What to Look for in Electric Skateboard Wheels

Skateboards, like a lot of modes of transport, are evolving. From their humble beginnings as an alternative to surfboarding, today’s skateboards come in all shapes and sizes, and for different riding styles. With everything today going electric and wireless, there’s the surge in electric skateboards, much like in scooters, bikes and cars. Adding an electric motor doesn’t mean you take out the fun of skateboarding. You can still have all the thrills of a traditional kickboard, but now have the opportunity to cover longer distances without breaking a sweat. And you’ll be doing that at speeds that most riders of kickboards can only dream of.

The parts in electric boards are similar if not the same as in ordinary kick skateboards. You still have a deck, the truck and wheels. What’s added is a motor, a battery and a handheld wireless controller for adjusting things like speed and braking. Most motors are belt driven types, meaning they are mounted at the back of the board and drive the wheels through a system of pulleys. Hub motors on the other hand are integrated into the wheels themselves, but this tech is still in its infancy. Belt motors offer riders a choice of different types and sizes of wheels, that they can change out at any time, and at typically lower prices.

Electric Skateboard Wheels


electric skateboard with orange cloud wheels in city
source: hoteldeltafethiye.com

Based on the type of motor there are hub-motor, direct-drive and standard wheels driven by pulleys in external motors. Standard wheels are the ones sold in higher numbers. They’re affordable, easy to swap out, come in different sizes, styles and materials and fit most boards. One of the biggest producers is CLOUDWHEEL, especially popular with bigger wheels like the Cloud Wheels 120mm.


red cloud wheels on skateboard close-up
source: verrealboards.com

Different wheel materials will make riding easier in different terrain. For streets and pavements, your best choice is urethane, while for dirt tracks, grass and gravel you’re better off with pneumatic wheels. Urethane wheels are the same as you’d find on standard kickboards, but here they’re typically bigger, and have different surface textures to suit various riding styles. They tend to last longer, since they have good abrasion resistance, meaning less wear, and also have good grip. You’ll want urethane wheels when going at higher speeds, and when you’re into doing slides or tricks. Variations of urethane wheels, with deeper textured grooves, are good for light off-roading.

Pneumatic or rubber wheels will let you ride on more types of surfaces. You can go through dirt and grass, and quickly transition to pavements and streets. Unlike urethane wheels which are solid, pneumatic wheels have an air tube inside, which absorbs bumps and imperfections just that much better. The downside is that tyres wear out faster and are prone to punctures, so you’ll be stocking up on more rubber and tubes if you ride particularly hard. An improvement on pneumatic wheels are the recent honeycomb wheels which ditch the tube, but have similar absorption levels.

What to Look for in E-board Wheels

electric skateboard with cloud wheels on road
source: tranzite.com

Details matter. Now that you know which wheels go with which motor, and know where you’ll most often be riding, the smaller differences will determine how you ride, how comfy you are, the levels of grip and maneuverability and the speeds you can reach. Several factors are in play, making for a whole lot of e-board wheel types.

  • Size – Urethane and rubber wheels come in different diameters. You need to make sure that the wheels fit the board and trucks, and give you the right ground clearance. This will impact how easily you can turn. Bigger wheels, like the cloud wheels 120mm, can reach higher speeds, but they take more time doing so. But once you’re at speed, there’s less rolling resistance and the motor doesn’t have to work as hard. Smaller wheels won’t go as fast, but the board accelerates quicker. If you’re a beginner, smaller wheels might be more suitable, whereas experienced riders go for the big stuff. Sizes range between 54mm, all the way up to 120mm, with average wheels somewhere between 80 and 90mm. 
  • Width – As with the diameter, widths vary across different wheels. Here there’s the difference between the overall width, and the contact point that sticks the wheels to the ground. A wheel with more contact points has a better grip, but is harder to slide. Narrower wheels are easier to slide, but wear out faster. Also, they’re less stable in turns. Widths on wheels for smaller boards start at 30mm, whereas electric longboards have wheels that are 50-70mm wide. Contact points also correlate with the shape of the wheels. Square wheels have a bigger, wider contact point and more grip, while rounded wheels offer less grip, but are easier to turn and slide. 
  • Hardness – The hardness or durometer of the wheel materials is measured numerically, with higher numbers meaning harder wheels. Here you need to consider your riding style, and how comfortable you want to be. Harder wheels are generally faster and better on smoother surfaces. And doing tricks or slides is easier with harder wheels. If you go for softer wheels, you’ll be more comfortable at cruising speeds on rougher terrain. Wheel durometers range from 70A in softer wheels to well over 100A (A being the hardness scale). For instance, the Cloud wheels 120mm, have a 78A hardness rating. 

Also, consider how the inner core of the wheels is set. Centre set cores even out your weight across the whole wheel, meaning more grip. Offset and side set cores are better for maximum maneuverability, but will be tricky for beginners. Lastly, get the pulley system for the right motor and board. These are packaged with wheels and fit to different board brands.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.