WHY REINVENT THE WHEEL?
“For 5,000 years the wheel has been the go-to design for most types of transportation. In fact, no one considered there could be a better design. The circular wheel was always considered the final design with no room for improvement.“
David Patrick, COO & Founder of Shark Wheels
Best Shark Wheels for Longboards
| DNA Formula||72 mm 78a|
| Sidewinder||70 mm 78a|
| California Roll||60 mm 78a|
It’s true. The wheel has become the “Golden Standard” of sorts to engineers and inventors, and its simplistic perfection of design is the logical foundation behind the phrase “Don’t try to re-invent the wheel.”
The wheel, for many, is a symbol of minimalist simplicity in its most reduced form.
Consistently functional and always practical, the traditionally circular wheel has proven itself to be a timeless design that has outlasted virtually every other invention in the history of humanity.
So why, then, did David Patrick become fascinated with the idea of going down the road that every other engineer knows better than to go down?
It all started from an epiphany that occurred while conducting an entirely different experiment, as is so often the case with amazing discoveries. While building cubes composed from interlayered models of sine waves, a plastic model was dropped – and rolled across the floor perfectly.
A cubed shape that looked like it should have wobbled and bounced sporadically was rolling in a smooth and consistent way. This curiosity provoked him to experiment more and eventually post a Kickstarter campaign that ended up reaching 8x its original goal!
This led to teaming up with Zach Fleishman, a former tennis-pro born-again as an energetic and disciplined Operations Officer, as well as recruiting various pro-skateboarders and the like to the team. The brand has since gone on to win several awards and competitions and even had a successful appearance on Shark Tank, which resulted in an offer from the “Sharks”.
Also, the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet show featured Shark Wheels in a segment called Future Tech, where they offer some insight into the design itself and use visuals to explain how a 3-dimensional sine wave translates into a superior wheel.
Benefits & Features of the Shark Wheel
The benefits of the Shark Wheel are incredibly well-suited to both longboarding and skateboarding, with longboarding perhaps standing the most to gain from the technology.
Here are a few of the key takeaways from the various media and television interviews that the Shark Wheel team has done:
• A single band of the unique shape is mathematically a perfect cube, with six sides of equal length.
• This thin single band will roll just fine, though once it leans the wheel loses its smoothness. This is compensated for by stacking the 3D sine-wave pattern and thus widening the wheel (though this inhibits the wheel’s utility in applications that lean).
• Stacking the sine pattern this way consequently creates deep grooves running between the thin contact bands.
• The thin contact bands allow for higher top speeds than solid-wheel counterparts, while the grooves have proven to be excellent at displacing water, sand, and even pieces of gravel.
• Small pebbles and streams of water or sand are displaced into the wheel’s grooves as the narrow bands cut through to the contact surface (concrete, asphalt, etc.), allowing the board to ride effortlessly through terrain that traditional wheels are designed to “steamroll” over. This makes the Shark Wheel one of the best off road longboard wheels.
These wheels make incredible longboarding wheels, particularly in cruising, commuting, and carving. Cruisers and commuters immediately fall in love with the noticeably smoother ride and increase in push efficiency. Because these wheels actually roll better and with less surface-contact friction, there is a boost to not only top speeds but to how far you roll on a single push as well!
Shark Wheel also produces a wide variety of wheels for other applications other than longboard wheels, including:
• Luggage Wheels
• Pallet Jack Wheels
• Replacement Wheelchair Wheels
• Industrial/Commercial Casters
and many other transportation-related and industrial applications that are in development.
|• Innovative & Unique Design
• Eye-catching Aesthetics
• Science-Driven Approach
• Improved Performance on Suboptimal Riding Surfaces
|• Premium Price
• Shipped Without Bearings
The Shark Wheel is an innovative idea that has the potential to change the way design engineers look at wheels in the future. Engineers are subject to the tunnel vision of precedent, just as anyone else, and with the wheel now re-invented, who knows what’s next?
All thumbnail images courtesy of Shark Wheel
Do Shark Wheels Really Work?
