This is, I agree, not what you were expecting. I have an old faithfull Penny Nickel board I use for quick rides to the corner store a few blocks away and, when I don’t have my electric skateboard, to go to work. If you ever used a Penny board for long distances in a city, you know there are two major troubles with it. The small wheels compared to a longboard are not fit for road cracks, and with them cracks and a long commute it seems we are always kickpushing non-stop.
Well, I found two potential solutions to these problems! The first one is to irradicate that crack problem. But since the city is notorious for not caring at all about the bikepaths, we are left with solution numero dos! SharkWheels are the makers of nice helical polyurethane wheels, larger wheels (60mm) than the stock Penny with a special shape that seems out of this world, but they are also a great upgrade for any commuter skateboard. They call them, the California Roll !
What is a helical wheel? It a wheel that is shaped like a sine wave! This looks weird, and it’s a great conversation starter, but do the really work?
Although they look kind of like as square, they are actually perfectly round. The have a diameter of 60mm and a durometer of 78A . Compared to stock 59mm and 83A Penny wheels, it does not seem like it would make a big difference just by looking at their actual diameter. Their durometer being less, allows them to be better equiped with impacts thus sending less vibration through your legs.
Also, SharkWheel has other sizes as follow available:
- Helical design
- 60mm diameter
- 78A durometer
- available in a wide range of colours
Without loosing a minute, I quickly replaced the stock wheels on my Penny with the crazy looking SharkWheels and use the board for my daily commute in Montreal. For all Canadians that took a car or bike trip in Montreal, you know that this city is known for its aweful road. There are many cracks on my commute, many of them dangerous for Penny-sized wheels.
The larger the wheel, the better so the wider 60mm wheels were well received during my commute. The rocks are also less of a problem since the shape of the wheel is rarely receiving a rock head on. Finally, I had the “joy” of riding in the rain and I must saw that this really makes a huge difference. The grooves are acting as water channels and they are allowing the water to flow and let the wheel grip the pavement.
Sharkwheel were kind enough to send me a kit of ABEC-9 High Performance bearings at the same time. So I tested the wheels seperately on the stock Penny bearings and I got all of the above results. But once I changed the bearings to the ABEC-9, with their special lubricant, things changed. Alot. I’m known to be the kind of guy that clean his bearings regularly and uses the famous Speed Cream on cleaned bearings. I must say that the ABEC-9 bearing from Sharkwheel are actually much better than stock, clean and lubed bearings from Penny Co. They are smoother, spin the wheels much faster and actually need less kickpushing!
Both the Sharkwheels and the ABEC-9 bearings make what I think is the Ultimate Combo for any board. Add thicker shockpads to help with the bumps and overall comfort of the ride and you get one mean board!
If you have a commuter board, like a Penny or even any type of cruiser board, the Sharkwheels are a great product to look at. They are also a good conversation starter, but most of all I feel they are a required upgrade to anyone that is riding in the city where cracks, rocks and rain can be a problem. They help with all of these situation and are simply very cool to look at! I strongly recommend the Sharkwheels and ABEC-9 High Performance bearings from the same company!
- Smoother ride
- Grippier on wet pavement
- Better at kicking rocks away
- None, really
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