Behind the Brand: Bones Wheels
|Based||Santa Barbara, CA|
The name Powell Peralta has been synonymous in the skateboarding world with constant innovation in the manufacturing department since the 70’s.
With this in mind, it is fitting to say that George Powell’s offshoot company, BONES Wheels, has followed a similar trajectory of engineering revolutionary new concepts in the urethane department and shattering the molds (both literally and figuratively) used to shape skateboarding wheels as we know them.
Started just a year after the first Powell Peralta decks were released, George Powell’s work in creating BONES Wheels started in the kitchen where the chemical-savvy creator crafted a formula referred to as MDI diphenylmethane diisocyanate.
Composed from a pair of commercial grade compounds, the particularly difficult blend called for 90% of one compound to precisely be mixed with 10% of the other. Challenged by this specificity, Powell faced difficulty in determining the proper ratio before eventually dialing it in.
The result of this mixture was an opaque wheel whose solid white color was the first of it’s kind, unlike all the other semitransparent wheels on the market. Judging by their skeleton-like hue, these wheels were subsequently dubbed, ‘BONES.’
The other standout feature of these wheels were their patented double radius design. In creating a wheel that curved on it’s sides, rather than the traditionally flat-backed wheels of the time, Powell changed the game for how skateboard wheels rode and wore down.
Once they hit the market, other manufacturers soon swooped in to emulate the design, solidifying Powell’s model as the industry standard.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Powell continued to work for the next five years on developing what he deemed was an even better mixture for skate wheels, the V-IV formula.
Speaking on Powell’s intentions, current Brand Manager, Rob Washburn reflected, “His vision and goal was to create a higher rebounding, faster rolling, longer lasting higher performance urethane wheel. He’s been making better products ever since.”
Over the years, BONES wheels checked several other firsts off their list including the production of the first center set wheel and the first high performance double action hard core bushing.
These are applications that have been celebrated and adapted not only in the street skateboarding arena but also in the longboarding world. Nowadays, the brand advertises a lineup of five distinct formulas for all of their production wheels including their popular STF and ATF constructions.
Speaking on the competencies of these formulas, Washburn continued by stating, “BONES has a very diverse range of formulas. Each one specifically engineered and designed to achieve the highest performance on their respected terrains. Because of our very distinct and original formulations, BONES has the range to satisfy and cater to all facets of skateboarding.”
Aside from manufacturing, BONES has played an integral part in skateboarding culture by supporting skateboarders from all corners of life and of all different backgrounds.
From backing legends including Steve Caballero and Tony Hawk to up and coming amateurs including Jagger Eaton and Keegan Palmer, to thousands of kids in the streets, BONES Wheels have been adopted by skaters of all skill levels. They were even the first wheel company to introduce a female pro model wheel for Leticia Bufoni in 2015.
Going forward, BONES wheels and the entire Skate One empire show no signs of slowing down. Focusing their sights on creating the best experience for their consumers, Washburn spoke on their ambitions and strategies behind pursuing them by stating, “BONES focuses on long term goals rather than short term success. We are constantly testing new urethane technologies to create the highest performing formulas for future generations to come. BONES has it’s own factory in Santa Barbara Ca and may be one of the only brands to pour and manufacture all its own urethanes in the USA. Therefore we are the only “hands-on” brand to ensure top quality components are being produced and sent out to the end consumer.”
Looking to get your hands on a set of hand-poured goodness for yourself? Feel free to check out our selection of BONES wheels here. Still got comments, questions or concerns? Feel free to leave them in a comment below or drop us a message here to get them sorted out.
All photos authorized to use by Micaiah Furukawa.