Inline skates can roll really fast depending on a slew of factors. Some of the factors that could affect your skating speed include your skating ability and the size of the wheels. Wheel hardness/softness, wind resistance, pavement quality, and even bearing quality can also make a significant difference. But how fast can you go on rollerblades? This post answers that question and more.
Related: How to Make Inline Skates Faster
- How Fast Can Inline Skaters Go?
- Who’s the Fastest Inline Skater in the World?
- How Long Will It Take to Travel a Mile on Rollerblades?
- How to Skate Really Fast On Rollerblades
- What Determines How Fast Inline Skates Can Go?
- 7 Factors That Affect How Fast You Go on Inline Skates
- 1. Size and Number of Wheels on Your Skates
- 2. Your Inline Skating Ability
- 3. The Quality of Your Inline Skate Bearings
- 4. The Quality of the Pavement
- 5. Hardness vs. Softness of Your Rollerblade Wheels
- 6. Wind Resistance Or Drag
- 7. Gradient or Slope of the Road or Trail
- Small Rollerblade Wheels vs. Large Rollerblade Wheels
- What’s Special About 3-Wheeled Inline Skates?
- How Fast Can You Roll On Inline Skates? Wrapping It Up
How Fast Can Inline Skaters Go?
Average inline skaters can attain speeds hovering around 8mph-16mph. In comparison, the fastest inline skaters can sustain an average speed of 25mph. But some speed skaters can reach pretty high speeds, sometimes rolling along at 40mph or even faster. Speeds of up to 60mph have been posted on some courses, but that’s certainly not average speed skating.
Who’s the Fastest Inline Skater in the World?
Sandro Bovo posted the fastest speed on inline skates in February 2016. Bovo currently holds the world’s record as the swiftest rollerblader ever according to the Guinness World Records.
This athlete mesmerized the entire skating world when he reached 77.47mph in Teutonia, Brazil. Think about it: 124.67km/h!
I drive, and any time my speedometer reads slightly past 120km/h (roughly 75mph), I cringe. Yet this guy had the audacity to cruise at a breakneck speed of 125 km per hour.
That’s unbelievable, but it happened.
How Long Will It Take to Travel a Mile on Rollerblades?
Well, that will depend on how fast you’re skating and whether that speed is consistent. If you’re rolling down the road at 10 mph, it’ll take you just 6 minutes to cover 1 mile.
What if you’re traveling at just 5 miles per hour? In this case, you’ll reach your 1-mile destination in just 3 minutes. And if you’re skating faster, say at 12 mph, it’ll take you just 5 minutes to clear one mile.
In the final analysis, how fast you skate one mile depends on your riding speed and the overall consistency of your rollerblading speed.
How to Skate Really Fast On Rollerblades
To go faster on inline skates, you need really strong muscles coupled with a few other factors. Your skating technique needs to be good, and your skates should be designed or souped-up for speed.
In terms of technique, being able to sprint at the start of your skating session can help you roll really fast. Also, being able to do crossovers like a pro can help you exit corners like some bat out of hell.
Boot design (wheel size) also comes into play when it comes to speed. If you have strong leg muscles and have great skating skills, having large-diameter wheels on your skates can really supercharge your motion.
What Determines How Fast Inline Skates Can Go?
I’ve mentioned speed-related elements at various places in this post. But in this section, I want us to get a little more focused on what exactly determines skating speed.
So below are….
7 Factors That Affect How Fast You Go on Inline Skates
- Wheel Size and number
- Your skating ability
- The quality of the bearings
- The quality of the pavement
- Wheel durometer: hardness vs. softness of the wheels
- Wind resistance
- The gradient of the Surface
Let’s now examine all 7 factors affecting inline skating speed.
1. Size and Number of Wheels on Your Skates
Fact: Rollerblade wheels with a larger diameter roll faster than inline skate wheels with a smaller diameter.
Also, more wheels generally means slower speed. That’s because the more the wheels, the smaller their diameter.
Read the section below to learn more about how wheel size affects skating speed as well as other aspects.
Speed skates typically have large wheels, usually three.
2. Your Inline Skating Ability
If you have mastered the art and science of inline skating, you can make your rollerblades roll really fast. So, master as many rollerblading techniques as you can and your skating speed will definitely get a boost.
Strength train if you need to, and make sure to develop your body muscles. Skater strength + skating ability = rolling speed.
3. The Quality of Your Inline Skate Bearings
Experts and gurus out there want you to believe that bearing quality is the most important speed determinant. But that’s not correct.
Related: How to Buy Inline Skate Bearings
I agree that bearings do affect roll smoothness and even speed, but they’re not the most important factor.
