesn't keep too much speed when they're little, so in all reality why bother? That middle area is a bitch - just skate a harder, softer, bigger, or smaller wheel. Big, soft wheels have less of this problem with the speed-to-size ratio thing. Riding a 70mm super soft 78a wheel will feel pretty damn fast regardless of what surface they're on. But, just imagine if it was a hard wheel - think Powell T-Bones, they made sense when they came out, but in the end weren't really needed. I think Tony did just fine without them, don't you?

Here's some notable Vert/Pool/Bowl/Park Masters & Pro's and what size wheels they ride today -

Christian Hosoi - 60mm
Steve Caballero - 60mm
Jeff Grosso - 60mm
Tony Hawk - 60mm
Lance Mountain - 60mm
Duane Peters - 63mm
Jeff Hedges - 58mm
Chris Miller - 58mm
Mike McGill -
Mark Partain - 58mm
Ben Schroeder - 60mm

Pedro Barros - 55mm
Bucky Lasek - 58mm
Ben Hatchell - 52-54mm
Jaws - 52mm
Ben Raybourn - 53-55mm
Taylor Bingaman - 53mm
Elliot Sloan - 56mm-58mm
Tony Trujillo - 54mm
Brad McClain - 53-56mm
Bob Burnquist - 60mm
Omar Hassan - 55mm

Do yourself a favor, grab a few different size sets of your favorite wheels and an extra set of bearings so you can just swap back and forth between different wheels and play around. You might be surprised at the results in your skating - you never know until you try!

Thanks for reading, I hope this helped somebody. Good luck out here - always have fun!

- Johnny


  1. I dunno, my experience getting back into skating and learning to ride bowls in particular was the exact opposite. I am 30, and got my first serious board in 1994, complete with 43mm Spitfires, and the largest wheel I ever rode back then was 50mm, toward the end of that period in my skating life. My experience like most kids in the underground heyday of street, I never had parks to skate. Fast forward to 2013 and I am putting together a board to skate an awesome free concrete park in my town, which has a rather large bowl, my childhood dream. I thought that an 8.25x32 with 55mm Classics, and Indy 139's was BIG, and that it would be a great park board. After a few trips to the park, I was having a really rough time on this board, I couldn't carry any speed in the bowl, it has huge transitions and half of it is vert, I was working so hard to maintain speed and pumping so hard that I could not work on timing my pumps and finding speed lines at all. I also felt really uncomfortable on the board. All of the guys I talked to said "You gotta go bigger, man". So I picked up a cheap 8.5x33.5 Minilogo, with a 15" WB, Indy 149's and some wide ass 58mm Spitsfires. I was carving my ass off all the way around the bowl on my second run, even before I had the bushings on my new Indy's adjusted and broken in to my desired level of carvy-ness. I felt no difference from being 3mm higher from the ramp, other than the effortless flow of momentum. Now I am getting speed everywhere in the bowl, starting to learn slash grinds, indys over the hips, lots of stuff I thought was going to take me forever to learn. Granted I am not ollie-ing into my airs or doing street oriented tricks at all, and I can agree with you that my park setup does indeed suck for that stuff, but fortunately I still have that 8.25 setup, albiet unused, if I ever get the urge. So I guess my point is that, it depends, If you are riding a big bowl with long trannys, and more vert than not, bigger wheels are going to make it easier, IMHO. If you look at the Masters you listed that are riding big wheels, they are all big ramp guys.. and watching them shred the Combi at Pool Party.. yikes. Anyway, sorry I was so long winded, good post, I agree that dudes should try as many setups as they can afford, different strokes for different stokes and all. Have fun skating.

    1. Exactly. Like I said "huge transitions" require a bigger wheel, but I was kinda more referring to the smaller more average little flow parks. My area of the country we aren't able to have any outdoor Full bowls" so it blows for me that craves that. I drive to another state weekly to sesh the bigger stuff, but it's indoors, which I like for slamming and weather purposes. Smaller bowl corner areas of parks and smaller tranny and you can get away with smaller wheels. But again, like I said, unless you are skating Vans Combi type tranny you don't really need to go above a 58mm wheel, then it's just preference. : ) the Powell/Mini Logo 8.5x33.5 is a good shape deck to start skate parks with. But know that all Powell/Mini Logo decks feel smaller than a standard 8.5 because they taper downwards the back. They make great stuff, but if you want a bigger feeling 8.5 try another deck. The Mini Logo's k15 concave is deep, that also makes the board feel more narrow. I like the Elephant decks alot and am currently skating a Black Label 8.88x32 14.75wb Lucero X2 deck. Just got it and I really like it's more mellow concave and fun shape. The modern bowl type shape is a perfect blend of the past but with the popsicles advantages. Think the Grosso type shape. Alot of companies are making that sorta shape these days. It works really well as a park board, but skates pretty much the same as a standard modern street board too. Have fun!

    2. That's awesome, I was really eyeing the Matt Hensely Stout deck that has a similar shape to the Lucero board. I have been a Black Label fan since way back, my street setup is actually Omar Hassan's deck. I might get one of those shapes or the 8.88 deck with the elephant graphic if I ever wear out the Mini logo. I really wish that Black Label had more boards with 15+ inch wheelbase. I am 6'4" so the 15" wb is what I like most about the Minilogo. I haven't had much luck finding decks that long in a popsicle shape.

    3. I know of some w/ a 15wb bro. If you can shoot me your email address through the Facebook page.

    4. Hello I am a 38 year old man returning to the skate scene after a 18 year break, and I found this article and the comments very helpful and confirming of my own experiences. I started out a year and eight months ago with a giant longboard and 66mm wheels thinking I was just going to cruise my old ass around and be happy with that, then I started kickflipping the thing and wanted to skate for real. I bought a pack of 20 uncut 35x10 inch decks and started sawing and skating them. I also moved into a house near an awesome tranny park and started testing out my boards and decent wheel collection weekly. I shaped a 9.5 by 33, an 8.5 by 32, and an 8 by 32. I started out with the 9.5 deck, some 159 INDY and some spf bones size 58 and could not ride the park for shit. Mostly it was because of my skill level, but when I went down to the 8 deck with indy 139s on some 52mm street tech wheels I really learned to carve the bowl, skate the ledges, pop higher ollies, skate super loose trucks with no problems and no wheelbite, and just land shit.I feel you on the spf wheels. When I started out on the SPF I was sliding out all over the place. I was going fast but was not even ready for that type of speed. The tranny in the deep end at my local park is 10 deep with 2 feet of vert so the big wheels would help out, but I had to downsize to get my control, and use wheels that were not so hard and slick. I wish I had read this article then, I would have started with the smaller board and smaller wheels. I am at a stage now where I am pumping like hell to barely reach the tile but can hit the tile every time and slash coping in the shallow end with ease and consistent speed on my 8.o with 52 stf bones wheels. My next move is to skate the board I just made, an 8.5, with 149 indys and the spf 58s I started on in the bowl. I know how to avoid wheelbite and handle all the speed I'm getting so I think I am ready now to move on to the 58s. As for skating the rest of the park I love my 52mils and if it were not for the massive bowl I would not go any bigger. I am still a little concerned with the slickness of the SPF but I am looking forward to the extra challenge and the possibility of some high speed slasher reverts. Thank for writing this, I hope more born again shredders read this and consider riding smaller wheels to build up their trick set and confidence before trying to ride tall and wide thinking it will handle the parks better. Maybe it will save some bruised ribs.

