When you’re in the market for just about anything these days, the choices can be a bit overwhelming. From coffee, cereal and toothpaste to sporting goods and recreation items like roller skating parts and wheels, the variety provides us with amazing options but unfortunately brings a bunch of bells and whistles, leaving you, the shopper confused.
We strive to make your shopping experience as easy as possible and provide you with the information you need to purchase the perfect skates but roller skating can be more complicated than what meets the eye. Common questions like why do some skates have risen heel platforms or why do 2 of the 4 wheels spin at a different speeds, can go unanswered.
Lets dive into the functionality of some mid-level to advanced roller skating parts and break down the parts related to the style of skating they are best suited for.
If you’re an artistic dance skater or roller derby and speed skater, you will demand a bit more of support for the jumps, quick turns and impact. Most commonly found on our speed and artistic skates are the Sunlite ultra light plates made of Nylon. These plates connect the two trucks to each other as pictured and come with either 7mm or 8mm axles. The best features of this plate are the multi-color choices, removable cross bar for added strength and lightweight design. And don’t forget about the life-time warranty that comes with these awesome plates.
Folklore says the reason for raised heels on roller skates is to prevent the plate from penetrating the skate and that in the beginning of skating, ice skating blades would puncture the sole. Whether or not this is true, we’ve evolved to use raised heel roller skates for many reasons.
- A moderate raised heel is good for preventing injuring and helping recover. A raised heel reduces the stress on the achilles tendon and drives more force into the ball of your foot.
- Also known as a forward mount, this technique is used to put more ‘Oomph in your push’.
- Artistic/figure skaters benefit from having more weight on the ball of their foot for balance and control and a raised heel helps keep them on the balls of their feet.
Wheels have a personality of their own and each set of roller skate wheels serves a purpose. We cannot deny the over the top gimmicks that some wheels claim over others but we can confirm that certain wheels are for certain players.
For example, a skate with Backspin Revenge wheels will deliver a nice push and speed balance. The wheels on the left side of each skate act as pusher wheels and the right side wheels act as speed wheels.
They are similar to car tires but you don’t need to pump them up! They start with the hub and then extend to the rubber which in this case is either a urethane, polyurethane or a mix of other such plastics. The main differentiator in wheels is the hardness, size and type.
The two important numbers on a wheel are the hardness and diameter. Wheel hardness is measured on a ‘D’ scale or the ‘A’ scale whereas the D scale measures wheels made out of plastic compounds and the A scale is for wheels of urethane.
The lower the number = the softer the wheel = more grip/less roll
The higher the number = the harder the wheel = Less grip/more roll
The wheel diameter is measured in millimeters and the breakdown for the type of wheels per type of skating are as follows:
- 55mm & 57mm wheels are best for Freestyle skating
- 63mm are most popular and used for Dancing, Roller Derby and recreation skating
PS: The grooves in wheels are most often a result of the manufacturing process but they have taken on a purpose to deliver a faster roll. With time, the grooves will vanish giving you more surface area and a better grip. You can have your wheels re-grooved to remove the slick layer of build up. This can usually be done once.
Have you come across certain roller skating parts that you don’t know the purpose of? Let us know in the comment section below and we’ll roll out the answers as soon as possible or just contact a live skate rep on the bottom of our website. Skate on.