After some time on the skateboard, you may notice that it is starting to slow down, or you may decide to upgrade in order to increase your speed. This article will serve as a guide for you: How to Make Your Skateboard Faster
If you want a faster skateboard, you should focus on the following factors: wheels, bearings, skateboarding technique, and road surface.
Once you have a firm grasp of these principles, you can proceed to check and optimize the skateboard’s performance for maximum speed. You do not have to complete all of them, depending on the circumstances.
I will divide this article into two sections: skateboard components and skating skills.
Performing Routine Upkeep And Cleaning Of The Components
Clean The Skateboard Wheels
This is usually the first thing you should do once you notice your wheels are rolling slowly. This is because sometimes skateboards are ridden along the neighborhood, accumulating dirt and dust on the wheels. It can even go as far as a gum piece or tar sticking to the wheels. This dirt can prevent the wheels from rolling smoothly and evenly, making them slow.
Cleaning your skateboard wheels routinely is one of the ways to ensure their longevity. To clean the wheels, you must remove them from the board using a Skateboard wrench. Most times, it’s best to clean the bearings alongside the wheels, however, in a different cleansing solution.
How to clean your Skateboard Wheels:
If you notice a gum piece stuck on the wheels, carefully slide the skateboard back and forth on the pavement. Ensure you don’t flatten the wheels in the process.
Afterward, gently remove the wheels with a wrench.
Using warm soapy water and an old toothbrush or wire brush, clean the wheels. You can use any dishwashing liquid as soap.
Using dry paper towels, pat the wheels dry. Then further dry out in the sun.
Ensure you only fix back the bearings after the wheels are thoroughly dried. This is to prevent the bearings from rusting.
Also, it would be best if you cleaned all the wheels and not a selected few you feel are dirty. Doing this regularly would improve your skateboarding experience and prevent your wheels from spinning slowly.
Adjust the Axle Nuts
Suppose you’re out riding your skateboard and notice that the wheels are not spinning as fast as before. In that case, you should stop and check the tightness of the axle nuts. You can do this by rotating the wheels and observing how they spin. Your wheels should spin freely and gradually slow down; however, if you notice it’s turning slowly or in the opposite direction, there is a possibility the axle nuts are too tight and need to be adjusted.
You can quickly adjust the axle nuts if you are with a skate tool. But if you’re not, wait till you get home and have it fixed. If you don’t have a skate tool, you can substitute it with a plier or socket wrench. To loosen the axle nuts, connect the skate tool to the kingpin and turn it counterclockwise.
It’s best to do this slowly. This way, you prevent the over-loosening of the nut. To check if it’s properly adjusted, rotate the wheels and observe how it spins. You’re good to go if you feel it’s back to normal. On the other hand, if you notice the wheels are now loosely connected to the axle, you can tighten it back by turning the nut clockwise till you get perfect tension.
A moderately loose truck would allow the wheels to move fast, while a tightened one would restrict it. Therefore, always ensure your axle nuts are not too tight or loose.
Wheel Swap Trick
If you are familiar with driving a car, you will recognize this as a clever little trick. It reduces the need for frequent tire replacement and ensures uniform wear on the wheels.
How to change
You will change the wheels so that they are in a cross pattern with each other. For instance, the front left tire will be swapped with the right rear tire.
Clean The Wheels Bearings
You can liken the wheel bearings to the housing that controls the movement of the wheels. Faults in the bearings would result in defects in the wheels, which can go as far as your wheels not rolling again. As the wheels accumulate dust, dirt, and grease, so do the bearings. The bearings getting dirty is worse because when it collects for a long time, the bearings can seize up and cause your wheels not to spin again.
Therefore, cleaning the bearings should probably be your first thought after you notice your wheels not spinning faster. To clean the bearings, you should use a non-water-based solvent or cleanser. This includes rubbing alcohol, acetone, or mineral spirits. You simply have to soak the bearings in the solvent for a few minutes. You can also use a toothbrush to clean the bearings.
Afterward, tap-dry the bearings with a paper towel. This way, the solvent or cleanser is removed. The next step to bearings cleaning is lubrication. To lubricate the bearings, ensure you do not use WD-40 or a similar spray oil because it will wear off quickly and ruin the bearings. Always use a silicone lubricant made for that purpose, like Bones Speed Cream.
