Freestyle scooter riding has without a doubt taken off in the past few years. In fact, it is actually now considered a real sport just like skateboarding or snowboarding. Due to this fact, millions and millions of individuals around the world are looking to join this hot new sports. However, before you jump on the Internet or hit the local scooter shop and start shopping, there are a variety of things that you need to be aware of. To start out, there are eight major components that make up a pro scooter: bars, fork, deck, headset, clamp, wheels, compression system, and the brakes. Out of all these components, the wheels can be one of the most crucial considerations that you need to make when choosing your scooter.
Considering The Sizes Of The Wheels
Whether you are looking for a new scooter or just looking to make customizations, you will quickly discover that there are tons of wheels available, but they are not all created the same. The quality, number of spokes, size, and color can all make a difference in your scooter and riding abilities. With that being said, the sizes of the wheels range from 64 mm to 200 mm, but the two commonly found sizes are 100 mm (usually referred to as 100s), and 110 mm (usually referred to as 110s). So, which size is the best for you and what are the major differences between the two?
The smaller 100s were specifically designed for speed and smaller riders. It has also been reported that many individuals like the feel of these wheels when they are hill riding. Unfortunately, one major downside to the 100s is that they tend to wear out much quicker and faster than the larger wheels.
On the other hand, the 110s offer a better riding experience for individuals who are 5-foot or taller. Along with this, these wheels perform extremely well when riding for long distances.
Wheels with the size of more than 110 mm have not really taken off, due to the fact that they require the installation of a bigger fork and brake to work properly. Nevertheless, the industry seems to be heading in the direction of going bigger as many manufacturers are offering wider wheels, taller decks, and wider bars.
Understanding The Polyurethane Rating
Although the outer part of all pro scooter wheels is constructed of polyurethane, these wheels do come available in different polyurethane ratings. This rating is commonly referred to as the PU number. If you find a wheel that has a high PU number, it basically means that the polyurethane is going to be much harder. The lower the PU number, the softer the polyurethane is going to be. Some manufacturers are highly known for making softer wheels, while some are known for making harder wheels. So, what is the difference between the two and which one should you choose?
Well, a company called PROTO is extremely popular for manufacturing what is known as a slider wheel, while most other companies are known for manufacturing gripper wheels. The slider wheels come equipped with softer polyurethane, which makes them more suitable for skate or indoor parks. On the other hand, the gripper wheels are really designed for outdoor or road use because they are much harder and stronger. It really depends on the type of riding that you plan on doing.
With that being said, there is nothing wrong with owning a set of each style. You can use the sliders for performing tricks at the skate park, while you can use the grippers to ride on the road casually.
Choosing The Right Wheel Profile
When you hear someone in the scooter industry talking about the wheel profile, they are actually talking about the cross-section of the wheel where it meets the ground. When it comes to the industry standard, most profiles are 24 mm thick. However, some different profiles are available for different performance levels. A flat profile can increase the strength to the rubber and maximum grip to the surface, while a more narrow profile will provide you with that extra speed that you are looking for. There are even some wheels that are tapered near the edges, which is extremely handy when it comes to sharp turning.
Upgrading Your Axles
Another very important consideration to make when choosing a wheel is the axle, which is basically just the long bolt that sits between the frame of the scooter and it is what the center of your wheel rests on. However, it should be known that there are axle replacement and upgrade kits available if you want something different in the future. Some of these kits are designed to allow your wheels to spin much faster than what the stock axle allows. Most of these kits are constructed of steel and they consist of two axle bolts per wheel. Each bolt will screw into the threaded spacer in the wheel, which is good because it prevents over-tightening during the installation.
Over-tightening is an extremely common problem that most individuals face when installing wheels. It is important to note that the axles on a scooter vary in size and shape according to each specific brand and model. If the axle is not installed properly, the scooter will not only make noise but it could potentially lead to accidents and faster wear and tear of the wheel.
The length of the axle bolt is usually measured in mm. To get an accurate measurement of your axle, you simply just measure the body of the bolt and do not include the head. There are basically two main types of scooter axles: type A axle, which has just threads at the end of the bolt, and type B axle, which has threads that extend much further up the bolt.
