Your choice of wheel will affect the feel of your ride, how long you can ride, and the terrain you can explore. Street wheels are what we call a traditional skate urethane, and they have the highest top speed and the longest range. There are so many things you need to consider to get the full awesomeness of street wheels, and we've prepared a comprehensive guide to help you with that. The Evolve Street Wheels Guide is your go-to guide on why you should start shredding with street wheels, and how to choose the best ones for you.
Why you should use street wheels
The actual ride feeling is what it’s all about when it comes to street wheels, especially when you have smooth surfaces to ride on. For starters, it feels much more like a traditional longboard and is often considered the purest form of e-Skate. So, for anyone with skate experience, this is going to be familiar. Unlike AT wheels where some of the rider's movement is absorbed by the tyre, street wheels transfer your weight distribution directly to the road and the board
Street wheels certainly have a lot less grip than their rubber counterpart which can be both a good or bad thing. Experienced riders like the way this feels because you have to find the balance between holding a deep carve, and the point at where traction breaks and the wheels begin to slide. This also opens up a whole new way of riding your board when you introduce sliding into the mix.
Fair warning to new street riders! Take your time learning where these breakpoints are so you can stay in control of your board.
One of the biggest benefits of riding urethane is you extend the range of your board by about 40%. Whether you’re trying to get to work and back without charging, or just out on the weekend exploring, you don’t want to be worrying about how many miles you have left in the battery…. And if you do ever run out of battery street wheels are easier to kick push like a normal longboard.
Given the reduced rolling resistance we are able to use higher gearing setups with street wheels. This means you will still have great power in the bottom end for fast takeoffs, but it increases the top end speed of the board. The Abec 107mm wheel with a 32T gear will be a full 10kph or 6mph faster than the 7” all-terrain setup - If you want to know more about gears on your board we have a whole Insider dedicated to just that.
Having wheel options for your board is priceless because you are able to customise your ride to achieve different speeds and ride feelings. Whilst AT wheels really have just two sizes and tread patterns to choose from, street wheels have literally dozens and dozens.
What to consider when choosing the right street wheel
The variety of street wheels you can use is insane, and they all have different characteristics that will make them better or worse for different kinds of skating. When looking at what wheels are right for you here are the things you are going to want to consider:
The diameter is the height of the wheel from the road to the top of the wheel. Bigger wheels are great for cruising because they are fast, and they will be more comfortable rolling over cracks and pebbles. Smaller wheels are often used for sliding as they have less contact area and are lighter to throw around and they will also fit on boards like the Stoke without worrying about wheel bite.
The contact patch of the wheel is the area that actually touches the road and generally increases with the diameter. Wheels with a large contact patch like the ABEC 107’s are going to have more grip, wear slower, and are less likely to get flat spots - but they will be more difficult to maintain long slide with.
Edges or lip profiles aren’t heavily discussed in the e-Skate community but certainly plays a roll in how your board feels to ride. A wheel with a square edge is going to be grippy and good for maintaining traction, while wheels with a rounded or bevelled edge are designed to carve and slide better. We often see riders who slide a lot choose bevelled wheels like the Caguama or the Evolve 97mm, and sometimes go even further and sand down the edges more.
Durometer measures how hard or soft the urethane in your wheel is. Softer wheels are great for rough surfaces as they minimize vibrations and jolts, and provide a lot of grip. They do wear down a lot faster, and you are at more risk of ‘chunking’ on rough surfaces. Harder wheels don’t have as good as grip on rough surfaces, but on smooth concrete, they can have just as much. They are great for durability if you are into hard carving and sliding and don’t want to spend all your money on replacing wheels. Hard wheels will break traction more suddenly, and maintain that slide for longer - although a softer wheel will usually have a more predictable slide.
In traditional longboarding soft wheels are regarded as a slower option, but in e-Skate, we have motors so that doesn’t really come into play.
Every urethane has a different rebound formula, so don’t expect two 76a wheels to feel the same. Our 97mm wheel uses a high-end racing formula developed for inline skate which is the ultimate combination of speed and grip. It means we are able to maintain the speed of a 76a wheel, but get even more grip - it doesn’t get much better than that. The best way to figure out what you like is to spend time on different kinds of wheels to get an understanding of how each works.
The core of the wheel won’t really affect the way it rides, but it does determine what gear you are going to need to make it work on the board. There are two main cores used in e-Skate - those being the ABEC and Oranatang designs - so just make sure you have the right gear for any new wheels you order.
Brand new wheels are going to have a shiny surface, feel a bit sticky under the board, and won’t feel perfect to slide and carve on right away. Simply put, they need to be worn in. After the first half-hour of riding check the surface of the wheel and you will notice the texture getting rougher. Like a fine wine, urethane wheels get better with age. Keep an eye on them to make sure they are wearing evenly and rotate if needed.
Street wheels are the easiest way to get a whole new feel from your board and it’s as simple as picking up a conversion kit with your choice of wheel.