If you’re new to skating or longboarding, it’s inevitable you’ll come across the term wheelbite.
So, you’re probably wondering…
What Is Wheelbite?
Wheelbite is when your wheel makes contact and bites the bottom of your deck, and in some cases this may bring you to an unexpected halt.
From a traditional skating perspective, it’s not a huge concern since the harder wheels are more forgiving. Something you can do is rub a small amount of wax under your wheels so that if it happens, it’ll cause less friction.
When you’re riding a setup with softer wheels, like a cruiser or longboard. Wheelbite becomes a much greater concern because softer wheels will grip more. This significantly increases the chances of you absolutely eating it.
If you’re a beginner and bought a complete with softer wheels, then you most likely won’t have to worry about getting it. 99% of companies will test their setups for wheelbite before they release them. But you should still check before riding.
How To Test For Wheelbite?
What I usually do is push my trucks down to see how far my wheels go without biting.
But Ty Mixon suggested taking out the roadside bushing and pushing it down with your hand. This will help you find the tightest turning radius to determine if the riser height is adequate.
To take it a step further, I’ll ease my way into carving. Make sure to go as slow as possible so if you do experience wheelbite, you can easily hop off.
Those methods combined should help you catch wheelbite.
How To Prevent Wheelbite?
Now that you know what wheelbite is and how to test for it, let’s cover some ways you can prevent it.
Wax Under Wheels
If you absolutely don’t want to change anything about your setup, like I briefly mentioned above, you could add a little wax or soap to the bottom of your deck. But If you’re getting severe wheelbite, this may not be a valid solution, especially if your wheels are on the softer side.
I wanted to mention this because I know a lot of people do this with their street setups.
The next logical solution would be to tighten your trucks.
You don’t want to go overboard with this , because tightening them too much could mess up your bushings and cause them to wear quicker. What I usually do is tighten my trucks to the point where the bushing becomes engaged but not deformed.
A common mistake is to over-tighten your trucks, instead of swapping to harder bushings.
So, first see if you have any more room to tighten your trucks.
As you probably guessed, the next step would be a bushing swap.
Increasing the hardness of your bushings will limit how much the truck leans, and this will increase stability as well as prevent wheelbite.
The nice part is… swapping your bushings really isn’t gonna add any significant height, which may be a concern for some of you out there, especially for street skating.
Another thing you could consider is to swap out your wheels with smaller ones. If you don’t want to tighten your trucks or change bushings, then downsizing your wheels is an option.
Just keep in mind that smaller wheels have less of a contact patch, which will make it easier for you to slide.
Add Riser Pads
If you don’t mind a little more height, especially if you’re just cruising, then buy some riser pads.
Depending on how bad you’re getting it, you’ll want ⅛ , ¼ or even ½” riser.
This is probably the solution for most of you.
Make Wheel Wells
A final thing you could do if your deck allows for it, is make your own wheel wells.
Personally I’ve never done this, but I’ve heard of people using sandpaper, a dremel tool or a sanding belt.
Now I realize this probably isn’t gonna make sense for most of you, but I still wanted to include it because I’ve heard of some people doing this.
I guess it just comes down to how much effort you want to put into this.
The logical process for most will be…
- Tighten your trucks
- Swap your bushings for harder ones
- Downsize your wheels
- Add riser pads