In the second part of our blog to learn how in-line skates are made, we looked at the history of in-line skates and how they were developed. In this edition we concentrate on the actual parts and build of the roller skate and what materials are used.
The Parts of an In-Line Skate
Today’s modern in-line skate has wheels that are made out of polyurethane that are fixed to a chassis that is either aluminum or toughened plastic. This chassis is known as the truck and holds the wheels firmly in-line by means of bolts. Some models allow for the wheels to be swapped or changed. On top of all this, the chassis is then fixed to a molded boot which again is usually made out of light polyurethane with velcro fixings or straps to hold the foot in place. Sometimes the boot can be made of leather, or a combination of leather and polyurethane. Completing the skate is a brake which, unlike on other skates, is at the rear and is commonly made from rubber.
It is imperative that the boots of your in-line skate give your ankles proper support, and that they are at least three to four inches higher than your ankle. Similar to ski boots, the upper and lower parts are connected via a hinge that gives flexibility to the ankle. The boots are normally lined with a material that can soak up sweat and are made out of foam or a type of toweling.
The general rule of thumb is that the harder your wheels are on your skates, the faster you will actually able to go. The wheels have two ball bearings on each wheel that are separated by a plastic spacer, sometimes metal. These bearings help the wheels spin freer and easier, and the plastic spacer stops the bearings from coming into contact with one another.
Your simple in-line roller skate is actually a highly sophisticated piece of technology, and the materials used for making a pair have been developed over time. Even some skating manufacturers are using Kevlar and carbon fiber as well as other high-tech modern materials. It is common for wheels of in-line skates to be made of polyurethane, with the skate chassis being made from steel or even urethane. The frames that are the backbone of the skate are lightweight and made from titanium, carbon fiber or aluminum.
The Manufacturing Process
There are four distinct processes that are used in making a pair of in-line skates: making the shell of the boot, insertion of the inner lining, the adding of all the attachments, and finally assembly of the wheels. The future of in-line skates looks good, in-line skates are commonly used in many sports around the world, as well as being a favorite pastime for many people. Newer models of skates are continuously being developed that are lighter, faster, and more comfortable as well as more fashionable. Associated clothing, as in skateboarding, is also making the roller-skating industry more prosperous and bigger, and there is no doubt this trend will only continue.