If you’re into inline skating, you probably know first hand that one of the biggest attractions of this sport is the fact that you have smaller wheels and that they are aligned in one line. This is a big deal because with that alignment, you are able to achieve higher speeds when skating.
Also, compared to traditional roller skates, you are able to execute quick turns. In fact, inline skates are designed so well in terms of maneuverability and speed that a lot of people actually use roller skates to play street hockey. Pretty straightforward, it’s a lot of fun, and it’s very easy to see why a lot of people are picking up this sport.
With that said, a lot of inline skaters have discovered that larger wheels can deliver a lot more value. This is especially true if you are looking to increase your speed. There is a bit of a drawback here. It doesn’t just bring good things to the table. You have to pay quite a bit of a high price for the bigger wheels.
The Big Advantage of Smaller Inline Skate Wheels
The big advantage of inline skate wheels that are smaller than roller skate wheels is the fact that they can take a lot of more punishment. The big hazard with any kind of flat surface used for skating, whether indoor or outdoor, is the fact that people can and do leave debris on the floor. Let’s just get that out of the way. People, for a variety of reasons, leave debris on the floor and this can produce really hazardous conditions.
If you are on roller skates, this is a big headache because the big wheels give you a higher risk profile precisely because you have a higher center of gravity. They can only take so much obstruction until they throw your center of gravity off and it becomes really easy for you to tip over. If you’re already moving forward at a high rate of speed, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this can produce a very hazardous condition.
The worst case scenario of course, is when you fall, back first. When you fall forward, you still have a lot of control because you can move your arms. You can position your body to otherwise minimize the damage of the fall. This is not the case when you’re falling backwards.
Unfortunately, thanks to the higher center of gravity of traditional roller skates, as well as their thicker configuration, it only takes a medium sized or even relatively small debris on the floor to stop your skates, throw you off your center of gravity, and tip you over. It’s anybody’s guess whether you will tip over forwards or backwards. You better hope at that point that you are wearing the proper safety gear, otherwise, you are going to be hurting for a long, long time.
A Reasonable Fear
Given the reality above, as far as bigger skate wheels are concerned, it is not unreasonable for a lot of people who are used to smaller inline skate wheels to fear bigger rollerblade wheels. They think that bigger rollerblade wheels are, by definition, more unstable. They think that they will have to say goodbye permanently to the safety benefits and advantages that they normally get with smaller inline skate wheels.
There is a sense of confidence that you get when you are using small rollerblade wheels. You know at the back of your head that when they come into contact with a crack on the road or some sort of road imperfection or even a tiny gap in the road as well as debris of varying sizes, that the wheels themselves would take the punishment.
In other words, they are designed in such a way that their size enables them to absorb the impact of the road imperfection so you do not tip or upset your center of gravity. In other words, it can take quite a bit of punishment going forward at a high rate of speed and not have to worry that stuff on the road will throw you off.
Of course, this is not foolproof. It can only go so far. It can only protect you at a certain road depth. It can only protect you regarding certain sizes of debris. Still, this can go a long way, especially if you are skating on a surface that is fairly clean.
Looking back to this, a lot of skaters then feel that they are vulnerable when they use bigger skate wheels for their rollerblades. This is really misplaced fear. That’s the bottom line. Let’s just get that out of the way. Let’s be perfectly clear about that.
While it’s true that bigger skate wheels, generally speaking, have such a higher profile that it can throw off your center of gravity, this doesn’t apply across the board. It also depends on the design of the skates.
Rollerblades that are designed properly, compensate for the higher profile and potential center of gravity issues by providing a larger frame. This gives you actually the best of both worlds. The longer frame enables the skate, as a whole, to take on more punishment. It takes quite a bit of obstruction for the skate to tip you off.
Now, again, this has its limits, but the large frame actually gives you a lot more leeway than if you were to use a regular inline skate boot or rollerblade boot that uses a normal sized frame. This longer frame is how manufacturers of high speed or high impact rollerblade boots compensate for the larger wheels.
What exactly do you get for the larger wheels? Well, you get a lot more speed. You also get a lot more control, thanks to the frame. This makes for a happy marriage of both sets of features. You are able to tackle a lot more terrain.
Of course, you shouldn’t go crazy. You shouldn’t go overboard and really test your skate boots and skate on debris. You can’t consciously skate on really cracked surfaces and hope for the best. That would be foolish. You would be taking your personal safety and health in your hands and chances are, you probably will lose out badly. Let’s just get that out of the way.
It’s a foregone conclusion that if you really tempt the hands of fate, chances are, you would lose. Not just once, not just twice, but every single time. Still, if you were to use this product like any other product like a responsible adult and skate on fairly clean and even surfaces, you get the best of both worlds. You get speed, you get control and also you get a lot more versatility.