Longboard Wheels

Everything to know about Longboard wheels.

A longboard has tons of parts. 4 of them are longboard wheels. They let you roll, slide, commute and dance. They are the most basic building block of your traveling stick, and as expected, there’s a lot to know about them.

Being educated about your wheels is important, as there’s a purpose for every wheel, but there’s no wheel for every purpose. It’s an extremely diverse market, and in your journey to become a skilled longboarder, you will need comprehensive knowledge of:

  • The anatomy and physics of a wheel
  • Durometers and formulas
  • Wheels for every purpose.
    • Freeride wheels
    • Downhill wheels
    • Dancing wheels
    • Street/hard wheels
  • Troubleshooting

Longboard wheels

The Longboard Wheel: Anatomy and Physics

The wheel is one of the world’s most primitive designs, and they dictate several things about how your longboard performs on the road- such as speed, grip and the smoothness of your ride.

The anatomy of a longboard wheel is as such (from inside to out):

  • Core + Bearing Seat
  • Body
  • Lip
  • Skin

The Core

The core is arguably the most important part of a wheel. It supports the wheel from the inside, attaching it strongly to the bearing, which is attached to and rotates on the axle. Cores have a large part in dictating the grip, speed and durability of a wheel. There are 3 factors to a core:

  • Is it encapsulated or exposed?

Whether the core is showing or hidden is a big deal when it comes to the top speed and acceleration. If the core of a wheel (see figure above) is hidden, it amounts to faster acceleration but lower top speeds, generally. For example, if you had two 70mm wheels where one core was encapsulated and one was exposed, the encapsulated wheel would speed up faster, but the exposed wheel would reach top speed later than the other.

  • Is it small or big?

The size of a core dictates where the meat of the wheel is. A bigger core will displace more urethane to the outside of the wheel, resulting in a faster wheel that grips harder; a smaller core allows the wheel to have a lot of meat, so while the wheel may be slower, it’s better for sliding and lasts longer (there’s more polyurethane to slide away).

  • Is it wide?

This is mostly a concern for grippy downhill wheels that require support in the lip. A wide core is usually a big one, and you’ll see them in fast racing wheels. A more supported lip means a longer lasting edge to the lip, and thus creates a better, faster racing Longboard wheel.

The Body

The body of the wheel is where two major factors come in: Size and width. These are two incredibly important factors regarding the speed and grip of a wheel.

Generally, people say, the bigger the wheel, the faster it is; they are mostly correct. However, keep in mind that the bigger a wheel gets, the slower it accelerates. Most people find 75-ish mm to be a good downhill size.

Smaller sizes matter too. The smaller a wheel is, the faster the wheel is rotating. So smaller wheels are inherently easier to slide than larger wheels. You’ll find that many freeride wheels are based around 69-ish mm because that’s a size that just works really well.

The width of the wheel contributes the most out of any part to how hard the wheel grips the ground, and how defined the line is between grip and slip. A large contact patch will hold onto pavement harder. A smaller contact patch will release much quicker. You’ll find that downhill wheels have larger contact patches and downhill wheels have larger ones, which is only logical.

Again though, it’s very important that you find a good balance between width and size to fit your every need. More on that later.

The Lip

The lip is a key part in defining the grippiness of a wheel. The lip is the primary part of the wheel that deforms when put under pressure, flowing into and holding onto features on the asphalt.

Different lip shapes make a wheel grip and ungrip in different ways. There are 3 different types of lip profiles:

  • Round

This is mostly for freeride and sliding; the round lips allow pavement to glide under them without much resistance at all. The only thing providing grip for a round-lipped slide wheel is the contact patch. Some manufacturers make round lips that round over more gradually than others. This creates a wheel that stays less grippy for longer.

Magneto Slide wheels Below:

longboard wheels, slide wheels

Round lips create a slide See Magneto Slide wheels profile that can be described as an easy kick-out and an easy slide. Un-gripping the wheel normally doesn’t take more than a twist and a nudge, and holding out this slide is much easier than on a grippy square or sharp lip wheel.

Round lips are also beneficial for freestyle wheels as they don’t catch on the ground- because they are typically skinnier than square or sharp lipped downhill wheels, their low profile allows for a larger margin of error when it comes to flip tricks and grab tricks.

