These are undoubtedly the best freeride wheels of the modern age. But why? If you haven’t had the pleasure of skating them yourself, check out my review below to get the low down. This is a Powell-Peralta Snakes Review.
- Diameter: 66mm
- Width: 45mm
- Contact Patch: 38mm
- Durometer: 75A
- Lip Profile: Round
- Surface: Stoneground
- Core Placement: Centerset
Powell-Peralta Snakes Review
These are considered the best slide wheel for many and for good reason. They slide easily (even at low speeds), are durable, are resistant to flat-spotting, and are consistent in their slide. They also have a decent roll speed and aren’t sluggish to accelerate.
If you’re a beginner asking about which wheel to get to learn slides on, you’ll likely be recommended the Powell-Peralta Snakes.
The new ones have a different graphic.
However, they do have some negatives. They are notorious for chunking – so much so that most sets will chunk (for various reasons). They are also in high demand and sell out pretty quickly – they are notorious for not being in stock, and most skaters buy multiple sets when available to service their Snake addiction.
The Powell Snakes are pretty awesome. Despite their disadvantages, I think they’re worth it. They are well deserving of being called the best longboard slide wheel.
Don’t get lost in the hype. Powell marketing can be pretty good. But let’s look at these wheels for what they are. Getting lost in the hype (positive or negative) will warp your view of a product.
It’s important to remain objective when purchasing a product (or reviewing it), and not taking opinions from people who have not skated it, or skated it only a little, not experienced in technical riding (think sliding, downhill, dance), or inclined to be overly positive about a product and overlook the negatives.
Are they fast?
For a 69mm wheel, the Powell-Peralta Snakes have a pretty decent roll speed. I’d say it’s pretty good for a wheel that small. Overall, they’re not too fast, but they’re not slow enough that I’d complain about the speed.
They’re pleasantly quick for being as soft (75a) as they are, and for having such a small core too (both these things affect how stiff a wheel can be which affects overall speed).
In comparison, the other quicker wheel in this size I’ve tried is the Dragonskin wheels from Powell. Those wheels were pretty fast for their 69mm size – but they were also 83a. Most wheels feel sluggish in a size this small.
How do they slide?
These wheels slide beautifully. They approach that edge of traction in a very friendly and forgiving way, before breaking out into the slide. You also don’t have to go very fast to get them to slide.
The slide is somewhere between buttery and icey. But more butter than ice. They want to keep sliding and not buck you off – even if you mess up.
And they don’t slide suddenly, or too late, or too soon if you get what I mean. But just at the right moment … this is 100% a personal preference thing – I’m a big fan of centerset slide wheels as I feel they have better overall control. So yeah, I feel that way about them Snakes.
They come stoneground
Stoneground just means the surface of the wheels has been scored/scratched so you can slide the wheel out of the box. You don’t have to struggle getting the skin off to get them to slide all nice and easy.
Very forgiving/lazy hookup and release
When you want to regain (or release) traction, this wheel hooks up smoothly. The hook-up isn’t sudden but gentle and forgiving.
I’d say it’s a bit lazy actually – which can be a good thing. The wheel isn’t always fighting you, wanting to go straight. It allows you to slide, and then go straight again with ease, hooking up at your discretion.
This is nice. Some wheels hook up too sharply, which can throw off your balance and cause a moment of instability. Those wheels can hook up so sharply they throw you off your board.
The Powell’s are so forgiving in their hookup that even when you mess up and they SHOULD throw you off, they don’t. Other wheels would. This is both a good and a bad thing.
The forgiveness is confidence inspiring
I felt super comfortable sending huge slides on these wheels. Even when the conditions weren’t perfect, or I wasn’t feel on point. I just felt good going for it regardless.
Best sounding wheel
When they slide they have this very satisfying sounding hiss.
My god is it nice.
Best beginner slide wheel
Being easy to break into the slide, being slideable out of the box, hard to flat spot, and being very forgiving make them the most recommended slide wheel for beginners.
They’re good and easy to skate.
Some people don’t like how slidey they are …
Some people think snakes slide too easily and ruin form … and I agree.
Bruh there are times I should have high-sided, low-sided, wobbled out on kick out or hookup, etc. But I did not. Thanks to how forgiving these wheels are, and how gentle/lazy the hookup from the slide is.
