Welcome back to the best electric skateboard guides on the planet. Wheel, I might not be best I try Wheely hard. Maybe I should quit Wheel I’m ahead. Now with our tradition of getting puns out of the way we Wheel begin…Ok, I promise I’m done please don’t close this page. If you haven’t guessed yet this weeks subject is WHEELS! 

Wheels are one of my favorite parts of a skateboard. So many options and little changes can change the ride. With this guide, I should be able to point you in the right direction on wheels based on your needs. Without further adieu, let’s get rolling…That one doesn’t count cause it’s an idiom, not a pun.

There are 2 types of wheels for Electric skateboarding, Urethane, and Pneumatic. Both have their pros and cons. Which we will get into, but before we start let’s go over skateboard wheels in general.

Urethane Skate wheels

These are the skate wheels that changed it all back in the 70s. Frank Nasworthy completely changed the game when came up with the idea of using Urethane for skateboard wheels. To this day this is the main type of material used in all disciplines of skating. And like bushings, skate wheels come in multiple durometers, formulas, shapes, and sizes. 

Image Credit: Stephen Chick, Reddit Post
Image Credit: Stephen Chick
Image Credit: Stephen Chick
Image Credit: Stephen Chick
Image Credit: Stephen Chick
Image Credit: Stephen Chick
Image Credit: Stephen Chick

Durometer

If you have read my guide on bushings then you know what durometer is. But, for those who don’t know durometer is a way to measure the hardness of rubber, polymer, and plastics. There are several scales A, B, D…etc. Skateboard companies all measure in the A scale. There are a few exceptions like Bones does a few of their wheels on the B scale. Durometers are not a perfect measure of wheel hardness, but rather will give you a general idea. For example, a 78a duro wheel from one company could be harder or softer than a 78a wheel from another. Even within the same company, they can be different if the wheels use 2 different formulas. 

With that out of the way here are some rules of thumb with a durometer(there are exceptions to these rules). 70a-85a can be good for cruising or offering a smoother ride. 80a-90a can be good for slides 90a-101a+ are good for skateparks and tricks. Keep in mind the softer the wheel the smoother the ride will be over rough terrain. The harder the wheel the faster it will go and often the easier it will slide.

Diameter

This one is straight forward. The diameter measures the diameter of the wheel from outside edge to outside edge. Larger wheels will hold speed longer and offer more stability. They can also roll over a lot of larger debris once you are over 80mm. Smaller wheels are quicker to accelerate and handle more nimbly. They are also lighter and good for tricks in that aspect. Wheels 65mm and below are often for cruising, skatepark, and other trick disciplines. 65-75mm are for cruising, downhill, and pumping boards. 75mm+ are for cruising, long-distance, and Esk8. There are exceptions to these size categories, but once again it gets you a general idea.

Width and Contact Patch

Image Source: lushlongboards.com

Width and contact patch go hand in hand but aren’t always the same measure. The width refers to the measure of your wheels from edge to edge. The contact patch measures how the amount of width that makes contact with the ground. Some wheels have a might have a width of 38mm but only a contact patch of 22mm. If the wheel is square In-Shape the contact patch can be the same measurement as the width. The contact patch is one of the deciding factors on how easy they are to slide. The smaller the contact patch the easier to slide. The wider the contact patch the more grip you will have.

Formula

The formula plays a huge role in how a wheel performs. For this example, I will talk about 2 sets of wheels I have. One is 85a with a 22mm contact patch. The other one is 84a with a 40mm contact patch. Based on everything I’ve mentioned so far you would expect that the 85a wheel would be easier to slide. This is because the wheel is slightly harder and the contact patch is half the size of the other wheel. Yet, the opposite is true in this case and that is because the larger wheel uses a slide formula. So the company designed it to be easier to initiate slides. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean it will slip out when you don’t want it to. But rather give a more gradual initiation into sliding it. As opposed to sliding out immediately or hopping. There is a term for this and that is “Icing out”. This usually applies to formulas that weren’t designed to slide, but instead grip. This is why you may have heard the saying “You can slide any wheel”. Although true, some wheels want to slide more than others.

Shape

Image Source: stokedrideshop.com

Skate wheels usually have shapes ranging from rounded to square. There are exceptions to this such as shark wheels, but these tend to be a bit gimmicky and haven’t really caught on past the casual user. The square shape offers maximum contact patch and grip. The downside to this is once it slips it creates the icing out feeling and is hard to regain control. A rounded shape, on the other hand, offers tapered edges to provide a gradual transition into a slide. This allows you to regain control easier.

