Scooter Wheels For Parent - Everything You Need To Know (And Some Stuff You Probably Don't!
Help - what size wheels should I get on my scooter?
1.) Who is riding the scooter?
2.) What is the main purpose of the scooter?
The standard wheel size on most scooters for children from around age 5 and is 100mm or 110mm. However, specialised scooters will have different wheel size.
If you want a scooter to travel over long distances it is better to get larger wheels (about 120mm). A larger scooter wheel will ride over obstacles such as rocks or cracks easier. Cracks and obstacles hit by a smaller wheel will hit more in the front of the wheel, pushing it back. Larger wheels absorb shocks much more easily and that is why larger wheels are faster and safer.
You will notice on scooters for very young children, the wheels tend to be larger. They generally take a bit longer to spin up but once going kids will need less effort to travel further. Likewise if you want a commuter scooter, you will find that they have larger wheels for a smoother ride with less effort require to travel further.
If you want a scooter to do stunts on, it's best to choose a standard size wheel of 100mm. This sized wheel is easy to manage when going up and down ramps, doing tricks and jumps.
These can be made of many materials.
Some are made of plastic. You will find plastic wheels mainly on entry level and cheaper scooters. The plastic hubs keep the price lower.
If you are looking for a stunt scooter, it's best to have one with a metal core to help withstand the impact of tricks you want to do.
You may see the term open core which refers to wheels with the spokes showing and closed core which are solid aluminium.
The wheel core also holds the wheel bearings.
The advantage of PVC or plastic is that it's cheaper and it's robust and durable. However, PVC / plastic wheels tend not to offer a very smooth ride. Polyurethane tends to absorb the shocks and cracks from the pavement easier and will offer a faster and smoother journey.
PVC / plastic wheels may be fine for younger children who ride their scooters short distances and not very fast. But as they get older their scooters will perform better with polyurethane.
You may see a rating with polyurethane wheels which is explained below.
How hard you want the wheel will very much depend on how you use the scooter.
A durometer number can go from 0 to 100. Depending on the wheels and scooters that you are looking at, you may be looking at wheels with a durometers between 78A to around 90A
Softer wheels absorb the cracks and bumps in the pavement better, so these can be better for cruising. However, softer wheels do wear out more quickly. Softer wheels will also give you more grip but harder wheels will go faster.
If you are buying a scooter primarily for stunts then you will benefit from a harder wheel.
If you are very hard wearing on your wheel, such as giving them a lot of abuse from tricks, jumps, stops, slides and skids you may find that your wheels wear out quickly. If this is the case go for a wheel with a higher durometer such as 89A.
Bearings are small balls in the centre of wheel that help support the weight of the scooter and it's rider and alleviates the strain between the wheel and the axle.
You may see that the bearings have an ABEC rating. This go up in odd numbers from 1 to 9. To go technical for a moment the higher the number, the tighter the tolerances and higher precision the bearings are. If this means nothing to you, it doesn't matter. Although you may see scooters with ABEC 9 bearings, it won't make much difference at all to the performance of the scooter. The scooter will have high precision bearings but unless you are going at seems of more than 100mph it won't have much effect. For scooters most ABEC 1 or ABEC 3 bearings will be fine, although most scooters tend to boast ABEC 5 bearings or above.
If you are really into scootering, there are other factors that are more important when choosing bearings which will affect the scooter performance. These include what the bearings are made of. For example, titanium and ceramic bearings are some of the higher grade materials used in bearings. It's possible that bearings made of higher grade materials will have a longer life span and spin slightly faster but this will also depend on other factors too such as if they are well maintained. Well lubricated bearings will also make your scooter faster and smoother.
To keep it simple, like with most other things, the quality of the bearing is often determined by the price. Although don't waste your money on ABEC-9 bearings unless the scooter has a lot of other thing to offer too.