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This week's column:

Is the Weight of My Skates Important?

March 28, 2012




QHi, Bill: Do I need to worry about the weight of my skates? I am a 36-year-old male, 5 foot 9 and 140 pounds. I thought maybe that keeping my skates light would compensate for my skinny legs. So I use micro bearings and buy lightweight wheels. But it seems you sacrifice rebound with lighter wheels, and now I am wondering if skate weight is such a big deal. Thanks. - Chuck from Duluth.

Ask the Coach!

Hi, Chuck: There’s no need to worry too much about the weight of your skates.

Skating goes through phases. At one point, we were on heavy clap skates. Then we moved to skates with 100mm wheels. These were nice for many skaters.

But before long the skate industry pushed us on to 110mm wheels. Initially, there were concerns about the extra weight for smaller skaters.

But it turned out that the weight of the 110mm setups was less important than their length. The longer wheelbase proved a challenge for skaters with smaller feet.

Nonetheless, many young and smaller skaters are doing well on 110mm setups (either 4x110 or 3x100 + 1x100). And they use regular — not micro — bearings.

The 110mm setups are not light. But the weight doesn’t slow you down as long as you learn proper skate technique, especially how to take advantage of the extended roll of big wheels.

In fact, at times — such as when you drive your foot forward on the setdown — the extra weight might even give you a little added umph to your roll.

Some elite skaters will always be keen on keeping down the weight of their skates. And if they have a generous sponsor, they can afford to do this.

But there is little evidence that this makes much of a difference.

The important thing is to learn how to get maximum roll from the bigger — and yes, heavier — wheels.

You are right about lightweight wheels: they tend to have poor rebound. And that makes them a poor choice for outdoor skating on roads or trials.

If you skate outdoors, stick with high quality outdoor wheels — there are lots of good choices — and learn to make them roll.

Cheers, Bill

Ask Bill Begg!

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World renowned coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating in his weekly advice column, "Ask Bill Begg!" ... Every Wednesday on the Inline Planet.