Any other wheel would have punished this and made me fall. Powell’s did not.
That line between grip and slip is so blurred and it’s tremendous.
Now I know better, but I can see a beginner not being punished for those mistakes and making them habits. When they then use other wheels they likely struggle and can’t skate them very well.
But then again …
I just think they are a slidey wheel. Yes, they affect how you ride, but what wheel/setup doesn’t? It’s just about adapting as a rider when you move on to a different product. We do this all the time, shouldn’t be too hard with snakes … but I can see how difficult it would be for a beginner who builds their riding habits around one specific wheel. So uhh, do diversify the wheels you skate and problem solved.
Consistent slide …
Another key point of the Snakes is how consistent their slide is. No matter the pavement you skate them on they will slide. Yes, some pavement types will feel different, but you will still be able to slide this wheel.
Other wheels become overwhelming grippy and hard to skate depending on the road surface.
Snakes slide on everything.
My fav thing is how they feel the same when you go fast or slow.
How do they feel over rough roads?
They’re not bad over rough roads. They absorb some of the road vibrations, providing a comfortable ride, whilst still being able to ride over cracks and pebbles without losing speed.
The bad thing is, they tend to chunk. I lent my board (with these wheels) to a friend, pushed him to skate over a dirt patch, and the back wheel chunked.
What is chunking?
Chunking is when a “chunk” (or a piece) of your wheel comes off. It usually happens when you ride over a VERY rough patch of road, hit your wheel against a curb, slide your wheel over a rough road, poor slide technique, divine retribution, etc.
It happens to pretty much all soft duro (think 74-76a), high density (very stiff urethane) wheels.
Does chunking after wheel performance?
Chunking most affects how the wheels wear down. The specific section that has a chunk is narrower than the rest of the wheel. So if you’re sliding, it will wear down quicker and this might make your wheel oval eventually.
If the chunk is bad it can affect rolling too, but most chunks aren’t bad enough to do that.
But other than that it kinda just looks bad … which most of us can live with tbh. And if you don’t slide, you shouldn’t worry too much about it.
I do think Powell replaces chunked wheels depending on how bad it is. But not 100% sure if they do. You’ll have to cross that bridge with Powell customer care to find out for sure.
Is it worth it?
Given that most high-performance (essentially the best) longboard wheels fit the description of soft duro, and high density. I think chunking is just something we will have to live with if we want the best-performing products.
I’ve had a lot of wheels chunk, and whilst it hurts emotionally … it’s fine.
My Snakes, Magnums, Alphas, actually all chunked and they still worked just fine.
You can super glue your chunk back
If you can find the chunked piece, you can put it back and superglue it to the wheel.
It doesn’t always work, but has worked for me with these wheels.
Slow down power?
They barely slow you down. You slide for days on these wheels.
Are they durable?
Yes, they are durable, they last quite a long time.
I haven’t skated them for the longest time (I have a wheel sponsor and a lot of other wheels to review, unfortunately). But they haven’t shown any signs of significant wear in the time I’ve had them.
Other wheels have not held up so well, even with not a lot of skating.
Resistant to flat-spotting
These wheels are very durable and they’re also quite resistant to flat spotting.
This simply means they won’t immediately oval if you slide them at 90* once or even a few times. They should be great for someone learning to slide or learning to predrift.
Of course, if you slide them at 90* a lot, they will eventually flat spot. So do be careful nonetheless.
Worth the money?
I’d argue yes. They’re a wheel you’ll have fun on for a long time before getting bored off.
They perform well and will last a decent amount of time. They do have the chance to chunk yes, but it likely won’t affect performance.
They’re worth the money in my opinion. The performance, durability, comfort, and slide outweigh the negatives for me.
If you’re looking for a wheel to buy for JUST cruising, I would not recommend them. Something like the Supreme Hawgs (check them out here at Stoked ride shop) or the Orangatang Love Handles (check them out here at Stoked ride shop) would be better – they’re square-lipped small wheels which will provide a bit more grip when going around turns … and they don’t chunk.
Who do I recommend them to?
- Are a beginner wanting an easy-to-slide wheel, these are a good choice.
- Want to do very fast stand-up slides.
