Whether for leisure or competitive reasons, do not underestimate the importance of roller skate wheels.Roller skate wheels play an integral part in competitive skating. Most professional skaters, actually ALL pro-skaters, will take the time to get the perfect wheels for their skates.
In this article, I am going to share a few tips you should consider when looking for the perfect roller skate wheels.
Let’s delve into specifics.
- Consider the hardness of the wheelas well as the surface where you are going to be skating
The hardness or softness of the wheel is very important. You would wonder why?
This is because a hard wheel is best suited for indoor spaces that have sticky floors. The softer ones are perfect for outdoors and indoor spaces that are slippery.
A softer wheel offers better grip and a softer outdoor ride in places with small pebbles and a little bumpiness. Additionally, they are perfect for skating on concrete or asphalt floors and other floors that are slippery because they are uncoated.
When I was a beginner, I used Riedell roller skates that had a softer wheel because I found that they offered better grip and would ‘stick’ to the floor minimizing tripping and falling incidents.
On the other hand, a harder wheel is the most preferred for coated floors. They do not grip the floor and allow a skater to gain more speed. This is particularly advantageous for the advanced skater who is working on their speed and technique.
- The diameter of the wheel
The diameter of your wheel also determines the height of your skates. This affects the acceleration, roll time, stability and the overall weight of the wheel.
For faster acceleration, choose a wheel with a smaller diameter. However, go for a larger diameter wheel to achieve top speeds and better roll time.
Note the difference between acceleration and top speed. A larger diameter wheel will require more effort to get moving but once momentum is achieved, minimal effort is required to get it moving at top speeds. This is why you will notice skaters who skate for long distances will prefer taller wheels.
For stability, smaller diameter wheels are the best. Last but not least, if the weight of your skates matters, a smaller wheel will weigh less than a larger diameter wheel. For a beginner, heavier wheels may tire their legs but will offer better stability
- A wheels hub and core materials
A roller skate wheel has an inner portion known as the hub or core. There are three types of hubs namely nylon, aluminum, and hollow cores.
Nylon cores are lighter, softer, and offer a relatively slower ride. Aluminum cores, on the other hand are strong and rigid. They are expensive and the heaviest of the three core types. They offer speedier rides but are not stable.
The hollow cores fall in between the above two core types. They are lighter than the aluminum types but better than the nylon core. They are good and provide acceleration with better grip.