ModifcationsProtective/Safety gear

How to prevent wheelbite on your skateboard

Wheelbite can be a really fun ender. In today’s article, I teach you all the tips and tricks to get rid of it.

How to get rid of wheelbite

What is wheelbite?

Wheelbite is when the wheel of your skateboard or longboard makes contact with your board.

It usually occurs when you’re turning aggressively. 

What happens is that your trucks lean when you turn, and if you turn aggressively they sometimes lean enough that your wheel goes into your board.

terrible wheelbite on a longboard

Because you don’t usually expect wheel bite, the sudden touching of your wheel to your board throws you forward and you end up getting hurt or simply thrown off your board.

Why does wheelbite occur?

Wheelbite happens for a variety of reasons. Maybe you have too big of wheels, or your board doesn’t have enough clearance. Maybe you’re trucks ride too low, or your bushings are too soft. 

Let’s briefly go over the factors that make it happen.

You’ve turned too hard

Turning too hard or aggressively isn’t necessarily a cause of wheelbite in my opinion.

Yes, it might result in wheelbite but there are other pre-conditions that allow for wheelbite to occur.

On certain setups, you can turn as hard and as aggressively as you’d like without risking wheelbite at all.

turning too hard on your longboard and getting wheelbite
Your trucks are too loose (or your bushings too soft)

If your trucks are too loose or your bushings are too soft for your weight, your trucks are going to articulate and lean quite easily. 

With them so loose, it’s easy to get sudden wheelbite when you try to turn, even if you’re only trying to turn only a little. 

Because you don’t get much resistance/support from the bushings it’s hard to turn a measured amount, your trucks naturally want to flop to maximum turn/lean/articulation even with the littlest amount of input.

Ofcourse, the above is an extreme example but is essentially what happens in cases where your trucks are run too loose.

trucks too loose on longboard
Your wheels are too big

If your wheels are way too big, it makes it much easier to get wheelbite. 

The bigger the wheel, the smaller the distance between your wheel and your deck. It takes a lot less turning/leaning before you get wheelbite.

big 86mm longboard wheels

Your trucks have a low ride height

If your trucks already have a low ride height, it means the distance between the axle and the board is already quite small.

Naturally, it takes a lot less leaning before you get wheelbite.

low ride height tkp trucks vs tall ride height rkp trucks that can cause wheelbite
You don’t have wheel wells on your board

Wheel wells are a part of your board that has been sanded down or removed to allow you to run bigger wheels, or just generally skate without worry about wheelbite.

The part of your board that would contact the wheel is sanded down to reduce the chance of wheelbite. It allows you to run bigger wheels, softer/looser trucks or allows you to turn aggressively before you risk getting wheelbite.

skateboard deck with no wheel wells

You have low-angle trucks

Low-angle trucks lean more than they turn, and are essentially a wheelbite hazard.

You could be trying to turn by leaning aggressively, but because your trucks don’t want to carve, you end up digging hard into your board.

This occurs because in order to get any amount of turning out of them, you need to lean a lot … so yeah wheelbite city.

low angle longboard trucks
You have flush mounting on your board

Flush mounting is when the area you mount your trucks is milled down. This allows for a lower ride height, but brings your axle closer to the board, making wheelbite more likely unless certain accommodations are made to the deck.

longboard flush mounting

How to solve wheelbite without any disadvantages?

The goal isn’t just to get rid of wheelbite but to do it in a way that doesn’t negatively affect our riding experience. There are a few ways of doing this successfully and you may find you need to mix and match solutions for best results.

Easy ways to get rid of wheelbite

Wax your wheel wells

If you’re out at a skate session and don’t have many options available to you, you could simply wax your wheel wells or the area on your board that the wheel contacts.

You will likely still get wheelbite, but you’re not going to suddenly stop moving. Your wheel will slip against the wax when it makes contact with the deck and you’ll likely keep rolling.

You won’t be totally rid of wheelbite, but you’ll have a temporary solution.

Tighten your trucks

Simply tightening your trucks a little bit can help you minimize the chance of wheelbite occurring.

When you tighten your trucks, you reduce how far your truck can lean, in turn reducing the chances of wheelbite occurring.

tightening longboard trucks

However, this isn’t the best solution. You reduce the performance of your trucks by over-tightening them. I’d suggest buying harder, or more voluminous bushings to reduce how much they lean, without affecting performance too much.

Don’t turn too hard

You could simply stop turning too aggressively. This should stop wheelbite.

However, limiting how you can skate is awful and you’d probably not enjoy skating all that much as the threat of wheelbite is always there.

This is not a proper solution but will work if you don’t have any other options available to you.

carving on a longboard

Go faster …

The faster you go, the less turning and leaning you’re going to be doing.

All my downhill longboarding setups wheelbite. If I try to aggressively carve/turn at low speed, I almost always get bite. 

However, those boards aren’t meant for carving and turning at slow speeds. They’re meant for going fast and taking corners at fast speeds. And at those speeds, I’m not going to be doing the sort of leaning/turning that makes me get wheel bit …

Not really a solution, but just a different way to live with wheelbite. 

More ways to get rid of wheelbite (but you have to spend some money)

Use a riser

A riser simply increases the distance between your board and your trucks.