  2. Similar experience -- got back into skating at 37 after a 20 year break. Cruising/low impact street skating mostly. My initial setup was 63mm wheels at around 85a, based on my (false) memory that I rode that size in the late 80s. Won't go into details, but I definitely made things harder on myself. Just relearning ollies probably took months longer than it needed to. Its really about preference -- but absolutely try a range of wheel sizes/Duros. I am settled in at around 54-56mm 90a, and that will probably change in the next few months as my confidence/skill evolves.

    1. For a real durable, not too small and really fast street wheel try the Bones STF Barrier Kult wheels. They are 56mm but have the thinner Rat Bones II shape (56mmx32mm). If that's too hard or too bumpy maybe try a semi softer wheel but with a good core. A good solid core makes a medium softer (90a-97a) wheel skate faster. Rainskates has a few of these in various sizes as does alot of the modern companies. Bertrand could prob suggest some other wheels too. I skate mainly Bones so that's why i say the Barrier Kult 56mm wheels. When in doubt though a 54mm wheel will prob be the best alla round wheel for multi styles of skating you can get. It's a magic size! Good for technical street but at the parks and ramps too. Alot of the technical bowl skaters that do street tricks but also McTwists in there as well use 54's. Good luck dude! : )

  3. Awesome article, Johnny. I, too, have noticed that learning the right pump points of bowls and parks helps a lot more than wheel size or hardness in maintaining speed. I think it is great advice to go with what feels most comfortable to you, but to remember that, as you pointed out, the equipment evolved in the way it did to improve performance and increase trick opportunities. The popsicle stick shape maximizes foot placement opportunities while minimizing weight and complexity.
    Also don't be afraid to go one extreme or the other once you feel comfortable. Changing things up makes skateboarding the same spot exciting again. I have skated everything from 8x31.5 to 9.4x41 to 10x38 at my local park. All exciting and fun.

    1. Thanks brother. Very true, changing things up keeps it exciting for us old dudes, but we all have our sweet spot comfort zone for our setups eventually. I can bounce around in sizes and shapes so much, but I always feel most comfy on 8.5-9" decks, but that are shorter. I tend to really like the square nose shape alot too, like the Elephant Rogue, Grosso Black Label type shape. It's what I call the "modern bowl shape". All the fun of a shaped deck but with all the perks of a modern popsicle stick deck. Elephant, Black Label, Welcome, Pocket Pistols, Anti-Hero, etc etc are making these shapes more and more. Love em! :) Ollies, flips and skates pretty much the same if not better to me than most decks. They sorta kinda remind me of the 1991 shape, but a tad smaller and with less fish-taily-ness and more nose.

  4. I took the picture for this article at a Wednesday night bowl session when Johnny and I were actually riding those wheels at the same time, so you know I've gone in a different direction. The last wheels I rode before my extended skating hiatus were wide 60mm Kryptonics Pro III's at 92A, which were smaller and harder than anything I'd had before.

    I went from 59mm Rainskates Stingers to 58mm SPF's to a long and ultimately fruitless exploration of the 52-54mm STF range, and now, somewhat crazily, to riding 69mm These ATF's in bowls. For pure speed and carving, they're amazing. Obviously, you're giving up a lot with wheels that big in terms of tricks, but they're actually fast as hell in the right setup.

    1. My favorite thing in skateboarding is when dudes go "outside of the box" with their gear or their skating, and Tom skating those wheels in bowls makes me smile really big. Tom's right about those These wheels, they are rad! I call them the Super rat Bones shape because they are huge, but they look awesome! Just like giant regular skateboard wheels.
      I'm looking forward to George and Skate One's rekindling of interests in new technologies and developments in skateboarding equipment. They haven't done too much the last 2 decades so let's all keep an eye out there and see what else they can bring us. He says that's what they're working on now. If they do more things like those These Wheels, they will be going in the right directions!
      The Mini Logo trucks, the These wheels, what's next?

  5. Great article, and I love the Pros & Masters listing at the end.

    In fact, I was so inspired by this I went and rode a bowl tonight with my 54mm Bones STF instead of the usual 62mm Rainskates. I slid around a bit and had less control (primarily due to the narrower width -- wish you'd have mentioned the importance of width -- it's fascinating to consider competing interests of size, hardness *and* width on speed.), but I noticed very little difference in speed. In fact, the lightness of the board made it easier to pop out and get onto coping.

    1. Good for you Jared. Glad you liked it man.
      I did mention the width thing.
      That's why I wear off a millimeter on my wheels first, to get that wider riding surface.
      I do this rather than skating the wider Bones Standards because of weight, the wider wheels will be heavier, so instead of using those I like the V1 shape. The Bones V2 shape has a really flat wall shape that's good for ledge skating but doesn't carve into pool coping well as it's a bit to flat. The V3 shape is the slimmest, and lightest but obviously have the least contact surface. The V4 has the widest at a 34mm width, but they will be heaviest of the 4 Bones shapes. I also have the Bones SPF 54x31 Rat Bones II/Mini Rat shaped wheels, the Jimmy the Greek ones come in this size. Yes, I'm a Bones nerd. :)

    2. I'm glad the article inspired you to mess around. That's what skateboarding's all about, experimenting and having fun.

      btw - slimmer wheels technically are faster, less resistance, but obviously they have less grip too.
      Powell T Bones were made because Tony hawk wanted to go higher back in the day, so they made a really big but yet narrow wheel for him. 67mmx36mm.

