How wheels and bearings affect speed

I've got two old school reissues set up with slightly larger wheels; Bombers and Rat Bones. They are loaded with Reds Race Bearings and some Black Panther Ceramics. Those boards just glide and I pick up speed when I'm cruising really fast. I only skate my popsicle at the park, and I have it set up with some slightly smaller Bones 100's (55mm I think) and Bones Reds. I have had trouble getting the speed I want in the bowl but chalked this up to me just now getting back into it. I started skating it on the street and noticed that it's significantly slower. All my bearings and wheels are still pretty close to new at this point. Is this likely due to harder wheels, or the bearings?


  • Probably the bearings. Unless the wheels are small then it's the wheels
  • interesting question...while I'd like to be able to afford bones swiss bearings, most of my setups run reds and 58mm or 60mm bones 84b spf wheels, which results in more speed on smooth concrete than I need (I skate fast)
  • edited April 2017
    If you are riding small, hard park wheels on the street, you are going to bog down and rattle on everything other than glassy flat roads. That is going to reduce the speed you'll get with bigger wheels that are softer (roll over bumps) and have a bigger contact point (especially the Rat Bones).
  • I didn't think that 5mm was that big a size difference, but maybe it is. I haven't tried skating the old school setups in the bowl (which I've been to a grand total of twice so far) but maybe in that setting since the concrete is super smooth there isn't much difference.
  • Get bones swiss and you'll never look back.
  • Durometer has a lot to do with speed. The softer the durometer the faster you will cruise on rough streets and sidewalks. The harder the durometer the faster you will go on smooth park cement. I prefer Powells 85a for Street and powells 90a for park, both in the 58mm to 60mm range. SPFs are the fastest park wheel I have ever skated, but as I getting older (soon to be 44) I like the Skull and Sword 58mm 90a wheel for park use.
  • the harder the wheel the faster u go
  • 60mm SPF wheels with decent bearings = fast. As a lazy old guy, I recommend this combo if carving bowls.

  • 64MM 97a fast as shit G-Bones
    Taller Thinner harder wheels are faster. use oil instead of grease.
    I've pulled bearings out of crappy kids roller blades, and put some 3-in-1 penetrating oil in it, and they speed up dramatically.
  • I've been led to understand that three factors with wheels affect speed: size, duro, and contact patch. Tall wheels (58mm and up) are fast; smaller wheels (57mm and under) accelerate quickly, but have a slower top seed. Harder wheels are generally quicker on smooth concrete, but any roughness and they vibrate and slow way down; conversely, soft wheels reach higher top speeds on rough pavement. And a narrow contact patch is quicker (because there is less friction on the rolling surface), but a wider profile is more stable at high speeds.
    Street needs light weight and quickness: small, hard wheels
    Bowls/vert needs speed: tall and hard wheels
    Downhill needs speed, shock absorption, and stability: tall, wide, and soft wheels. (Cruising is best with this type of wheel, too)

    Higher rated bearings are typically faster, but I've read Paul Schmitt say that skateboard wheels can't even approach the level of stress and speed that the bearings are rated for (the ratings are for industrial equipment usage). I know that ceramic balls last way longer than steel.
  • Bringing this thread back to ask what everyone likes for small wheels on the street, if they like anything. I really enjoy cruising my old school setups but was wanting to do some street stuff since I can only get to the park once a week, tops. My Bones 100's are not usable to me on the street. My teeth rattle out of head and I feel like I'm in a sand trap. My Rat Bones and Bombers are wonderful, but I was wanting something smaller with less surface area to try to learn how to ollie again. It's a skill I've not tried real hard to recultivate, but just flat don't want to skate my pop with the small, hard or wheels or the fat cruisers. Mini Logo 90a 53mm's? Anyone tried the Spitfire 80HD's?
  • You can wear down a 62mm set of Bombers until they are 56, which imo is the sweet spot in a world where they don't make 56mm Bombers. Ricta Clouds are pretty good in my experience, 2nd to Bombers b/c they don't last as long and are easier to flat spot, but they do come in small sizes.
  • The 56mm 90a Oval Dragons are what you need.
  • I recently found some 90a Mini Rats at my folks house and have been using them on my town board. It's a pretty good all around hardness, but I wouldn't choose to skate them at the park if I had any other harder option.

    Mini Logo also has a 90a A-Cut 56mm. I like the A cut better as it locks into grinds better and the 56 would probably help with some of the speed loss at the park from going softer.
  • Thanks, guys. I have a recently-acquired set of 58mm Mini Logo A-cuts in 101a that I've only skated in the park once. I liked them at the park, but like the Bones 100's they are unskateable anywhere else.

    The 90a Oval Dragons are intriguing...
  • I don't know what the difference is between the Oval Dragons and the 90a Mini Logos. If it is the same formula, why pay more for the Oval Dragon?
  • The ML 56mm 90a hybrids and the Oval Dragons have the same wheel shape and 90a formula, but the ML are treaded.
  • Because graphics? I would assume it's the same formula, but I'm not positive.
  • Oj 2's 97a
  • The oval dragons don't roll so well, softer formulas are better on bigger wheels. Plus harder to slide, and more susceptible to chunking up. Go for a 93-97A wheel imo
  • i got some 51s i can sell u ;) i got 51mm,52mm,53mm,54mm,56mm,57mm,58mm all 101a of course
  • (((((((((( :smile: )))))))))))))))
  • edited September 2017
    if u ever want a set just go through my store
  • Product placement eh Biebs? Why not?
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