- Big cores support the wheel for smoother slide and more even wear
- Core position makes a big difference to the way a wheel skates
- Wheels with centerset cores can be flipped for more even wear and longer life
- Large, exposed cores can stop a wheel melting if your bearings are under-lubricated
Most quality wheels out there have a plastic core that the bearings sit in. The core spreads the heat through the wheel and stops the bearings (which get super hot at speed) melting the Urethane.
It is VERY BAD when this happens – melting (or “puking”) a wheel can be very dangerous! Exposed cores work better for heat dispensation than internal cores. Keep your bearings clean and lubed…
The core also helps to maintain the circular integrity of the wheel, which helps to prevent egging and flatspots.
A wheel with a big core is more likely to stay spinning when sliding sideways, so it’ll stay round for much longer than a coreless wheel.
Cored wheels are also faster on smooth surfaces, as there is less urethane to compress and rob you of your speed – but this means that large-cored soft wheels can be quite slow over rougher surfaces.
The position of the core in the wheel also makes a big difference to how the wheel grips, slides and wears.
Where the core is in the middle of the wheel as you look down on it. This has the advantage of making the wheel “flipable” should you start to cone your wheels, or want to adjust the ride characteristics.
Centerset wheels also wear down slowly, as the load (your weight!) is spread evenly across the width of the wheel.
However, a centerset core position is not the most efficient design for creating grip, or producing a good slide. Recently some manufacturers have tried to compensate for this by creating super wide shapes with centerset wheels, for maximum grip and a long life on rough roads.
Where the core is in flush with the back of the wheel. This creates a very slidey, progressive wheel, as the inside edge of the contact patch (the bit that does all the work) is very supported.
If you want a freeride wheel, we think backset is the way to go. The disadvantage is that they will cone faster.
Where the core is in between the back edge and the center. The maximum grip point of the wheel shape is usually somewhere between the inside edge and center of the wheel – so some of the grippiest wheels available are offset.
Exact core positioning to create maximum grip is a black art, and many other factors (lip thickness, inner edge profile, contact patch width etc) come into play when creating maximum grip.