Core

Image Source: stokedrideshop.com

Every wheel has a core that is a harder material than the surrounding urethane tire. The cores themselves can vary in size and material in the well. We will go into more detail with this when I talk about the Cloud wheels from I-wonder. But for now, let’s talk about core positioning an how that affects the ride. Cores come center set, offset, and side set. Center set wheels put equal pressure along with the entire contact. This gives the greatest grip possible. It also allows you to flip the wheel so that it can wear evenly. Side set wheels are the best for sliding. The placement of the core gives a progressive pressure away from the core along with the contact patch. This allows for a gradual transition from grip to slide. The downside is these wheels can’t be flipped so once they wear out on one side it is time to replace them. Offset wheels are the middle ground between the two. You could technically flip some of them, but then it could be a weird ride depending on how offset it is.

Last note on cores for eskating. Spoke orientation is the different shapes or patterns the holes or spokes make through the wheel. The two most popular types are Orangatang spokes and Abec spoke patterns. Every DIY site carries both style adapters for your pulleys. There are other spoke patterns as well, but they usually have their own adapter specially made.

Orangatang spokes with pulley adapter

Ok I know that’s a lot of information to take in and we still have more to cover. So if this conversation is getting too “wheel” for you… Then let’s watch this video of a guy absolutely shredding on an electric board. 

Pretty dope right? Now that you have had a brief break and have something to aspire to, let’s continue.

Pneumatic Tires

Pneumatic tires differ from urethane in many ways. To start they usually use rubber for the tire. Secondly, they have an air tube inside. These are essentially just miniature versions of tires that you have on your bicycle. The main advantage of pneumatic tires is the fact that they absorb the shock of uneven terrain giving you the smoothest ride. you can also usually get a thicker tread allowing for more traction over uneven surfaces. All pneumatic tires for Esk8 are Center set. They are also the largest possible wheel you can get for your Esk8. Another advantage you can adjust the firmness of the tire by having more or less air. Of course, there is a limited range of adjustment. If you overfill you will pop the tire if you underfill you risk the if you underfill you risk a pinch flat. However, it still gives you some control over the amount of your contact patch. These wheels can be ridden on the road however they’re not as easy to slide as urethane (on pavement). Another downside to pneumatic tires is that they can go flat if punctured. These tires are the top choice for the majority of off-road Riders.

Honeycomb tires

Honeycomb tires are similar to pneumatic tires. They come in the same sizes and also use rubber instead of urethane. What differs is that the tires for these wheels are made of solid rubber with holes through them, instead of an air tube. the advantage of this is you never get a flat tire. The downside is they are slightly heavier and you can’t control the amount of air in the tire to change your contact patch. The holes still allow for a smooth ride over rough terrain though.

Offroad Urethane Wheels

Another option for off-road wheels is kind of a hybrid urethane wheel. These wheels tend to be very large, rounded, and have a tread texture on the width and contact patch. There are several wheels in this category, but the 2 main models are Cloud Wheels and MBS wheels. I’ll go into more specifics on these 2 models later in the review. These style wheels are good if you find your self going from street to light off-road often. The general consensus in the Esk8 community is that if you plan to do mostly off-road you should get a pneumatic or honeycomb wheel instead since they perform better off-road.

I know all that was a lot to take in, but hopefully, you have a better understanding of wheels now and you will have a better idea now of what type of wheel you want. Moving on from here I will be talking about specific wheel models that are popular in Esk8.

Different Drive Trains

One thing to remember this guide is for belt drive, gear drive, and direct drive builds. Hub builds can technically switch out their front wheels freely, but the rear wheels need a special wheel sleeve. 

Earlier I mentioned Drive spoke adapters. These are the piece that attaches the wheel to your drive system. There are 2 main adapters. Those are Orangatang and Abec. These many of the wheels that Orangatang and Abec 11 make as well as companies that copy those spoke styles. As for pneumatic wheels and other wheel types, there are adapters made for that. Not all wheels have readily available adapters though. There are ways around this on the DIY Esk8 forums including drilling your own or if you have a3d printer you could make one. The following wheels that I review have or have had adapters made for them.

Orangatang vs Abec 11 Pulleys | Image Source: electric-skateboard.builders
Orangatang vs Abec 11 Pulleys |Image Source: electric-skateboard.builders

Best Urethane Electric Skateboard Wheels

Orangatang Wheels

Orangatang makes a few wheels with their signature spoke pattern. Not all of their wheels have this though.

