Seismic and 3dm wheels are poured at the world’s leading wheel factory, using the world’s finest urethane. We’ve conducted extensive lab tests that subject wheels to extreme stresses as they roll on a smooth drum simulating a uniform road. Our wheels never tear or chunk under these lab conditions.
But chunks and tears are an ever-present risk as flexible urethane wheels roll, turn, slide, and impact on imperfect surfaces in the real world.
Even the best auto and bike tires can go flat if they roll over nails or glass. Likewise, even the best skateboard wheels can tear on nails, glass, gravel, pebbles, and small sharp residue on roads that otherwise seem smooth. In both cases, the damage is almost always a matter of physics and bad luck, not product defect. Probably only wheels made of steel would be 100% resistant to tears and chunks!
Seismic follows the basic protocol of the auto and bike industries. We evaluate each report on its own merit, and we occasionally replace torn wheels on a courtesy basis. But we don’t otherwise warranty wheels damaged by sharp surface elements without very clear evidence of product defect.
The most common causes of tearing and chunking include:
– sliding and hard cornering at higher speeds on rough surfaces
– drifting onto road shoulders and rolling / sliding over gravel, rocks, glass, and dirt
– rolling over sharp breaks in the riding surface, such as sidewalk edges – especially when most of the wheel loses contact and the lip bears all the load as it rolls over the sharp edge
– kick-turning on rough surfaces, which can shred the edges of longboard wheels in a single afternoon
– hard impacts – such as rolling over big bumps or cracks without unweighting; losing control and shooting the board into a curb; landing a board flip on the wheel edges; and missing a high board toss
A tear that runs along a significant portion of a wheel’s circumference (see photos above) is clear evidence that damage occurred as the wheel rolled or slid over a sharp surface element.
Harder wheels, and wheels with rounded edges, don’t catch as easily on jagged surface features. Softer wheels, and wheels with sharper edges, are more vulnerable to damage – especially in extreme heat; or under heavier, faster, more aggressive riders.
Soft urethane can even totally absorb bits of glass, jagged pebbles, and beer-can tabs. These objects can then work their way deep into a wheel and later split it open from the inside. (Think of the “Aliens” films!)
High-rebound race formulas – like Seismic Defcon™ – are somewhat more vulnerable to tearing. Their faster rate of energy return is only possible because they have an inherently “looser” molecular structure. But experienced racers generally agree that the added speed is worth it. Before doing any slides, we recommend breaking in all Defcon race wheels by riding them on a very smooth surface for 5 or 10 minutes – until the glossy outermost “skin” is gone.
Very tall, narrow race wheels (like the Seismic 85mm Speed Vent) may be more vulnerable to tearing and chunking, for at least two reasons: 1) The longer “lever arm” between the axle and lips amplifies forces acting on the edges; and 2) Those forces are not distributed across a wide contact patch.
On very rare occasions, an air bubble trapped in a wheel lip can break open under normal riding stresses on good surfaces. Remnants of burst bubbles are fairly easy to see, and we replace such wheels. But the riding surface is definitely the culprit if more than one wheel in a set of four has torn or chunked. (It is incredibly unlikely that one set would include multiple wheels with large air bubbles on the lip.)
I am definitely a recreational longboarder and relatively new to longboarding, but these wheels are installed on the second longboard I have built now, so I do have something to compare them to.
Clear blue 75A is the durometer I purchased in this wheel, along with the Tekton 6-Ball (red) bearings. Compared to the first board I built, these wheels and bearings are so much faster! The large diameter is nice for rolling over irregularities on riding surfaces, and the large diameter does not appear to slow them down at all. As an example, just sitting on the board with one of my other kids rolling down a hill, I will accelerate away from my son on the other board, which has 77mm wheels on it and freshly greased bearings. In comparison between the two boards, the one with the Seismic wheels and Tekton bearings feels like it is a powered board, no joke.
These are beautiful wheels, and I love how the sun shines through them. Overall quality is excellent and they have very little runout. While I am just a casual rider and have never done any slides or any aggressive type of riding, I will say they have a lot of grip while cornering.
I doubt I will ever wear out these wheels with the type of riding I do, but if I ever need to replace them I would without hesitation get another set of Seismic wheels!
Morgan Ewing –
I do some downhill but my main thing is long distance purpling. Last summer I had the chance to ride most of the best downhill and free ride wheels on the market. Some of them were good but these speed vent 85’s are truly amazing. Today I opened the box, popped the bearings in….and then rode for three and a half hours. I don’t think I put my foot on the ground once. They roll and roll and roll.
Alcuin Hipwell –
I am not a longboarder. I am an old school skater who used a 30×10 Alva deck with Tracker trucks, angled risers and a variety of 60-70mm wheels for everything, including Alvas, G&S YoYos, A series 70mm blue Kryptonics and B series 70mm red Kryptonics.
I now have a 30.5×10.25 deck with RKP trucks (96A Venom bushings on the rear, 90A Venom on the front), angled risers and either 75mm reissue red 78A Kryptonics or 85mm 77A Bubblegum DefCon Speed Vents for everything (I have 4 other sets of 60-70mm wheels but they don’t really compare and have only been ridden twice each). I suppose I am into LDP and a bit of DH these days, in the modern parlance. I haven’t fully broken the bearings nor the Speed Vents in yet but they already have a 5-10% advantage over the Kryptonics. Since I am not a slider, I am kind of wishing I had bought the clear blues instead (see Brandon’s review) but that’s a project for next year.
I cannot fault the increased speed of the DefCon 77A Speed Vents over the rough terrain of my local streets nor the fact that the core makes them the same weight or lighter than my 75mm wheels. Would I buy another set if I wear these out? Certainly. Am I also going to buy a set of 75A Clear Blues, just in case they are even better for what I want? Based on the DefCon 77A, absolutely!
Alcuin Hipwell –
PK. Follow up. At a cost of £160 (from eBay in France), I now have a set of 75A yellow Kryptonics. They beat the DefCon 77A Speed Vents hands down. They also beat their red Kryptonics equivalents even more. They are amazing! But we are talking about 8 year old, discontinued, limited edition, super rare wheels currently on eBay (US) for $325.00.
I still intend to get a set of 85mm 75A Clear Blues for comparison because I have a feeling that Brandon’s review may just be the tip of the iceberg about those wheels.