They come in ⅛”, ¼”, ½” sizes, or really any size you want if you can 3d print them.

They’re a budget-friendly and simple way to get rid of bite. 

risers for a skateboard and longboard to eliminate wheelbite

However, they do increase your ride height and this could make your board feel weird. They make pushing harder, make your board less stable, and can make your board handle strangely. In some cases, they ruin how your board pops too.

If you don’t mind the above disadvantages, risers are a great way to go. 

Also if your board does have flush mounting, you can use the risers to eliminate it, and give yourself a higher ride height.

Buy harder bushings

Harder bushings are a great way to eliminate wheel bite.

Simply getting harder bushings in the same size and shape as your current bushings will give you stiffer feeling truck that won’t flop and get bite immediately. In most cases, you’ll get a smoother, more controlled lean that then offers a lot more resistance before you get bite, reducing your chances of leaning hard enough to get bite.

harder bushings to get rid of wheelbite

However, if you use too hard of a bushing, it can make your truck feel unresponsive and stiff. 

If you’re finding that you need to go super hard you may need to get more voluminous bushings instead or add a small riser to the equation. With the smaller riser you can have a nice smooth lean and turn, but less chance of bite because of the slightly increased ride height.

Buy more voluminous bushings

More voluminous bushings support you better as you lean and turn, and in most cases, provide a lot of resistance as you try to max out the lean of your trucks.

This resistance can act as a “stopper”, preventing you from leaning hard enough to get wheelbite.

different size of bushings to eliminate wheelbite

Instead of the cone/barrel bushing you find in most trucks, you could try a barrel/barrel combination.

You’ll still get a lot of turn, but because you have more urethane to squish through, it will resist you leaning enough to get bite. You’ll have an edge of lean you can play with.

I love to run more voluminous bushings in my cruiser setups. It allows me to use softer bushings and get a playful ride whilst reducing the chance of wheelbite, without having to incorporate a riser.

Use different washers (cupped washers)

This solution likely won’t work for everyone as most trucks come equipped with washers already.

But cupped washers can help limit how far your trucks lean and reduce the chances of you getting wheelbite.

different washers for a skateboard and longboard

Alternatively, I’ve found running a flat washer roadside (on the top bushing), forces your trucks to work to top bushings more and turn instead of leaning. It’s a weird but decent way to get rid of wheelbite.

Buy smaller wheels

You can simply buy smaller wheels for your board. This will increase the distance between the wheels and the board and reduce how easily wheelbite can occur for you.

big vs small wheels

However, smaller wheels don’t ride the best. They catch easily on pebbles and cracks and don’t provide a smooth ride. Out of all the solutions, this with using too many risers is the worst in my opinion. They negatively affect how you ride too much.

Use higher-angle trucks

Higher-angle trucks turn more than they lean, significantly reducing wheelbite.

However, because they turn more they are less stable at speed.

Finally, this solution only works for some RKP trucks. If you have TKP trucks you may have to turn to wedging instead.

Harder (but still worthwhile) ways to get rid of wheelbite

Wedge your truck

Wedging your trucks increases how much they turn instead of lean. It also slightly increases ride height.

Wedging is a great way to reduce the chance of wheelbite. If you’re looking for more turn as well, it solves that problem too.

wedge risers for getting rid of wheelbite

However, a turnier truck is less stable at speed. You’ll get wobbles a bit easier if you go very fast.

Sand deeper wheel wells

If you have the tools, you can sand deeper wheel wells on your board, or sand in some if it didn’t have any.

This is a geat solution, it allows you to keep your setup as is, but reduces the chance of bite. It affects how your board rides the least.

sanded in wheel wells

However, you need to have the tools on hand and the skills to do this. There is also the possibility that you could sand too deep and ruin the structural integrity of your board.

Also, some boards may have composites which are carcinogenic or may irate you when sanded. Make sure you have the appropriate gear when sanding. 

And do make sure you apply a layer of clear coat to protect your board from the elements.

Buy a different board/setup

Now that you know what works and what doesn’t, you can simply invest in a board that allows you to ride with lower risk of wheelbite.

comet cruiser board that doesn't get wheelbite

Some expensive longboards and skateboards come with wheelbite elimination considerations in place.

For example, you can’t get wheelbite on the Comet cruiser. And Landyachtz makes the Dinghy hard to get wheel bite on for the average rider. Pantheon makes the Pranayama which has massive 86mm wheels but no chance of wheelbite stock.

pantheon pranayama doesn't get wheelbite

Best solution

A combination of many things is going to be best.

I love to use more voluminous bushings in most setups to have a playful, responsive ride with a low chance of wheelbite.

board that can't get wheelbite

However, I also make sure I buy skateboards or longboards that have sanded-in wheel wells so that I have decent clearance from the get-go.

In the cases of flush mounting, I have an array of risers I can use – I sometimes use wedge risers to get a low ride height but reduce the chance bite on flush-mounted boards.

So there is no one size fits all solution. You just have to experiment and figure out what works best for you.

What do you think? Have I helped you get rid of bite?

If you skateboard or longboard, you’re probably gonna face issues with wheelbite one day, it is a common issue faced by all riders. But with simple solutions, you can eliminate it and have a safe and enjoyable riding experience.

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