Are you thinking about using a skateboard for your daily commute? Then you’re probably thinking about what’s the average skateboard speed. Generally, the average skateboard speed is about 9 mph considering different skill levels, kinds of terrain, and various board setups. Skateboarders with a lot of experience can commute at around 7 to 8 mph on average on a 2-mile trip over flat terrain. At cruising speed, a skateboard can go between 5 to 7 mph on normal paths.
These speeds were just overall averages and do not really tell you the exact figures. Why? Because the average speed a skateboard can reach relies upon a few conditions. In this article, you’ll learn about these details. Read on and see if a skateboard will be a reliable alternative for your daily commute.
Factors Affecting a Skateboard’s Average Speed
- Type of Terrain
- Condition of the Surroundings
- Riding Skill Level
- Skateboard Configuration
Type of Terrain
The surface you travel on greatly affects the average speed of your skateboard. Rolling down a street or sidewalk with lots of cracks can slow you down dramatically. The small wheels cannot go over big cracks as they can get stuck, causing you to fall off the board. Avoiding every crack could also cause you to swerve thus, reducing your speed and momentum. The only way to go quick over cracked pavements is to jump over each fissure, which would require an advanced skill level.
Is your daily commute more of rolling on flat terrain? How many uphill sections will you encounter on your daily commute? Skateboarding on flat terrain all the way to your destination would give you a faster ride. However, every uphill could slow down your commute. A downhill ride allows you to go at blazing speeds but you need to be an experienced skateboarder to safely do it.
Other factors that could slow you down are street corners, stairs, and some roadblocks. Even if you are a skilled rider, turning at street corners requires you to slow down. How about stairs? Encountering stairs on your route is not uncommon, especially if you’re using shortcuts to reduce your travel distance. Of course, stairs may slow you down and temporary roadblocks as well.
Condition of the Surroundings
You’ve just learned about how different types of terrain affect the average skateboard speed. So, how can the surroundings affect a skateboard’s acceleration? If you’re commuting on city streets where there’s a high volume of foot and vehicular traffic, there’s nothing you can do but slow down. Even if you’re an experienced skateboarder, dodging the pedestrians could seriously affect your velocity.
Traffic can also contribute to the reduction of your speed. If there are plenty of vehicles on the street, you have to be careful not to collide with them. The only way to cruise safely is to maintain a safe speed, which means slowing down. Then there are the traffic lights which you need to respect.
If the traffic light goes red, then you don’t have a choice but to stop.
You don’t want to be the cause of a vehicular accident, do you? And of course, you always have to consider your safety.
Riding Skill Levels
Do you remember the first time you rode a skateboard? You were excited and at the same time nervous. You start to kick push the board slowly, feeling conscious about your balance. You slowly cruise down the path. You want to go faster but you’re too nervous to do so.
Why is it so? Because you know that you don’t have enough riding skills yet. Therefore, one can safely state that your riding skill level has a direct relationship to the average speed you can attain on your skateboard. Would you agree with that?
A skateboarder with enough riding skills can easily jump over road cracks and obstacles without reducing his momentum. He can easily do some ollie and quickly dodge almost any obstruction on his way, including pedestrians. Carving on corners could be easily done without losing much thrust. But how about on flats?
An experienced skateboarder can add up to 2 mph of a speed advantage over a newbie rider. Therefore, going over flats would just be a piece of cake. Advanced riders know how to properly kick push to gain more speed without worrying much about their balance. Additionally, a skilled skateboarder has already developed his stamina and endurance, which means he can accelerate without getting too tired, even at long distances.
Lastly, the skateboard’s setup also has an impact on how fast it can go. There are three contributing factors in your skateboard setup that affect speed.
- Wheel setup
- Board setup
- Bearings setup
Did you know that wheel size has a major effect on the average skateboard speed? Basically, larger wheels can go faster than smaller ones. Why? Because a bigger wheel can cover more ground in a single rotation. So, what are the ideal wheel sizes for speed?
