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How to make scooter wheels faster

How to make scooter wheels faster

Nick Almaguer on Apr 7th 2022

We know, we know, this sounds crazy, but hear us out. The larger the diameter of a wheel the faster a scooter will travel. So let's break this down a little bit.

A scooter wheel rotates around the axle which means that on the inner diameter of the wheel the distance traveled is always the same regardless of wheel size because the bearings are the same size. So no matter how big the wheel, the bearing travels the same distance to complete one rotation around the axle.

Now where this gets interesting is when you change the outer diameter, as in the wheel itself. The wheel itself must travel one complete rotation in order for the bearing to complete one rotation around the axle. The bearing moving around the axle does not propel your scooter forward at all… But, your wheel completing one rotation across the pavement does propel you forward.

So if you had a very small wheel and measured the outside of it (perimeter) that distance is how far you would travel per complete rotation of the bearing. Now because it’s a very small wheel, that would be a very small distance, let’s call it 10 inches. Now let's say you have a bigger wheel and the perimeter of that wheel is 20 inches (twice as big). So, even though your wheel is only rotating one time around the axle in both examples, you're traveling twice as far with the bigger wheel

How To Calculate Scooter Wheel Speed

We kinda value education and math around here, so let’s do a real life example so you can really see how big of a difference this makes. We are going to use real mathematical equations to calculate how far you travel per rotation of an entry level 100mm diameter scooter wheel and a 120mm diameter scooter wheel.

First let’s get our vocabulary and variables down

  • C = Circumference - the outer perimeter of a circle
  • Π = Pi - Pi is a crazy number that exists in all circles, don’t worry about it, Pi literally equals 3.14
  • D = Diameter - the distance from one point on a circle to the opposite side

The Math Of Pro Scooter Wheels

These variables fit together in the equation C = ΠD

In English this would read circumference (perimeter) equals 3.14 (the fancy number called pi) times diameter (distance across a circle)

Circumference equals 3.14 times diameter

Now let’s calculate this for a wheel with a 100mm diameter

  • C=ΠD and we are solving for C (circumference)
  • C=3.14(100mm)
  • C=314mm

That means for every one rotation a 100mm wheel makes, you travel 314mm on your scooter

Next up, let’s calculate this for a wheel with a 120mm diameter

  • C=ΠD and we are solving for C (circumference)
  • C=3.14(120mm)
  • C=376.8mm

That means for every one rotation a 120mm wheel makes, you travel 376.8mm on your scooter

So if a 120mm wheel travels 376.8mm per rotation and a 100mm wheel travels 314mm per rotation we can subtract those and see how much further a 120mm wheel travels per rotation than a 100mm wheel.

To do this we need to take the circumference of the 120mm wheel and subtract from it the circumference of a 100mm wheel.

If we were to write this as an equation it would look like…

  • F=(120mm circumference) - (100mm circumference)

Where F equals how much further you go on a 120mm wheel.

So let’s plug in our numbers…

  • F = 376.8mm - 314mm
  • F = 62.8mm

Why Bigger Scooter Wheels Are Faster

So with 120mm wheels you travel 62.8mm further per rotation of the wheel than you do with 100mm wheels

To put that into perspective, you travel about 20% further each time a 120mm wheel rotates instead of a 100mm wheel.

So if you need a little bit more speed to get maximum air off any ramp or obstacle you should probably check out our selection of 120mm wheels.