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On 28 December 2011 at 14:39 | updated on 10 July 2016 at 22:01

Inverting and looking after your inline skate wheels

Inverting and looking after your inline skate wheels

Wheels are the main wearing parts of your skates. They are permanently in contact with the ground and condition the quality of your skating: comfort, grip, reactivity. Just like for the tires on your car, you will have to look after their deterioration. Here are a couple of tips that should allow you to optimize their use...

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Do you have 3, 4 or 5 wheels?

Wear of roller skate wheels

Wheels are the parts of your skates that suffer from constraints. Each push causes a friction with the ground, and they wear out, their surface erodes. At each T-stop, the polyurethane diminishes on the inside. That is why you need to turn them regularly, in order to avoid flat and uneven wear.

The method to invert your wheels on your skate frames depends on the number of wheels you’ve got on your skates. And this number may vary from 2 to 6 according to the diversity of models on the market!

What’s the use of inverting wheels?

That’s quite easy: when a skater practices his favorite activity, he always uses the inside part of the wheels during the push. He rarely pushes with the outside, unless he does cess-slides!

That wear is faster when:

  • You’re heavy
  • Wheels are soft (less than 82 A)
  • The diameter of the wheels is small
  • You skate a lot on damaged grounds
  • You T-stop a lot
  • You slide
  • Your push is long and powerful

What’s the consequence?

After a few dozen kilometers, your wheels get beveled as shown on the illustration above, the grip diminishes and the ground contacts get more fleeting. You lose in efficiency, rolling and grip.

Before changing your polyurethane wheels, one of the best solutions to counter this unfortunate erosion remains the regular permutation.

Removing axles

Removing simple axles

To switch the wheels, you will have to take them off first. It all depends on the type of axles they are fixed with.

For simple axles, one tool is enough:

  • Unscrew the axle
  • Take it off of the frame
  • Take off the wheel

Removing axles with screws

For two-part axles with screws, it’s the same thing but you’ll need two tools. Indeed, some down and middle market models will need several 4mm Allen keys (or BTR)

  • Maintain one side of the axle with a tool
  • Use the other tool to unscrew (the screw)
  • Take off the screw
  • Put the tool inside the hole where the screw was to push the axle and take it off
  • Take off the wheel

You now find yourself with 6, 8 or 10 wheels off. This is when you should put your thinking cap on. The most important thing is to always shift the wheels from one foot to the other like on the illustration above.

A tip before starting? You can number the wheels with a felt-tip pen and indicate their position.

For example “1R” for the 1st wheel of the right skate, or “4L” for the 4th wheel of the left skate.

Never invert wheels on the same skate!

Interversion des roues de roller pour platines à 3 et 4 roues

With 3 wheels

Yes, it does exist! The front wheel is the one that wears out the most and the one in the middle the one that wears out the less. The wheel in the middle goes then to the front, and the back wheel to the middle.

With 4 wheels

In the most classic set-up in inline skating, the two wheels of the outside go to the inside just like on the pictures below. To be clear we showed the inversion on one foot and on two feet.

The front and back wheels are the one which wear out the most. The middle wheels wear out less. The fact of shifting the wheels to the opposite skate helps coordinating the wear. Use the side that has not been beveled yet.

Interversion des roues de roller pour platines à 5 roues

With 5 wheels

5 wheels like speed skates, it’s a bit like 4-wheel skates but more twisted. The front and back wheels go to the middle according to the picture.

If you’re afraid of getting lost in the taking off of the 10 wheels don’t hesitate to number them discreetly to avoid getting confused.

Particular case: and with a high-low set-up?

This is when things get complicated. A high-low set-up is when the two front wheels are smaller than the two back wheels, just like on lots of hockey skates.

In this case, shift the back wheels of a skate to the front of the other skate and vice versa just as indicated on the picture.

Warning: just like on any other case, the inside (on the side of your big toe) goes to the outside (on the side of your little toe) to use the wheels evenly.

And what about slalom-skating?

In slalom-skating, most of the skates are set-up with rockered wheels, i.e. the outside wheels are smaller than the middle wheels. In this case, just think about turning around the wheels, the inside going to the outside for them to get round instead of beveled.

Useful Links

Inverting and looking after your inline skate wheels
How to clean and take care of your bearings?
How to extract bearings from wheels?
Maintenance of inline skate boots
The maintenance of your skate frame
Test: Twincam ILQ-X MR2 bearings
How the DS Innov bearing extractor works (French)

The manufacturing of wheels: visiting the RollX factory
Anatomy of an inline skate wheel

By Alfathor
Translated by Chloé Seyres
Photos: Alfathor
Released  on 28 December 2011 - Read 133151 times


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