Inline Skate Newbie - Wheel Rotation

Odd Shape

When you skate or indulge in other similar wheel-based sports, moving is important. Stopping is just as important!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don't use the heel brake that came fitted to my K2 FIT 84 inline skates. I removed the heel brake. It was a pain and the braking performance was poor. I use a 'T' stop for braking or sometimes a spin stop. I'm working on the Hockey stop, for hard or emergency braking, but I'm not there yet.

Friction is the method for throwing off speed. If ya don't use a heel brake, you're gonna wear down your wheels. Braking with your right foot, the inside edge of your right front wheel erodes. Braking with your left foot, the inside edge of your left front wheel erodes.

If you don't rotate, excessive wear on the front wheels will render them unusable.

Braking accelerates wear from a soft, rounded profile (see above image) to an off-centre 'V' shape. (see left image). To eke out a full life-cycle from your wheels, rotate and flip them. Use both methods to extend the usability of your wheels.

Rotate means to re-position or relocate the wheel on the aluminium frame. Rotating wheels allows you to spread heavy wear across several wheels. For example, the front wheels get heavy wear due to slowing and stopping maneuvers.

Flipping a wheel turns it to face the other way and wears down the opposite edge. Numbering the wheels from front to back as 1, 2, 3, 4. There are various ways to rotate wheels as they wear. You can swap wheels 1 with 3, and 2 with 4. Or you can bump wheel 1 to position 4, wheel 4 to 3, wheel 3 to 2 and finally wheel 2 to 1.

Boots have an inside edge and an outside edge. The inside edge faces your other foot. Most wheels come with logos. The FIT 84 wheels have logos facing outwards, flip them so the logo now faces inwards. By flipping, you'll help extend the life of your wheels and get better mileage before you replace them.

Keep an eye on your wheels and try to maintain an even wear rate. You may have to move wheels often to distribute wear evenly across your skates.

When I first started skating a couple of months ago, wheel rotation was not important. Staying upright was. I didn't check wheel condition. Both left and right front wheel were badly worn, just like the example in the photo above. I didn't buy new wheels to replace them. Instead I got on the basketball court tarmac to slide! I placed the badly worn wheels at position 4 (rear) and practiced sliding, digging the heels heavily into the asphalt. It had two immediate effects:

1) Tyre wore to a more regular rounded profile on the opposite edge

2) I got a feel for the skates and their edges

Get to know your edges, its important.