Previously, we’ve discussed the skateboard wheels tires. In this post, we will cover its core part — the hub.
Most of the top-tier wheels are complete with a hub inside where the bearings are contained. A hub made of hard polyurethane and plastic distributes heat over the wheel and prevents the bearings — which are likely to overheat at high speed — from melting down the polyurethane ‘cover’ of the wheel.
The wheels’ size, shape, and material play a key role in how the skateboard rides and the manner of the wheels’ wear away.
Besides that, a hub acts as additional reinforcement, making it less likely for a wheel to lose its initial shape.
Diameter of the Hub
The first aspect to consider, which is obvious when choosing a hub, is its diameter. This property directly affects what happens to the wheels while skateboarding.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Size Hubs
- Wheels changing their initial shape is less likely at high speed, which results in higher adhesion and lesser speed loss;
- wheels wear out more evenly;
- A shorter life-cycle of the wheel: a larger hub implies less polyurethane content of the wheel;
- as the polyurethane wears down, its amount reduces. Hence, its ability to alleviate the terrain accidents will be reduced too, which will result in wheels becoming harder than they initially were manufactured.
- a smaller size hub means more polyurethane in the wheel. Hence, riding uneven surfaces will be more comfortable;
- longer life of the wheel;
- with the higher adhesion, polyurethane bypasses the uneven pieces of the road with a tighter engagement;
- high loss of speed due to less equal load distribution;
- uneven wear-out.
Core Setting/Hub Placement
The position of the hub is also a significant factor affecting the traction, slide, and durability of the wheel. When we speak of the core position, we mean its position relative to the truck: closer to or farther away from the truck.
There are three types of wheels in terms of hub position: center, offset and sideset (positioned closest to the truck).
The hub is placed right in the middle of the wheel. The advantage is that if the wheel is worn from one side, you can easily swap sides to prolong the wheel’s life. Also, centerset hub wheels are likely to wear slower in the first place due to even load distribution.
Still, the traction of such wheels leaves much to be desired.
The sideset wheels feature much higher traction because a larger load will be distributed onto the inside area of the wheel. The disadvantage is the quick and uneven wear out of the wheel.
As goes from the name, the offset hub is slightly offset from the center sideways. It is not placed at the most inside area, though, like the sideset one. This is an intermediate position between the first two above. Such wheels are distinguished by maximum traction.
Well, considering the multiple parameters inherent to this small round piece for a skateboard wheel, it’s not so easy to chose as it may first seem. The ideal strategy is to determine your preferred skateboarding style and keep that in mind when choosing your wheels.
One may say that surfskate wheels are like surf fins — some do work best just for you and your skating style, others not so much.
To fully understand how different properties affect the wheels, one may need to try out a wide variety of them.
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