- Want a nice wheel for your cruiser which you can also slide.
Would they be good for a cruiser board?
Apart from the risk of chunking, these wheels are perfect for a cruiser board. They accelerate quickly, roll fast, and have a comfortable ride. You can also powerslide them if you have the skills to do so. So if it’s not JUST cruising and you want to bust a couple of speed checks, go for em.
It’s no wonder they are on the Comet Cruiser – which is arguably the best cruiser ever made.
Appropriate style of riding
I’d recommend them for freeride, doing big stand-up slides, maybe cruising around.
I’d not recommend them for any serious downhill, where you have to grip very fast corners and rely on your wheels to slow you down quickly.
For dancing and freestyle? Not really. The wheel can’t handle slams and rough treatment or it will chunk. You might be better off with a different type of wheel.
For cruising, yes if you want to slide too.
Size difference 66 vs 69mm
The 69mm are grippier than the 66mm and roll faster. I think the roll speed will certainly be apparent for most, but maybe not the grip.
I’ll always go for the taller wheel so I can squeeze out more speed. The smaller one perhaps on a cruiser so I don’t get wheelbite.
Which color snake to go for?
Again, there are differences in how slidey the color of Powell Snake you choose. Dye does affect urethane behavior – which is why all Slide Perfect wheels are white.
I think it’s negligible really, just go for the color you like.
Where to buy the Snakes?
You can buy them here on Amazon.com.
What didn’t I like?
Can ruin form
The line between grip and slip is so blurred on this you will get away with poor form, and will be able to do things you can’t on other wheels. If you stick to using these wheels only, you will ruin your form and will find it difficult riding other wheels.
Arguably worth it for the performance. Nonetheless, it’s not nice when your wheel chunks, no matter how good it is.
Not the fastest
They’re not the fastest, which kinda sucks. You do get used to it, but I do enjoy going fast. The roads are slow here (not Powell’s fault), so if I want to do big slides, I need all the speed I can get.
Not always in stock
Because Powell is a small factory, doesn’t prioritize their soft wheels in manufacturing, and that there is high demand for these wheels – they aren’t always in stock, and they often quickly sell out if they are.
You’re going to have to be quick to get your hands on these wheels.
It’s a bit annoying to recommend them to a beginner, only to realize they aren’t in stock. A lot of people miss out on these wheels because of that. Beginners often have to opt for other wheels – which are good, but they aren’t snakes.
Once you get past the round lip
Once you wear past the round lip (or the rounded part of the lip), the lip becomes square. This changes the sliding characteristics primarily. And they kinda don’t perform as they once did.
However, it takes a lot of skating to get to that point. And I don’t really like skating a lot of wheels that small anyway, so I’d throw them on a cruiser or give them to a grom learning to slide.
I’d think you’d get your money worths by that point – not sure how many people would still be skating these trying to get them to the core. Really small wheels just suck to skate.
Admittedly, some of this is speculation and input from other skaters. I have not skated these wheels to this point. But knowing myself, once a wheel gets too small and the roll speed is affected, I would not bother skating them.
The graphic rubs off quickly
Not a performance problem, but the graphic on these wheels rubs off very quickly. If you carry your wheels with your hands touching the graphic, it will rub off onto your hand.
It’s not bad, but how will people know you’re riding Snakes? How you can flex on them without the graphic?
Things I didn’t test for
I didn’t check how they’d work in wet weather and in super cold conditions.
Have you enjoyed this review?
I hope you guys enjoyed this review. I’ve enjoyed making it, it’s been interesting and fun getting to know this wheel. If you have an experience that is dissimilar to mine, feel free to leave a comment!
Also, you can always join my Patreon to see all the product reviews before they drop publicly. There are always a handful available – I make more and can only post on Youtube weekly.
Big thanks to all my patrons for the support – David, Squirrels Adventures, Mike, Jed, Mowgii, Jan, Josh, Jay, Jay, Bryan, @owencampbell777, @dkwan, Alex, Kasajja, @pablo.vega.andrade, Vlad Helge, DeLacoste, Peder, Josh, Mike, Anthony, @issishreds, Greg, Jackson, Slipa, Steve and Justin. I couldn’t write articles like this without you guys’ support.