Posted by Natalie Mills on
One question that we get asked often is: “which scooter wheel size should I get”, or “what's the difference between this wheel and that wheel”?
It’s an important part of your scooter to get right. Buy the wrong size and they won’t be compatible with your setup, but get the right size and you’ll have a smooth, safe and fun riding experience.
Here at Rideminded, we want to help you make the best choices for your scooter. After reading this guide, you’ll understand the ins and outs of the scooter wheel. This way, you can make a more informed decision when putting together your setup, and be better prepared to avoid any common pitfalls when it comes to scooter wheel sizes.
You’ll also discover the best scooter wheels for beginner and advanced riders, and find answers to some frequently asked questions.
The 5 Key Elements of Scooter Wheels
Scooter wheels can be broken down into five elements:
- Polyurethane Thickness
- Polyurethane Hardness
- Core Diameter
Learn what they all mean and what you need to be aware of below:
1. Wheel Diameter
Diameter is the overall size of the wheel. As the diameter increases, the slower you will get to speed, but the maximum speed you can reach is higher.
There are five main diameters when it comes to scooter wheels:
These small wheels are a remnant from the days in which companies adapted inline skate wheels for use with scooters.
100mm wheels tend to feature plastic cores and basic bearings, although you can find the odd 100mm with a metal core (we will get to core material later). You will most often find these wheels as stock items on low-end or beginner complete scooters, or those that have been intended as ‘scooter-to-school’ completes.
These wheels are fine if you are a very young rider just starting out, but for older or more experienced riders, these wheels are best swapped for one of the bigger options.
This wheel size is the scooter rider’s staple and most standard wheel on the market. 110mms are the go-to wheels for the majority of riders out there, as they fill a solid middle ground in terms of speed, durability, weight, cost and style.
There are 110mm wheels that cater to both park and street riders, making them by far the most versatile and well catered for wheel size.
These wheels also fit on 99% of all complete and aftermarket forks and decks, so you really can’t go wrong!
Alternatively, if you’re looking for some very specific advantages that suit your riding style however, some of the bigger wheels may suit you better.
At Rideminded, we stock 110mm wheels in a range of colours and designs, like this fun Juicy watermelon option!
115mm wheels are a little less common than the other wheel sizes, but have recently grown in popularity among riders with hybrid street or park styles.
Whilst they’re a little more weighty than 110mm wheels, 115mm provide a slight increase to speed and control when making sharp turns and executing technical tricks.
If that’s your style, check out these Oath Binary black and blue wheels.
Fast and functional. Originally designed for bigger, older riders with flow styles, 120mm wheels provide a solid amount of speed and are great if you want to go charging around the skate park at full speed!
The biggest drawback to 120mm wheels has historically been the weight. Bigger wheels are heavier, and having a lightweight setup is a key component to throwing down many high-level tricks at the skate park.
That being said, 120mm wheels have recently been taken back to the drawing board, undergoing a renaissance of sorts with select brands pushing them back into the spotlight by heavily reducing the weight of the cores.
With ramps in skate parks getting bigger and riders constantly pushing themselves to achieve greater air time, it only makes sense that bigger wheels will most certainly play their part in years to come.
If you’re interested in buying 120mm wheels, these Oath Bermuda anodised satin black wheels may be ideal for you.
As with 120mm wheels, these wheels are built for speed, and we really do mean it! 125mm size scooter wheels are essentially an extreme version of 120mm wheels and come with all the same pros and cons, just amplified.
125mm wheels are best suited to high-level riders that know they want them. These are also one of the only wheels types that are not, yet, progressing toward universal compatibility with aftermarket forks and decks.
This can make them difficult to fit onto a given setup and, unless you’re willing to go out and buy new parts specifically to facilitate these giants, it’s better to wait unless you’re willing to commit to a full setup change.
However, they are the fastest scooter wheels you can get your hands on. and If you are you’re willing to accommodate the extra weight, they’ll have you absolutely blasting around the skate park!
Why not take a look at our urbanArtt civic 125mm black wheels?
2. Wheel Cores
When choosing the material that makes up the inner core of your wheel, stick with metal cores… just take our word for it.
Plastic core wheels are a remnant of the inline era of scooter wheels. These are often cheaper to produce and are sometimes found as stock parts on low-end complete scooters.
These wheels were designed more for ‘scooter-to-school’ audiences, although they can be used by riders just starting out on their scootering journey.
You should look at upgrading to metal cores as soon as you start any kind of ramp or trick riding. These wheel cores are a lot weaker than their metal core counterparts and are not up to scratch when it comes to trick riding.
Metal cores are the go-to wheel core for scooter riders. Almost all complete stunt scooters come fitted with these and, if you’re looking for an upgrade, metal cores are usually your best bet!