  6. Johnny and fellow contributors,
    This site is, by far, my favorite skate-related informational site!
    The things I read & learn about here inspire me to go out & experiment.

    I tell 'ya, right now, I'm not too secure with my setup.
    A little background first.

    I had been skating since 1983, but my "prime" years were between '89 & '91, when I was skating Mike McGill's Skatepark in Oldsmar (Tampa), right when Mike Frazier was bustin' onto the scene! I was 90% ramps (mini & vert) and about 10% street (which was basically curbs).

    I took a hiatus for 6-7 years to dedicate time to playing indie/punk rock & touring.
    Pick the board back up in the late '90's, but instead of grabbing my Planet Earth Chris Miller with Bullet 66's, I picked up a popsicle board at the time. I didn't have a hard time adapting to the popsicle stick. In fact, my favorite deck was a Santa Cruz Mike Frazier that I believe was only 8.3" wide. This was at a time when I was mainly riding miniramps.

    Now that we have an incredible Team Pain park 5 minutes from my house, most of all my skating is done in the two bowls (a bigger square-wall bowl and a shallower flow bowl) and in the super-fun snake run (every skatepark should have a snake run!!!)
    I’ve ridden several Mini-Logo 8.5”. My current go-to setup is a Grind for Life 8.8” popsicle – I also have the same 8.8” but with a square-tail.

    WHEELS! That’s a hot topic right now – thanks for writing the article!
    I have recently switched out my Bones 60mm SPF wheels for the 64mm G-Bones I bought back when we were skating the indoor Vans ramps in Orlando. The slippery-ness factor was so bad, we needed some wheels with grip! I’m really not wild on the huge 64mm size. I wish they made a 58mm or 60mm.

    I had a super hard slam on the 4th of July in the bowl @ the end of the snake run that refractured up two of my ribs. Needless to say, I’ve been a little timid in the park lately, and I don’t wanna be that way!!!

    So,,, I’m gonna be experimenting with all kinds of wheels over the next few months.
    One of my vert-ripping buddy’s been riding Type-S 60mm 96A wheels and says they grip well.
    I may try some of those in a 58mm.
    I’ll report back on my findings.
    Thanks again for the article!!!

    1. Hey Rudy, thank you for your kind words buddy.
      That's why we do what we do here, too help anyone else out through sharing our experiences that it may benefit.

      First off, that's rad you got to skate McGill's, he's always been a hero of mine and I always dreamed I could have gone to his park. Mike Frazier is also one of my favs, how can he not be, he was the next level of the Bones Brigade and he never get's enough credit for being as innovative as he was in that early 90's period to vert skating.

      Second, I have good news for you, there are Powell/Bones 60 and 58mm 97a wheels you can buy...these are the same formula urethane as the GBones, but white -

      Rat Bones II 60mm 97a -

      Mini Logo 58mm 97a -

      As for Type-S, I've only had one set, and I wasn't too into them so i sold them after a few sesh's.
      They were the Type S Hosoi 98a wheels, and just felt SPF-ish to me, so I'm sure the 96a ones would be better, and grippier. Rainskates Yellow formula 59mm wheels would be great too.

  7. What year did Rat Bones II come out?

    1. I'm not too sure. The Skull & Bones forum dudes would know for sure though.
      My guess is around 1989-1991.
      They used to be a mm wider at 35mm.
      You can still get NOS ones in the 93a,95a, 97a colored formulas out there on eBay etc.

  8. My first board back in '89 had 61mm wheels but soon wheels became smaller. Back then, we road our 57mm wheels down below 50mm before replacing them. So I'm not used to big wheels. Started skating again last year (I'm 37), I've settled in on 54mm to 56mm wheels. Bigger than that and I have to worry about wheel bites and/or running much more spacer than feels comfortable. In other words, I agree with you analysis, Johnny!

    1. Thanks Joe. Glad you enjoyed the article. : )

  9. I totally agree that old bastards (35+) picking up skating again after 15+ year of losing focus of what is important in life, should go small wheels and not 60+ like in the old days. Riding closer to the ground makes you more confident.

    Its probably already said but the weight of the wheels is also a factor just like truck weight. A 60mm is about 25g heavier than a 54mm wheel which will be about the same reduction in weight as going from a heavy to a light truck.

    My most frequent slam is hitting stones in concrete parks, often when just pushing or riding flat. As a result I whent bigger (rain skates 59mm) hoping my diet of eating concrete would be better. I havent noticed any difference so I'm back to 55-56mm.

    1. As one of those old bastards that did just that, I hope that you are also one of us old bastards, because if you're not and you call us old bastards anonymously...well...

      Yes, the weight thing has been discussed, but it will be further discussed on my next article coming very soon on light setups and weights. Every piece of a skateboard gets weighed and the cold hard facts get revealed.

  10. Yes! I was definately referring to myself! I can't really understand why I quit skateing for 15 years. It has to be the only thing that I regret in life. Although I'm quite proud of myself actually being able to start again despite having a body constantly reminding me it's a bad idea (most recent big slam broke my wrist 3months ago).

    Now I can't imagine a life without it. My greatest fear is not eating concrete, it's slams that will keep me off the board, and everytime that happens I can't find anything worthy to fill the gap.

  11. Tell me more about that broken wrist ordeal, please!
    I'm currently getting to experience what you probably went thru.

    So I'm nearing the bowled-end of the snake run when I realize a buddy was just coming out of the bowl right at me. To avoid a head-on collision, I jumped off my board to one side and landed smack-dab on the wall of the bowl on top of my arm, snapping my wrist with all my body weight. Had a 2-1/2 to 3 hour surgery to repair wrist with a plate and screws. I'm very thankful that I had a talented surgeon because the pain has been very minimal!

    Arm was braced for the 1st week; now I'm in a hard cast for two weeks. Next visit, the doctor will take out the staples and I'll possibly wear another brace.

    The doctor is not very supportive of my skating lifestyle - says I need to look for another hobby now that I'm 46 years old. I think he holds some bitterness towards skaters because he admits his mother never let him step foot on a skateboard!

    Ok, I've had my share of skate injuries over the years (hip hematoma, cracked ribs, broken big toe), but never a broken arm or wrist. I'm a little nervous about skating once I get back on the board - I really don't want to have to just roll around; I would like to still attempt to skate with some authority!

    I made two big mistakes the night of my accident - 1. I didn't put on my one wrist guard that I ALWAYS skate with, and 2. I rolled into the snake run knowing my buddy was still in there!