The majority of the science and anecdotal evidence we’ve found tells us, yes, these wheels work as well as they claim to. While there is the occasional negative review to be found, given how rarely they arise it’s difficult to say for sure whether these customers didn’t have other problems (like bearings) that they inaccurately blamed on the wheels.
The manufacturer relies heavily on the design’s underlying science to present the benefit of switching to Shark Wheels.
The following comes directly from the Shark Wheels website, for example:
“The alternating pattern of grooves significantly reduces hydroplaning by channeling liquid, sand or gravel out and away from the surface of the wheel, allowing for a firm contact patch with the ground.
The wave pattern design allows for a thin contact patch touching the ground and therefore less friction, resulting in a quicker ride.
The width is increased, but the friction is decreased! The sine wave design provides three lips per wheel for superior lateral grip. When you want to slide, they break away smoothly and recover easily.”
When presented in this way, the design seems obviously superior, so at a minimum – it works.
Do Shark Wheels come with bearings?
Shark Wheels typically do NOT come with bearings pre-installed, and the manufacturer recommends Shiver brand bearings for their wheels. Shiver bearings use NASA’s specially formulated Pro One lubricant that is engineered to provide lower friction the warmer it gets.
You might find a Shark Wheel and Shiver bearing bundle here, but if not, all bearings made to fit 70mm wheels will fit. The Bones Redz are a popular choice, asn come highly recommended. For some other top picks check out our best longboard bearings post.
Do Shark Wheels need spacers?
While most aftermarket trucks do not require the use of spacers, some original equipment has needed to use a wheel spacer. Be sure to order bearings that include spacers if you’re not certain, that way you’ll still have what you need to complete the wheel installation.
Another thing you may want to consider while installing your wheels, however, is applying a little fresh lubricant to the bearings. A high-quality precision lubricant like Bones Speed Cream goes a long way to keeping bearings gliding smoothly, and can even bring dry bearings back to life!
Bones Speed Cream Skate Bearing Lubricant
Are there different kinds of Shark Wheels for longboarding?
Due to being a pretty new creation, Shark Wheels don’t have an overwhelming variety of longboarding wheels like some other premium manufacturers. They do however make a pretty wide variety of wheels with different applications, so be careful if you stray from the products we link to so that you know you’re getting a wheel for a longboard, and not a suitcase, for example.
Clicking any of the links above is the easiest way to make sure you’re getting the right product.
The second easiest way to be sure is to check the diameter of the wheel you’re looking at buying. Shark Wheels makes their wheel in both 70mm and 72mm – perfectly-suited for longboarding, while they also make a 60mm option for skateboards.
What’s more, is they have manufactured their wheel design in a few different polyurethane formulas. This most often translates into differences in durometer (hardness), but can also reflect aesthetic variants such as translucent vs. solids.
So with Shark Wheels, it’s not really different – but there are some important differences.
On pavement and ramps, Shark Wheels slide and break loose just like regular skateboard and longboard wheels. This is good news for freestylers who also commute or cruise on their longboard (or skateboard), as the Shark Wheel’s proprietary design offers better water and small solid displacement.
We have seen a small number of customer reviews (<10) that indicated Shark Wheels didn’t offer any difference in shock absorption, however. While it seems worth mentioning because the reviewers articulated their description well and conveyed a sense of experience with their comments, even they admitted the product performs at least as well as other premium wheel options.
At this point, it feels like splitting hairs just trying to find something wrong with these well-engineered wheels.
*All products available as described at the time of original publishing. Due to the nature of eCommerce there can be changes outside of our control that affect availability of specific product models.
Well everyone, that wraps up our 2020 review of Shark Wheels – we hope you found it helpful as you learn more about this interesting new product that aims to change the way engineers and designers think about the wheel.
The vast majority of people that try Shark Wheels fall in love with them, and that counts for a lot! These wheels can make riding much more enjoyable if you regularly encounter conditions like sand or loose gravel that make your sessions more difficult. If you’ve heard about them already and simply been on the fence with this one; interested but not sure, we’re certain if you give them a try you’ll be pleased.
Thank you for reading, and stay safe out there!