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Updated: Oct 6

ProGuide

Understanding Bearings and Wheels

Navigating tech, components, and approaches

 

Use this ProGuide and all ProGuides for professional guidance at any level—whether you're a non-athlete (hobbyist), parent, athlete, coach, or simply browsing our ProShop. This ProGuide covers all bearings and wheels sold in our ProShop, which are made by Roll-Line® in Italy. #MadeInItaly


CONTENTS

click to jump to a section below

Getting Started

• Bearing Press

• Bearings

• Wheels

• Mixing/Matching Wheels

• Wear-and-Tear: Replacing Wheels

• Roll-Line YouTube Tutorial

• Outdoor & Recreational Wheels


 

Getting Started


Wheels and bearings are the first of a handful of components with a direct relationship between you and the results you seek. When you buy new wheels, it's best to buy new bearings too. This rule of thumb applies equally to hobbyists and athletes.


Approach for Athletes

When you buy them together, they age together. This buying habit is especially helpful if you happen to have just one pair of skates (freestyle) and must change your wheels for figure/loop and dance practice—not uncommon in the first year—because of one immediate reason: You will not want to remove your freestyle wheels (8), all the bearings (16), and reinsert them (16) into other wheels such as figure/loop wheels and/or dance wheels on a daily basis. Not only is this an inconvenience, but it's a big waste of time. More importantly, it mitigates risk because removing bearings so often can eventually damage a bearing or bearings, causing you to sit out on valuable practice for days and even weeks on end while you await your new set of bearings by mail. Should this happen at a meet, you could even miss your freestyle/figure/dance event at a competition, meaning a loss of money and time on a much larger scale. At the end of the day and throughout your career, you will accrue a bunch of bearings and you'll never regret starting fresh (new wheels and new bearings) and having some on hand when an emergency arises.


What You Need


Bearing Press

The estrattore (bearing press) is an invaluable tool for every household and club. It could be required if you (or your coach) do not currently have one. So, if you purchase wheels and bearings separately, the estrattore is purchased at the same time. In my experience, rinks don't lend out bearing presses and you should never use anything but a bearing press to remove and insert bearings—ignoring this is a costly decision in both time and money.


Solutions

The estrattore (bearing press) is not required if you or your coach already have access to one or purchase a Soluzione (Solution) such as a Complete Skate Package (CSP) or Bearing-in-Wheel Combos. However, Combos are priced slightly higher than buying a set of wheels and a set of bearings separately, to accommodate for time, so you may find that having a bear press is best for you in the long term.


Note: No component from a Combo, like CSPs, is eligible for refunds, exchanges, or returns.


 

Bearings

Bearings are, in our opinion, one of the most important components with regard to your skates. Get started by determining the diameter of your frame's axles. All Roll-Line® artistic frames' axles use 7 MM axles. If your frame's axles are 7 mm, you need Speed Max. If your frame's axles are 8 mm in diameter, you need ABEC 9.



 
Wheels

When shopping for wheels, there are a handful of factors to consider. The term Diameter refers to the size or height, when looking at the wheel. Profile refers to the width of the wheel, or how much wheel width you will have touching the skating surface. As the wheel ages, its Profile will diminish as it cones (see: Care & Maintenance below). Finally, each wheel class has a range of Hardnesses, each with its own color and shore number. The lower the shore number, the softer the wheel (for its class) and more grip; the higher the shore number, the harder the wheel, with slightly less grip. Use the following subsections learn more.


Note for Hobbyists

For non-athletes, we suggest starting with the Libero (57 MM) or Danza (61 MM) options described below.

 

Obbligatorio

Figures & Loops

Restrictions: Athletes in artistic only


For Obbligatorio, or Figures & Loops, use Giotto Obbligatorio wheels in one of five colors (hardnesses) according to the skate surface you use. These wheels are 63 MM in diameter, with a profile of 21 MM.