Wheel Core Sizes
The thickness of a wheel’s core determines the forks and decks with which your wheels are compatible.
Because thickness is directly related to fork size, you need to know that the two most common fork sizes on the market are that cater to 24mm and 30mm wheels.
- Each fork will come packaged with a set of spacers that you will need to use to fit your wheel to your fork.
- Almost all forks ship with 24mm spacers with the wider ones usually also shipping with a set in their specific size, eg. a set of forks built to allow 30mm will most likely ship with a set of 30mm spacers and 24mm spacers, though this varies by brand.
- Wheel core sizes range from 24mm, in 2mm increments, up to 30mm.
- A 30mm fork has the capability to fit any wheel with any core size, providing you have the spacers to make it work.
- A 30mm wheel core is never going to fit with a 24mm fork.
- Keep in mind that some wheels have a different core and polyurethane thickness. For example, your wheel might have a 28mm polyurethane thickness and a 24mm core. This wheel will only fit with a fork that is compatible with 28mm or higher but will be able to be fitted using standardised 24mm spacers.
3. Polyurethane (PU) Mixes
The scale that tells you how soft or hard the rubber of the wheel is.
Scooter wheels come in various levels of PU, starting from 85A and working up to 91A with 88A being the standard.
The lower the number on the PU scale, the softer the wheel. A softer wheel provides more grip, so you'll slide out less, but you won’t be able to generate as much speed.
Street style riders tackling rough terrain favour softer wheels due to their greater grip, whereas park riders who are riding smoother terrain in general, will often opt for a wheel in the middle of the scale as it provides both solid grip and ample amounts of speed. 88A is the most commonly used hardness.
4. PU Thickness
The thicker the PU, the more rubber will be in contact with the ground, therefore the more grip you will have. This comes at the cost of a heavier wheel.
There are four major thicknesses on the market right now: 24mm, 26mm, 28mm and 30mm.
The thinner the wheel the more streamlined they will be, allowing for greater speed, but with less control or grip while turning. Thinner wheels are favoured by park riders who are looking to reduce the overall weight of their scooter in order to perform tricks where speed is a necessity.
Thicker wheels on the other hand, are ideal for those who want to carve through tight transitions and ride fast in both the park and streets.
The bearing is an element set within the wheel core that helps provide a smooth motion and reduces friction between moving parts.
Bearings come with an ABEC rating, although this is currently the established way of determining the speed provided, it is a controversial system that many do not think is overly accurate. The ABEC rating is determined by measuring the amount of noise created by a bearing. The idea is that a noisier bearing is slightly rougher while a quieter bearing is smoother and therefore “better”.
The ABEC rating for scooter bearings runs from 3 up to the supposed 11, although the legitimacy of 11s is up for debate.
The most common bearings you will find are ABEC 5, ABEC 7 and ABEC 9.
The scale runs with the rule, the higher the number, the faster the bearing, but the weaker and more prone to breaking.
Some brands like Oath Components and urbanArtt do not use ABEC rated bearings and have instead developed their own bearings specifically for scootering. Oath wheels come with Oath Fidelity bearings and urbanArtt wheels come with Lateral bearings.
What Kind of Scooter Wheel Should I Buy?
For most people, these are the specifications for a standard scooter wheel:
- Diameter: 110mm
- Core Type: Metal
- Polyurethane Hardness: 88A
- PU Thickness: 28mm
- Bearing: ABEC 5, 7 or 9
However, other riders may require a slightly different setup:
Best Scooter Wheels for Beginners
If you’re just starting out, or buying a scooter for a young person just getting into scootering, then choose a small wheel. Usually, beginners have smaller decks, and smaller wheels make it easier to flick the deck round and do tricks.
Best Scooter Wheels for Advanced Riders
Medium and large sized wheels are appropriate for advanced riders, as a larger deck means you’ll need a larger wheel. They also mean you can ride a lot faster, and are suitable if you’ve got a few years of experience under your belt.
Frequently Asked Questions About Scooter Wheels
Can I Put 110mm Wheels on My 100mm Scooter?
These days, most scooters are compatible with both 110mm and 100mm wheels. However, you can’t put larger wheels than this on some decks. Be sure to check before you buy, or contact us if you need more help.
When Do I Need to Change My Scooter Wheels?
Scooter wheels will rarely break and become unusable, but they will wear down over time, meaning it’s advisable to replace them. For example, some parts of the wheel may have become flat, or they may slightly crack in some areas. If this is affecting your ride, it may be time to look for a replacement.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you to learn a bit more about the range of scooter wheels and sizes that exist out there, and has put you in good stead to make an informed choice about which wheels you'll be shredding next.
Find My Next Stunt Scooter Wheels at Rideminded