    Now, I'm not too sure that the wrist guard would have prevented the broken wrist because I wasn't putting my arm out to break my fall - my fat ass just fell on top of it! Maybe it would have lessened the severity of the break (maybe I wouldn't have needed the metal plate & screws!)

    Whatever the case, I'm using this time off the board to educate myself on how others have handled being in my position, as I know there's been plenty of you'all out there! Heck, my former roommate has the exact same plate & screws in his wrist too!

    I certainly appreciate any input & advice!

  12. I really feel for you Rudy! I've broken my wrist two times the last 2 years but compared to your fracture mine has been very mild. Although my wrist will never be the same (can't do any push-ups any more = put weight on the hand at an angle even after years of rehab).

    We are quite a "gang" here in Malmö (Sweden) of 35+ years skaters and many of us had wrist injuries. Today most of us always skate with pro-design wrist guards and my personal experience is that nothing else works, all others are just toys (except maybe S-one). Pro-design wrist guards won't take all the risk out of skating but at least instead of destroying all the delicate parts in your wrist you will have a "clean" arm fracture that mends easily.

    My latest fracture (no cast needed) was said to heal after 4 weeks and the doctor told med to wait at least 8 weeks until skating again. I started after 3 weeks thanks to the wrist guards. Although I can never skate without them ever again!

    I hope you find something that works Rudy! Because quit skating is not an option!

  13. I'm learning to ride and I'm using Bones STF 55mm. I find them too hard to cruise NYC streets and I want to get softer wheels, probably Bones ATF 60mm. I wonder if this is too big for learning first basic tricks like ollies, also I wonder if the 62mm Ty Evans are too big, though I know I'll enjoy my cruising. Should I compromise in between with a 58-60mm? Thanks!

    1. Go down in size, not up if you want to ollie easier. You can get a softer, smaller wheel and make it work really well. If all you're doing is cruising get 52-54mm ATF's or Spitfire HD's. You'll be good to go. The bigger your wheels get, the harder it's going to be to get those ollies popping at all. Best of luck! : )

    2. Thanks, Johnny, great article! Really helpful for a beginner.

    3. Thanks man. Glad you dug it. I think it'd be helpful for anyone really.
      I see alot of older dudes coming back to skating, like I did, after years off and going for what they had "back then".
      When in all reality, gear evolved for a reason, to make things easier for us! : P
      I like to compare it to an 80's guitar player that all of a sudden came back to wanting to play electric guitar again right now in 2013. Why would he go grab some awful 30 year old digital processor, when he can have the best sounding gear that is so easy to use right at his fingertips? Simple - he wouldn't.
      Same thing applies to skateboard gear. We have the best wheels and the best made urethane formulas for every purpose these days. So many shapes and sizes and doo hickeys, but yet some people come back to skating and think they need to get what they had in 1985, as if they will all of sudden have their 1985 legs back. The huge size and durometer etc. When all they will be doing is making it hard on themselves when it doesn't have to be. I respect everybody's choice to skate whatever they want, and however they want. That's what makes skating so wonderful. All I ever want to do is help anyone out to be able to, and want skate more, and skate better, for themselves, and no one else. For me personally when it comes to wheels or any skate gear, heck I'd skate a tomato if it made me have more fun! I don't care what it takes to have more fun and have a better, fuller enjoyable and yet easier skate - I just do it. Have fun buddy - Whatever you do! : )

    4. I can recommend the Autobahn Torus 54mm 90a as a great beginner wheel. not too hard, not too big, really high quality USA urethane and not too expensive

  14. Awesome info. Thanks for posting!

  15. I recently discovered Spitfire SoftD's, They come in 92 or 95 duro and are great! They won't rattle your teeth on asphalt but you can still skid on them on smooth concrete. They're reasonably fast and you can ride them anywhere. I'm riding the 92 duro in 54mm at the moment.

    I also tried Picture wheels, Bonsai 80duro in 45mm and they ride great on the road. They're pretty sticky though, so no sliding at all.

    I prefer 53 or 54mm as they don't hang up like the 50-52mm ones seem to do (around my place anyway).

  16. That should be....

    I also tried Picture wheels, Bonsai 80duro in 54mm.... not 45mm.

  17. Great write up on all the details and nuances of wheel sizes and hardness.

    My favorite part of this entry is the "Let's face it...". Completely agree and so well said. Change is good. And most important change looks different as you said. Nostalgia and retro is fun, there's no denying that. But for real skating, I skate the new stuff and it's rocks. If people get caught up in the nostalgia of the past, they'll miss out on all the fabulous current advacements.

    1. Thanks man, I'm glad you enjoyed it. : )

      With all the fun stuff that's come out the last 2 years that's a nice cross between the past and the present we have so much today.
      Might as well try it all and let the results be the choice to go with. Too much negativity in skating as it is, I just try to be open to everything, good and the bad, and do it all with a smile. : )
      - Johnny

  18. thank you Johnny.
    I'm 50, and have been trying to get back into it for a while now, on and off.
    You've convinced me to set aside my old 65mm Gyro wheels (not to be confused with the new company formed recently) and get me some smaller ones. I was going to get some 58-60mm, but I think I'll go even smaller, like 56... or dare I consider 54? Let's see if I have the balls to go smaller. (it is the fear of getting a wheel swallowed in the abyss of that joint between the sidewalk slabs- ok, I'm exagerrating of course, but still, big wheels do better on that - and our streets are rather coarse asphalt as well).

    1. I finally settled on the Kryptonics Cruise 58, they are 78a hardness, 58mm.
      They also make the Route 58, which are 83 hardness.

      I really hesitated between the two, not sure if they would be too soft, but they looked better (transparent), so I figured I could make a mistake either way, and went with the better looking ones.

      Turns out, they are much faster than my Gyro wheels, which I remember I had ordered in a medium hardness - 85 at the time.

      No regrets, just smiles. :)

  19. Great article. I'm 47, haven't skated in 32+ years and I've been trying to figure out what works for me. I picked up a used Dogtown Big Foot (huge board at 12" wide) mainly for the new Indys it had on it and I bought some Powell Mini Cubes, 95A and 64mm. I was really surprised at how slippery the wheels are in the local parks (mainly Volcom in Costa Mesa). On just basic carves and kick turns I'll get a little slip from them. Granted, it's probably more my crappy skating that's causing it but they still seem really slick. I did try another set of wheels (brand and size is worn off) that have more grip but seem much slower.
    Anyone else have these results with mini cubes?

