Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Wheel Size and Speed
Name: Karen
Status: Educator
Grade: 4-5
Location: FL
Country: United States
Date: November 2007

How does the size of skateboard wheels effect its speed?

Hi Karen,

In an ideal world, where wheel bearings have no resistance at all to rotation, and both pavement and wheels were hard and perfectly smooth, wheel size would not make any difference to a skateboard's speed.

But in reality, small wheels turn faster, and the bearings in a faster rotating wheel will have increased drag. Smaller wheels will also be more affected by small bumps in the pavement than large wheels, and so small wheels will encounter more drag than large ones.


Bob Wilson.

Not at all, on a smooth surface. On a bumpy surface, a large wheel averages over bumps better than a small wheel, and might allow the board to move more controllably at high speed.

Tim Mooney

Click here to return to the Engineering Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory