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Wheel Compounds

UnderCover Teal 80mm inline skate wheel

So, I got into a bit of a Facebook discussion the other day and I realised not everyone understands the difference between cheap and expensive wheels.

Especially because there are loads of people out there saying "the more expensive wheels are made in the same factory than the cheap ones", which is true, but doesn't mean what they think it does.

Pouring wheels requires machines that actually have the molds to pour wheels, now not every wheel brand has the startup capital needed to build a wheel factory from scratch. Therefore the different wheel brands and pourers use the same facilities as some of their competition, that doesn't mean they use the same materials and or wheel compounds. So just because two wheels look the same, down to the little ridges and their cores, the indication of hardness and millimetres, doesn't mean two wheels are the same.

More expensive wheels use a different mixture for their wheels, often more complex and more expensive to produce and to come up with as well, that's where that price difference comes from.

In our own experience, more expensive wheels will basically last much longer. Whereas I shred through a set of wheels for less than € 5 per wheel in less than 2 months, a € 10 wheel will last me about a year.

Now, there's going to be a lot of skaters who do not skate the way I do (I would say I'm an urban speed/slalom kind of skater, lots of fast starts and quick sliding stops, avoiding cars mainly), recreational skaters may therefore not need more expensive wheels and because they might never reach the end of their wheels, that might be completely right.

But if you're having to order new wheels every half year and you keep opting for the ones that you had previously because they are seemingly cheap and they look the same as the more high-end market wheels, you might just want to upgrade to a more pricey set and see how they last, because you won't have to buy new ones for a much longer time.

When people ask me what my favourite wheels are, I always reply "that depends what you want to do with them". If you're going to skate indoors only, you will want much softer wheels. If you skate longer distances, want higher speeds or do a lot of sliding, then you might want to have harder wheels. As stated before, I'm an urban speed, slalom and sliding enthousiast, so for me a hardness of 88A is about as perfect as it's going to get; at the moment of this writing I ride UnderCover Cosmic Roche Red 80mm 88A wheels under my FR Spin skates (although for slalom I might want a pair of softer ones, like e.g. the Undercover Raw wielen).

For outdoor use, with not too much slides, most people start around an 84A hardness. There are more expensive wheels for either hardness and from experience we know that price definitely influences the quality.

If you have any further questions about wheels and which ones to get, just send us an email at info@slidingtiger.eu.

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