To understand the difference between skateboard wheels and mountainboard wheels, you first must understand the difference between these two strangely similar modes of transportation.
A skateboard is a four-wheeled device with a flat board or deck over four wheels and can cover distances much faster. It could have a narrow, medium, or wide deck and a wide range of small, hard wheels.
On the other hand, a mountain board is just like a skateboard but made to use in rougher terrain. As such, these boards tend to have much larger wheels that can take abuse and cover longer distances much faster than skateboards.
Skateboard Wheels vs Mountain Board Wheels – Wondering how they’re different?
In essence, the biggest difference between a skateboard and a mountain board is that a mountain board is an all-terrain skateboard of sorts with much bigger and more rugged wheels.
What’s the Difference Between Skateboard and Mountain Board Wheels?
As you have probably already picked up, the wheels of a skateboard and those of a mountain board are quite different. Let’s take a look at each individually to highlight the differences.
Skateboard wheels are measured in diameter and durometer, where the diameter is the actual size of the wheel, and the durometer is the hardness or softness of the wheel. The diameter of the wheels is measured in millimeters and, for the most part, ranges between 50 and 75mm.
Smaller wheels have a lower number on this scale. Because of their diameter, smaller wheels offer slower rides. They are, however, excellent for street and technical skating. Enthusiasts who enjoy landing tricks and flipping their skateboards are better off with smaller wheels.
Larger wheels offer you a faster ride and are ideal for a wide range of terrain when mountain boarding. These wheels make more contact with the ground and are considered more stable. These are the kinds of wheels that suit beginners who are just learning their craft and people who use their skateboards on a day-to-day basis for long commutes.
Here’s a quick breakdown in terms of numbers.
- 50-53mm: These are small wheels that are slower. They are ideal for smaller riders who enjoy skating on the streets, bowls, and skate parks. They are also the kind of wheels you need for trick riding.
- 54-59mm: This is the average wheel size that most beginners choose. They are also ideal for bigger riders who enjoy skating in the streets, bowls, vert ramps, and skate parks.
- 60mm +: These are specialty wheels and are ideal for riders who like using longboards and skating downhill. These sizes of wheels are for off-roading.
Mountain Board Wheels
Mountainboard wheels are completely different from skateboard wheels. Skateboard wheels are mostly synthetic rubber and polyurethane, mountain board wheels are pneumatic tires. One of the biggest differences between skateboard wheels and mountain board wheels is that mountain board wheels are inflatable. Mountain board wheels are also usually much bigger than skateboard wheels. They come in a wide range of sizes, from 8″ to around 13″:
- 8″ wheels: This is the right size for most riders, including beginners. This size tire offers you the right kind of mix to achieve better carving capability, balance, and speed.
- 9″-10″: This range of wheel sizes is ideal for people who are interested in riding down the sides of hills in rough terrain at high speeds. The bigger tire sizes offer you more stability and high speed.
Another major difference between mountain boards and skateboards is that mountain boards have a braking system installed to help keep those massive wheels in check. Whereas you can simply use your foot to brake on a skateboard, you can hardly do that when riding at breakneck speeds down the side of a hill on the tarmac. As such, a robust braking system is necessary on a mountain board. In many cases, drum brakes are used rather than disc brakes on the wheels, mostly because drum brakes bring you to a gradual stop. Disc brakes tend to bring you to a sudden stop, which can be dangerous when riding downhill.
Note that mountain board wheels are not designed for high speed. At least, not in the way that skateboard wheels are. When skateboarding, harder wheels tend to give you more speed. The harder the wheels, the faster and more responsive they are on the tarmac. On the other hand, mountainboard wheels aren’t designed with a durometer in mind. Since they are inflatable, all you have to do is increase or decrease the amount of pressure. The less pressure your tires have, the slower they will become, but the more stable they will be when riding in the dirt or off-road.
Can You Put Mountain Board Wheels on a Skateboard?
When comparing wheels on a skateboard and mountain board, the biggest issue is the trucks. Although they are similar products in design, a skateboard truck (the part that attaches to the wheels and the deck) is often much smaller than a mountainboard truck. Therefore, when you want to see if you can put mountainboard wheels on a skateboard or vice versa, the first thing you need to consider is the trucks. That said, it can be done.
Here’s a video showing you how:
Skateboard wheels and mountain board wheels are not the same. While you can switch mountainboard wheels to skateboards, you can’t switch them up the other way around, mostly because skateboard wheels aren’t designed for the kind of rough terrain that mountainboard wheels are required to handle. They aren’t as big, nor are they as soft as it is necessary to act as shock absorbers off-road.
See also: How the skateboard compares to an off road longboard.