What Is Wheelbite? (Explained)

By: Billy James | May 23, 2023 | Longboards

Wheelbite is when your wheel touches the bottom of your deck, bringing you to an unexpected stop. Harder wheels are more forgiving. Softer wheels will “bite” your deck and likely make you fall.

It’s not a huge concern from a street skating perspective since the harder wheels are more forgiving. You can even rub some wax under your wheels to cause less friction.

When riding a setup with softer wheels, wheelbite becomes a much greater concern because they’ll grip your deck. This will significantly increase your chance of absolutely eating it.

If you’re a beginner and bought a complete with softer wheels, you most likely won’t have to worry about getting it. 99% of companies will test their setups for wheelbite before they release them. But you should still check before riding.

How To Test For Wheelbite?

First, you can push your trucks down to see how far your wheels go.

Or take out the roadside bushing and push it down with your hand. This will help you find the tightest turning radius to determine if the riser height is adequate.

Those methods combined should help you catch wheelbite.

How To Prevent Wheelbite?

Now that you know what wheelbite is and how to test for it, let’s cover some ways you can prevent it.

Wax Under Wheels

If you absolutely don’t want to change anything about your setup, like I briefly mentioned above, you could add a little wax or soap to the bottom of your deck. But If you’re getting severe wheelbite, this may not be a valid solution, especially if your wheels are on the softer side.

I wanted to mention this because I know a lot of people do this with their street setups.

Tighten Trucks

The next logical solution would be to tighten your trucks.

You don’t want to go overboard with this , because tightening them too much could mess up your bushings and cause them to wear quicker. What I usually do is tighten my trucks to the point where the bushing becomes engaged but not deformed.

A common mistake is to over-tighten your trucks, instead of swapping to harder bushings.

So, first see if you have any more room to tighten your trucks.

Swap Bushings

As you probably guessed, the next step would be a bushing swap. 

Increasing the hardness of your bushings will limit how much the truck leans, and this will increase stability as well as prevent wheelbite.  

The nice part is… swapping your bushings really isn’t gonna add any significant height, which may be a concern for some of you out there, especially for street skating.

Downsize Wheels

Another thing you could consider is to swap out your wheels with smaller ones. If you don’t want to tighten your trucks or change bushings, then downsizing your wheels is an option.

Just keep in mind that smaller wheels have less of a contact patch, which will make it easier for you to slide.

Add Riser Pads

If you don’t mind a little more height, especially if you’re just cruising, then buy some riser pads.

Depending on how bad you’re getting it, you’ll want ⅛ , ¼ or even ½” riser.

This is probably the solution for most of you.

Make Wheel Wells

A final thing you could do if your deck allows for it, is make your own wheel wells.

Personally I’ve never done this, but I’ve heard of people using sandpaper, a dremel tool or a sanding belt.

Now I realize this probably isn’t gonna make sense for most of you, but I still wanted to include it because I’ve heard of some people doing this.

Bottom Line

I guess it just comes down to how much effort you want to put into this.

The logical process for most will be…

Billy James

I've been skating for over 20 years and it's had an incredibly positive impact on my life. My mission is to get more people into skating and help them carry it as a lifelong passion.

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