Anatomy of an inline skate rubber brake
A large variety of concepts for a single principle
Whether in quad (traditional skates) or inline skating, the problematic of braking quickly emerged amongst skaters and inventors. A solution was found in the 18th century, using an outgrowth that rubs the ground to slow down the skater.
As you can see in this illustration, the first inline skates of Tyers were already manufactured with an end stop at the front and another stop at the back.
The principle of the end stop can also be found on traditional skates... while the stopper was replaced by a pad brake made of plastic in the 1980's-90's.
Around 1997, many concepts were proposed to ease braking. The pad brake is the simplest system that remains. Most of the other concepts disappeared.
The famous Rollerblade ABT system (Active Brake Technology) equipped several mid-range and high-end models for many years. It is made of an arm that pushes the pad towards the ground when the foot moves forward.
Skate rubber brake: the most common system
This system has been the most commonly used on the whole range of inline skates since its creation by Rollerblade in the 80's.
You can distinguish several parts:
- The pad itself: a plastic part that gets in contact with the ground
- The pad frame: A kind of arm connecting the pad and the rest of the inline-skate
- The fastening screw of the brake.
The separation of the pad brake from its frame avoids to have to change the whole system when the brake pad is worn out.
The production cost of a pad brake is relatively low. This does not prevent manufacturers and distributors to ask a fortune for that part: €5 to €10 for a small piece of polyurethane!
Given that it is a wear part, it may be changed very frequently. It is also easy to change it. The structure of the brake can also be molded or injected within the frame of the skate.
A standardized model? Why not? When?
Many users currently know a major problem: each brand has various brake pads references with specific shapes. Sometimes there are even different models for the same brand. The trend seems to calm down a bit, though ...
It is therefore difficult to identify the right model amongst all the references (we wrote an article to choose your pad brake). In addition, there is no guarantee that a brake model is extended every year. The disappearance of many manufacturers does not help.
If you cannot find the right reference, a long-term solution might be the use a universal pad brake (made by Powerslide).
Skate rubber brake? You can stop without it!
Even if the size of the skate rubber brakes is limited, yet they may hamper experienced skaters. Thus, they will tend to remove it once they have acquired other braking techniques, like the famous T-brake!