  • Square

This is a grippy lip that stays grippy for a long time, regardless of how much sliding it goes through. Because the lip is perpendicular to the ground through the first 5 or so millimeters of the wheel, a few drifts here and there won’t be enough to wear down a wheel enough that the lips fall off. Square lips are common on big race wheels with huge contact patches.

  • Sharp

Sharp lips are the grippiest of the lip profiles. The lips are like knives- they dig into the pavement when sideways force is applied, and it allows the whole wheel to stay secured in the pavement as long as it isn’t worn down. Sharp-lipped wheels are meant to stay unscrubbed and should usually not be slid unless absolutely necessary. If you have a lot of money or sponsors of course though, slide these wheels like you mean it. It’s a lot of fun. A guilty pleasure.

The Skin

The skin is a pretty important part in defining how much a wheel grips out of the package. The skin is a product of the wheel curing process, where after they are poured, wheels are stored outside of a mold in a warm, highly oxygenated room. The outside few millimeters of the wheel “cures” or “ripens” before being shipped out to stores or the consumer. Some companies over-ripen their wheels because it gives their wheels a unique slide characteristic. There are two types of skin profiles:

  • Stone-ground

Stone ground skins are usually present on an out-of-the-package slidable wheel. Stone grinding makes the skin rougher and thus exponentially reduces the size of the contact patch, as instead of a flat, smooth surface touching the ground, it’s just a really bumpy surface. You can expect slide profiles to stay more or less similar during the life of the wheel if you have this type of grinding on your skin.

  • Race-fresh

A race-fresh skin is the mirror-finish you see on more large, square/sharp lipped wheels. They are the grippiest skin and look the best. A race-fresh skin is usually the sign of a pretty fast wheel, with some exceptions. These skins should be kept pristine for a race, hence the name. Wasting them on your neighborhood streets is a no-go. Wheels with fresh skins are usually pretty expensive as well, so don’t go around flatspotting them either!

  • Scrubbed

These are “used” skins. Usually when race wheels come out of the race course after a day of riding, the first few layers of the wheels are gone, but the shape and lips are perfectly fine. These are called “scrubbies”. They’re great first race wheels as there are tons of “scrubbies” on buy/sell/trade communities on Facebook. Usually go for 15-20 dollars for a set of wheels. These won’t feel like stone-ground wheels, but rather super snappy freeride wheels.

Durometers and Formulas.

One of the hardest things about choosing your wheels is obscenely vast amount of durometers and formulas available to choose from. A wheel company might have anywhere from 3-12 wheels, and each of those wheels are a different formula from the next, and then there are 4 different durometers for each wheel. How does one choose?! Well, it’s not too hard, actually.

You want to decide on your formula. Now, each company has a different set of formulas under different names and brandings, but usually, a company will have a slide formula, a grip formula, and a midsy (low-price) formula. Popular companies have up to 7 or more formulas, but even those are just variations on this 3-item list. Some are just super-slidey wheels, some are less-slidey, some are drifty and downhill-ey, and some are just flat out the most grippy wheels you may ever roll on. Do your research through their homepage websites and online forums to see which formula you’d like to ride on the most. This is important. This decides how your wheel feels, not your durometer.

Durometers should be used to compare between variations of the exact same wheel. For example, Wheel A in 78a will be different to Wheel A in 80a. But in no way whatsoever is Wheel A in 78a remotely similar to Wheel B in 78a, and the difference between Wheel A in 78a and Wheel C in 90a could be negligible. Only use this to compare within a set of wheels.

Durometer is the measure of the hardness of the urethane which makes up a wheel. Most longboard wheels will range from 78a-86a, with the higher numbers being harder. Some wheel companies offer as low as 73a and most skateboard wheels are around 101a. As a general rule:

Lower durometers wear more quickly, leave thicker urethane lines, grip harder (to an extent) and dampen your ride more.

Harder durometers wear slowly, leave lesser lines, ice out easier, and let you feel the ground more.

  • If you have a slide wheel, adjusting durometer is a good way to change how slidey it is. If you really like the slide characteristics of a wheel, yet want it to slide less or more, changing the durometer is a great way to do that!
  • If you’re downhilling and want to drift and slide too, get a harder durometer of a downhill wheel. It’ll make sliding it easier, and still be just as fast!

