How long do Freebord wheels last?
When you watch a Freebord video for the first time, it’s likely that you’ll have two questions right off the bat:
1.) What the !@#$ is that thing?
2.) How long do those wheels last?
Since Freebord Mfg. was founded in 1997, our motto has been the following:
“Progression and innovation are what drive us. Through years of evolution and rider driven design, Freebord has engineered a setup that rides exactly like a snowboard on pavement.”
This still rings true today, in fact, Freebord has prototyped and tested hundreds of iterations of wheel formulas. One of the most recent examples of this tech in action is our most advanced center wheel, The Boro .
This wheel tested off the charts in our durability trials, and it gives the rider more longevity than any other wheel on the market. Center wheels are essential to the Freebord’s design. They act like the base of a snowboard so they are always in contact with the ground, and therefore must endure constant wear. Center wheels last much longer than edge wheels due to the nature of the wear. Our pros generally report several months of hard riding on these babies before they see a need to replace them.
Next up, is the Da Blues Edge Wheel (78mm | 80a) the best edge wheel we make hands down. Tweaked and tested over the years, this wheel is the result of extreme testing by Freebord’s Pro and R&D team.
Da Blues are the highest performance wheel in our lineup, featuring a custom shape, a secret urethane formula, and a 45mm contact patch to give you the maximum grip while still delivering a consistent and predictable slide. While usage may vary with how hard you are riding, many of our pros literally ride these for several months with no problem.
Variables of Wheel Wear
There are tons of variables that affect how fast your wheels wear but here are the big 3:
Pavement Quality & Hill Steepness
So a big factor in how fast wheels wear is the pavement quality. If it is a smooth freshly paved road, then your wheels won’t wear as fast, but if you’re riding on pavement that resembles a cheese grater then they may wear out faster. Also the steepness of the hill makes a difference because depending on your riding style you could be sliding more.
Heat is a wheel destroyer pure and simple. If you’re out riding on 100ºF pavement then it’s safe to say your wheels are going to take a beating. It’s pretty basic: the heat of the road coupled with the heat from the friction of the wheel sliding along the pavement makes the wheel wear faster. Conversely, if you’re riding on cold pavement you lose way less urethane due to less overall heat.
If there is any moisture on the road then the wheels lose traction. Less traction = less wear. That’s why you’ll see videos of people doing long drawn out horizontal slides without flatspotting their wheels. Personally, I love riding on semi-wet roads as it’s a great way to help you master your slides and is forgiving on your wheels!
This is pretty straightforward: if you’re a heavier rider you will burn through wheels quicker than if you were lighter. That’s just how it goes.
3. Riding Style
If you’re shredding hard then you’re going to be shredding urethane. Think of it just like Ken Block’s gymkhana. If he drove like a normal person, cautiously navigating around all those ridiculous obstacles, he would get a ton of use out of those tires. Same thing on a Freebord, if you are blasting down backcountry runs and busting out huge overslides then you’ll get less life out of the wheels. However, while our pros are on tour (riding ridiculous amounts of hills daily), they consistently report not having to change wheels for several days.
Also, it should be noted that if you’re straight bombing hills (as opposed to sliding for speed control) then you’ll wear the wheels much less due to the lack of use of the edge wheels (duh).
Occasionally, you’ll encounter what’s called a “wheel casher”. This is a hill or situation in which all of the factors above align perfectly and can cash a set of wheels quickly. For example, if you’re a heavier rider, on a blistering day, on a insane grade, with poor pavement quality, and you want to slide all the way down it… you’re going to cash your wheels.
So as far as how long the wheels will last for the average person, most riders report that their wheels last for months!
Questions, comments, concerns? Ask me in the comments.