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On 03 August 2016 at 20:08 | updated on 12 September 2018 at 16:26

Why 3 Wheel skates do have such a golden future

Why 3 Wheel skates do have such a golden future

Everyone could notice a multiplication of three wheel skates on the market. Every big brand has now produced new skates in all different kinds of skating, like Slalom, fitness, speed-skating and even inline hockey. But what is the real secret behind that configuration? Analyse...

By  Alexandre CHARTIER

Little history trip

Original sur la place de la Concorde en 1867Many people don't know that three wheel skates were not invented yesterday. In history you can find different types of skates with three wheels.

Skates with three wheels already exist for 150 years!

In the 19th Century various models with three small linear wheels got created. The illustration on the right side shows a picture of the book 'Rollermania' (p. 10) written by Sam Nieswizski. There you can see a man skating in the Place de la Concorde in 1876.

Models with three wheels that are not linear structured

In the 30s, the three wheel skates shaped the cross-country skiing technique, among them the Fulgur model (1937), which you can see in the pictures below. These models got used until the early 60s.

All-Terrain thee wheels skates

After a little break, the three wheel skates got a comeback in 1997 with Rollerblade and its famous Coyote skate, 150mm on real tires. At the same time the brand named Spin created a new 101mm wheel 'Spin Transit' with polyurethan wheels. This was six years before the first 4x100mm came out.

Speed skating gets involved

Only in the 80th and 90th the first speed skates with three wheels got produced. The second picture oft he right side shows a russian speed skate of that epoch. In 2007 Bont produced a speed skate frame with a mix of two 125mm plus one 120mm (fourth picture below).

The modern era of three wheel skates

In the last 20 years many brands released various skates for kids with three small wheels for speed skating, inline hockey and artistic skating. The manufacturers understood very fast that it is easier for kids to skate on short frames and small wheels. In the US and in Asia the switch to three bigger wheels is already everyday life. Europe needs to catch up on this.

Powerlide's marketing

Since 2015 Powerslide is producing a big quantity of skates with three wheels. It needed a lot of investment for the promotion. The promotion campaign brought the three wheelers concept back to life and helped with its development with new materials and modern designs.

A Fulgur skate in 1937A 3 wheel skate in the 80s
A Matson skate in 1906Patin 3 roues de Bont en 2007
Coyote RollerbladeSpin transit 101 mm in 1997

Pros

'It is easier to skate on uneven roads with bigger wheels'

Whoever is talking about three wheels today, means the ones with a big diameter. Most of the 3 wheeler models are equipped with 100mm, 110mm or 125mm. It does not matter if Inline Slalom, speed skating or inline hockey- damaged roads and cobblestones are a lot easier to deal with on those.

'Because the frame stays compact, despite a big diameter' (BitumWalker)

Without a fourth wheel there is logically more space and wheels can be bigger.
Imagine: it is possible to create a 222mm frame with 3x110mm wheels, which is shorter than the current standards in inline slalom. It would be 252mm with 3x125mm wheels.
One says you benefit from the excellent roll and comfort while you still enjoy the agility. A short frame may not be interesting for a person with shoe size 47, but for sure it helps to get a well-proportioned skate.

'Because the set up is lighter (Karojee)'

Powerslide Zeta 2016In another article about bigger wheel sizes we already mentioned that a set of 3x125mm weights around 8% less, then a common set of 4x110mm wheels. This means more or less 100g each foot. This might sound ridiculous, but if you think of all the steps you need to take during a marathon, it means lots of hundred kilos less to carry around.

'Because you can go faster on 3x125mm'

A big wheel is harder to accelerate, but when at speed it does have more energy than a smaller wheels at same speed. The big wheels keep their speed for longer time so it is easier to skate fast if you know the technique.

'Because you can fix the frame also on 165mm boots'

Most of the 3x125mm frames of smaller sized three wheel frames do have 165mm holes, which makes it possible to mount them also on your fitness skates.

'Because this concept is suitable for many disciplines in roller sport'

You could see especially at Powerslide and Seba the increasing amount of three wheel skates this year.
The 3x110mm setup pushed through inline slalom at the world's best skaters because it has a more efficient inertia and a better maintenance of speed. The world record didn't last long!
In speed skating the 3x125 setup sets new standards in marathons, as you could see Bart Swings skating 56min in Berlin at the BMW Marathon in 2015. As well his new lap record in 24h of Le Mans in 5min32 in the same year.

Cons

'Decreasing grip' (Eduardo)

With three pad points instead of four you get less surface contact area, doesn't matter if dry of wet ground. Unless you increase the contact area of the wheel. But there is no doubt that the technological innovation will inprove in future, for example with the use of Density wheels.

The extra height

Roue Bont MPC Red Magic Hardcore 125The extra height does matter in many disciplines like freeride or also for beginners who want to feel safe and stable on their skates. Many brands already work to fix that problem. Powerslide for example works on the Trinity concept to reduce the height.

The need of buying new material

Talking about innovation involves the purchase of new material and money investigation. You will still be able to use your old 100mm or 110mm wheels, but a new frame for 125mm is inevitable. You need to check if the 125mm wheels fit under your boot, sometimes a washer will be needed.

'The price of the big wheels'

Even it's normal to buy new materials in regular intervals, wheels became very expensive the last years. Various factors can influence this face: technological innovation (like the Dual-Density, aluminum's cores) the need of more substance, the decrease of the dollar exchange rate and the required margin of the producers.

Freeride: the difficulty of grinding (BitumWalker)

The grind is a trick in freeride where you slide along a curbside or railing. With four wheels they use the gap between the second and third wheel... with in total three wheels it gets more complicated!

Conclusion

After 150 years of existence the three wheel skate will not be at its end yet. After the review you surely have noticed that the three wheel system has stayed proved in between all those innovations. It does not matter if you like those wheels or not, the concept is very good and did a successful comeback on the marked because it suits the needs of many skaters.

Links

Inline skate wheels: Will the diameter race ever stop?

Those skate brands that made our history

Released  on 03 August 2016 - Read 48379 times

By :
Fondateur et webmaster de rollerenligne.com. Alexandre est un passionné de roller en général et sous tous ses aspects : histoire, économie, sociologie, évolution technologique... Ne le branchez pas sur ces sujets sans avoir une aspirine à portée de main !

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