Two questions many beginner scooter riders ask me are: “what scooter wheel size should I get?”, and “what’s the difference between certain two wheels?” As trivial as they may seem, scooter wheels are arguably the most important parts of your scooter, and getting the right ones can make a world of difference in how your scooter performs. If you get the wrong-sized wheels, they might not be compatible with your scooter, whereas the right-sized wheels will ensure a smooth and safe riding experience. That being said, here’s everything you need to know about buying scooter wheels that match your scooter and riding style perfectly.
Important Factors to Consider When Buying Scooter Wheels
The diameter of the scooter wheel represents its overall size. A larger diameter means slower acceleration, but the maximum amount of speed you’ll be able to reach will be higher. The most popular diameters in scooter wheels are 100mm, 110mm, 115mm, 120mm and 125mm.
These are the smallest wheel sizes and are the first size scooter companies adopted from inline skates. They generally feature basic bearings and plastic cores, although there are models with metal cores. Generally, you’ll find these wheels as stock on the majority of scooters, specifically on low-end and beginner scooters. If you’re young or just starting out, 100mm wheels will be suitable.
This is the standard scooter wheel size for most scooters that are meant for intermediate and advanced riders. They fill a solid middle ground in terms of durability, speed, style, cost and weight. 110mm wheels are suitable for street and park riders, making them the most versatile wheel size. These wheels are compatible with all scooters, so you can’t go wrong with them.
These are the least common wheel size, which is becoming increasingly popular amongst hybrid and park riders. While they’re heavier than 110m wheels, they provide an increase in speed and control, especially when performing tricks and making sharp turns.
These wheels are designed for bigger riders with flow styles, as they provide a decent amount of speed and are suitable for cruising around. The biggest disadvantage to these wheels is their weight. Bigger wheels are heavier, and having a light setup is crucial to throwing down high-level tricks at the park.
Just like 120mm wheels, 125mm wheels are built for speed. They do everything 120mm wheels can do, but better. Their disadvantages are the same as those of 120mm wheels – they’re heavy. That being said, 125mm wheels are typically reserved for riders who know they really want them. They’re the only size of heels that aren’t universally compatible with aftermarket scooters.
Plastic vs Metal Cores
These wheels are the cheaper alternative and are generally found as stock on low-end complete scooters. They’re designed for beginners, as they aren’t as durable as their metal counterparts. Look to upgrade to metal cores as soon as you start performing tricks.
The thickness of the core determines the decks and forks it’s compatible with. As thickness is related to fork size, the two most common fork sizes are made to suit 24mm and 30mm wheels. Each fork comes packaged with spacers that you use to fit the wheels. Almost all forks come with 24mm spacers, with wider forks coming with a set in their size. For instance, forks made for 30mm will probably also come with a set of 30mm and 24mm spacers.
Scooter wheels are available in different levels of hardness, starting from 85A to 91A. 88A is the standard. What these numbers and letters represent is the hardness of the wheels. the lower the number, the softer the wheels. Softer wheels provide better grip, ensuring more stability. Harder wheels, on the other hand, are better for speed. 88A wheels provide a great balance of stability and speed.
The bearings are a part inside the wheel core whose purpose is to ensure a smooth motion while reducing friction between the moving parts. They’re rated with an ABEC rating, which unfortunately isn’t widely accepted across the industry. The ABEC rating is based on the measurement of the noise creation of the bearing. Noisier bearings are considered rougher, whereas quieter bearings are smoother and therefore, better. The ABEC scale goes from 3 to 11, with ABEC 5, 7 and 9 bearings being the most common. The higher the number, the faster the bearing, but the more prone to damage.
What Kind of Wheel Should You Get?
For most people, a wheel with a diameter of 110mm, with a metal core type and an 88A thickness, rated ABEC 5, 7 or 9 will be the best. However, it all comes down to personal preference and riding style. Different riders need different types of wheels, but for beginners, these specifications are likely to be the best. As you advance through the ranks and become a more experienced rider, you’ll be able to decide what types of wheels will suit you and the type of riding you do best.