Over the last year, we have used 11 different wheels, including various models from: Orangatang, Hawg, Walzen, Metro, Atom, Abec & Blood Orange, and thought it worth documenting our experiences and preferences.
First off, it is important to note, that all this is in the limited context of our cafe-cruising, street pumping and carving, limited trick ability and tentative deck foot-work (calling it “dancing” is a bit much). We don’t live with streets or paths where we can downhill safely or (yet) have the ability to do big dancing and tricks.
For what we do, I suspect just about any wheel would work, but our choice usually comes down to the following four characteristics:
- Larger diameter (70mm+) – to smooth out the local rough roads and pavements. We don’t push our boarding that much to notice any subtle acceleration difference from using smaller wheels (smaller wheels accelerate faster than a larger one), but do notice immediately when smaller wheels rebound against old rough pavements.
- Colour – hey, aesthetics are important to us; when cafe-cruising, it is important to have a cool board with colours that work together.
- Lip edge & contact width – either:
- a square/sharp lip with a larger contact width, like the Hawg Mini Monsters and big Orangatang Kegels, for max grip in the turn when cruising; or,
- a rounded lip with a smaller contact width, like the Blood Orange Liam Morgans and Metro Red Motions, for the boards we like to throw around and do basic tricks on.
- Built-in Lights – my 8-year-old son will only use wheels on his board with built-in lights 🙂
I initially thought that the durometer rating would be a big factor for us, but have ended up happily using wheels from 78a to 84a with no issues.
None of the wheels we have used have given us any problems and I would happily buy any of them again.