Hi guys, Paul here. Recently we have received our very first question from one of our readers – how much are longboard wheels usually priced? So thanks for the question, Roy. And it is a good one – it is important to understand how much longboard wheels cost and especially to understand why they cost that much.
I don’t want to disappoint you but there is no quick answer to this question – longboard wheels can range anywhere from 10$ to 100$. And that is because there are so many different types of wheels to choose from. For example: wheels for sliding, freeride, cruising, dancing, commuting, downhill and so on. And they all come in different technical characteristics, from different brands and with different pricing. But let’s try to break it down a bit.
There are two main criteria which have an impact to the price of the wheel:
- Materials from which the wheel is made of
- Brand of the wheels
The wheel: two main parts
Before we dive in to materials from which longboarding wheels are made of and their qualities, let’s take a look at what are the two main parts of which the wheels are made of:
- The Core
- The Pour, also referred just as urethane or the wheel itself
Before I describe each part in more detail, please take a look at the picture of one of my wheels which I took (the wheel is a bit dirty because I am trying these out on one of my longboards at the moment):
The green part in the middle of the wheel is called ‘The Core’ and the blue part or the wheel itself is called ‘The Pour’ or just Urethane (referring to the material of which it is made of). I have also taken a picture of my wheel from the back/inner side for you to see the two parts more clearly.
So let’s get down to the descriptions of both of the parts. ‘The Pour’ is the blue big blue part of the wheel – this is the part which we actually on and slide on. This is the part of our longboard which is responsible how hard or soft we ride. The Pour got its’ name from the way it is made – it is manufactured by pouring urethane (material which the wheel is made of) in to a wheel shaped form and a wheel is made.
Second part is the core – it is placed in the center of the wheel to give a secure and stable position for the bearings which are then mounted on the longboard trucks. When you ride your board and the bearings spin together with the wheel, they get really hot at high speed, so the core spreads the heat of the rotating bearing evenly throughout the wheel (Pour/Urethane). This prevents the wheel from melting, losing its’ form which might end up in a crash.
Pricing of the wheel parts
Ok, now we understand what the wheel is made of so let’s get back to the pricing of the wheel. When we are talking about the price of the materials a pretty common principle applies – the better the material, the higher the price of the wheel. The wheel/Pour is nowadays usually made of urethane but there are some wheels which are still made of plastic or rubber. You should avoid these at any cost – although they might be really cheap but you should not risk buying and then riding these. The material to look for is polyurethane (or urethane). Also, all of polyurethane is not the same – there are some very cheap Chinese polyurethane wheels but I would generally advise to avoid these too simply because quality wheel significantly impacts your riding comfort. Usually it is best to buy wheels from a reputable brand but that does not mean they must be uber expensive.
If you are unsure about which wheel to go for when in a skateshop, there is one easy test you can perform to evaluate the wheel – it is called the ‘rebound test’. One of the main and most important qualities of polyurethane is called rebound. It can be defined as the ability of the material to bounce back to its’ initial state after it has been compressed. Basically, it means that when you ride on wheels which are made of a higher quality polyurethane you will ride more smoothly and faster. And the reason is because your wheels will compress around the objects when you ride over them and push against the objects which will help the wheels ride forward. While when you ride wheels of lower quality polyurethane, they will more ‘hit’ or jump on the small objects rather than compress and ride over them. This will make the wheel go slower. Getting back to the Rebound test – it’s an easy one – just take two different wheels between which you are choosing, raise them to your shoulder level and drop them to the ground. And see how high do they bounce back – the one which bounces back higher has the higher rebound quality and that is the wheel you should go for.
Now let’s talk about the properties of The Core and how it affects pricing. It is a bit easier when it comes to the cores because there is not that much variety and all of the alternatives are quite ok. So the core of the wheel is in most cases made of:
Plastic cores are the most common ones. They are pretty comfortable to ride and they maintain more regular wearing of the wheel. These cores are also least expensive of the three.
Urethane cores allows you to ride your board a bit smoother compared to the plastic core because of the urethane properties – it is more dampening than the plastic.
Aluminum cores are usually the most expensive of the three and they are the stiffest ones. Your ride might not be as comfortable as riding with an Urethane core but the advantage of aluminum core is its’ speed.
At the beginning of the post I have mentioned that the second criteria of the price despite its’ material is the brand. There are quite a few established wheel brands at the moment in the market and their products are priced higher than the products of lesser known brands. And usually there is a good reason for this – these brands do produce high quality wheels. I will name a couple of my favorites if you want to take a look at their production:
- Cult wheels. http://www.skatecultwheels.com/ – there is a variety of wheels to choose from and Cult Wheels have received a lot of credit from the longboarding community for the quality of the products that they are making. Also they are quite reasonably priced, you can find wheels starting at 30$ for a set of 4
- Hawgs by LandYachtz. http://landyachtz.com/wheels – again, praised by the longboards because of the quality of the wheels which are produced. You can see one of their models in the picture earlier in the post, these are Mini Monsters, one of my favorite wheels because of their speed and smooth ride
There are quite a few other quality wheel brands out there – Blood Orange, Bones, Orangatang.
Check those out too!
I hope that now you do understand better what moves the price of the wheel up. And also how to identify the quality wheels. There is so much more to say about the wheels and how to choose them based on your style, therefore we will be releasing more articles about it soon, so stay tuned guys!
If you have any questions, drop us a message via the contact form.
Enjoy the ride!