Wheels for Every Purpose

As you can probably tell, there’s a wheel for every style of riding. And it’s important that you choose the right tool for the right job, so that you can do everything associated with that style. You don’t want to be stuck with sluggish street wheels when everybody is racing! Here’s what you should look for in a wheel for each style:


You should look for the following in a freeride wheel:

  • Round Lips
  • Smaller contact patch (35-50mm)
  • Smaller size (<69mm)
  • Encapsulated core
  • Stone grinding (or not)
  • Slide formula

In a freeride wheel, you want everything that allows you to glide over the pavement. The round lips will allow you to surf over cracks and obstacles while the smaller size will rotate faster than a larger wheel so that your wheels don’t gain traction for a long while. The smaller contact patch allows for less grip on the road, and the encapsulated core allows for quick acceleration. Stone grinding is optional; if you want to go through a lot of wheels in a day, definitely get stone-ground wheels. If not, breaking through the fresh skin won’t take very long. You’ll definitely want a slide formula as well. Most companies will make this obvious in their descriptions of the wheels.


You should look for the following in a downhill wheel:

  • Sharp/Square Lips
  • Larger contact patch (51-7x mm)
  • Larger size (70-82mm)
  • Encapsulated/Exposed Core
  • Fresh skin (always)

In a downhill wheel, you want characteristics that stick you to the pavement and not let go unless you’re really trying to make it ungrip. The sharper lip profiles allow your wheel to really dig into the ground when it comes to sideways force (and there’s a lot of that), and that really locks you into the road you’re skating. The larger contact patch also allows more of the road to grip your wheel. The larger wheel raises top speeds and allows for a faster ride. The choice of core exposure is up to the rider- do you want to accelerate quickly or do you want a higher top speed? For straight courses, an exposed core is good. For curvier courses where there’s drifting and lots of turning involved, an encapsulated core will suit you well. Also, make sure to choose a downhill formula or you may find yourself spinning out when you go to drift. Again, this will be made obvious by the seller.


Yes, we know, wheels don’t dance. Jokes aside, longboard dancing does indeed involve choosing the right wheels. You should look for the following in a dancing wheel:

  • Round lips
  • Narrow width
  • Medium size (~65-70mm)
  • Encapsulated core
  • Any skin

In a dancing wheel, you really want to have something that’s low profile and dynamic in shape. The round lips are less obtrusive when it comes to doing flip tricks, as they tend to hide under the deck because of their width. Also, sharp lips tend to bounce when they hit the ground- that could seriously ruin someone’s dancing line. Narrow width and size matters for low-profile purposes. The size is also important as it allows the dancer to run looser setups. The encapsulated core allows riders to accelerate quickly.


Hopefully this guide has helped you choose wheels. Always wear a helmet.


The Ultimate Downhill Longboarding Guide

You’ll learn about everything Downhill here from Downhill Longboards, technique to safety gear. 

Are you tired of cruising? Did you bomb that neighborhood hill and fall in love with speed? Many of us have, and that’s why we do downhill. Downhill longboarding is at the core of what makes the longboarding community exciting and adrenaline-pumping. It’s at the core of hardcore sports and definitely, absolutely makes you a much more exciting person than who you might have been before.

But sometimes, you need some help to get started. And this is what that’s for; to get you, the common, everyday cruiser, into going fast and mingling with the rest of the longboarding community. Here are 10 steps to becoming a downhill longboarder.


  • Have your safety gear.


I know, I know. Everyone keeps telling you to get a helmet but you don’t think you need one because you’ve never fallen. Bull! You absolutely need a helmet and some other very important accessories if you are going to learn and embrace downhill longboarding as a sport. You’ll need the following:

  • A helmet.

Make sure that your helmet is dual-certified, and from a trustworthy manufacturer. For now, you’ll need a half-shell. Skateboarding half-shells have padding all around your head, especially in the back and front, unlike bike helmets which protect the top more than anywhere else.

  • Slide gloves.

Slide gloves are available from most longboard manufacturers and skate shops. These are absolutely necessary for sliding and will protect your hands in case of a fall. To increase their durability, tape the fingertips with duct tape before skating. They will last 3 to 4 times as long.

