It’s been a long time since I’ve done some tricks while rollerblading. When I was in high school, I wasn’t afraid to try out new tricks. Now that I’m getting older, it seems like I don’t want to try it because I don’t want to get hurt but the urge is still there. It might be a bit late to start now because fall is just around the corner but I think that if I start a little now, I’ll have something to look forward to when summer comes.
The rollerblades that I have now aren’t made for tricks. It’s the recreational type which is used for fun. I’ve had this pair of rollerblades for about seven years now. It was the first thing that I bought with my first pay cheque. Over the years, I’ve upgraded the bearings from ABEC 3 to ABEC 7 which gives me a smoother ride. I rollerblade often so the wheels get worn out fairly quickly. I usually get new a set of wheels every two years. Sometimes I have to change the wheels sooner because I’m too aggressive.
My rollerblades aren’t meant to be used to perform tricks so after a while you can see the strain. The wheel frame is starting to crack from the impacts of the landings. The chassis is plastic so it’ll absorb most of the impact and distribute it but it can’t withstand much. One of the chassis, the left one I believe, is starting to go. When I stride, I push off with my right foot harder than my left foot. But when I do crossovers to turn a sharp corner, I tend to push really hard with my left foot. The front wheel on the left boot gets worn out the most. After one session of rollerblading, I would have to rotate that wheel or else I will slip and fall the next time I do a crossover. That has happened a few times but luckily I’m not crouched down low enough to slip.
I haven’t actually taken the time to search around for a skate shop around town. So for the moment, I have to resort to eBay to see if I can find a pair. Anyone who has own a pair of rollerblades before will notice that aggressive inline skates aren’t your average rollerblades. The boot looks roughly the same but if you take a look at the wheel frame you will see a small groove in the center. That little groove helps with grinding. If you don’t know what grinding is, well, it’s when you’re sliding across something like a rail or a pipe. I think the easiest trick to do is a grind. Most aggressive inline skaters start with that. The best thing to start grinding on is a waxed sidewalk because it’s low too the ground and you won’t have to worry too much about falling hard. As you improve, you slowly work your way up to grinding on things that are higher off the ground.
I’ve tried grinding on things with the rollerblades that I have now but I wasn’t successfully in my attempt. The reason why you can’t grind with recreational rollerblades is because there’s no gap between the second and third wheel. So when you go to grind, the wheels get caught and your upper body goes one way while your feet stay put. Plus the wheels that come standard are rubbery wheels. I think there’s too much elasticity in those wheels which prevents you from grinding. If you’ve tried dragging something rubbery against a surface you will notice that there is a bit of friction. But if you dragged something harder like plastic, you would feel less friction. The wheels that come with aggressive inline skates are the harder ones.
Most recreational wheels have a hardness grade printed on them and they range from 78A to 82A. There are advantages to each grade depending on the purpose. The pair of rollerblades that I have now has 78A grade hardness. This is good because it provides better traction and higher shock absorption. It helps me take sharp corners because it has better grip. Due to the fact that it’s not hard, it reduces the amount of vibration on rough surfaces. These wheels, in combination with a high grade bearings, will result in a quieter and smoother ride.
On the other hand, 82A grade hardness would be better if you want to achieve higher speed on smooth surfaces. But if you come across a rough surface, there will be a bit more vibration. Because they are harder, they last longer and are more durable. They don’t wear down as fast as the 78A grades.
I’ve read that some bladers use a combination of grades for their wheel. They mix and match the wheels to achieve better shock absorption and higher durability. All my wheels are identical in hardness grade and size. I’ve never tried mixing them to achieve those results. I think I’ll try that next summer.
At the moment, there are two rollerblades that has caught my eye. The first is the BladeRunner Fury. The hard boot offers high durability so it’s not going to break really fast if I wipe it. The sole has plenty of room for grinding. The wheel chassis supports 58mm wheels. It comes with laces and buckles as the closure system.
The other one that I’m interested in is the Razor Cult Limited Edition. It may look a little weird because it only had two wheels. The third smaller wheel is a 38mm anti rocker wheel. I’m not sure exactly what an anti rocker wheel does but it caught my attention.
In preparation for next summer, I’m going to be looking around town to see if I can find a skate shop that sells these rollerblades. I’ve had had current pair for over five years now and I think it’s time for an upgrade. I don’t want to have to keep buying new wheels and bearings when I can get a whole new rollerblade altogether. And it’s not like I’m going to be going all out with the tricks and stuff either. There aren’t too many skate parks around town so I’ll have to practice on government property. Have you notice that a lot of the government buildings are made for skates? They have all of the right obstacles and rails right outside their main entrances. It’s like they asking all the skates to go there and skate. But who knows, maybe I’ll get good enough to compete in the X Games.