When installing a type A axle, it is imperative that you do not exceed the frame of the deck or fork. However, for type B axle, it will exceed the deck or fork by at least 10 mm. This gives you the ability to attach a locknut. It is possible to replace type A axles with type B axles if you want to.
Maintaining Your Wheels
By now it is probably no big secret that scooter wheels wear out extremely fast. This is especially true if you are accustomed to riding on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the rear wheel wears down much faster due to repeated use of the brake, causing the wheel to lose its circular shape and flatten in some areas. Scooter wheels are not the least expensive things on the planet, so what can you do to ensure that you are increasing the life and longevity of your scooter wheels?
Well, to start off you can simply use your foot to stop whenever possible. This might come in handy when you are not traveling at high speeds. However, this technique might not be possible when traveling at high speeds. In these situations, you can start slowing down way before you reach your destination. Pressing on the brake gently will allow you to slow down gradually over time and save some wear and tear on your rear wheel.
It is always important to avoid murky water and sand at all costs. If you travel through water and sand on a daily basis, it will quickly wear down the bearings inside the wheels. The best way to avoid this is to avoid water and sand if at all possible. However, if you are frequently traveling through sand, you must make sure that you are keeping your scooter clean. Use a cloth to wipe the bearings and other areas of the wheels to prevent dust, dirt, and grime from building up over time.
Also, keep in mind that many scooter enthusiasts will oftentimes rotate their front and rear wheels when they notice extreme wear. You can even take your scooter to a technician and they will perform this procedure if you do not know how. Along with this, tightening your wheels on a regular basis can prevent unwanted wear and tear as well. Anytime you notice any play between the wheel and the fork or deck, take an Allen head wrench and tighten your wheels to the desired torque.
A pro scooter wheel with a core constructed from alloy will be a huge improvement from stock wheels. An alloy is made from a combination of metals and metallic elements, which ensures greater resistance to corrosion and strength. Pro scooter wheels with an alloy core are ideal for riding at high speeds and on rough terrains. When you invest in these wheels, you are guaranteed with durability and longevity, saving you money over time.
Scooter wheels with a plastic core fail in comparison to a wheel with a metal core. If you want to get the most out of your money, do not hesitate to invest in a wheel with a metal core. You should not have any issues in finding the right fit because these wheels are available in an array of sizes.
When it comes to pro scooter wheels, you can choose from a design with a solid or spoked core. If you are new to the scooter world, you probably do not know much about these designs. Well, the first thing you need to know is that each design offers both unique advantages and disadvantages.
Generally, if you are looking for a heavier design or more durability, you cannot go wrong with the solid core. A blend of metals is utilized to create the solid core, which does not contain gaps or spaces. A solid core, regardless of whether it is constructed of plastic or metal, will always be stronger and more durable than a spoked core.
As mentioned above, a pro scooter wheel with a spoked core offers a broad range of benefits, but maximum durability is not one of them. However, opt for spoked core if you are looking for a lightweight design. In fact, this design weighs relatively less than the solid design, hence it is more suitable for stunts. Riders who are not concerned about durability or longevity may find this design more suitable for stunt activities.
A hollow core is an intermediate of spoked core and solid core, as it is lightweight and very strong. Lots of professionals prefer this design because it offers them the best of both worlds. It genuinely requires experience to decide which core is more suitable for your needs and preferences.
One of the most important components of a pro scooter wheel is the bearing. This component not only ensures the longest lasting performance but also provides the smoothest ride. Every pro scooter wheel must be equipped with two bearings to ensure the maximum performance.
Durability, smoothness and speed capabilities are extremely important when it comes to investing in pro scooter bearings. This is why it is important to choose bearings with a surface finish that is capable of resisting friction. However, this design will be useless if the bearings are not installed correctly. Long-term riders will install the bearings themselves because they are familiar with the complex installation process. Newbies should never attempt this task because the slightest misalignment will cause friction which leads to poor performance.
A bearing that is precisely made and highly engineered will provide maximum speeds, carrying extraordinary loads with efficiency and ease. In fact, these bearings have the ability to rotate at maximum speeds with little to no vibration or noise.
Maintaining The Bearings
Mounting bearings into a pro scooter wheel is a very complex process. The safety of the rider and longevity of the bearings will be compromised if it is not done properly. Therefore, frequent maintenance is required to ensure the smoothest and speediest performance.