Various factors go into selecting longboard wheels for sliding. They include core placement, material and size, wheel size, durometer, urethane characteristics, and lip profile. What are the best longboard wheels for sliding?
Generally, offset and sideset wheels are the best type of wheels to use for sliding.
The size of the core can determine how well a wheel is suited to sliding. Large-cored wheels are common among longboard wheels meant for sliding. This is due to the impact of core size on acceleration, grip, and inertia, which makes large-cored wheels better suited for use as longboard sliding wheels.
Small and medium-sized wheels in diameter make it easy to initiate slides and tricks. Wheels that are harder, have rounded edges and have smaller contact patches are usually better for sliding, resulting in a rider sliding for longer and more evenly and progressively. This provides for some steezy rides.
Steezy is a term derived from style and ease and refer to doing a board trick with ease and style. Listed below are some longboard wheels that provide steezy rides after they are properly broken in or even right out of the box.
More general information about longboard sliding wheels you can read our previous article:
ABEC 11 Centerset Classic Freerides (72mm)
The ABEC Centerset Classic Freerides comes in three durometer ratings (78a, 81a, and 84a). This provides more choice of longboard sliding wheels for riders of different sizes.
Centerset wheels measuring 72mm in diameter provide adequate grip and wear out more evenly when executing slides with ABEC Centerset Classic Freerides wheels.
The wheels can be reversed to even out wear. A plastic core further reduces coning and coring of the wheels. These are some seriously durable longboard sliding wheels that slide amazingly.
The rounded edges, 39mm wide contact patch and the placement of the core results in more predictable pre-drifts, drifts, and standing slides.
Sector 9 Slide Butterballs Longboard Wheels (65mm)
Sector 9 Slide Butterballs combine sliding and smooth rides beautifully.
The centerset wheels have a diameter of 65mm which makes them stable and long-lasting. The small diameter enables for quick acceleration after sliding and better grip to slide transition. With a hardness (durometer reading) of 80a, they transition well from gripping to sliding.
Rounded wheel edges and a stone ground finish ensures these wheels can slide. If you are looking for the best longboard slide wheels, these may be the perfect choice for you.
The Sector 9 Butterballs make for a fun and smooth riding at high speeds by having the right balance of grip, momentum, and slide. Easy on the budget, these are probably the best cheap longboard wheels that you can find. If you want good quality yet affordable longboard wheels, go for Sector 9 Butterballs.
Earthwing Floaters Longboard Wheels (70mm)
The Earthwing Floaters are designed for drifting and sliding. The slightly offset wheels with diameter of 70mm have rounded lips.
This makes it easy to initiate slides with Earthwing Floaters that are predictable. They come in different durometer ratings (78a, 81a, 84a, and 87a) to cater to the different tastes of riders.
They have a stone ground finish and can be used to slide gracefully and predictably right off the box.
They are well-suited to technical freeriding, freeriding and fast freeriding.
Rainskates Mega Tsunamis Longboard Wheels (72mm)
The Rainskates Mega Tsunamis are great for riders who want more predictable slides and drifts. The 72mm diameter wheels come in two durometers, 82a or 85a, both well-suited to sliding. With a width of 46mm, they are great all around wheels for freeriding and cruising.
They have great grip and slide well, and their general design makes them durable and predictable longboard sliding wheels.
Sector 9 RFW CS Longboard Wheels (70mm)
The Sector 9 RFW CS wheels are great for executing drawn out and predictable slides. The centerset wheels have a 70mm diameter which results in excellent grip and fast wheels. Rounded lips mean the wheels slide well and for longer.
Contact patches that measure 38mm in width are thin enough to draw out the ride and make for a more predictable slide release point. Three durometer ratings (78a, 80a, and 82a) enables a rider to decide just how much slide to go for.
The 78a wheels are best for smooth and predictable rides while 82a wheels are awesome for steezy, drawn-out slides.
Orangatang Stimulus Longboard Wheels (71mm)
Another serious contender for the best sliding wheels longboard is the Orangatang Stimulus. At 70mm in diameter, the Stimulus is large enough to carry plenty of speed and roll over debris while still being light and quick for tricks and slides.
Rounded lips and a stone-ground contact patch ensure smooth, predictable slides right out of the box and throughout the life of the wheel.
That said, even when new, the wheels perform superbly when doing slides and in general riding too.
Orangatang wheels are among the best longboard wheel brands. Are you searching instead for the best longboard wheels for speed? Or the best longboard wheels for carving? Check out, Orangatang Kegel. Click here to learn more.
Landyachtz Zombie Hawgs (76mm)
Landyachtz Zombie Hawgs are some of the best longboard wheels for sliding. The truly sideset wheels (the inner edge of the wheel is perfectly aligned with the bearing’s edge) have rounded edges.
This makes it easy and controllable to transition from making a turn to sliding.
The 82a wheels with a diameter of 76mm have a contact patch measuring 33mm which makes it easy to initiate slides with these longboard sliding wheels.
Due to the thinness of the contact patch, slides with these wheels are predictable and long. They have a large core and thus accelerate faster and slide better.