One or two drops would get the work done when applying the lubricant. Rotate the bearing to ensure it’s evenly coated. Do this for all individual bearings. However, if you discover any damage to the bearings, you need to get a new one. Damaged bearings can’t be fixed by just cleansing.
Note: when removing the bearings, also remove the bearing shield. Although, be careful not to bend or damage the shield. Bending the shield would cause it to rub against the bearings, which inadvertently slows down the wheel’s movement.
Get New Quality Bearings
If you have made the above adjustments, especially the cleaning of the bearings, and you still notice that your wheels are spinning slowly. Or if you hear a squeaky noise coming from the wheels, this is an indication that the bearings are most likely damaged. Therefore, purchasing a new one should be the following line of action.
So, when shopping for new bearings, ensure you get quality ones from a reputable brand. It doesn’t have to be the same brand as the wheels, and you can use bearings and wheels of two different brands. Furthermore, bearings come in the same size; this way, you’re not worried about the wheel size when purchasing new ones.
Replacing the bearings is always beneficial irrespective of the cost because new bearings are way faster and cause your wheels to move faster. Also, if you’re short on cash, you might be tempted to get generic bearings that may cost below $10. However, it would be best if you didn’t do this as you’re most likely not going to get your money’s worth.
Nevertheless, to prevent spending more money purchasing new bearings every time, you should regularly clean and maintain the bearings to ensure longevity.
Buy New Wheels
Finally, this should be your last option if every other fails. You should also note that making just one of the suggestions above doesn’t equate to faster wheels. Most times, getting your wheels moving faster is usually achieved by a collection of many adjustments.
Now, if you have cleaned the bearings and wheels, tightened your truck axle, and replaced the bearings, and you still notice your wheels are not moving fast, you should get new wheels. When purchasing new wheels, there are certain factors that you should be mindful of. This is because there are different types of wheels available, each impacting the wheels/skateboard performance.
Larger or bigger wheels of a diameter of 54mm and above are known to roll faster than smaller wheels below 54mm. Although larger wheels are slow to accelerate, they are excellent at maintaining fast speed. This is the reverse for smaller wheels. Also, because larger wheels are pretty apart from the axle, it gives them more leverage against the axle friction. Thus, when shopping for new wheels, go for larger wheels as they enable you to ride very fast.
Additionally, hard wheels are preferably used in smooth concrete skateparks as they allow for swift movement. Although, if your skating style is more of commuting around on rough surfaces, you should purchase soft wheels. They move faster on uneven surfaces as opposed to hard wheels.
You can watch this video if you’re still unsure how to make your skateboard wheels faster.
Pick a route that is both flatter and steeper
Avoid rough surfaces and uneven roads. This may cause you to move more slowly.
When skating, it is preferable to do so on roads that are both smooth and relatively steep so your skateboard will roll quickly.
Switching to larger wheels is a simple solution to the problem of traveling on rough roads. In addition to this, they allow you to roll over small pebbles, and they can even force larger pebbles out of the way
A more aerodynamic skateboarding stance
When you are in this position, adopting a “tuck” position will allow you to glide more quickly and reduce the amount of wind resistance you experience.
Lowering your center of gravity will bring your chest closer to your thighs, which will make you faster if you do it well.
For maximum speed, keep the slide going in a straight line so as not to alter the skateboard’s trajectory.
Why Is My Skateboard So Slow?
Therefore, when you notice your skateboard moving slowly, the culprit is usually the bearings. Cleaning or replacing with new ones would go a long way.
Do Bearings Make You Go Faster?
Thus, maintaining your skateboard bearings regularly by cleaning and lubricating with silicone lubricant would impact how fast the wheels and skateboard move.
Do Bigger Skateboard Wheels Go Faster?
Therefore, to increase your Skateboard speed, it would be best to purchase large wheels. However, large wheels might hinder your ability to perform technical tricks, so if this is your expertise, you should rethink before going for large wheels.
How Fast Should Skateboard Wheels Turn?
A slow Skateboard wheel can hinder your movement and dampen the thrill of skateboarding. While the wheels can wear off over time and become naturally slow, sometimes slow skateboard wheels are caused by little faults that can be prevented and adjusted.
Therefore, if your skateboard is moving slowly, you don’t necessarily have to go to the skate repair shop; you can fix it by following the above methods.
Read More: Bearing (mechanical) – Wikipedia