Inline Skating Knowledge: Rotating Wheels
"Why should I
rotate my wheels? Don't they do this all the time?"Ok,
joking aside... why should I?
Have a look at your wheels - chances are
they are not as brand new as they used to be. Instead you start wearing them
down - more on your stronger foot than the weaker one, more on the inside than
the outside, and more towards the front if you're a beginner or intermediate
skater. Rotating them evens out this wear pattern (and can also do other things
- see below), thus saving you money by extending the active life of your wheels.
Rotating your wheels also ensures acceptable behavior from your skates - having
badly worn wheels mounted can really affect your skating!
OK, I see. So what do
I need to do?
If you ask 10 experienced skaters how to rotate your
wheels you'll get 11 different opinions. At least. Here is one experienced
you need to do is have a look at your wheels, and when they start showing wear,
rotate them in one of the ways described below. Use this handy chart for
A: a perfectly new and
unworn wheel. No need for any action here...
B & C: uneven wear
on wheel, these urgently need to be rotated
D: who are we
kidding? if your wheels look like this all you can do is chuck them out,
and get some new ones. You'll be surprised how your skates behave all of a
sudden ;-) And next time rotate them before they look that
like a pain - how frequently do I have to do this?
Five minutes work,
maybe a few more the first time you do this... rotating wheels doesn't need to
be a pain or a chore. There's no fixed rule for frequency, as it depends on a
lot of factors, like the wheels you're using, your weight, your skating style,
the surface you're skating on... some people only need to work their
wheels once a year, others (like yours truly) needs to do so after every bigger
skating session or street skate. Keep it simple: each time you come back home
from skating, have a look at your wheels. If they are worn and look asymmetrical
then rotate them before you put your skates away. That way you'll always have
properly set up skates to grab when your run out of the house!
Basic wheel rotation for a flat setupFlat setup? See here
for more details...
OK, here's the classic 1-3/2-4
rotation. A good place to begin to even out the wheel wear.
you always turn the worn side towards the outside of your skates when you
put the wheel into its new position!
Alternate this rotation with the 4-1-2-3
variant on the right
to ensure best results
If your wheels are beyond saving, or
simply too small, then you'll have to purchase and put on an entire set of
8 wheels in one go, moving the bearings from the old to the new wheels.
Take a note of in what order things came off so you can put them back like
this, and make sure you don't lose any of the parts!
Advanced wheel rotation
You can get much
more life out of your wheels if you use the techniques below. But beware, these
will change the behavior of your skates, as you create a HiLo
or a HiLo
Rocker setup, respectively. The decision is yours... I can only recommend
these setups! Plus, if you start from a flat setup, then the transition will be
gradual, giving you time to get used to the changed behavior of your
For these rotations you need to take
out all the wheels first, and then order them by size. If it's hard to
decide which of two wheels is bigger then it won't really matter which
order you put them in, so don't spend hours doing this...
If you feel the smallest wheels are getting
too small, or they start 'coring' (the polyurethane starts coming of the
core of the wheel), then you discard the two smallest wheels, and add two
new wheels (move the bearings and spacers to the new wheels!) at the other
end of the stack of wheels, like this:
If the wheels are broken
then throw them out, else measure them, write the current size on them,
and place them in the 'spare wheels' bag every skater has for special
occasions or specific setups!
Ok, the actual rotation - get your
skates, upside down, and get your stack of wheels, too, and distribute
them as shown (remember, always put the worn side towards the outside of
For a HiLo setup
For a HiLo rocker setup
Both these diagrams assume that your right
foot is your stronger one, so the wheels on the right skate will be a
touch bigger then the ones on the left. If you're left-footed simply
reverse the left/right pattern for the correct effect.
- Depending on your frames and axles you'll need one or two Allen keys -
they should have come with your skates, but if you can't find them simply use
the ones from the IKEA furniture ;-)
- Be very careful not to lose any parts - hold on to any washers, axles,
bolts etc you're taking out, you will need them again!
- Look out for the longer axle for the brake attachment - this one needs to
go back exactly in the same place
- If you're switching wheels make sure you move all bearings before you
throw any wheels out (yes, I know people who...), and make sure you also move
the spacers between the bearings, too
DisclaimerSkating is a dangerous activity. Wear protection. No
responsibility is assumed by M.I.S.C. if you perform the tasks on this page, so you'll have to take responsibility for your own actions.
There's not guarantee that what works for others will work for you. Your mileage
will vary. Go skate.
to Markus for permission to reproduce this page.