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Scooter wheels are designed for freestyle riding, not headless raving. Just like any human activity, riding a freestyle scooter requires the involvement of a gray cerebral cortex.
Freestyle scooter wheels are durable but not indestructible.
Of all the components, it is the wheels that are most sensitive to surface quality. Sharpened edges, shards, stones, etc. will damage the PU (polyurethan). This is not the defect of the wheels themselves but the defect of the surface you are riding on.
Scooter wheels consist of the core and PU (polyurethane). Most wheels today come with pre-installed bearings.
The diameter of most wheel bearings (and axle slots) is standardized across the industry. You need to be aware of the standard your wheels belong to. The vast majority of wheels today (summer 2018) use 8 mm axles (8 mm standard), a small percentage of wheels (now only Ethic Calypso and some UrbanArtt wheels) use the so-called 12 standard axles. This means that the axle diameter is 12 mm and therefore the size of the bearings is bigger. As a result, the bearings have less rolling resistance, making them faster and more durable.
Occasionally, the wheel bearing spacers may vary on the dimension factor. Some manufacturers (eg Ethic or PROTO) have the spacers wider by about 0.3 mm on the inside. After replacing bearings with the new ones, it may happen that the wheel will not spin properly. Because of this, it is recommended that you replace just the bearings and use the original spacers.
The wheel cores are made of plastic or aluminum. The plastic cores are only used on cheap / entry-level wheels for beginners. The resistence and durability of the plastic core is quite limited. We can say that the plastic wheels are only good (if they are good at all) for real beginners to learn basic tricks.
In contrast, aluminum cores are virtually indestructible. The most solid are the full aluminum cores.
An important part of the wheel manufacturing process is the technology that is used to attach the PU (polyurethan) to the core. It is both craft and art and it directly refers to the phenomenom of dehubbing.
The resulting quality of this *attachment / bond* is influenced, among other things, by the adhesive used, the composition of the PU but also the shape of the groove of the core in which the PU is seated.
We often hear "What wheels are the fastest?" There is no unambiguous answer to this. There are several factors influencing the speed of the wheel: a) PU hardness (the harder the PU the faster the wheels should be); b) elasticity of the PU (the so-called bouncing; the more elastic / flexible the PU the faster the wheel); c) bearing condition; d) wheel diameter (the larger the wheel diameter, the faster the wheel is); e) the quality of the surface. f) And then and foremost - what you are willing to believe in (nothing is as much a myth as a wheel).
What does *the PU hardness* mean? It stands for the hardness of rubber (polyurethan / PU). The PU hardness on freestyle scooter wheels range from 85a to 91a. The standard is 88a.
PU hardness vs. park riding: Should a harder or softer PU be used for the park riding? The general wisdom has it that harder PU is a better choice for shredding the ramps.
On the other hand, a softer PU would be a better choice for the street riding. Softer PU sticks better to the surface, no skids.
Wheels can be divided along the following criteria:
The larger the diameter, the faster it is. The larger the diameter, the better the wheel overcomes minor surface inequalities
b) Wheel core material
Plastic vs aluminium
c) PU hadness
d) Wheel core design
Full vs. spoked vs. hollow cores. Spoked cores are lighter and look better than than the full cores but are less rigid, strong. Hollow cores are light.
How to extend the lifespan of the wheels
1) I behave fairly to my scooter
2) I do not throw it or bash it when angry
3) I land the tricks properly. Do your best to land the tricks as much in the axis of your *air sequence / flight* as possible. In the opposite case, you can end up with your wheels dehubbed.
4) I do not ride on a surface of dubious quality i.e. rocks, sharp edges, shards, etc.
5) Do not skid! Skidding will result in creating flats spots on the PU around the wheel
6) Use the brake in the way it is intended to be used. Brake is to be used to perform tricks! The purpose of the brake is not to step on it and hold it for 10 minutes while you are going down the street to school. Misuse of the brake results in creating flat spots on the PU. And you can snap the break, too.
7) Avoid riding through the narrow longitudinal gaps. Read the situation ahead of you. Narrow gaps *plane down* both sides of your wheels, both the PU and core.
8) No drifting (power slides)!
9) Do not lend your scooter to your friends. They can easily weigh 30 kg more than you doand have a completely different style of riding.
How to select the right wheel
1) If you are now running 100 mm wheels and want to upgrade to 110 mm or even bigger wheels, make sure that your existing setup (i.e. fork, deck and brake) is compatilble with those wheels.
2) Unless you are a total beginner with body weight up to 40 kgs, go after wheels with aluminium cores.
3) Are you more into the street riding? Go after softer PU.
4) Are you more into the park riding? Go after harder PU.