In an ideal world, higher ABEC-rated bearings should roll faster and better than lower ABEC bearings. But that’s not always the case in reality.
I’ve purchased ABEC 7 inline skate bearings that rolled like ABEC 3 bearings. And I’ve skated ABEC 5 bearings that flew like A BEC 7 options.
And while everyone praises ceramic and Swiss-rated bearings as the best bearings that can be had, that’s not everyone’s experience.
So, do this: buy well-rated bearings from reputable skate brands such as Bones and break them in. And no, don’t always pick up the cheapest bearings you can find.
Instead, buy an option the vast majority of skaters say good things about.
In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with Bones ABEC 7 bearings. But your skating skill and wheel size are a greater speed determinant than bearing quality.
4. The Quality of the Pavement
Pavement quality is another factor that determines your rolling speed. Generally, the rougher the pavement, the slower you’ll go, and vice-versa.
Fresh asphalt makes for a great riding surface, but fresh tar can be pretty sticky. If you ride your skates over a newly paved road, expect to go slower due to increased resistance. And be careful or you’ll skid suddenly and crash.
5. Hardness vs. Softness of Your Rollerblade Wheels
Harder wheels roll faster than softer wheels. Durometer is a term used to describe how soft or hard a wheel is, and it ranges from 0 to 100.
A wheel with a lower durometer value is softer than a wheel with a higher durometer number and vice versa.
But while harder wheels are speedier than softer wheels, they falter in the shock-absorption department.
So, how much hardness would be considered ideal for rollerblading wheels? Well, the right wheel durometer is something personal.
What durometer you or someone else eventually chooses is a matter of personal preference. That said, I’d say a durometer of 85A to 90A should work well for pretty much every speed junkie. It’s best to test different hardness or softness levels to find your sweetest duro spot.
6. Wind Resistance Or Drag
Sailors long ago relied on winds for forward propulsion of their vessels. That’s because the wind can be a super powerful force — especially when it’s working for you.
But when the wind is blowing against you during a ride, you’re going to experience drag or wind resistance. And wind resistance certainly slows you down.
On the other hand, wind resistance can be a great ally when it’s blowing against your back. In that case, you’ll definitely go faster.
That’s why you want to listen to the weatherman before you hit the road, park, or trail. If it’s going to be super windy and chilly, you’ll want to dress appropriately for the situation.
Additionally, you’ll have to be OK with traveling noticeably slower even when exerting the same amount of push power.
7. Gradient or Slope of the Road or Trail
Obviously, going downhill builds up speed faster than flatland skating. The steeper the surface you’re skating, the faster you’ll go. Need I say more?
Remember, downhill skating is when the majority of inline skating accidents happen. So, gear up and take care when downhill rollerblading.
Small Rollerblade Wheels vs. Large Rollerblade Wheels
Tall rollerblade wheels outrun smaller wheels and are the best option if speed is super important to you. There’s a reason no speed skater ever uses rollerblades having 80mm wheels.
Smaller wheels keep you closer to the ground, that is, smaller wheels translate into a lower center of gravity. And a lower center of gravity equates to increased stability.
Another aspect where smaller inline skate wheels beat larger-diameter wheels is acceleration. Boots on smaller wheels see greater acceleration than small-wheeled skates.
What’s more, smaller wheels offer more maneuverability than do larger wheels. That’s why most street skaters and aggressive skating enthusiasts prefer smaller wheels.
The reverse is also true. Larger wheels have you standing higher off the ground. And that means less stability.
But while larger wheels sacrifice stability and maneuverability, they win spectacularly in the speed department.
Some of the fastest inline skates on Earth have wheels as large as 125mm. Some of the best rollerblades for rough roads on the market are also some of the swiftest ever made.
What’s Special About 3-Wheeled Inline Skates?
Three-wheeled inline skates can be super fast, much faster than you imagine. Because the wheels are fewer, the frame tends to be shorter, and that means more maneuverability.
Also, three-wheeled skates have bigger wheels than 4-wheeled or 5-wheeled inline skates. And as explained above, bigger wheels translate into faster speed. Speed skates usually have three wheels, and the wheels can be as tall as 125mm.
So, 3-wheel inline skates roll really fast, turn easier, and are easier to maneuver or perform rollerblading tricks with. However, these skates aren’t very stable. Make sure to wear proper roller skating gear before you strap these boots on…because 3-wheeled rollerblades don’t roll — they fly!
How Fast Can You Roll On Inline Skates? Wrapping It Up
You now have a clear idea of how fast you can go on your inline skates. Be sure to put on proper inline skating gear. Crashes aren’t rare in rollerblading, you know. And remember, speed skating isn’t for everyone. If you’re a beginner or intermediate-level skater, speed skates are probably not what you should be riding.