    1. I really don't think it's your crappy anything.
      I think all these hard wheels on the market are just a scam, to sell you cheaper urethane at higher profits.

    2. Hi Anon, No issues with the mini-cubes.They have been a pleasant all-round wheel (not too rough on street or vert) and handle the divots at my local snake run very well. Grip is good on all surfaces and maybe to good: power slides can come to an abrupt stop and throw me.

      As per the article, I switched to some 54mm, 99A Spitfire F1s but the ride has been too bone jarring for me. But I plan to make some changes and remove my riser and give them another go: they certainly slide better than my purple cubics.

    3. Thanks for the replies. I picked up a set of 56mm Bones SPF's and while they are fast, they are also slippery. I need traction more than speed at this point. I'm going to check out some Rainskates (either 62mm/95a mid tsunami's or 62mm/98a yellow jackets). I'll post back with the results once I've had a few sessions with them.

    4. Hardness is not always synonymous with speed.
      The wheels have to be soft enough to absorb the individual surface asperities, while the rest of the wheel retains it's shape (not so soft that they deform under your weight).
      The slowest wheels I've ever tried on our coarse asphalt for example, were very hard.
      It is a balance between surface type, your weight, and the traction you want.

    5. I got a set of the Rainskates (Mid Tsunamis) and tried them out today. Outstanding grip and I didn't feel like I lost any speed. I got wheelbite twice on frontside carves so I may need to add another small riser. Overall I'm very happy with these wheels.

    6. That is good to hear. What hardness are they?

    7. They're 95a's.

  20. I'm looking for a deep-well wheel where the bearing seat is recessed far enough that the axle nut is fully hidden/protected when the deck is on rails/primo.

    I mainly skate flatland on rough streets, all about flatground tricks and ollies/kickflips over stuff, occasionally flatbar/roundrail grinding. Not concerned with cruising/downhill.

    At the moment, I'm using OJ Hosoi Rockets re-issue wheels in 60mm 97A. They're spec'd at 44m width, 31mm riding surface, 60.25mm diameter. Before these I'd always used your typical skinny 52-54mm tech/street wheel in 100A, so the massive size/weight difference took some getting used to, but I'm back to slapping ollies/kickflips about as high as I was on the little skinnies. I don't know if I'll ever go back, as I like the stability I have on rails now, and I'm tired of shredding my axle threads.

    The Hosoi Rockets already seem to be discontinued so I need an alternative. I'm looking at the Mini Logo "A-Cut" wheels in 55-60mm online. They also seem to carry A-Cut wheels in 51-53mm which are technically "V5" according to the description, but based on the pictures they appear to be the exact same shape? I'm wondering if maybe I can use any Bones STF V5 wheel? Everybody talks up the durability of the STF wheels, so I wouldn't mind finally giving them a try, but they're typically made in the skinny street/tech shape with the axle nuts completely exposed.

    For me the perfect wheel would probably be something STF or similar that's highly resistant to chipping/flat-spotting, 52-54mm in diameter, and as thin as possible, so an off-set hub rather than a center-set hub would probably be ideal to shave off excess material on one side while still fully covering the axle nuts and providing good stability on rails. Unfortunately, nobody has thought to make such a wheel, and off-set hubs are rare in general.

    But yeah, open to any recommendations on wheels that cover up the axles in 95A or harder, I don't think 78A cruiser type wheels will work for me even though they usually have the right shape. I'd love to come down in size/width/weight from my Hosoi Rockets if possible, anything similar is fine (but nothing larger) as I'm making these work. I'd be really interested in hearing from anyone that owns Bones STF V5 wheels whether they fit what I'm looking for. Otherwise, the Mini Logo A-Cut 55mm wheels seem like they might do, if anyone can confirm whether or not they mostly hide the axle nuts.

    1. Hey bud, I think what you want is a freestyle specific wheel.
      Try Sk8 Kings freestyle skateboards -

      These wheels should do you right!

    2. I wish I could attach a picture... but if you Google GYRO wheels, now belonging to Sims, you will see that they make an awesome model that is exactly what you are looking for. They also have an aluminum insert sleeve, to make sure that the bearings stay perpendicular to the axle, even with a side-load.

  21. I was actually looking at the SK8KINGS Crown Jewels before I bought my Hosoi Rockets, but I decided to go with the OJ wheels because they were carried by Skate Warehouse, so I ended up getting them for under $20 in a complete setup.

    They do look like good wheels, but $40+ shipped is hard to swallow. I'm really hoping I can find something at Skate Warehouse since they have an upcoming 25% off sale for Black Friday. They carry the 60mm Mini Logo A-Cut for $16.99 for example, and that only gets better with the coupons and discount on a complete setup. The only downside is their selection is a bit limited, but you really can't beat the deals during these seasonal sales. I'll possibly be getting an entire complete for about the same price as one set of SK8KINGS Crown Jewels.

    And that's not a knock on SK8KINGS, I know they're an indie company and they charge what they have to to stay afloat, but skating isn't exactly a cheap hobby. I've gotta stretch my dollar too, so it is what it is.

    It's just hard to get a handle on a wheels' shape by looking at pictures alone, especially when graphics tend to cover up all the spacial differences that might give you even a general idea. And most companies are terrible about providing good specs cause the industry is fueled mostly by kids, so the graphics end up being the priority.

    Skate Warehouse also carries Powell Bombers in 60mm park formula, which I'm guessing is 84B, as well as Powell Caballero Dragons in 58mm park formula. Those are about the only wheels I can see that might be what I'm looking for, but then again they may not. Maybe I can get in touch with Skate Warehouse and find out, but even if they would work, I could be falling into the same trap of them being discontinued and I'm right back to square one. So it might be best to just go back to the industry norm and not really mess around with freestyle anymore and just eat shit every time I over rotate into primo.

    You'd think with Mullen being so popular, even with the youth, hybrid street/freestyle products would be more readily available, but there still seems to be chasm between two sides, either extremely large old school or tiny new school.

    I tried to find a website for Sims and those GYRO wheels but really couldn't find much outside of a few pictures, they might even be headquartered outside of the U.S.? I think even if I did manage to track down a set they'd probably be prohibitively expensive. But thanks for the recommendations guys.

    Johnny, since you own a ton of Bones wheels would you happen to have a set of V5's on hand? I trolled around youtube looking for a few videos of V5's mounted on a board, and they appear as though they still leave the axles exposed, so I guess that could mean even the Mini Logo A-Cuts are out of the question.

