Powell Peralta Dragon Formula Wheels Review

Powell Peralta Dragon Formula Wheels Review: The Experimental Dragons Skate Like a Soft Wheel That Can Slide

Dragons, or Dragon Formula Wheels, are a new experimental skateboard wheel from Powell Peralta. These wheels use a new type of urethane called “Dragon Formula” (DF) that has been in development for the past 10 years. While rolling, the Dragon Formula vibrates at a higher frequency than the standard urethane used in skateboard wheels. The higher frequency allows you to skate on rougher terrain while still being able to slide for tricks like noseslides, bluntslides, or powerslides.

Specs & Highlights of the Dragon Formula Wheels


Pros:

  • You can ride on rougher asphalt. These wheels slide like a harder 101a wheel while riding smoothly like a softer 93a soft wheel. 
  • They don’t get flat spots.  
  • They are fast and smooth on regular, skateable pavement.
  • The smoother ride lets you skate longer. 

Cons:

  • They are a more expensive set of wheels.
  • They have a different sound for slide tricks and powerslides. 

Sizes & Durometer:

These wheels are available in 52mm, 54mm, and 56mm 

The durometer is 93-DF. It skates like a 93a soft wheel that is still capable of sliding like a 101a hard wheel.

Overview Video:

First Impression of the new Powell Dragon Wheels?

When I first got them, I noticed they felt a little more plastic-like in my hand than the normal Bones STF wheels I was used to skating. They are lightweight and shaped very similarly to a Bones STF wheel, though. 

As I was setting them up, I noticed that my bearings went into the wheel with virtually no effort. I could have pushed them in with my fingers if I wanted to. They didn’t put up a fight with getting the bearings in like some harder wheels tend to do. 

Once these were set up, I went to a regular skate spot that I like to go to where the pavement is already smooth. The first detail I noticed was how fast and smooth these wheels felt. It was to the point where I felt like I was riding on brand new pavement, and I wasn’t.

My first impression was that “I love these wheels.”  

My first takeaway from this review was this:

These were some of the fastest and smoothest wheels I’ve ever skated on good pavement. 

Why Did I Buy Dragon Formula Wheels?

When I first heard about these “experimental wheels” in a Youtube video, I knew I had to try them. 

The claim is that they ride like smooth cruiser wheels while being able to still do slide tricks as your normal, hard skate wheel. That speaks to me because I love skating ledges and doing blunt slides. However, I am the type of skateboarder that doesn’t like to push a lot. I enjoy the smooth feeling of cruiser wheels. I just don’t use them often because I can’t slide with them.

The back label of the wheels does an excellent job of describing how these wheels feel in various conditions.

How Do the Dragon Formula Wheels Skate On Good Pavement?

These are fast, smooth, and fun to skate on good pavement. They powerslide easier than the regular 99a wheels I typically skate, and they still grip when you need them to.

I felt like I needed to push less, so these wheels allowed me to exert less energy so that I could skate longer. It felt like I needed one less push to get the right speed to slide on my flatbar from the regular part of the spot where I would begin to push from. It usually would take four pushes, so these wheels save me around 25% in energy in the form of time spent pushing while I skate. 

Altogether, Powell Dragon Formula wheels are excellent on smooth pavement.

How Do the Dragon Formula Wheels Skate On Rougher Pavement?

The Dragon wheels work as they are described. You can skate these wheels on rougher pavement too. They made the spot I haven’t been able to skate in years skateable again.

However, these wheels don’t make rough pavement feel as smooth as some very soft 78a durometer cruiser skate wheels are able to do. You will still feel the vibrations of the harsher, less smooth pavement. These vibrations are reduced and not eliminated altogether.

Dragon Formula wheels make the rough un-skateable spots skateable and not necessarily comfortable enough that you would want to skate them regularly. 

I would say that these wheels would be perfect for filming your video part. It opens up your catalog of spots that you could hit to film. However, that doesn’t mean you would want to skate the rougher spots you film at every single day. Instead, the Powell Peralta Dragon Formula wheels make good spots more comfortable with fewer vibrations. 

So, all in all, yes, you can skate unskateable spots. You can even powerslide on very rough asphalt. However, it depends on how rough the spot is and that you would need to use your judgment if you would actually still want to skate there. These wheels don’t completely eliminate the chatter or vibrations you would feel skating over very rougher terrain. 

So if the spot is slightly rough, it works. If the spot is terrible, yes, it probably would work there too. However, you won’t want to skate there anyway. 

So the claims are accurate. The Dragon Formula wheels make rough spots skateable and smooth spots even easier to skate because you exert less energy. 

What Do I Like About Powell Dragon Formula Wheels?

Fast / Smooth

These wheels are some of the fastest and smoothest wheels I have ever skated. When you are on good pavement, you will instantly notice the difference between Dragon Formula wheels and your regular skateboard wheels.

You Can Skate Longer

One additional benefit to these wheels being as fast as they are is that you need to push less. I found that I needed to push one less time per pushing set. Additionally, the slightly softer urethane reduced the vibrations I felt come through my feet, and my legs didn’t get as tired.

