Roller Derby Wheels - Buying Advice
Roller derby wheels are somewhat of an exact science. A bunch of different variables come intoﾠ
play, from the size of the skater, ability and personal preference. In all honesty, there's noﾠ
singular,ﾓgood wheelﾔ that can be recommended to everyone. What's excellent for some skatersﾠ
are horrendous for others. It's all about finding out YOUR needs, as an individual, then findingﾠ
the product to match.ﾠ
Ask yourself the following questions to establish the kind of wheel that will suit your needs.ﾠ
Then, use the filters on the product pages to refine your search into something a little moreﾠ
palatable than the usual sea of products.
Where are you skating?
The rule of thumb is that outdoor surfaces require a soft wheel (for grip on all those unevenﾠ
surfaces, as well as absorbing lumps and bumps), while an indoor surface will need a harderﾠ
wheel, which gives plenty of roll.
An outdoor wheel will generally be 78A durometer (that's the hardness of the urethane),ﾠ
whereas an indoor wheel will be 85A or more. The higher the number, the harder the wheel...ﾠ
Do you want a standard or low wheel?
A standard derby wheel will generally have a height of 62mm, whereas a low wheel will be moreﾠ
A lower wheel will, in theory, give you more confidence to juke and step, as a result of the lowerﾠ
centre of gravity. However, a lower wheel can also be more difficult to control, so a fullﾭsizeﾠ
wheel tends to be the recommendation to be begin with.
Do you want a wide or slim wheel?
A wide wheel will often have a lip, whereas a slim wheel is entirely flat on the sides. Widerﾠ
wheels are more stable, but can feel quite restrictive once you advance into your skills. A slimﾠ
wheel can offer more agility, but only if the user is confident.
Sticky or smooth?
A sticky wheel will have a lower durometer and therefore more grip. Anything below 88A is veryﾠ
soft and grippy. 88A ﾭ 90A is still grippy, but with a bit more roll. 90A and upwards will have aﾠ
nice bit of slip n' slide.
There's positive and negatives to whichever choice you make, so again, it's very much down toﾠ
what you, as the person skating in those wheels, feels is best.
A grippier wheel is going to stick you to the floor, especially under 88A. If you're a bit nervous,ﾠ
this is great ﾭ You'll feel in control. As you gain confidence, however, the stick will have youﾠ
working much harder to achieve a quicker pace. You'll have to push HARD to get a good roll outﾠ
of it. There's a good argument that superﾭsticky wheels only serve to hold you back after you getﾠ
A slippier wheel will, in theory, have you travelling faster and able to catch a bit of slide. Theﾠ
only problem with that is, not everybody likes to slide, especially when you're crossing over on aﾠ
corner. So, 90 isn't for everyone, especially once you get to 93A. However, once you'reﾠ
confident, the slide can take the effort out of your gait and have you powering around the track.
It's all a matter of taste!
A pusher set, in the most basic terms, is when you have a mix of durometers on one foot. Forﾠ
example, you may decide that you like a grippier wheel on your inside edge and a harder wheelﾠ
on the outside. It comes down to where you need stick and where you need slide, and can onlyﾠ
really be decided after a bit of time getting to know your own skating style. Luckily, most derbyﾠ
wheels are now sold in packs of 4, so you can mix n' match. Yay!
Nylon or Alloy Core?
In layman's terms... An alloy core wheel is harder, stronger and won't compress into the groundﾠ
when you skate on it. Keeping shape is important for a good, strong roll and heavier skatersﾠ
especially will probably find this of more benefit than a nylon core wheel.