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Cadillac Wheels: The Urethane Skateboard Wheels

Cadillac Wheels: The Urethane Skateboard Wheels

Frank Nasworthy was a young surfer and skateboarder; just out of high school who lived in Norfolk, Virginia, saw some polyurethane wheels used on roller skates in Virginia and had an awesome futuristic vision. Located in Purcellville, Virginia was possibly the first factory to make poly urethane wheels: a company named “Creative Urethane”: Nasworthy’s vision was to put these polyurethane wheels on a skateboard. He thought to himself, “What could plastics do for a skateboard”. He continued to follow his vision from Northern Virginia to North San Diego County California. This is where he created Cadillac Wheels and introduced Cadillac Wheels to the World. From then on skateboarding was changed forever.

The sport of skateboarding came back alive from being in the dark ages, in the late 1960’s to the early 1970’s: transforming from steel and clay wheels to polyurethane wheels. The sport had soared to new highs in the industry. Nasworthy’s Cadillac Wheels became part of big part of history. In the first year Cadillac Wheels made the Cadillac Da Kine wheels: this was the original Cadillac Wheel. Everyone had to have them in the Seabright area of Santa Cruz, California in the 1970’s. The polyurethane wheels provided a lot of traction and control on the skateboards, unlike the roller skate: which did not have a lot of traction and control in the rinks. The urethane wheels also gave the skateboard the ability to stop, create friction, slow the board down, and turn against gravity. They supported the skateboarder: which is also called a landlocked surfer.

The year 1973 is when Nasworthy took possession of Cadillac Wheels: Urethane skateboard wheels. The word Cadillac to Nasworthy meant luxury: because, urethane wheels on a skateboard were smooth and did not chatter and they produced a luxurious ride. Cadillac Wheels used loose ball bearing wheels with bearing races for a while. The problem was that the wheel would get very warm and the bearing hubs and races would actually move. The injection mold hubs with races were introduced later. They are a rigid hub that holds the bearing races securely and completely surrounded by urethane: trying an injection moldable urethane: thermoplastic urethane, it turned out to be a very poor wheel. Thermoset rubbers and elastomers are super durable: but, thermoplastic urethane doesn’t have the properties needed, are associated with plastic, and are recyclable: which means they can be re-melted and re-formed.

Cadillac Wheels decided to improve the loose ball wheels and started making precision bearing wheels: which was the original part of the roller skating product. This was actually easier to make them. From the imagination of a young surfer-skateboarder and the passion for skateboarding came an evolutionary design that changed the skateboarding world forever. Cadillac Wheels are still made in the United States and are still one of the best skateboard wheels on the market today.