7 Tips For Buying The Perfect Roller Derby Skate Wheels

When it comes to roller derby, the wheels that you use really can make a difference in your gameplay.

Nonetheless, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration as well as choices that you need to make in order to buy the right wheels for you.

A Few Tips For You To Make This Process Easier

Look At The Size They Come With

All roller derby skates will come with a set size of wheels. If you look closely, sometimes they are not even all of the same sizes on the same skate. The wheel size that you buy to replace the skate wheels you have must be the same. 

Roller derby wheels usually come in 59 millimetre or 62 millimetres; do double check to make sure that you know the size that you are supposed to buy for the best overall performance.

Durometer Scale

Durometer is the system that is used to determine the hardness rating of wheels. Softer wheels need softer surfaces and lighter skaters or they will warp. Wheels that are higher on the durometer scale will hold up on more surfaces and can handle heavier weights.

Skating Surface

Whether you are an indoor or outdoor skater can also affect the type of wheels that you need for your roller derby skates. For roller derby, softer hardness ratings range from 88 to 92 and must be used only on indoor surfaces. 

Outdoor wheels can range from 93 to 99 in hardness, but stick with the harder wheels if you are going to be running into a lot of wear and tear and activity.

Skater Size

Your own weight as a roller derby skater can affect the wheels that you choose to buy. The lightest skaters can get lower durometer wheels because they will not warp under the skater’s weight.

A heavier skater needs harder wheels to really support them and help them get any power to their strides. Skaters of all sizes will want to get the most force from the skates possible, so it really comes down to your needs and supports.

Bearing Ratings

Every wheel has bearings inside of them in order to give you the best control possible. Bearings are replaceable and can affect your overall form. Each wheel comes with two bearings, which adds up to eight bearings per skate.

Bearings can come in either eight millimetres or seven millimetres, but they also each receive an ABEC rating that will tell you how well they turn.

The ABEC Ratings Break Down Like This:

  • ABEC 1 & 3: These are the cheapest type of wheel bearings that you can buy. They are good for beginners, but offer little help as far as turns and speed.
  • ABEC 5: This type of bearing is a nice middle of the road. They are better quality than the 1s and 3s and work great for intermediate skaters.
  • ABEC 7 & 9: These are the highest ratings that you can get for roller derby wheel bearings. They both have great quality and will give you a better ability to spin.
  • Wheel Width: Wheels do not only come with size choices, but they also can be purchased based on width. The thinner the wheel is, the more agile that you can be. The issue is that people of a lower skating ability will not be able to manoeuvre well on a thinner wheel and should really stick with the standard sizes.

Hub And Edges

The hub is the plastic or metallic piece that houses the bearings within each wheel. Hubs are made from nylon, aluminum, or can be a hybrid between them.

Nylon hubs are the least expensive, but they are also cheaply made and will not last. 

Aluminum hubs are heavier than the nylon hubs are. 

The edge of the wheel can also affect your decision when it comes to choosing the right wheel for your needs. Edges are engaged during any skate and they affect the performance of your skating. The wheels that have an overhang over the hub have soft edges, will be easier to flex and traction.

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