  • Pads (Optional)

Strongly recommended. Get hard caps so you can fall onto them and slide to a stop if necessary. Knees are more important than elbows. Impact shorts are also nice if you’re planning to push yourself very hard.

Making slide gloves:

Some people would rather not shell out 30-50 bucks for quality slide gloves; not to worry, there is a solution! Slide pucks are right around 10-15 dollars, and all you need is some well-fitting, durable gloves, and some fuzzy-side velcro adhesive tape. Assemble according to a picture of slide gloves. Make sure it is high-quality velcro tape; if not, the slide pucks may get ripped off mid-slide, ending with a bad case of oh boy, where’s my puck?


  • Have the basics.


As with progressing in any sport, you must be able to walk before you run. Longboarding proficiently requires more skills than just the average cruiser might have. You should be able to push reliably (meaning that you don’t trip over your wheels or feet anymore), be able to stop on a dime (using foot braking or further means), and have supreme control over your board.

Keep in mind that stopping is the most important skill to know, whether you are doing downhill or not. It keeps you safe, it keeps others safe and most of all, it’s convenient. Some drills to help you out in case you don’t know how to practice quite yet:

  • For carving, take a straight road, push to a decent speed, and make long, spaghetti noodle turns from curb to curb. As you get better at this, make your carves sharper and narrower, until you find a good rhythm and width. This will become almost second-nature once you get good at it.
  • For stopping, decent a hill while foot braking. Do this once a day for a week, and you’ll have all the muscles you need to keep a footbrake out for a while. It’s important that you’re able to stick a footbrake out at will, as it may at some point be a life-saver.


  • Know the anatomy of your board.


Half of downhill longboarding is actually what you do outside of actually skateboarding with your feet on the board. In fact, a very large, major portion of downhill is tweaking your gear so that it’s the best it can be. And to do that, you need to have an extremely good grasp on the anatomy of your longboard, how the parts work, and where to source the parts you need to upgrade your board. You should know in-depth about the role of parts on your longboard including:

  • The deck
  • The trucks,
  • The wheels,
  • The bearings,
  • The bushings,
  • Footstops, grip tape, and other miscellaneous items.

Generally speaking, a cruising setup isn’t well-tuned. At walking or running speeds, there can be a large margin of error. However, at higher speeds, such as the speeds at which people usually downhill at, the tiniest inconsistencies in gear will affect the quality of your ride; as an extreme example, it may even end in injuries.


  • Know how to upgrade your Longboard 


As said in the step before, a cruising setup isn’t well-tuned. In order to make a competitive-enough setup out of a cruising setup, you must do a few crucial things:

  • Make sure your deck is speed-stiff,
  • Make sure your deck has downhill concave,
  • Make sure your trucks are from a trusted name-brand company,
  • Tune those trucks to your weight with bushings.

These four things are excruciatingly important because they are basically what allows you to do the maneuvers and shenanigans that downhill requires you to do, like sliding, going fast and staying stable.

The stiffness of your board is important because flex amplifies bumps and wobbles in your ride. This can be deadly, so we try to keep things as stiff and responsive as possible. A downhill concave is usually a steeper concave than a cruising board’s concave. It’s enough that it is efficient in helping you grip the board and also push against it in times of sliding. However, it should be comfortable. There are over 7 or 8 types of concave; your choice in concave is preferential and don’t let anyone tell you that one is better than another.

Trucks are incredibly important as well. Trucks are the steering hub of your setup, and thus you should upgrade and tune them to your weight and liking. Make sure that you know how bushings work, and match them to your weight either by using a chart or using an internet application like bushingpicker.com.


  • Know your Longboard.


Downhill is a very fast, intense sport in which you must make split-second decisions. These split-second decisions are what allow you to either make the corner and walk off feeling like the king of the world, or half stuck inside a guardrail, board nowhere to be seen as it just skipped off a cliff. To make these split-second decisions with a clear conscience, you need to absolutely know your board and your setup. You need to know:

  • How much it turns,
  • How it turns,
  • How it slides,
  • How stable it is,
  • When it gets wobbles,
  • How hard you can turn without sliding,
  • How big it is,
  • And tons more.

