Roller Skating : The Skate

Parts of a Skate

Roller skate parts

The components of a roller skate

Roller skates may simply seem like a shoe strapped to four wheels, but there are numerous parts and a lot of maintanence is involved in keeping your roller skate rolling smoothly.

For skaters, the parts seen the most are probably wheels and bearings, as they require the most maintenance.

Wheel maintenance

Skating on a variety of surfaces means a variety of day-old skating rink grime stays fixed on your wheels unless you clean them regularly. There are some wheel-cleaning products that aren't terribly expensive, however, I've found that Windex works just as well to clean wheels.

Stuck-on grime can be picked off by hand or a house key, although you should be careful not to scratch and divot the surface of the wheel as this causes unnecessary wear.

Bearing maintanence

Outdoor skaters are especially at risk for getting dirty bearings quite quickly and will have to regularly remove bearings in order to clean them.

Bearings need to be soaked in a cleaning solution of your choice and then wiped clean with a cloth.

Without regular cleaning of bearings, rolling will become increasingly noisy and difficult, as well as a lot slower.

For a complete step-by-step guide on cleaning bearings, click here.

Types of Skates

Depending on the skater, there are different types of skates to accomodate different sports and styles.

  • Speed skates are generally low-ankle cut boot inline skates.
  • Figure skates are a popular high ankle boot, usually white, in quad skate format with softer wheels.
  • Derby skates are generally sturdier and look a lot like a speed skate on quad wheels. The wheels tend to be harder for faster skating.
An inline speed skate An artistic figure skate A quad speed skate

Left to right, a speed skate, a figure skate and a derby skate.