    1. I have a set of Powell Bombers and they're great wheels. The nut is definitely within/inside the lip of the wheel. I have Bones ceramics in mine and it's amazingly quiet as well as fast. In a smooth bowl you can barely hear them.
      They may not be ideal for all applications but they're awesome in bowls - super grippy.

    2. Thanks for the input, I went ahead and ordered a set of Powell Bombers, Bones also makes some SPF wheels that are the same dimensions 60mm x 40mm. I also ordered some Bones SPF 'Too Tone' 56mm x 37mm just to see if they'd be wide enough.

    3. SPF's are crazy hard (fast but slippery as hell). Some people love them but I was sliding all over with them.

    4. Fast on what surface? Just because they are hard, does not make them faster than on just any surface. If you're skating on a sheet of glass or steel, then yeah, the harder the better. But as soon as you go cement, asphalt, you have to start matching your wheel hardness to the asperities in the surface, to get the ride qualities you want. For example, when riding on asphalt, my new "soft" 78a Kryptonics wheels coast 2X-3X (yes, three times) farther than hard wheels, and they're not bad on skate ramps.
      IMO, the cheapest of uerethanes is hardest and slippery. Quality urethane is a whole different experience. Slapping a brand-name label onto something bad doesn't make it better. All this excessive hardness is just a marketing thing, I think.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. The one I was referring to was this set:
    I just came across a site selling them for (yikes) $306! (that is a set of blue ones with lots of wear) Mind you, back in the 70's they were selling for $50/wheel - now adjust that for inflation in 2014.

    I can say that they are available with different cuts (bevelled edges). The first to come out were straight on both sides (right angle), then they introduced with bevelled sides - first only on the inside, with a straight outer edge, then on both in and outer bevels (those had the bearings more in the centre of the wheel, rather than aligned with the inner side).

    I have a set, that I bought in the early nineties (to finally fulfill my fantasy of owning a set), and they are awesome-fast (not to mention that I get LOTS of stares AND comments (the positive kind)).
    They are a little different from the picture, in that the bearings are seated almost flush at the inner edge of the wheel, and the outer edge of the wheel is straight-cut (for a wider contact patch), but they still have the inside bevel for better re-entry. Their advertising presented Gyro as having pioneered this inner bevel back in the day, and these wheels were the Cadillac of all wheels. If anyone is interested, my set has hardly any wear, and color is one of each: black, red, yellow, green.

  24. Great info mate! Will keep rolling with the 54mm a while longer and see how the bowl riding progresses

  25. Hello from Brazil! How about Santa Cruz Bullet 66mm? I personaly like this wheel since I was young, I'm completing 40yo this year and after 20 years I'm back skating because of my 10yo son. So, what is your opinion about this Bullet 66mm wheel to ride small bowl / banks and mini ramp. Thank you all!

    1. I liked the Santa Cruz Bullets I had. I used 60 mm Bullets with 95a durometer. Very nice. 66mm is pretty big for small bowls and banks. I would recommend 60-62 mm.

    2. Late reply, I know :D
      But i've skated these, NOS 95a in wooden ramps/bowl and concrete ramp. They felt ok, but when I switched to nos kryptos gamma reactors 97a (who were well more than 2 duros harder) I got much more speed out, pumping was a whole lot easier.
      The bullets are nice for street cruising though, going downhill on a bit rougher asphalt often gives you a very comfy lower speed compared to 80a longboard wheels which just go too fast downhill.

  26. I have been skating since 1974, off and on. I started on a Black Knight board with clay wheels. Then I moved up to a Logan Earth Ski w/ACS 651s and Road Rider 6 wheels. I currently ride a no name popsickle board 8.0 with Venture trucks, ceramic bearings and Bones 100s 50mm. I also ride a Hobie 38"X9" w/Gullwing Sidewinder double kingpin trucks (w/1" risers) w/Sector 9 Race Formula wheels, 70mm 78A.

    My Hobie rides high, but has that surfing feeling to it when I carve, or in the bowls. I want the speed when I ride the outdoor parks. I don't mind those sketchy moments when you feel like your board might slide out from under you. That's the thrill I've always liked. I don't get the speed on my park board as I do my Hobie, though.

    My Bones 100s 50mm wheels are supposed to be all around wheels. Well, they suck on any rough terrain. I use the same bearings in all of my boards. My Hobie is my favorite all around board. I ride the parks and hills with my Hobie. I can't do street tricks on my Hobie, but it is the best board I have.

    A lot of people don't agree with me, but my preference for speed, epsecially down hill, is my Z-Flex 38" board with the Shark wheels. It screams. The shark wheels are 70mm 78A. Fun ride, but kind of sketchy, which I like.

    I move myself with the times, and even my Hobie (wide longboard) has stood the test of time. I ride most anything with wheels on it, but my Hobie is my Cadillac.

  27. I was born in 1974 and I first started skateboarding in 1993. Back in those years I could Ollie at least over a rubbish bin n I know this is not very cool though. After many years in 2015 I skate again and get a 9 inch cruiser board with 60mm wheels. This is because guys told me that j am very big now so need late thing. I am 182 cm tall and weigh 166lbs. I fell off two times in five minutes. After some time , i found out that even though I am tall and not as light as before , it doesn't mean I need everything big. Now I have smaller board which is 8.2 with 50mm bones wheels and bones red bearings. I am improving. Now I skate with guys whose age can be my great son. I seem like to be the oldest one who is still on the board. My concept is I may even cant walk one day when I am very old. So do it when still can. I love this post a lot and fact has proved this post is great and it has been growing for years. Thanks for all you guys sharing here. From HKG