This makes them great for experiencing sliding and advanced freeriding.
A stone ground finish provides the wheels with a rougher surface and can be used straight away out of the box for sliding.
Cult Classics Longboard Wheels (70mm)
Cult Classics are phenomenal longboard sliding wheels. The 80a offset wheels measure 70mm in diameter and have rounded lips.
A contact patch measuring 32mm leave one with no doubt that these longboard wheels were designed for sliding.
The thin contact patch means that a rider enjoys a predictable slide release point and can draw out the slides longer. They are a bit sticky right of the box but are easy to break in and have rather predictable slides during the break-in period.
It is pretty easy to initiate slides with these wheels and to draw out the slides for longer.
However, this means they do not hug every corner, especially at high speeds. That is not a problem though as these Cult Classics wheels are designed for sliding into corners with ease and style.
The Cult Classics result is fantastic and smooth rides and is fast going.
They make for truly steezy slides and are among the greatest longboard sliding wheels out there.
Best Longboard Wheels Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right Longboard Wheels
The first thing you need to consider when buying longboard wheels is size. Longboard wheels are usually between 64 to 80 mm in diameter (70 mm being the most common size). Generally speaking, larger wheels accelerate slowly but have a higher top speed. They also roll over cracks and debris more easily. On the other hand, smaller wheels accelerate faster but have a lower top speed.
One thing to consider when choosing the wheel size is whether it will fit your setup without causing wheel bite. Reverse kingpin trucks are taller; they provide more wheel clearance when compared to standard kingpin trucks. You can fit any size wheel if the deck has large cutouts. But, if the board has small cutouts, you might need to add a one-fourth inch riser pad to accommodate wheels larger than 70 mm.
The lip of a wheel pertains to the outer edges of the contact patch. The lip’s shape tells a lot about the way it rides. Thick square or sharp lips provide more grip, while rounded lips break traction more easily and offer smoother transitions from grip to slip. Sharp lipped wheels are ideal for downhill while round lipped wheels are preferred for freeride.
A wheel’s contact patch is the rounded surface that makes contact or rolls on the ground. Longboard wheels contact patches range from 30 to 70 mm, although most wheels fall between 38 to 55 mm. A wider contact patch gives more grip and is ideal for downhill riding while a narrower contact patch provides less grip and is preferred for freeride. Also, a wider contact patch will slow you down while sliding and give you more control.
The durometer rating of a wheel is the measure of the hardness of the urethane. It is expressed as a number followed by the small letter “a.” Longboard wheels typically have a durometer ranging from 75 to 88a, softer in comparison to skateboard wheels which have durometer ratings of 90 to 101a.
Longboard wheels provide a quiet and smooth ride when compared to street board wheels. They are ideal cruising wheels because they roll over debris more easily. Generally speaking, lower durometer longboard wheels provide more grip but roll slower, while higher durometer longboard wheels offer less grip but roll faster.
The durometer also affects slide characteristics. Hard wheels (83 to 88a) slide faster, have a tendency to glide across the road surface and slow you down less. On the other hand, soft wheels (75 to 80a) slide slower, tend to smear urethane across the road surface, and slow you down faster. 78a and 80a are popular durometers for almost all types of longboarding.
A wheel’s urethane formula affects the way the wheel performs. Every formula has varying degrees of grip, slide ability, and durability. Many companies categorize their formulas as freeride or downhill. Typically, freeride formulas slide easier and faster and provide less grip than downhill formulas.
Core Size and Shape
A core provides stability while reducing weight and keeping the bearings in alignment. The core size, shape, and composition plays a significant role in the way a wheel performs.
A larger diameter core will make a wheel roll faster. A wider core helps support the urethane better, making the wheel resilient to ovaling and promotes even wear. A hard material in a core improves roll speed and helps prevent deformation of urethane during slides. However, this also makes the wheel slide faster. Quickly slowing down is a must for downhill riding, so manufacturers pay close attention to the size and composition of cores they use.
There are three categories of core placement common among longboard wheels. Each style provides different performance and slide characteristics.
- Centerset Cores
Cores placed at the center of the wheel provide the best traction due to the equal size of inner and outer lips. Centerset cores allow riders to flip their wheels when they start to wear unevenly (coning). This is the most common type of core placement, and is equally popular for downhill and freeride longboarding.
- Sideset Cores
Sideset cores are placed close to the wheel’s inner lip. This core placement reduces the traction of the wheel, allowing easier slides. This type is popular among freeriders, although they have relatively short lives because they wear unevenly.
- Offset Cores
Offset cores are somewhere in between centerset and side set wheels. They break traction more easily than centerset wheels but provide more stability in slides than side set wheels. Often, downhill wheels have offset cores, because riders use slides to check speed going into turns.
Final Review of the Best Longboard Wheels for Sliding
It is not just the features of longboards wheels that determine how well they perform when sliding.
Other factors such as the weight of the rider, the board’s characteristics, and the riding surface can change which longboard wheels are best for sliding and drifting.
The wheels reviewed above perform well on different surfaces and for different riders. What they do have in common is that are amazing for different styles of sliding and riders.