Switching up my wheels…

Disclaimer: Doing some shop talk with wheel choices in this post. Wheels don’t make you a better skater, but they can help you increase your skill with more speed, agility, etc. I’m passing on what info I’ve learned from my own research and talking to others; your wheel-choice-journey may differ greatly from mine. But I hope you learn a little bit from what I went through to choose.

I just ordered 8 more babies…

My pushers, 38 mm, 88a

My hard wheels 38 mm, 93a

Going into this derby business, I never knew how much I would stress over wheels and bearings. The choices are unimaginable!

Skate wheels come in multiple combinations of shapes, sizes and hardness. Picking the right wheels depends on your skill level, the surface you skate on and what you want out of them.

After skating on my 38mm wide Radar Pure outdoor wheels for so many weeks (which are on sale right now and can be found here and I HIGHLY recommend them), switching to my 44mm wide Radar Flat-out indoor wheels was a challenge. I felt like I was tripping over my own feet, locking wheels with other skaters and even banging my own wheels together all the time. My cornering felt forced and I just felt clumsy all around.

You’d think 6mm wouldn’t make a huge difference… it does.

So the search for my new wheels began. Part of the challenge is we don’t have a permanent venue to play at and many of these wheels are manufactured with certain surfaces in mind. Right now we skate on an old wood floor and sorta-polished concrete.

Completely opposite end of spectrum. Boourns.

On slick surfaces you need softer wheels so you don’t slide out around corners. On wood surfaces, you need a harder wheel to make up for the soft floor. (But trust me, wood floors aren’t soft when you whack your tailbone on it.)

I’m also considered a smaller skater, so I need to be careful to choose a wheel that is soft enough to allow me to dig into the floor when I need it. Choosing a too-hard-of-wheel will cause me to slide out in all sorts of different directions.

So after chatting back and forth with Lisa from Rollergirl, I decided to try a combo of 2 sticky wheels and 2 hard wheels per skate to work with both surfaces.

My white wheels will be riding on the left side of each skate. When I push, that’s the side I push from and also use to do various stops, so that’s where I’m going to let the softer wheels ride first to try them out.

My purple wheels will be riding on the right side of each skate. These are going to be the hardest wheels I’ve skated on to date. I’m really curious how they are going to perform and if I’m going to feel every bump on the track as a result. It will also make doing anti-derby (skating in the opposite direction) a little more interesting at practice.

The range of hardness for skate wheels is large. Also called the durometer and measured on an A-Scale, lower numbers mean softer wheels, higher numbers are harder. Here’s where my choices lie, and for reference, I’m >120lbs…

>86a
86a
88a – PUSHERS
90a
92a
93a – SPEEDYS
96a
<96a

So my combo is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

I’m nervous these won’t be sticky enough to hold me to the track, but I guess I’ll have to wait until they are appropriately broken in before deciding for sure.

I’m going to continue switching out my bearings between my wheels instead of buying another set for these. But when I DO decide to get another pair of bearings, I’m going to be hitting up my local skate shop on 5th Street to get those. (They have taught me lots about purchasing and taking care of bearings. If anyone is in the market for a set, I recommend going to talk to them.)

P.S. The best part? As I was writing this post, I got notification my order has already been shipped!!! I love rollergirl.ca!!!! Happy birthday to me!!!!

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