Orangatang Kegel

The Kegel is the smaller of the 2 wheels Orangatang offers coming in at 80mm. With 56mm width and contact patch. This wheel is on the smaller side of Esk8 wheels, but in turn, this makes it one of the most nimble wheels for Eboarding. The wheel also comes in 3 duros 77a, 80a, and 83a. This gives you some options for grip vs slide. It is also an offset axel. Here are the rest of the board’s detailed stats.

  • Diameter: 80mm
  • Width: 56mm
  • Contact Patch: 56mm
  • Style: Sharp lips with surface skin
  • Bearing Seat: Offset
  • Formula: Happy Thane
  • Core: high-strength, high-stiffness, heat-resistant urethane
  • Weight (per wheel): 8.2 oz / 230 g
  • Durometers: 77a, 80a, 83a
  • Price: – $60

These wheels are used and liked fairly well on several esk8 forums. The only downside is your ride height is lower so you need to keep that in mind so that you don’t wreck any of your gear by bottoming out. 

Orangatang Caguama

The Caguama is the big brother of the Kegel. It is made of the same formula as the Kegel, has the same contact patch size, and even the same Durometer options. The main differences are the Diameter and the width along with the rounded lip edges. Once again here is all the detailed info on the Caguamas.

  • Diameter: 85mm
  • Width: 58.5mm
  • Contact Patch: 56mm
  • Style: Rounded lips with surface skin
  • Bearing Seat: Offset
  • Formula: Happy Thane
  • Core: high-strength, high-stiffness, heat-resistant urethane
  • Weight (per wheel): 9.6 oz / 270 g
  • Durometers: 77a, 80a, 83a
  • Price: – $68

I have personally ridden these wheels and I can say they are solid. They have a wider contact patch than I usually prefer, but it offers a super stable ride and the added mass helps hold the speed. Once again you can’t go wrong with this wheel it’s been tested by the longboarding community and Esk8 community and meets both stamps of approval. 

Abec 11

Was A popular longboarding brand back in the day. I even had skateboarding legend Sergio Yuppie riding for them at one point. Then at some point a few years ago things got questionable. Abec 11’s website went down and is no longer active. They still have a Facebook page, but the last post on there was from August 2018. Several shops online still carry their larger wheels, and I’ve read rumors that they are still pouring these. So if you try one of These wheels and like it, maybe stock up just in case they stop being available. I will say that I have written a smaller set of ABEC11 wheels that were 60 mm for regular skateboarding. The quality of the urethane was great.

Abec 11 107mm SuperFly Wheel

This is a very popular wheel in the esk8 scene. this is because it has a mass of diameter of a 107mm but also it has a very soft durometer coming in at 74a. This means you’ll have a super smooth ride and be able to ride over almost any debris. 

  • Diameter: 107mm
  • Width: 63.5mm
  • Contact Patch: 57.5mm
  • Durometer: 74a
  • Lip Profile: Round
  • Core Placement: Centerset
  • Wheel Surface: Smooth
  • Price: ~$135 

Abec 11 97mm Refly Wheels

Also, a popular wheel is the 97mm Refly wheel. It’s both smaller in diameter, width, and contact patch. Another that sets it apart from the Superfly is that it comes In 2 durometer options.

  • Diameter: 97mm
  • Width: 51.5″
  • Durometer: 74a or 77a
  • Contact Patch: 43mm
  • Lip Profile: Round
  • Core Placement: Centerset
  • Wheel Surface: Smooth
  • Price: – ~$100
Abec 11 Superfly vs Refly Wheels (Image Source: stokedridehsop.com)

Flywheel 

This wheel isn’t very common anymore and it might be one of the ones that aren’t being produced. But since it’s over 83 mm and I can still find it for sale online I figured I would mention it. I have put down all the information I could find on the wheel but I put question marks for details I couldn’t find answers to.

  • Diameter: 97mm
  • Width:?
  • Durometer: 74a
  • Contact Patch:?
  • Lip Profile: Round
  • Core Placement: Centerset
  • Wheel Surface: Smooth

Seismic Wheels

I wanted to mention Seismic wheels even though they are uncommon in the Esk8 scene. There was a company that is now defunct that made a pulley adapter for this spoke core, so it may still be possible to find. It might take some digging to find but it is possible.

Seismic Speed Vents

These are my favorite wheels for a long distance on my longboard. I’ve ridden the 77a and the 80a duro and I love them. These wheels have the bragging rights for being the fastest wheels on the planet as they were used in multiple speed records. Here is the blurb from their site: “used to set multiple World Speed Records – including Pete Connolly’s blistering mark of 91.17 mph / 146.73 kph (Sept. 16, 2017 at The Top Speed Challenge in Quebec, Canada); and Mischo Erban’s Official IGSA standup record of 80.83 mph / 130.08 kph (Sept. 30, 2010 in northern Colorado)”.  They are a faster wheel than the Caguama in my experience. Part of this is the thinner contact patch. Because the contact patch is thinner it won’t be as plush of a ride, but for me, it was worth it for getting speed easier.

