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Beginners guide to Wheel Rotation PDF Print
Written by Elric   
Sunday, 23 December 2007

  1. What is wheel rotation?
  2. Why should I care?
  3. How do I do it?

Before commencing any of this work be sure you have read and understand the following information, If you still donít feel confident then please ask either on the forums or ask next time you visit us, please see the calendar for more information.

What is wheel rotation?
When referring to wheel rotation, we donít mean how a wheel rotates around its centre (axis), we actually are referring to a practice where by wheels are moved from one position to another. When any object uses more than one wheel there will be different stresses and wear on each wheel.
Just for information here are some links that explain the principal in other forms of transport: Automobiles, Bicycles.

Whilst skating it is inevitable that you will impose different stresses to the sides and surface of each wheel, you are very much likely to impose much greater wear on the inside edges of your wheels, (this is the side of the wheel that faces the other skate) the reason for this is that it is the area of wheel you will most surely use as a beginner to push against the road surface in order to gain momentum, it is also the same area of wheel that a more advanced skater will use to control speed and brake with.

Much more information is available on the internet though search engine like google but as a beginner you only really need to know what is explained here.

Why should I care?
Wheel rotation will improve performance:
Unbalanced wheels (wheels of different sizes) will create less grip because itís much better to have 4 points of contact with the ground than it is to have 2 (reference to one skate only), you will also find your skates behaviour improves when the edges are more correctly shaped and also you may find your speed has improved, It actually will be improved because a smaller contact area causes less friction but as a beginner you may or may not notice the difference depending on your experience.

As a beginner you will probably appreciate the monetary gain from rotating your wheels, yes thatís right, it can and very likely will save you money. As a beginner you are likely to wear the front wheels out more quickly and as mentioned before the inside edges, correct wheel rotation will spread this wear more evenly around all of your wheels and in doing so will mean your current wheels will last longer as a set, wearing down together rather than finding your front wheels wearing down very fast and creating a situation where you will need to buy a replacement set due to just a couple of wheels. You may also find that as a beginner your probably using the wheels supplied with your new skates which are likely to be a soft composition which will wear faster than a harder material.

How do I do it?
This is quite simple and once you have understood what it requires you can adapt it to better suit yourself.

Firstly, you may already like me do the initial step without even realising it! Whenever I take off my skates or pick them up ready to put them on, for some reason I always seem to turn them over and give the wheels a quick spin with my fingers, perhaps I cant wait until I get them on my feet again before I can see them spinning, anyway whatever the reason, giving your wheels a quick once over can avoid potential problems like small stones stuck between the wheels or the wheels and the frames, worn out bearings or uneven wheel wear.

Just quickly turn them over (as seen in the picture) and run your finger over each one while looking for obvious problems.  How often you rotate your wheels is going to be down to you to decide and it varies depending on many different factors including your style of skating, your weight and the surface you choose to skate on.
What to look for, as a beginner you should just be looking at the profile of the wheels, in the picture left you can see two wheels.  The white wheel on the right has a good shape, much like you would find on a new wheel. Whilst the grey wheel on the left has obvious signs of wear and if your wheels are looking anything like the left one then now is the time to rotate them.
Wheels that are rotated will develop a new shape without the rounded edge but they are quite acceptable, see above image.
Once you wheels have worn down from something like the wheel on the right to something like the wheel on the left then itís time to buy new ones, after all there is only so much we can do to preserve them.

As your wheels wear you will notice the peak of your wheel moving away from the centre towards its edge, simply turning this wheel around on itís axle will then wear the other edge causing the peek to move back towards the middle and then later to move towards the other edge but this is not enough for a proper wheel rotation. We have established that wheels wear more on one edge than the other but there is also other wear which the proper rotation will combat. You will probably have already realised that you have a better side for balancing on or pushing with and so unavoidably one skate will have taken more wear than the other one, you may also notice that your front wheels have taken more wear than the rear ones as your balance will probably be towards the front of your skate.

Proper rotation takes care of all these wear issues and here is a simple rotation solution commonly know as 1/3 Ė 2/4.

You lay your skates out as in the following picture.

Image The procedure is to exchange wheel number 1 from the left skate with wheel number 3 from the right skate and then to exchange wheel number 1 from the right skate with wheel number 3 from the left skate, this is the 1/3 part of the name mentioned previously. Now you can probably guess the 2/4 part yourself but just in case, exchange wheel number 2 from the left skate with wheel number 4 from the right skate and then exchange wheel number 2 from the right skate with wheel number 4 from the left skate.

During this process do not turn your wheels, the outer facing side of the wheel will now be facing inwards, If you have pretty pictures on one side of your wheels then after wheel rotation they are not going to show but donít worry they will be back again next time you rotate your wheels.

There are other rotation techniques and you can find out about these using google or almost any other search engine but for now you can be happy that you understand wheel rotation and be happy that following this simple advice your wheels will last longer and your skating will be a more pleasant experience.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 January 2008 )
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