 

Danza & Jam/Rhythm

Solo, Couples, Groups, Show, Jam/Rhythm


For Danza, Jam, and Rhythm, use Ice by Roll-Line® in one of five colors (hardnesses) according to the skate surface you use. Ice wheels are 61 MM in diameter, with a profile of 24 MM.


 

Libero

Singles & Pairs

Discipline Overlap: Hobbyists, Freedance, Jam & Rhythm


For freestyle (singles and pairs), hobbyists, jam/rhythm, use one of three classes of wheels by Roll-Line: Learn about each below using the gallery sliders and accompanying text descriptions.


GIOTTO LIBERO (1 of 3)

Giotto Libero is 57 MM in diameter with a profile of 21 MM.



PROFESSIONAL (2 of 3)

Professional by Roll-Line is 57 MM in diameter with a profile of 24 MM.


DEVIL (3 of 3)

Devil by Roll-Line is 57 MM in diameter with a profile of 24 MM.

 

Mixing & Matching Wheels

When training and competing on a single surface, varying surfaces, and multiple surfaces, taking the step of understanding how and when to mix and match wheels can mean all the difference.


Reminder

Never mix wheels of different sizes (diameters). All of our ProShop's freestyle wheels are 57 MM in diameter. Ice's diameter is 61 MM; Giotto Obbligatorio for figures and loops are the largest at 63 MM. Helium, for outdoors, is 64 MM in diameter. If you already use Roll-Line wheels, the diameter can be found printed on the wheel's hub.


Factors to Consider

Other factors to consider include the skater's skill level, the wheel/product itself, and of course, the skating surface in reference. Mixing wheels of two or more hardnesses can alter the athlete's experience—increasing the athlete's confidence and attack—and of course, can improve the athlete's output during training sessions and when competing. With so many factors at play, it's possible to create and experiment with numerous combinations, provided you have a range of wheels at your disposal.


Shore Scale

The softer the wheel—or the lower the Shore hardness number—the greater the grip and the slightly lower the smoothness. The harder the wheel, or the greater the Shore hardness number, the greater the smoothness and slightly less grip. When switching between Magnum/Giotto and Devil it is good practice to consider a lower hardness than the one used previously (e.g.: Magnum/Giotto 49 → Devil 47).


The Shore scale for any product (wheel) offers a range of options, but the wheels used should be in succession. For example, Devil comes in seven (7) options, each with a unique Shore or hardness rating from 36 to 53. The softest is 36, the hardest is 53. Therefore, you should pair them with their neighbor in the scale itself: 36 pairs with 39; 39 can pair with its softer neighbor (36) or with 42.



EXAMPLE • 2 Hardnesses

Generally speaking, the softer wheel (light green) provides more grip and therefore should be used on the pressure points as shown in the image below. The harder wheel (dark green) of the two plays the role of a sliding wheel, helping to improve speed and smoothness.



EXAMPLE • 3 Hardnesses

The following examples use three different types of wheels: the softest is light green, the medium is dark green and the hardest of the three is black.



Source & Credit

 

Care & Maintenance

Wear-and-Tear: Replacing Wheels


When it's time to replace your wheels, you will want to use the following image as a reference and plan accordingly. Most wheels require minimum break-in time, so as a rule of thumb, allow 1-2 weeks, prior to any test or competition.

Worn Wheels by Roll-Line®

Source & Credit

 

 

Outdoor & Recreational

Generally speaking, consumers aren't aware they need outdoor wheels for outdoor surfaces (recreational skating). They're equally unaware that using outdoor wheels on indoor skating surfaces, such as a rink, will only make the experience less enjoyable and could even prompt them to get kicked out or replace their skates with rentals. To protect your local facility's floor/surface, and avoid violating the facility's terms of use, everyone should always have and maintain a unique/dedicated set of wheels (bearings inserted) for indoor skating. Helium by Roll-Line® is an excellent wheel for outdoor skating and we've even launched two new Helium Combos in our ProShop, so you can buy your Helium with 7 MM bearings or Helium with 8 MM bearings. Voilà !


View all Outdoor-related products in our ProShop—including toe stops.








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