  • Diameter: 85mm
  • Width: 52mm
  • Contact Patch: 52mm
  • Durometer: 75a, 77a, 78.5a, 79a, 80a
  • Lip Profile: Sharp
  • Core Placement: Offset
  • Wheel Surface: Smooth

Cloud Wheels by iWonder

Cloud wheels are a new style of wheel mostly used in the Esk8 scene. Cloud Wheels refers to a specific brand made by the Chinese based company iWonder. But several other companies have clone Wheels that are the exact same style. These are 120mm urethane wheels that have a very large core that is made of foam or other soft material. The advantage of this large core is that it can create a softer ride for a urethane wheel. It still won’t be as soft or plush of a ride as a Pneumatic wheel. But many riders enjoy it still. The only other information I can tell you about these wheels is that they are 78a Duro. The company gives no information on its width or contact patch. Price: – $150 Link to website: iwonderpower.com

There has been some controversy recently with these wheels. Many riders have had the spokes in the core break apart while riding. As you can imagine this is extremely dangerous and not what anybody wants. Several other Riders started posting pictures showing micro-cracks starting in their cores. Someone pointed out this is because they used a cheaper ABS core instead of a nylon fiberglass reinforced core that ABEC uses. This bothered many riders. But how the company handled it bothered everyone more. The company didn’t put out a recall or a warning to anyone who had purchased the wheels. Also, several members had trouble getting a refund for their defective products. Eventually, somebody that worked for the company came into the thread to answer questions. They have said the new ones will be better, but I couldn’t find anyone who said they had ridden the new batch of wheels yet. Also, there is no easy way to identify the new batch of wheels except if you bought a complete from Ownboard after 3-27-20. Needless to say, many people no longer trust this brand. 

MBS Wheels

This is another offroad urethane wheel option. It is smaller than the cloud wheels and doesn’t have the softcore technology, however, they are also almost half the price. People say good things overall about this wheel for the most part. The one complaint is that the tread texture wears out very quickly, especially if you are riding on pavement. Link to MBS Website: mbs.com

  • Diameter: 100mm
  • Width: 65mm 
  • Contact Patch:?
  • Duro:78a
  • Formula:?
  • Price: – $70

TorqueBoard Wheels

I gotta give some credit here to Torque Wheels. They are the only Esk8 company I have seen getting their own brand wheels made in California. California urethane is still the best quality out there. It makes sense since California is where skateboarding originated from. Along with making their wheels with quality thane they also use an Orangatang style spoke core. And they give me all the proper wheel stats so that I don’t have to put in more question marks. Overall riders have good things to say about these wheels. They compare them to ABEC 11 Superflys and some even prefer them over the Superflys. Link to Website: diyelectricskateboard.com

Orangatang Caguama 85mm vs 110mm Torqueboard Wheels
  • Diameter = 110mm 
  • Contact patch = 65mm
  • Duro = 78A
  • Core Insert = KEGEL STYLE WHEEL CORE
  • Urethane Thickness= 31.50mm
  • Weight = 5 lbs 1.2 oz
  • Price: – $110

Clone Wheels

Clone wheels aren’t a brand that I am reviewing here. They are a term used to describe knock-off brand wheels that are copying well-known wheels. These wheels are all made in China and are all lower quality than original California made counterparts. This isn’t to say that China doesn’t make good skateboard parts, they just haven’t caught up in regards to Urethane. Even the longboard company Pantheon that gets their boards made in China still uses California Urethane for its wheels. I have ridden several clone wheels and most were “meh”. I did ride one pair of slide wheels that were ok, but still not as good as the US-made original they were copying. Feel free to try clone wheels out since they are cheap and you will see what I mean. So far in this Article, Orangatang, Abec 11, and TorqueBoard are all made in California. If a company doesn’t say where they make them on their page then the answer is China. Also, Cloud Wheels are only made in China, so the Clones of this wheel may be close or as good as the original. There is no California made a version of this wheel.

Best Pneumatic Tires for Electric Skateboarding

Pneumatic tires could have their own article all on their own, they are entirely different and I don’t have a lot of experience with them. So what I will do in this section is give you the names of reputable companies that Esk8 riders recommend. Keep in mind that Pneumatic tires require more maintenance than their Urethane counterparts, but they also offer the smoothest ride and more customization. Also when a tire wears out you will only have to replace the tire and not the whole wheel.