  28. Hi! I thought I should comment, because this is a fantastic article and I learned a lot from it. So this comment is my thankyou!
    I am a little different from other people on this thread, in that I am an older mid thirties guy STARTING to skate for the first time.
    First board I got was a locally made shape, local artist, kind of a slimline street cruiser with a kick nose, set up with 69mm 86a wheels. I didn't "want" a street board, for whatever reason I thought I couldn't rock it as an older guy. So the more I played with my board, I found I needed a bunch of risers to deal with terrifying edge bite when going faster. This changed the board, was super nice for carving and pumping it was really easy, but felt harder to ride. I still had a bunch of fun learning to skate.
    I started going into bowls, however, and found the board tracked nicely but the extra height meant I needed to tighten the trucks a bit, leading to less control. The wheels gripped super strong. No slide at all.
    So I went to the opposite extreme, bought a $50 second hand flogged out street style board, light trucks (missing most of their aluminium as well), 48mm wheels that were super hard formula and as worn as the trucks. I love this board. Its completely fucked out, but I find myself reaching for it every time I go to the park because of all the reasons you mentioned above.
    So, reading your article made total sense of my experience, and why I feel like my "crap" board is my go to.
    So, after some careful reading, I am going to do an experiment! I have just bought a pair of rainskate 57mm 98a wheels, gonna try them on both boards and see how it feels. Hopefully I will have a pretty good feel for all ends of the spectrum, and can start to dial in a really nice board for daily and bowl use (probably a mid size hard compound wheel no risers) and keep the bashed out one for learning some street tricks, ollies and maybe even kickflips! Who knows, might end up ditching the bigger wheels all together (although the cruiser set up is AWESOME for cracked pavement, gravel is nothing! and carving down the hill to the store can be really fun!)
    Thanks again for the great blog post, I learned so much.

  29. Thanks for sharing great article

    Inilah cara memasak capcay dengan cita rasa yang khas, cocok dihidangkan untuk keluarga anda. Jika anda ingan yang lebih enak sebaiknya belajar juga cara memasak cumi karena cita rasa cumi sangat menggoda. Untuk anda yang suka dengan olahan daging sebaiknya belajar cara memasak rendang dengan bumbu khas. Dan untuk masakan simpel anda bisa belajar cara memasak nasi goreng praktis dengan langkah yang sangat mudah sekali.

  30. Great comments and article! Anyone have some real life comparison/comments between stf v4 and v5?

  31. I didn't grow up skating many bowls and pools as my part of the country had none of these things back in the day. Coming into a modern, bowl-equipped skatepark world, I thought that big wheels were the way to go - but they weren't.
    best concave wheels

  32. 25 year skating every day

    Big wheels 55-65
    If you are skating transition
    If you want to skate on the street
    If you want to grind round pipe, bigger wheels will help you lock in.
    If you want higher top speed
    If you will be carving at high speeds the wider surface will help you grip
    If you want to do slappies
    Bigger wheels also look bad on boards 7.5-8.5 so you might need something huge

    Smaller wheels 50-54
    If you want to pop tricks
    If you want to flip the board
    If you want to do fakie flips
    If you want to do blunt slides
    If you need immediate speed
    If you want to crooked grind a ledge
    If you want to do wheelies on a curb
    The size of the wheel also affects your pop angle. Higher wheels make the time between tail pop and surface contact longer. This timing can affect the way you do your flip tricks.

    You are not going to marry the wheels so who cares what you get. Some days I want harder wheels. Other days me legs hurt and I prefer softer wheels. Try them all and skate them all who cares. Like the original poster said, the setup that you dialed in years ago might not be the best setup for what you are doing right now.

    The one thing that is completely pointless are risers. Modern trucks come in high, mid, and low profiles. Risers are necessary maybe if you are jumping down El Toro and will take a really hard impact.

    Hope this helps

  33. I have huge 64mm wheels and also use a 1/8 inch riser pad. I have a standard sized board it's a bit of an odd set up. I've been trying to learn kickflips a bit but as you can imagine its not easy. My main thing is transition though and I'm very comfortable with the bigger wheels. My next board I'm going to get a wider deck and smaller wheels I'll probably fall on my ass

    1. Nah, you'll fall on your hands first from hitting a pebble! :)
      Seriously, though, big wheels really make transition so much more steady. For my park wheels, I went up and down in size until I settled on 60 mm. It is strange, I find, that compound matters up to a certain point. You gotta get the wheels that have the right grip, feel, sound (weird how my sense of hearing gets an opinion in my wheel choice, but they must sound right), slide both power- and ledge-, and even color. But once you get into the companies that make compounds that you like, the size is what makes the biggest difference in overall usability with regards to speed, pumping, ollie feel, and of course pebbles and other skatestopping obstacles.
      Related topic: I was skating some 62 mm Bones SPF in the park a few weeks ago and got totally stopped when one of my front wheels connected with a piece of concrete patch that had fallen down to the flat. I went hands-elbows-roll!-hip-thigh-calf-shoes right into the oncoming transition. Hillbilly Gloves and G-Form protectors having done their thing, I get up, remove the concrete, lament that some skater didn't spring the extra $2 for the better concrete mix, and kept skating. Then the surprise happened: that wheel had flat-spotted. First time it ever happened with a Bones wheel. A big flat spot, too.

  34. Hi, I bought a board last year... don't know how to skate. No balance whatsoever. i have an old school seventies style board with a kicktail and 61mm wheels. My board seems like its four inches from the ground. I can tell that the trucks are loose, which I like... but should I get smaller wheels, or did the dudes at the skateshop just totally screw me? What is the easiest thing

    1. HELP, before i break the rest of my bones.

    2. Thanks for writing! You can tighten the trucks with a 9/16" socket wrench. Tighter trucks will help with learning to balance.
      I recommend getting a street board with dimensions approximately 8" x 32", 8" trucks, and 52 mm wheels. That should help you get your balance on an average sized skateboard.

  35. Hello,
    i am 38 years old and i didnt skate 20+ years. In 1991 i had Eric Dressen pup deck, thunder trucks and Powell Peralta G bones which are 64mm 97a if i remember correctly. I have now selected parts for oldschool cruiser in my amazon cart which is Jason Jesse reissue 10" X 32" with Rat Bones 60mm 85a and indys 169 and super red bearings. I dont need a skate for tricks i wont do any flips i need it for cruising sidewalks and streets instead of bicycle so i need it to be fast. I am 6 foot 6 and my shoesize is 14 so i need a wide deck but i also want to ollie a curb and maybe pump miniramp sometimes. Is this setup good?

    1. That sounds like a good setup for you. It will be familiar, and your muscles will remember. You could get 92a Rat Bones and still be soft enough to keep good speed up. The move to the harder wheels with modern compound formulas is a big step, so take your time with that. Luckily most of the old school wheels are still being poured.
      I also wear 14 shoes and I like my decks to be 9.75-10.25" wide. You'll be good on a 10x32.

    2. Thank you for your answer Bertrand ;)

  36. Thanks for sharing this is really helpful information!

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. Dear lord I wish I had found this blog a year or so ago when I started rising again! I just bought some shagged out 49mm wheels off eBay as I'd been riding 56mm and was curious about how smaller wheels would feel. It was a revelation. I've now got some Spitfire F4 49mm wheels on their way and I can't wait!

