Skates Parts Descriptions
skating wheels are usually made from polyurethane, with
different thickness and hardness. Recreational skates
usually come equipped with 70-72 mm wheels for a better
center of gravity. You can go up to 72-76 or a 80 mm
for more speed if the skates track will accommodate
them. Hockey wheels are smaller and may be more
tapered for better turning. Aggressive wheels are usually
55-67 mm and are the smallest and hardest, to stand
up to all the grinding and jumping. Racing wheels are
the thinnest for more speed but allot less stability.
Wheel hardness is measured in durometers. Lower
numbers mean a softer wheel and higher numbers mean
a harder wheel. You can recognize the durometer because
it is followed by the letter A (example - 78A) (pic
#1). The average recreational wheel is 78A or 82A.
Softer wheels are for a lighter ride and a better grip
when turning, but are a bit slower. Harder wheels are
faster, but may even slip in a sharper turn.
frames nowadays are made of aluminum alloy or nylon
and fiberglass composites. Aluminum frames are stiffer,
faster, and lighter, but are usually more expensive
Most bearings have an ABEC rating (Annular
Bearing Engineers' Committee). Supposedly, the higher
the rating, the better the performance and speed. They
are usually ABEC-1, ABEC-3 (pic #2), ABEC-5,
or even ABEC-7 at the extreme end. Does ABEC affect
the speed of your skates? Not likely, unless you are
skating at 330 mph that is. Speed is affected first
and foremost by your choice of lubricant
You can get serviceable or non-serviceable bearings.
The serviceable ones have a shield with a removable
"C" ring, or it may be removable on it's own.
These are the ones you can take apart. (check
our cleaning bearings tutorials) The non-serviceable
ones have a shield that cannot be removed. You only
have to wipe these ones off, or replace them.
Never lubricate the outside of bearings because
the dirt will stick to them and that slows you down.
This is an option on most recreational skates
if you look for it. What a rocker does, is drop the
two middle wheels a little further down than the two
outside wheels. This is to make turning quicker and
sharper. Most Hockey skates are automatically rockered.
You can usually find the switch or plastic holder on
the frame somewhere, most likely in the center of the
boot area (pic #4).