TorqueBoards – In addition to their urethane wheel they also sell a pneumatic version with pulley attachment gear as well

  • MBS Tires – This company has a cheap option for a set of pneumatic tires. I haven’t heard much about them but they are among the cheapest prices I’ve seen so far. Link: mbs.com/parts
  • Trampa Boards – This company has one of the largest selection of pneumatic tire sizes and options. And all the gear you will need to get it fitted to your drive train. Link to wheels and tires: trampaboards.com/wheels
  • Evolve – One nice thing is that Evolve will sell you one wheel if you need to replace just one. They also see their pulley kits to attach it to your drive train.
  • Lacroix: Lacroix sells both the complete wheels and the tires and tubes on their own. They also sell a complete rear tire with the pulley cog for their drivetrain. They sell sets of 4 tires and tubes for both 7 and 8-inch wheels. lacroixboards.com/tires
  • Kaly.NYC: Kaly.NYC sells its 200mm x 75mm tires in sets of 5 with the tubes. They sell the hubs for the tires separately. Currently all of the tires and hubs are on pre-order only. kaly.nyc/shop
  • Metroboard: Metroboard currently sells 4 of their 155mm tires and tubes or 4 of their 190mm hubs with tires and tubes. They also sell the pulleys that you can attach to your wheel. metro-board.com/tires
  • Bajaboards: Bajaboards has 2 tire sizes 8 inches and 10 inches. For both sizes, you can buy the Tire, Hub, and tube separate or you can buy them all together as a complete wheel. Bajaboards sells the large drive pulleys for the wheels as well. bajaboard.com.au/tires

Best Honeycomb Electric Skateboard Wheels

Honeycomb Wheels by Ownboard

These Wheels are sold by own board and are 6in in diameter. they also have removable tires so that when they wear down you don’t have to buy a complete new wheel. a 4-pack replacement of these tires cost $50. Once again I don’t have too many specs for this wheel because the company does a very poor job of putting its details online. The reviews are all good though and people really enjoy them. and honestly for the price, if I was going to get an off-road wheel that was non-pneumatic I’d go for this over the cloud wheel but that’s just me. You will need to get the special pulley adapter for this if you don’t have it already. Price: $150. Link to website: ownboard.net

Onsra Honeycomb Wheels

This is another honeycomb option wheel on the market. It is a bit smaller than the Wheel by Ownboard. However, it does use an orangutan pattern core which means you don’t need a special adapter for it. Another positive of it is it has a metal core meaning it won’t break like the cloud Wheels cores. One downside from the I’m bored honeycomb wheel is that the tires are not replaceable. So once these wheels are done you are just going to have to order a new set. There aren’t many user reviews of this wheel that I could find. Link to website: esk8europe.com

  • Diameter: 115mm 
  • Width: 64mm 
  • Durometer: 70A
  • Metal Orangatang pattern core
  • Price: – $152

Summing it up

Once again it is hard for me to just give you a top three choices for this guide Since it’s all very dependent on what you’re wanting to do. I will be able to give you some very strong guidelines to follow to help guide you. For starters, if you want good quality wheels that have been tested and loved for years in the longboarding community you can’t go wrong with Orangatang, Abec11, or Seismic. And it looks like the torque board wheels that are made in California might be solid as well. Basically, if you want the best wheel invest ride stick with California urethane. If you are riding offroad I would only suggest pneumatic or honeycomb tires. Go with honeycomb if you don’t like extra maintenance. Go with pneumatic if you want the best ride and the most customization. I can’t in good faith right now recommend Cloud Wheels or their clones since they seem dangerous based on the fact they might break while you are riding them. If you can get at your hand on a new batch of them it might be worth a shot if you’re interested in riding a newer technology wheel. Honestly though until the dust clears on this type of wheel I would just ride the cheaper MBS version I mentioned earlier. They probably won’t be a smooth ever ride as the cloud Wheels but I’ve seen them written in the longboarding community for some time and they are breaking on people. Once again I would only ride these types of Wheels if you constantly go back and forth between light off-road and pavement. Lastly, I will say there’s nothing wrong with riding a clone wheel if you like it, just make sure you know the risks that you’re taking using a cheap wheel.

Conclusion

I hope you found this guide useful for selecting the right wheel. The Esk8 industry is still very much in its infancy. With brands coming and going like the wind, It’s hard to keep track of quality components. That’s why when in doubt, look at brands that have been around for years in the longboarding scene. Also, check Esk8 forums to see what other builders say. At the end of the day, it’s all opinions so read a bunch of them and then form your own. Lastly, did you Wheely think I’d let you get away without one last pun?