  39. Great Blog, I'm 41 and havent skated for nearly 20 years. Bought a Tony Hawk birdhouse set up and slowly changing stuff. Still not sure about what wheels to get. It came with some Birdhouse 101A's which i thought may be too hard as i always used to ride 95A (back in the day 97A were really hard) I mainly used to ride mini ramps and a bit of vert and am now getting back into mini ramps coz i find them fun and think i would really hurt myself on anything bigger. There are a couple of street parks round where I live now which is amazing as there one only one park about back in Liverpool all those years ago.
    I digress, so i bought some 90A 52mm mini logos which aren't actually bad wheels but I am still looking for the best all rounders. I keep seeing a lot about Bones STF's but after reading the original post about how slidey they are i'm now rethinking. Can anyone recommend an others.

    1. I just turned 37 two days ago and I'm getting back on for the first time since the late 80' 54mm is probably the best "all around size" and especially for more street skating with older guys like us. I'm gonna start out on 54mm and start my son on 52mm. You can go down to 50 or even 49mm(I'm psyched to try em) if you wanna try a low center of gravity. Don't get nostalgic for BIG old school wheels like 64mm to start you on your journey. All those masters and pros that prefer 60mm are masters and and I arent' The wheel hardness is measured on the a and b scale nowdays so it gets confusing. IMVHO one of the best street wheel formulas EVER from our generation is a Rat Bones 85a which Powell sells as reissues but only in those big old school sizes I don't want.
      From what I've researched(haven't tried them yet)the Satori wheels(extremely well regarded and seem to be an extremely ethical company) and AutoBahn wheels are some of the only wheels that offer softer old school compounds. AutoBahn makes a wheel in a 90a compound in 54mm and 52mm called Torus all road but they're in the $30-40 price point. Satori makes wheels below 90a like the Good Lil nugs wheels but again....$35.00 price point wheels. If I wasn't so poor I'd try the Satoris in a heartbeat. The reality of wheels is that MANY of the wheels out their are the same exact wheels made in the same exact factory with a HUGE price difference as your paying for the brand and their Sponsors of course! My USA made Bloodtooth Alien smokeshop wheels have the same 99a rating as a PLETHORA of wheels of various price points I've seen.

    2. Cheers Bro
      Kinda getting use to my mini logo 90A's now, nice and smooth although havent had a chance to try any slides on ledges etc so not sure if they will be too grippy for that. Might gain my confidence on these as my tricks are slowly coming back especially on mini ramps and then take the step up to 54mm Bones once I'm happy I can control the slip. Failing that I may get some 99A's. My 101A birdhouse wheels got flat spots on the first decent powerslide.

  40. Great blog and great write up.

  41. I'm an avid inline skater (110mm wheels and all), and realized that wheels like these can be used for other applications, like in manufacturing. What I need is a small wheel (52mm or under) that is over 95a durometer, but has more of a rounded profile and is in stock. The problem with using inline skate wheels is that they are usually are not hard or rigid enough for my application. The problem with skateboard wheels is that they are hard to find with a full-radius profile (as compared to a flat profile). Any idea where to find the wheel I describe?

    1. Try Mini Logo in a 'C' cut, you can get 51mm in a 101a durometer, I've used their A and C ut in different Duros and really like them and they are not expensive. Good wheels.

  42. He Bertrand,
    like this blog! Same story over here, picked up skateboarding again now that my 9 yr old son is getting in to it. Got a skatepark around the corner with a halfpipe and a small pool.Never really got into pool/ramp riding but kinda like it! So now my 'problem'. Bought a Santa Cruz Salba pool shark and 159 Indy hollows. Next thiong will be wheels. I'm considering 54mm, want to expand the pool riding, mini ramp thing, but still do a little street riding (old school, kick flip, grind, nothing fancy). Need a little help with the hardness. Considering the Spitfire formula 4, but they come in 101 and 99. Any advice? Thanks a lot, keep up the writing!
    Greets from Holland. Frank.

    1. Just read the Spitfire review on this blog, 54mm 99a it will be. Now just last question :) Conical, classic, classic full or radial slims...? Getting there, getting there! Ray Barbee specials? Thanks all for reply!

    2. Any thoughts on Conical vs Radial Spitfire wheels? I am curious too, apparently Conicals allow you to lock into grinds better, that might actually be a bad thing if you are just learning them, and you want something that rolls on and off the coping a bit easier. Would be interested what your experience is though?

  43. My experience was the other way around, I started with 59mm and 62mm but then noticed that all the speed actually makes it harder to do anything at the coping so I went down to 56mm and 54mm wheels. Thats in the Bowlarama bowl in Bondi which has a little bit of vert. I could imagine that if you skate an actual vert ramp that you definitely need 58mm+ wheels. But in smaller bowl transitions I find smaller wheels better. If you only carve though and are not trying anything on the coping, it might not matter at all. But if you start hitting the coping I think you will feel that difference.

  44. At 42 I am back to "thrashing" again. My 15 year old son wanted a board so i decided why not skate with the little dude. My wife and daughter think I am crazy..but we have built two boards and i am hooked all over again! I have already busted my a$$ actually drew me to skating more i think. No fear at this point just "cautious" behavior. I know my limits and will not be diving stairs or charging rails. Just skating to my ability and not overdoing anything. Right now i riding a 8.25 X 32 board on 52mm wheels with stiff a$$ trucks. I am low and stable and loving the feel. Nothing like the stone slabs we skated back in 86-88. The new boards are a dream and the trucks are so light. I will be doing pop shove its before i know it. Anyway just having fun with it. Be safe all and enjoy the ride!!!!

  45. @Johhny

    I just wanted to let you know I have referred to this guide for years now that I am getting back into skating. Great guide and thanks for the genuine dedication.


  46. Im just getting into skating and had a pair of 50 mm bones that are to bumpy on ourterrible pittsburgh pavement i want to get a bigger wheel preferrably a spitfire 55 but my skate shop only has 54mm or 58 mm is 58 too big

  47. Can you tell me what SPF ,STF, NOS And the other acronyms mean please?
    Thank you
    55 and still skating bowls!!

  48. I really like them. The Happy New Year Wheels are even better. MUCH better than tired old Wagon Wheels. Hope Poundstretcher continues to sell them as they haven't been as plentiful in store lately. Cheap Tyres & Wheels