5 wheel vs 4-wheel inline skates, what’s better for different skating styles and skill levels?
Are 5-Wheel Inline Skates Good for Beginners?
New to inline skating and wondering what’s the best wheel setup for that skill level? I recommend that you start with a 4-wheel setup. Why?
It’s because four-wheel skates are good at almost everything. They’re good for stability and even going downhill. However, wobbling could happen particularly if the wheelbase is pretty short. Four-wheelers are also a decent bet for urban skating, tricks, and everything in between.
Note: the way any 4-wheel skate handles will vary depending on whether it’s a hard boot or a sot boot. You sure can urban skate and perform a whole bunch of tricks on soft boots, but they’re wanting in the ankle support department.
Hard jumps and tricks require lots of ankle support, so use a hard boot. Here’s a video we put together to explain the differences between soft-boot and hard-boot inline skates.
Five-wheelers aren’t bad for beginners, but they take some time to get used to in my experience. The first time I put them, all I could do was penguin-waddling.
More wheels make these skates somewhat heavier and bulkier. Also, steering is more difficult ,especially if you have a flat setup.
Someday soon, though, you’ll start wondering what it feels like to skate a 5-wheeler. That’s when you’ll give in and spend a small fortune on a new frame that supports this wheel configuration. And what will you say to your SO when they finally discover that credit card charge? Well, cross that bridge when you reach it haha.
4-Wheeler or 5-Wheeler for Wizard Skating?
Both setups are good for wizard skating, but I recommend 5-wheel setups for wizard skating every time.
I used to be a staunch supporter of 4-wheel setups. But a friend let me try their 5-wheel setup once for wizard skating, and I instantly became a convert!
While I still ride 4-wheel rollerblades, I love the indescribable smoothness, stability, and maneuverability I experience when wizard skating on my 5-wheel speed skates. Tricks I struggled with on 8 wheels suddenly became easier when I started riding 10 wheels.
I believe the longer wheelbase of a 5-wheeler accounts for that. Firstly, there’s quite a few ways you can rocker the wheels to create all kinds of amazing experiences. Secondly, when cornering, the turns feel somehow sharper and cleaner, and I love it.
Is a 5 wheeler good for urban skating?
Yes, a 5 wheel setup works well for urban skating. But if you’re planning on doing a whole ton of urban skating, a 4-wheeler would be the best setup for you.
If 60 percent of your skating will happen in urban environments, I suggest that you go with a 4 wheeler, because it works a little better. The frame is shorter and the wheelbase shorter, and that makes turning on a dime in crowded urban environments that much easier.
4 or 5 wheel Inline Skates for Downhill skating?
Nothing works better than a 5 wheeler when inline skating downhill. This setup feels super stable when bombing hills, and there’s no wobbling.
This 4-wheel flying eagle skate wobbles when I’m skating fast down this hill, but wobbling never happens when I’m rolling down the same hill at speed with my 5-wheeler.
If you’re an intermediate-level skater wanting to get into downhill rollerblading, maybe it’s time to get a new frame and a new wheel setup. The longer wheelbase of a 5-wheel inline skate takes stability to a whole new level. Get it!
Speed: Who Wins the Race More Often?
I skate with a guy called Rogers, or Rogerstheskater as we fondly call him. We once held a small contest that involved me, him, and three other guys.
The race had us barreling down Nairobi’s Ngong hills. Two of us skated 5 wheelers while the rest skated four wheelers. All of us have been skating for years, Rogers has even won medals competing in foreign lands.
Guess what? I and my 5-wheel dude left the four-wheel side in the dust! Not only did we accelerate faster, but we also saw a greater level of stability while traveling at high speeds.
So, five-wheelers are faster than four wheelers. What’s more, they offer more grip and control at high speeds. Absolutely no wobbling.
4 vs 5 Wheel Rollerblades: Verdict?
Four-wheelers may be a little bit more versatile than 5-wheelers, but 5 wheels spice up the ride in ways no other wheel configuration can.
Wizard skating and downhill skating? 5-wheel inline skates are the clear winner. And for urban skating and everything else, 4-wheel inline skates work well enough.