Curious why your skateboard seems slow, incapable to build up momentum? I used to go insane trying to figure out why! When I was younger, I’d get strange ideas to solve this issue. I would spend time switching bearings and spraying WD40, dripping from the wheel. If this sounds like your routine, I suggest alternative methods, like the ones here. These are minor issues that take little effort or brain juice to correct.
6 Reasons Your Skateboard Is Slow
- Wheels are overly tight
- Dirty bearings
- Type of wheels
- Damaged Trucks
- Cheap skateboard
- Improper pushing
Wheels are very tight
One of the most frequent issues that produce a slow skateboard is over-tightened axle nuts.
How tight should skateboard wheels be?
Over-tightening axle nuts causes pressure against bearings, not allowing wheels to spin. We all make this mistake at some point, and a noticeable squeaky rubbing noise results.
Double check to confirm all parts and pieces are together just to be certain nothing is missing.
- Start off by sliding one washer down the axle
- Apply the wheel (with bearings inside wheel)
- Include the second washer, followed by hand tightening until secure.
- Tighten with a tool.
- With your hand, move wheel side to side to, listen for clicking noise.
This is how tight your skateboard wheels should be.
How long should skateboard wheels spin?
Spinning wheels by hand does not not justify speed, or how fast you will go on a skateboard. Generally, wheels should spin for at least 10 seconds and not stall out.
Also, new bearings have a minor break-in period, some quicker than others.
- Check to determine if bearings are inserted, sometimes they might be installed crooked, or not flush in the middle.
- Remove axle nut and press the wheel down still on the axle. This allows bearings to pop in place. We should tighten the nut flush with the tip of the axle. Washers and spacers can play a big part which prevent wheels from locking up or stalling.
Dirt and dust buildup will reduce performance, and can arise depending on where you skate, and how often. Exposure to dirt and dust allows this to attract, sticking to the internals. To stay safe, I’d suggest cleaning every month for those skating all-day, everyday.
When You Need To Clean Bearings
Several indications will identify when it’s time for a cleaning. You may still wonder why new bearings are slow out of the box.
- We can travel several weeks without experiencing complications. Suddenly, you hear loud, faint swirling noises, which grow louder and louder.
- I would never keep up on routine maintenance, which affected performance. In the end, generating momentum through park transitions, or street skating becomes difficult.
- You notice wheels unable to spin freely when spinning them with your hands, or lock up quicker than expected.
How To Clean Skateboard Bearings
Proper cleaning requires little effort, and quite simple. Take it slow, to avoid damage. In past attempts, I eneded up buying a new set of bearings which isn’t necessary.
You Will Need:
- 30 minutes of willpower
- Rag or dry lint cloth
- Razor blade, thin object to pry shields off
- Cup/jar to soak bearings
Step one: Attack the problem before this escalates into code disaster! I would find myself in a struggle to gain momentum, or get locked up unexpectedly.
Step two: Unscrew nut off axle, and slide the wheel down so that the bearing is on the axles tip. Pry the bearing off.
Step three: Once all bearings are off, remove shields with a razor blade, paperclip, and any thin object to pry off.
Step four: Toss into solvent for 2 minutes.
Step five: Dry bearings off with a hair dryer or lint-free towel and assure ANY moisture is left behind.
Step six: Relube bearings
Step seven: Re-apply shields.
Do wheels affect skateboard speed?
Each skateboard wheel arrives in many shapes, hardness levels, and sizes. This is the number part of a setup next to your weight that increase speed, and performance.
We can break down what wheels are suitable depending on experience level, and the terrain type.
As a beginner, learning how to balance is a challenge. Hard wheels are recommended, but a nice soft 72a (52mm) may suit well.
The type of terrain requires specific wheels to prevent premature damage or sacrifice ride quality.
Narrow wheels have less contact with the ground, and less stable at high speeds.
Soft wheels maximize the grip which is a great shredding through rough terrain, and over cracks. This also makes for a decrease in speed, but quick acceleration.
What Are Flat spots On Skateboard Wheels?
For those of you into performing reverts, and powerslides, flat spots may develop. Ever wonder why riding feels so bumpy and uneven? Well, if this is the case you may sand them out, or buy a decent set of hard wheels.
Do Skateboard Trucks Affect Speed?
Problems that have taken place become problematic for several reasons.
It takes time to break in brand-new trucks, adjusting with time unlocks desired turning capabilities. I discovered medium/tight trucks work well, however transition skating with tight trucks is difficult. Although, my devotion is stuck skating flatground, such as boxes, rails, and curbs as they were my primary obstacles growing up.
Tight trucks allow better board control popping on and off obstacles, whereas loose trucks difficult to balance.
Most common issue skaters face is dreaded wheelbite. A cause where wheels bite into the underside wheel wells of the deck, causing you to suddenly stop during sharp turns around corners.
Excessive wear causes bushings to crack, or split with time. I recommend replacing with a durable OEM replacement that doesn’t sacrifice turning capabilities. One mistake I made was buying “soft” bushings for my first replacements. Goes to show how tight I’ve been riding as I crushed the barrels like a hot knife through butter! For bigger riders, hard bushings are a game changer.
Bent truck axles
Bent axles and cracked hangers are a rare site to come across, but life happens! With this being the case, a total replacement is necessary. Reach out to the manufacturer, to see if lifetime warranties are offered.
Missing speed rings
An essential piece that comes with the purchase of new trucks, are speed rings. Washers prevent bearing shields from rubbing up against axles causing damage. A fair warning removing, or replacing wheels as they can stick to the outer rim of bearings upon removal. Be careful not to lose them!
Avoid Cheap Skateboards
For those novices out there, deciphering differences between skateboard quality may not be understood. These are boards found at large retail box stores.
Don’t be fooled with products mentioned as “top-sellers” because as you will notice, negative reviews tell otherwise.
Proper Pushing Techniques
How the body controls a skateboard contributes pretty significantly to speed. Focus on these top 3 to get up to speed with your board.
- Keep your knees bent…. ALWAYS! Overall, lowers your center of gravity which assists balance and complete board control.
- Dominant foot should be placed below front bolts, facing roughly 35-45 degrees with back foot over the bolts behind your front foot. Adjust foot placement over time to find your happy-medium. (KEEP THOSE KNEES BENT!)
- Keep back straight, and work on posture to improve style and prevent injury. Exercise will improve many aspects of skating.
What To Do When Skateboard Gets Wet?
Let the deck dry out.
Yup, I’m guilty of doing this multiple times! Weatherman had incorrect predictions once again and wake up to waterlogged board. It’s not the end of the world, however excessive exposure leads to layers splitting as glue separated leaving complete inhalation.
like skating cheap Wal-Mart skateboard. Maybe you dropped into the pool, or your friend chucks it into the lake finding out you were the one drawing sharpie all over his face while they were sleeping on grandma’s couch with their stinky shoes on!
Trucks and wheels won’t be affected as critically. Deck will not be as crisp after it dries out. Waterproof skateboards don’t exist unless you plan on putting deck sealant on it lol!
Bearings need to be removed and re-lubricated with speed cream. (NO WD-40 water-based solutions cause rust)
The Ultimate Solutions To Fix Your Slow Skateboard in review
- Allow enough space when tightening bolts they spin freely
- If you skate every day, clean your bearings once a month or every 3 months. Have skate rated speed lube proper cleaning solution.
- For wheels, smaller wheels limit how fast you go, and launching off to accelerate has quicker response.