Spitfire Wheels revolutionised skateboard wheels, turning the company into one of the most popular skateboarding brands of all time. They are undeniably one of, if not the best, skateboard wheel companies in the world. They are consistently the number one choice of the pros and, when flipping through the pages of Thrasher or watching the latest skate video, it’s not a surprise to see the Spitfire fame head emblazoned on clothing and boards with Spitfire wheels spinning below.
Founder of Spitfire WheelsFounded in 1987 by San Francisco local, Jim Thiebaud, Spitfire is part of the Deluxe Distribution family and sits alongside other well respected brands; Real, Thunder Trucks, Venture, Krooked and Anti Hero Skateboards.
Jim Thiebaud’s skateboarding career and contribution to skateboarding is both incredible and vast. Some highlights would be riding as an amateur for Powell-Peralta, a pro for Santa Monica Airlines and co-founding Real Skateboards with former Powell-Peralta teammate Tommy Guerrero, a skateboard team who became one of the most influential teams in Skateboarding.
Jim is one of the guys keeping the wheels rolling at Deluxe Distribution and actively continues to nurture future skateboarding. He’s well known as being one of the nicest people in skateboarding and been instrumental in helping create worthwhile charities and causes within skateboarding that give back, support those in need, and perpetuate the idea of skateboarders taking care of their own. It’s this same mentality that has made Spitfire the company it is - it’s by skateboarders, for skateboarders!
What Inspired Spitfire Wheels?The skateboard wheels of the 1960s were primitive by today's standards. They were small, basically shaped and made of either metal or a type of hard-baked clay which often splintered. Neither material contributed to the creativity of skateboarding. A significant breakthrough occurred in 1973 when Frank Nasworthy of Encinitas, California, introduced the first skateboard wheels made of polyurethane polymer.
These highly durable, mildly cushioned polymer wheels inspired Spitfire Wheels to develop them even further. Their reputation has been hard earned and well deserved which is why they are renowned and respected worldwide for being the best. Their wheels are hand poured and shaped in the USA and have been improved time and time again for almost 35 years.
Why Spitfire Wheels Are So Popular?
Spitfire Wheels developed a higher grade of polyurethane skateboard wheel. It produced a much greater performance on any type of surface. Riders enjoyed an improved rebound and a speed that was consistently smooth. There was even a higher degree of traction than anyone had ever experienced. But best of all, the wheels had an amazing resistance to flatspot, making them incredibly long-lasting. Today, they should survive daily asphalt excursions for at least a couple of seasons, and when ridden on concrete, they could last for years. Spitfire Wheels has continued to refine its secret polyurethane blend, developing high performance wheels that are perfectly tuned to a range of skateboard activities.
How Spitfire Wheels Evolved
Over the years Spitfire Wheels has evolved several series of outstanding skateboard wheels. They are aerodynamically structured, with angled, contoured edges to add a defining touch to skateboard cruising and acrobatics. The range offers a great choice of Classics, Chargers and Formula Four, making Spitfire Wheels ideal for professional riders, amateurs and even beginners.
This series dates back to the early days of Spitfire Wheels. They were originally designed for street cruising and remain one of the most popular sets of wheels. The Classic is a traditional design with a sharply cut wheel edge and a generous width. It is now available in two hardness ratings; the 99 that's suitable for the street, and the 101 that puts in a great performance on the slopes of the skate park.
These street cruiser wheels are designed to cushion the blows of hitting the cracks and crevices of uneven pavements. They have been developed from a much softer version of the Spitfire Wheels formula, reaching a hardness rating of 80. It gives the wheels a cushioned flexibility that ensures cruising stays comfortably smooth. Chargers still have a reliable hardness that makes the wheels compatible with performing tricks.
Formula FourThe latest edition of Spitfire Wheels is Formula Four, the most technologically advanced of the range. It includes different sub categories, providing riders with designs that match their favourite skateboard actions.
Formula Four Tablets are technical wheels with a hardness of either 99 or 101 that makes them incredibly durable. A well-defined wheel rim and optimum width make them a great choice for the park or bowl. They're ideal for tricks and have an excellent resistance to flatspot.
Formula Four Radials are highly responsive wheels with comfortably curved rims that provide superb control. Radial Slim wheels are particularly lightweight.
Conical Full is the widest version of the series. It's reliably responsive with a high level of traction, providing extra stability for street cruising, bowl or skate park.
Spitfire Wheels Hardness IdentificationSkateboard wheels are rated by their durometer or hardness that indicates what activity they match. The level is usually defined by numbers such as 80 and 101. Generally, the higher the number, the harder the wheel. Spitfire Wheels has enhanced the system by introducing colour coding to match the different ratings.
- Light Blue 80 forstreet cruising, easy tricks
- Light Blue with Red 92, 95 forpark
- Yellow or Blue: 99 a general all-rounder
- Red or Green: 101 for street cruising
Spitfire Wheels Logo
The grinning, cartoon face that appears on Spitfire Wheels was designed by Kevin Ancell. In the sharply curved teeth and flame-like hair, the logo captures the spirit and energy of a spitfire, someone with a bold, determined and fiery personality. It's a perfect match for the daring exploits of skateboarders using Spitfire Wheels. The logo appears in various colours across the wheels, but is primarily red when representing the brand.
Spitfire Wheels Collaborations
Spitfire Wheels has its own extensive collection of clothing including t-shirts and hoodies, but the company regularly collaborates with many famous brands. They include Vans who manufacture stylish footwear with excellent traction, making it ideal for skateboarding.
Spitfire Wheels Team RidersThe team has featured many highly successful riders including Mark Gonzales, a veteran who began skateboarding in 1984 and is often credited with popularising the sport. Tony Trujillo from Santa Rosa is noted for his aggressive style, fuelled no doubt by his favourite heavy metal music. Anthony 'AVE' Van Engelen has been a professional since 1999 at the age of twenty-one, and has now established his own skateboard manufacturing company. Other riders include Lance Mountain, Ishod Wair, Dennis Busenitz, John Cardiel, Eric Koston, Evan Smith, Jamie Foy, Shane O’Neill, Theotis Beasley, Erik Ellington, Andrew Reynolds, Sean Malto Guy Mariano, Chris Cole and Thrasher’s current Skater of the Year, Mason Silva - to name but a few!
The company’s first video, “Spitfire”, was released in 1993 and featured, amongst many others, legends Ed Templeton, Jonas Wray, Jamie Thomas, Jason Dill and Julien Stranger. Regular video parts followed as either Welcome to the Team videos or as promotional videos for new product releases with stand out parts being Andrew Reynolds' introduction part, Mike Mo Capaldi’s introduction part (a mock "Sponsor-me" video) and Daewon Song's promotional video for the "Enter the Daewon" signature wheel model. It’s always a treat when a new Spitfire video drops and they never disappoint.
Spitfire Wheels FAQs
Q: Who owns spitfire wheels?
A: Spitfire Wheels was founded in 1987 by Jim Thiebaud and it’s part of the Deluxe Distribution family.
Q: Where are Spitfire Wheels manufactured?
A: They are hand poured in San Francisco.
Q: What does the spitfire wheels logo mean?
A: The grinning, cartoon face with sharply curved teeth and flame-like hair captures the spirit and energy of a spitfire.
Q: Which Spitfire Wheels are best for beginners?
A: Formula Four Conical Full. They have great traction and stability.
Q: How can I make my Spitfire Wheels last even longer?
A: Switch them around occasionally to even the wear.
Q: Which Spitfire Wheels are the narrowest?
A: Formula Four Radial Slims.