Here’s a short guide for wheel sizes.
- 50-53mm – this wheel size range is small, which could give you a slower speed. Typically, this wheel size range is used in skateparks and bowls for trick riding.
- 54-59mm – this range is the average wheel size ideal for beginners. Generally, this wheel size range is also used in bowls, skate parks, and vert ramps.
- 60mm plus – if you want speed, you’d want 60mm + wheel sizes. They are made for speed and can run smoothly over rough surfaces. Overall, 60mm and up wheel sizes are used by specialty riders, downhill rides, and longboards.
Although wheel size is a major contributing factor to speed, the durometer also affects a skateboard’s velocity. So, what’s a durometer? A durometer measures a skateboard wheel’s hardness. And speaking of hardness, one could easily say that the harder the wheels, the faster a skateboard can go. This could be true, but you also have to consider the surface you roll on.
A hard wheel is not ideal for rough surfaces such as typical streets as it cannot absorb shock. It would give you a bumpy ride, which could affect your speed. However, a hard wheel would be perfect on smooth surfaces such as bowls, ramps, and skate parks.
But how about the soft wheels? One could quickly say that soft wheels are a bit slower as they could stick to the surface. Soft wheels are grippier but can absorb shock, which make them ideal on imperfect surfaces. Therefore, soft wheels have the advantage for street skating and riding on other rough surfaces.
Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right wheel durometer for your skateboard.
- 78A – 87A – perfect for cruising on hills and different rough surfaces. These wheels provide you more grip and can roll over bumps and cracks smoothly. They are also ideal for longboards or street boards.
- 88A – 95A – ideal for rough surfaces and street skating. They are a bit harder with less grip, which makes them slightly faster wheels.
- 96A – 99A – ideal for newbie skateboarders. Perfect for smooth surfaces, street skating, ramps, skate parks, and pools.
- 100A+ – the hardest and fastest wheels for professional skateboarding, though not ideal for rough surfaces.
- 83B – 84B – extremely hard wheels, not for rough surfaces.
Longboards are more convenient for distance commuting as they can be easily set up with larger and softer wheels compared to a regular skateboard. When commuting over asphalt roads, longboards are more convenient to ride as they can effortlessly roll over cracks and small stones. They are also designed to be larger, making them more stable even at high speeds.
On the downside, longboards are not as portable and nimble compared to regular skateboards. Therefore, a regular skateboard is more convenient to use in busy urban streets.
As a solution, if you want to commute with speed on a regular skateboard, you have to set it up with bigger and softer wheels. But how about the wheel bite? To avoid wheel bite, you may need to use risers.
With all things being equal, bearings can significantly affect your skateboard’s average speed. Typically, your skateboard is initially set up with stock bearings, which are made of steel. If you’re aiming for speed commuting, you should swap your stock bearings with ceramic ones. Ceramic bearings can increase your speed significantly.
Here’s a short guide for choosing the right bearing setup for your skateboard.
The industry standard for wheel bearings is the use of steel bearings. The quality of steel used in different brands can vary, but steel bearings are known for durability and economy. Of course, higher-grade steel bearings can be more expensive but more durable and faster. Steel, as you know, is prone to oxidation or rusting, especially when exposed to moisture or acid.
Regular maintenance is required to keep steel bearings in tip-top shape. As much as possible, avoid skating on puddles or when it’s raining. Regularly putting on some oil for lubrication is highly recommended.
Titanium bearings perform like steel bearings except that they’re more durable and longer-lasting. Titanium is lightweight and corrosion-resistant. However, regular lubrication is required to reduce friction for faster wheel rotation.
Ceramic bearings are stronger than steel and do not rust. They are also heat-resistant and therefore, don’t expand as much as steel does. The good thing about ceramic bearings is that they don’t create much friction even when rotating at high speeds. Therefore, if you want to get as much speed in commuting, the use of ceramic bearings is your best option.
Now that you have learned about the factors affecting skateboard speed, what setup do you have in mind?