Ride On Rougher Terrain

For me, these wheels allowed me to hit a nostalgic skate spot I hadn’t been to for 20 years. The pavement of the spot hasn’t been maintained, so it has become the type of asphalt that looks to be made of many uneven pebbles. It is the type of pavement you would typically avoid, and the Dragon Formula wheels allowed me to skate it again.

This feature is great if you run into really rough spots while skating on side walks. Here is an example of these wheels rolling right over an uneven brick driveway.

I mentioned this above. The feature of being able to skate rougher pavement has its limits, though. While you can skate uneven asphalt, you probably wouldn’t want to skate on cobblestone for long periods of time.

No Flat Spots

These wheels are meant for powerslides and bluntslides. They can slide easily without eroding away into flat spots. They skate similar to Bones STF or Spitfire Formula Four wheel.

What Do I Dislike About Powell Dragon Formula Wheels?

They Are On the Expensive Side

The primary con to these wheels is their price. They are offered around $45 right now. At that price point, they are similar to a Bones STF or Spitfire Formula Four wheel. All of these wheel offerings are designed to prevent the wheel from getting flatspots. However, the Dragon wheels allow you to skate longer too. If you’re looking for a higher-end wheel, the price is definitely still worth it.

However, this might be overkill for some skaters. If you’re just going to a smooth skatepark every day, you probably won’t need to spend this much on wheels.

Sound of the Slide

This is more of a detail to get used to than a con. These wheels have a different construction than a standard urethane skateboard wheel. They sound a little quieter when you do a powerslide or any trick that involves skidding your wheels. The wheels themselves slide well. However, it might mess with your head a little bit before you get used to it.

They Erode Like a Normal Skate Wheel

While these wheels don’t get flat spots easily, they are not indestructible. The Dragon Formula wheels still slice, gouge, and erode just like other urethane skateboard wheels.

I tried tailsliding a chunky ledge, and I noticed my Dragon Formula wheels sticking a little more than my Bones 99a wheels. When I finally got the trick, I looked at my wheels and saw a straight-lined gouge taking out of my wheel. It looked as if I had taken a razor blade and slid it across the rolling surface of my wheel. After a few days of skating and powersliding, that line has gotten less noticeable.

Here is a picture showing the remnants of the line and what the wheel’s shape looked like after skating these for two weeks.

The shape of Dragon Formula Wheels after skating them for two weeks.

The Wheels Stretch and Your Bearings Slide Around

Here is one new update.

After skating the Dragon Formula wheels for four weeks, I heard a strange clicking noise. I took my bearings out to see what it was, and I learned that one of my wheels had stretched to the point of the bearing no longer being able to lock in. The sound is my bearing moving in and out as I roll. It doesn’t impede the way that these wheels skate. However, it makes an annoying sound.

Here is a quick video of what I mean.

This issue ultimately became the reason I swapped back to my normal 99a bones wheels so soon. This issue caused a clicking noise that became so annoying.

The pro tip here is that you should consider also using spacers with these wheels. I didn’t use spacers. I have a feeling if I did, I likely would have been able to use these wheels for a few more days without this issue.

How Do Powell Peralta Dragon Formula Wheels Compare to Bones STF Wheels?

When I first got these wheels, I compared them to my Bones STF. They feel like they are identical in shape and weight.

The three primary differences between Powell Dragon Formula Wheels and Bones Wheels are these.

  • Dragon Formula is quieter to ride.
  • Dragon Formula is faster and smoother to ride.
  • Dragon Formula can skate on slightly rougher pavement.

Are Powell Dragon Wheels Beginner Friendly?

The Dragon Formula wheels are good for skaters at all experience levels. Beginners will like these wheels because you won’t have to push much. They will save some energy so you can focus on your foot placement for ollies or kickflips.

That being said, Powell are innovators in the skate industry. They made the nearly indestructible Powell Flight Deck, and now they’ve created the versatile Powell Dragon Formula wheels. These innovations can be great for beginners. However, they are on the expensive side and often have more features than what a beginner would need.

Intermediate and advanced-level skateboarders will get more out of these wheels. They help you conserve energy so you can skate longer. Additionally, these wheels allow you to skate spots that you typically would avoid on other wheels.

Overall Rating of the Powell Peralta Dragon Formula Wheels

Overall Rating

Considerations Rating Out 5
Speed / Smoothness 5
Grinds / Slides 4.85
Durability 5
Feel While Skating 5
Overall Quality 4.8

Editor’s Rating: 4.93 out of 5 stars

Would You Recommend Powell Dragon Formula Wheels?

Yes! These wheels deliver on their claim of being fast, durable, and able to skate in places other wheels cannot. The next time you need a set of wheels, get a set of Dragon Formula wheels.

Where Can You Buy Powell Peralta Dragon Formula Wheels?

You can get them on Amazon here.

You can buy Dragon Formula wheels from Parade here.



Looking for more skateboard reviews? Check out the other reviews I’ve written

Steve Weber is an avid snowboarder and skateboarder. He has been snowboarding for 26 years, skateboarding for 20, and is always looking for a new board sport to try out. When he is not riding or skating, he runs a marketing agency. Board of the world is Steve’s blog for skateboard and snowboard gear reviews. The blog’s goal is to help people find the right board for them and encourage people to have fun outside.