12 Tips for Buying the Perfect Roller Skate Wheels

Roller skates are modified shoes with the metal plates and wheels to provide a smooth skate along a plain surface. Broadly classified, roller skates are of two types. They are In-line skates and Quad Skates. Inline skating is a roller skate which contains four polyurethane wheels which are arranged in a single line along the length of the roller skate. Moreover, this inline roller skate has no proper stability which may cause sprains and cramps when used by amateurs. On the other hand, Quad skates contain four wheels arranged like the wheels of a car which provides more stability to the individual.


Basically, Quad skates are used for long cruises and to perform artistic, derby and jam skating whereas in-line skating are compatible for speed skating and such skates are involved in sports like roller hockey, speed skates etc. Due to this safety reason, beginners are always recommended to use only the quad skates. Eventually, once you gain balance over the quad skates it will be fascinating to use the inline skates efficiently. The wheels of the skates play a vital role in various aspects like smoothness, speed, acceleration etc. which are clearly discussed in this article. Scroll down your mouse to have a quick look at it.

1. Wheel Hardness

Usually, polycarbonate is used in the manufacture of the roller skate wheels. The hardness of the wheel relies on the type of plastic used in the manufacture of the wheel. A hundred point scale called the durometer scale is used to determine the hardness of the skate wheel which ranges from 74 A to 100 A. The lowest reading corresponds to the meager hardness and the highest reading corresponds to the extreme hardness. In other words, the soft wheel is made up of light plastic and the extremely hard wheel is made up of hard plastic.

2. The diameter of the wheel

The diameter of the wheel in all types of skateboards is not the same. Best skateboards are used to make tricks on the roads, streets, and skating parks; they are also used for making long travels. Not all the skateboard needs the same type of wheel. Wheels with the smaller diameter would be useful for making tricks in the parks and also they can accelerate faster but maintaining the speed is difficult. The larger wheels are used for high-speed requirements like cruises but, its acceleration is very low.

3. Weight

The weight of the skate wheel contributes a lion’s share to the performance of the skate. If you use a wheel which is heavy, then flipping the board and performing tricks would not be easy. At the same time, for traveling long distances lifting and placing the leg would be extremely difficult and so soft and lightweight wheels are highly preferred for travel. But, heavy skates will have a good stability and grip with the surface, which necessitates the requirement of strong cores in the wheel.

4. Contact patches

The area of the skate wheel which coincides with the surface is called contact patch. The wheels are broadly classified into two types on the basis of their contact patches. The first type is the basic wheel in which the contact patch ranges from 15 to 20mm and the other type is the slim wheel in which the contact patch is from 15 to 17mm. The basic wheel has a higher surface area in contact with the road and so it has great stability. On the other hand, the slim wheels have less stability but, they are very much suitable for doing technical tricks and stunts.

5. Bearings

A bearing is an arrangement of two concentric metallic rings separated with balls providing a smooth rotation with the help of reduced friction. The smoothness of rotation increases as the friction with the ball and the rings decreases. There are many skate wheels with various types of bearings and these bearings cannot be seen by our eyes as it is fabricated inside the hard plastic of the wheel. Steel made bearings are strong and durable providing better smoothness while skating, but titanium and ceramic made bearing prove to provide better smoothness than steel bearings. Heat resistant bearings would tolerate the heat while skating faster, but the non-heat resistant bearings would expand on heating thus creating instability and a rattling sound.

6. Cores

Cores are the innermost hub of a skate wheel. The core of the wheel is of three types

I) Aluminum core

A skate wheel with the aluminum core is very strong as aluminum is a strong and lightweight metal. A stiffer center allows the wheel to be in an exactly circular shape with less traction. Thus the friction of the wheel with the ground gets reduced and so the wheels using aluminum core are more slippery.

II) Nylon core

A nylon core is a soft material articulating with the shaft of the wheels. Since these cores are soft, when the skate is loaded the wheel is not round in shape creating more contact patch thereby increasing the friction thereby reducing friction.

III) Hollow core

A hollow core wheel is a lightweight wheel whose performance falls in between the aluminum and nylon core thus providing adequate friction and speed.

7. Lips

The word lip has nothing to do with the lips of someone. It is a technical term used to describe a property of a skate wheel. The cut in the outer edge of the skate wheel is called a lip. Usually, lips are of two types; square and round. Square lips have sharp outer edges of the wheels providing big contact patch thereby creating high traction and so suitable for indoors. Round lips have blunt outer edges which provide reduced traction suitable for cruising.

8. The weight of the skaters

Even though a skater is using skate wheels with a high range of hardness, the wheel tends to squeeze a little due to the excess weight of that individual. So, persons with excess weight should use skate wheels little harder than they exactly require. On the other hand, lightweight individuals when using wheels with a particular hardness according to their weight would experience less stability. So, lightweight individuals should pick a wheel with less hardness than they need exactly.

9. Lubrication

Lubrication is the factor which provides the wheel with a smooth rotation. Usually, skate wheels use some sort of oil for lubrication which forms a thin layer between the balls and the rings reducing the friction and increasing the speed. Some wheels are lubricated while it is being fabricated and does not require additional lubrication and some other type of skate wheels require regular maintenance to keep them free from resistance and heat. Wheels should be picked based on the requirement of the lubrication for ensuring durability.

10. Cost

Above all, the most important factor that withholds an individual from buying a roller skate wheel is its price. Folks should buy the wheel of your skate only as per your requirements like size, weight, diameter etc. Don’t entertain yourself in buying a roller skate wheel which does not satisfy your need; just because it is pretty and attractive to look it would not be friendly to you.

11. Color

The color of the wheel has nothing to do with the performance of the wheel, and so it could become an absolute mockery among experienced skaters. We know that most of the skaters buy a new one only by admiring it where color of the wheel plays a crucial role. When beginners try to do some tricks and stunts with their newly purchased skates if they happen to skid they would first check for the damage of their skate. Only after scrutinizing every wear and tear of the skate they will tend to care about their wounds and abrasions. To encourage these kinds of interested people, there are popular manufacturers who take extra effort to design skateboard for beginners. Conclusively, color is not factor oriented with the performance of the wheel but, it is pretty sure it is very much oriented with the passion and enthusiasm of the skater.

12. Material of the wheel

There are varieties of roller skate wheels which are made with various types of materials each having a unique significance. High graded polyurethane, copolymer plastics, Kevlar are the materials used to make the skate wheel. The polyurethane wheels are strong but it can provide a strong traction with the ground whereas the Kevlar type will not get eroded while traveling any type of course road. Suggest the material factor on the basis of your requirement for optimistic results.

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