Wheelbase plays a significant role in our skateboards and longboard performance. It’s important to understand what it is and how to use it, to either avoid negative performance characteristics (think wobbles, a stiff board). Or to simply get the performance you want out of your board. This article explains skateboard wheelbase.
Skateboard wheelbase explained?
What is skateboard and longboard wheelbase and how is it measured?
Strictly speaking, wheelbase is the distance between your truck axles.
This is how it is typically measured across multiple industries.
However, in skateboarding, the wheelbase is typically measured as the distance between the inner mounting holes of your board.
Why is skateboard and longboard wheelbase measured differently?
Skateboard and longboard wheelbase is measured differently from other industries because of the varying geometry of different trucks.
If you use the axle distance, you will get different distance measurements from different truck brands even though you use the same mounting points.
For example. The axle distance of two different trucks on a 14.5-inch wheelbase, is about 17.2inches with the Paris TKP trucks, whilst it is 17.6inches when using the Bear tkp trucks.
This is because different truck brands have varying axle distances due to differences in truck geometry. You can’t get a consistent read …
To get a consistent and uniform measurement, using the mounting options is the best and easiest option.
How does wheelbase affect performance?
Wheelbase primarily affects your turning circle. This in turn affects stability and maneuverability.
A turning circle is how tightly your board can do a 360* turn.
How does a shorter wheelbase affect performance?
A short wheelbase makes your skateboard more maneuverable. It gives you a tighter turning circle and allows you to have an easier time weaving in between objects and making sudden turns.
However, it also means a less stable board. Your board won’t be very suitable for going fast and you’ll be more likely to get wobbles when it picks up speed – a board that turns suddenly typically isn’t suitable for going fast.
How does a long wheelbase affect performance?
A long wheelbase makes your skateboard more stable. It makes your turning circle wider and gives you an easier time at quick speeds.
However, this results in a much less turny board. You might be able to go 35mph comfortably, but you’ll struggle to make sharp turns at slower speeds.
Wheelbase is just the start …
The above said, wheelbase isn’t the only thing that affects stability and maneuverability. Other skateboard components can have an effect on those performance characteristics.
Your choice of trucks (TKP or RKP), your choice of bushings, baseplate angle, wedges, mounting style etc. all can affect stability and maneuverability.
So when considering wheelbase and desired performance outcomes, the above have to be taken into consideration too, and they all have their own advantages and disadvantages.
But certainly, understanding wheelbase can help you understand what type of board you have, what it’s best for, and how to make the most out of it. Whilst helping you avoid negative performance characteristics for the type of skating you want to do.
Do you understand what skateboard wheelbase is?
Certainly, for tuning your board to perfection, wheelbase is just the start. But simply understanding it can allow you to not use your board in the wrong environment (for example bombing a hill on a small wheelbase cruiser or popsicle board). It can allow you to have a more sustainable skateboarding experience.