How to prevent and fix wheel bite on a skateboard

April 26, 2023 | Skateboarding
Wheel bite: common problem skateboarders face that can lead to injuries and deck damages | Photo: Shutterstock

Preventing and fixing wheel bite on your skateboard is crucial for a smooth and safe riding experience.

Wheel bite is a common problem skateboarders face when the wheels of their skateboard come into contact with the deck during sharp turns, causing friction and a sudden stop.

This abrupt halt can result in the rider losing balance and control, which can lead to accidents, injuries, and damage to the skateboard itself.

By understanding the causes of wheel bite and implementing the suggested prevention techniques, you can reduce the likelihood of accidents and damage to your skateboard.

Regular maintenance and adjustments to your skateboard setup will ensure a better and more enjoyable ride for all skateboarders.

Why Does Wheel Bite Occur?

Wheel bite occurs due to various factors, including:

  • Skateboard setup: The configuration of your skateboard plays a significant role in wheel bite. A low board with large wheels, soft bushings, or loose trucks can increase the likelihood of wheel bite.
  • Rider's weight and style: Heavier riders and those with an aggressive riding style tend to put more pressure on the board, making it more prone to wheel bite during sharp turns or carving.
  • Wheel size and shape: Larger and softer wheels provide better traction and shock absorption but can also increase the risk of wheel bite.

Trucks: adjust them to prevent wheel bit on your skateboard | Photo: Shutterstock

Prevention

There are several ways to prevent wheel bite on your skateboard:

  1. Adjust your trucks: Tightening your trucks can help reduce the risk of wheel bite. However, this may limit your turning ability, so it's essential to find a balance between stability and maneuverability.

  2. Use riser pads: Riser pads are small rubber or plastic inserts that raise the height of your trucks, creating more space between the wheels and the deck. They come in different thicknesses, allowing you to customize your setup according to your needs.

  3. Choose the right wheel size and shape: Opt for smaller or harder wheels to minimize the chances of wheel bite. Additionally, you can consider wheels with rounded edges, as they are less likely to catch on the deck during turns.

  4. Opt for wheel wells or cutouts: Some skateboard decks have wheel wells or cutouts that provide extra clearance for the wheels, reducing the likelihood of wheel bite.

  5. Select the right bushings: Experiment with different bushing hardness levels to find the one that works best for your weight and riding style. Harder bushings will provide more resistance to turning, which can help prevent wheel bite.

  6. Sanding the deck: If you're experiencing wheel bite, you can sand down the area where the wheels make contact with the deck to create more clearance. However, be cautious not to sand too much, as it may weaken the board.

Fix

If you're dealing with wheel bite on your skateboard, here are some solutions to help fix the issue:

  1. Identify the problem: First, determine whether the wheel bite is due to your trucks, wheels, bushings, or a combination of these factors.

  2. Adjust your trucks: If you haven't already, try tightening your trucks or adjusting the kingpin nut. This can help reduce the risk of wheel bite.

  3. Replace your wheels or bushings: If you've tried adjusting your trucks and still experience wheel bite, consider changing your wheels to a smaller size or opting for harder wheels. Additionally, replacing your bushings with a harder durometer can help prevent wheel bite.

  4. Add riser pads or shock pads: Installing riser pads can increase the space between your wheels and the deck, reducing the likelihood of wheel bite. Shock pads can also help by providing additional cushioning and vibration dampening.

  5. Modify your deck: If you have a deck with wheel wells or cutouts, make sure they are deep enough to provide adequate clearance for your wheels. If not, you can sand the area where the wheels come into contact with the deck to create more clearance. Alternatively, you can consider purchasing a new deck designed to prevent wheel bite.

  6. Check your riding technique: Sometimes, wheel bite can be a result of poor riding technique. Practice leaning into turns with your knees and ankles rather than putting excessive pressure on the board. This can help distribute your weight more evenly, reducing the chances of wheel bite.

  7. Regular maintenance: Regularly inspect your skateboard for signs of wear and tear, and replace any damaged or worn components. Keeping your skateboard in good condition can help prevent wheel bite and other issues.