The bottom line is, you absolutely need to know everything there is to know about your board. This will require you to be on the same board sometimes for months in order to be familiar with it. Of course, when you get experienced with downhill longboarding, you will at some point be able to adapt your skills to other decks quite easily. However, for your first downhill experience, make sure you are comfortable and familiar with your board.


  • Learn to turn, lean, carve, and apex.


Downhill longboarding is a gravity sport. That means that if you lose speed, it’s all up to gravity to make that speed back up again. However, it is our responsibility as the rider to help gravity gain us our most valuable currency: velocity.

Unfortunately, the roads involved in downhill longboarding aren’t simple straight lines. They’re filled with curves, squigglies, and corners that you need to traverse carefully and expertly in order to keep all your speed. This art of turning, leaning, and carving with purpose and reason is a huge component of this sport and is thus extremely important to master.

The art of taking a good line through a course is a learned skill. The best way to learn the best way through a certain course is to skate with more advanced riders, or watch videos of people skating the course. However, if this isn’t a possibility for you, know this: The best line through a course is the straightest line. It is the line that puts the least amount of g-force into your board and body, and conserves the most momentum.

Learn to slide on your Longboard.

This is most likely, the hardest and most dragged out part of your career as a downhill longboarder. Not only will you need to learn the few preliminary slides, but throughout your journey as a downhill longboarder, learning slides will be one of your primary focuses. There is an end-game; once you have built up your huge arsenal of slides, you will be able to skate any and every road in the world, theoretically.

But first, you will need to learn how to stop. Sure, it sounds trivial. I mean, you know how to footbrake, you know how to carve down to a near-stop from 20 kilometers an hour, but with downhill, we’re talking about speeds in excess of 50 kilometers an hour. And keep in mind, downhill longboarding IS an extreme sport. You will come across instances in your journey (assuming you do push yourself and try new, adrenaline-pumping things), where you will be faced with either hitting a wall or a car, or stopping using a slide.

The most basic stopping slide is called a Coleman, or a shutdown slide. A Coleman is where you grab over your back leg, grab the board, lean back and bust into a low, compact slide to shave off speed. You can find a good tutorial here: 


It’s incredibly important that you not only can do this slide, but you can do it at any speed that you are downhilling at. That may be 40 kilometers an hour, or it may be 70 kilometers an hour. Also, always practice this slide. Keep it fresh in your brain so that you can use it whenever.

At this point, you are able to do grip runs, courses where sliding is optional and you can realistically “bomb” the hill all the way to the bottom. The reason why the Coleman came before doing grip runs is because, in the case of an oncoming car or collision, it’s important to be able to stop on a dime. To you know, save your life maybe.

There is a progression of slides, at least generally. It goes like this:

  1. Coleman Slide (Hands-down, grabbed, heelside slide)
    1. Coleman 180s (switch slide)
    2. Switch Coleman 180s (180 back from switch)
  2. Heelside Pendulum (Hands-down, grabbed/ungrabbed, undulating slide)
    1. Pendulum Shutdown (stopping slide)
    2. Pendulum Drift (speed-shaving slide)
  3. Toeside Slides (Hands-down, grabbed/ungrabbed)
    1. Toeside Pendulum Shutdown (undulating stopping slide)
  4. Both pre-drifts (Hands-down, grabbed/ungrabbed, speed-shaving slide)
    1. Drifts around corners (speed-shaving slide around a hairpin)
    2. Straight drifts (speed-shaving slide before a corner)
  5. Squat/Sit-down slides (No-hands, grabbed/ungrabbed slide)
    1. Squat drifts (squatted speed-shaving slide)
    2. Big Squats (long, fast, slide-jam style)
  1. Stand-up slides (no-hands, standing slide)
    1. 180s (switch slide)
    2. Stand-up drifts (speed-shaving slide)
    3. Big Standies (long, fast, slide-jam style)

Some tips for sliding:

  • If a slide isn’t working out for you, go faster. The faster you are traveling, the easier it will be to unhook all of your wheels. It will also give you a longer slide so you can feel it out and learn better.
  • When you are doing your first slides, exaggerate your movements, learn to unhook first. You can learn to get things under control later. Commit to your movements and smash those slides out.

Sliding will turn into an obsession for some; this means you are a freerider, rather than a downhiller. And it’s alright to like this; there are whole competitions designed for you!


  • First downhill Longboarding experience.


You’re here! You are fully equipped to take your first downhill runs. Now, there’s not much to cover here, except some recommendations for safety and some rules about respect for your local community and city.

When you skate your first hill, make sure that you take it slow; don’t push yourself too hard, and gradually ease yourself into the downhill mindset. Downhilling is an extreme sport; it takes comprehension that is usually beyond the parameters of a normal person, and you are stretching your capabilities so that you can do this sport safely. Take precautions.

For your first downhill experiences, it’s very important that you don’t do them alone. One, the roads you’ll be skating will be better known by your local scene; they’ve been riding and skating it for years, probably. They’ll tell you where the cars jump out, where you need to drift, where you need to slow down, or where you can let go and just go as fast as possible. Also, bump-draft buddies are always welcome.

Don’t know where to find skate buddies? Facebook is your buddy here. Search some common keywords like, “CITY longboarding” or “longboarding CITY”. Chances are, your city or town has a pretty good skate scene in it, and was probably the start of something great. Other great places to look are Instagram, Meetup, and Google. Connect with people, and don’t be shy. As long as you aren’t acting out of line, skaters in this community are usually incredibly friendly and getting buddy buddy with them will only end in your self-improvement.
Another incredibly important part to this sport is respecting your local community. Your local community is what really allows you to skate your favorite roads, and so it’s important that you do your part when using those facilities. You should always pick up your trash, don’t act rowdy, be friendly to people who are passing and when there is a confrontation with police or your angry neighbors, try to explain, not confront. It’s important not only for the image of your local skate scene, but also the longboarding scene in general.


  • The aftergame.


There isn’t much to guide you on after this; rather, you’ll have enough knowledge by now to guide yourself in your endeavor to become a better longboarder. Some tips to help you on your way though:

  • Start upgrading your gear.
    • Look into other decks; form an opinion about concaves and make it your goal to find what you like most in a deck.
    • Research your ideal truck; look at higher-tiered trucks higher up in the budget ranges. These trucks will last you a long time and help you progress further.
    • Look into buying a full-face helmet to really go fast.
  • Keep working on your slides, and build a large arsenal of them. These will allow you to skate any hill from top to bottom.
  • Race. Find races to compete in and get yourself some medals. It isn’t hard!
  • Host community events and get ingrained in your local community.

The Magneto downhill Longboard. AKA The Tesla 


But always, always wear a helmet.

Ps we spend a lot of time writing awesome posts, your shares and likes make us carry on! So go on, if you liked this post share it with a friend. 

Ryan, Magneto Longboards 

Magneto Electric Skateboard Pre-ride Check List



What to check for before setting off on an electric Longboard ride.

The Magneto Electric Skateboard Pre-ride checklist.

OK guys, so this is something you should be doing most of the time before you plan a any sort of significant electric longboard ride.


Check Longboard and controller are fully charged, You’ll see 2 green lights on the controller, 1 indicates the remote is paired and status of battery in the remote, the 2nd indicates battery life in the Magneto Electric Skateboard.


Check operation, Turn the board on, pair the remote by holding A, now just lift he back wheels off the ground and accelerate using the remote. The wheels should spin, now brake using the remote by pushing down C. This just confirms the operation.


Do quick visual and run your skateboard tool around wheel nuts checking everything is how it should be. Do not over-tighten these.


Plan your journey. No electric skateboard, or pretty much any smaller motorised riding device likes rough and bumpy roads, so plan a nice clear, quiet tarmac route. This will extend your range and pro-long general longevity in the Magneto Electric Skateboard.


Weather! Always check the weather, common sense guys, who likes to ride in the rain anyway!


Safety, OK, I know you were expecting this and I know, you know! But here goes again.

The Magneto Electric Skateboard is a beast. People injure themselves on normal skateboards, please take extra pre-cautions in wearing safety gear.


Like anything mechanical failure and the un-expected is always possible. Try to ride with a plan to bail or fall safely back up at all times. Never put yourself in a situation where your life is 100% dependant on the brakes or the board performing perfectly. Even though the event of failure is extremely rare, why risk it?

Magneto Electric Skateboard

(Credit to Kilian for the images)

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