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, the skating technique, boot type, the gradient of the slope, 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?
The average inline skater 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 tracks, but that’s certainly not average inline skating speed.
Who’s the Fastest Inline Skater in the World?
According to the Guinness World Records, the fastest speed ever recorded in line skating was 163.23 mph in 2001 in Sweden. But it’s seriously doubtful that the skater, Tobias Gustafsson, could have achieved the feat without a little help: towing.
Sandro Bovo from Italy posted the fastest speed on inline skates (Downhill) on 21st February 2016. Bovo currently holds the world’s record as the best-ever downhill inline skater 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 (75mph), I freak out. Yet this guy had the audacity to cruise at a breakneck speed of 125 km per hour. It’s unbelievable, but it happened.
Fun fact: Many of us may not have heard of Abdul Karim Habyarimana, a badass Burudian inline skater living in Rwanda. I’ve never seen anyone skate this fast and fluidly. You really don’t need to live in a region with the best-quality streets to become a living legend like Karim.
By the way, we’ll have Karim showcase his rare blading skills for the benefit of our fans next time he visits Nairobi. Watch Karim inline skating here. The video is 3 years old and has garnered 17 million views so far.
How Long Does It Take to Travel a Mile on Rollerblades?
Well, that depends 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 travel 1 mile. And if you’re traveling at 5 miles per hour, you’ll reach your 1-mile destination in 12 minutes. And if you’re inline 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 consistency of your rollerblading speed.
How to Skate Really Fast On Rollerblades
To go faster on inline skates, exert your muscles harder, and if you have strong legs, that’s even better. Also, use a great skating technique and ride on skates that have been souped up for speed.
Also, sprinting at the start of your skating session can help you roll really fast. And being adept at crossovers can help you exit turns like a bat flying out of hell.
If you have strong leg muscles and great skating skills, skating large-diameter wheels can really supercharge your motion. And if there’s lots of hilly terrains where you are, you’ll naturally skate faster haha.
In a nutshell, to go faster on rollerblades:
- Keep improving your skating technique.
- Push harder, quite literally.
- Learn how to bomb hills safely.
- Try to sprint at the beginning of the run.
- Skate larger wheels.
8 Factors That Determine How Fast You Can Go on Inline Skates
- Wheel Size and number of wheels
- Your skating ability/technique
- 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
- Boot type
We’ll now examine all 8 factors that affect inline skating speed.
1. Size and Number of Wheels on Your Skates
Rollerblade wheels with a larger diameter roll faster than smaller-sized wheels. And more wheels generally mean slower speed because the more wheels, the smaller they’re likely to be. Speed skates and long-distance rollerblades typically have large wheels.
Small Rollerblade Wheels vs. Big Ones
Tall rollerblade wheels outrun smaller ones and are the best bet if speed is super important to you. There’s a reason no speed skater ever uses 80mm rollerblades wheels.
Smaller wheels keep you closer to the ground, which means a lower center of gravity. A lower center of gravity equates to increased stability.
Also, smaller wheels have greater acceleration versus bigger ones. What’s more, they’re more maneuverable. 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, which means less stability. But while larger wheels sacrifice stability and maneuverability, they win spectacularly in the speed department.
Some of the best rollerblades for rough roads on the market such as the Maxxum Edge 125 are also some of the swiftest options. But the fastest inline skates on Earth are off-road virtuosos with wheels as large as 150mm.
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, which means more maneuverability.
But shorter frames aren’t the best option for speeding on rollerblades. In fact, many long-distance and speed skates have rather long, low-profile frames to foster stability.
Also, three-wheeled skates tend to have bigger wheels than 4-wheeled and 5-wheeled inline skates. And bigger wheels translate into faster speed. Speed skates usually have three wheels, and the wheels can be as tall as 110mm.
Many 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!
2. Your Inline Skating Ability
If you have mastered the art and science of inline skating, you can make your rollerblades go insanely 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. Make sure to develop your body muscles. Because skater strength + skating ability = amazing rolling speed.
Some of the things you can do more often to get better and faster at rollerblading include:
- Skating bacKwards
- Mastering different kinds of stops including heel braking, the T-stop, etc
- Walking up stair sets with your skates on
3. Inline Skate Bearings Quality
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 ABEC 7 bearings. And while everyone praises ceramic and Swiss-rated bearings as the best bearings for speed, that’s not everyone’s experience.
So, 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.
IMHO, you can’t go wrong with Bones Reds bearings. But your skating skill, wheel size, and a bunch of other factors are a greater speed determinant than bearing quality.
4. Pavement Quality
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 lest you skid suddenly and crash.
5. Hardness vs. Softness of Your Wheels
Harder wheels roll faster than softer ones. Durometer is a term used to describe how soft or hard a wheel is, and it typically ranges from 75A to 90A for inline skate wheels.
A wheel with a lower durometer value is softer than a wheel with a higher durometer number and vice versa. While harder wheels are speedier than softer wheels, they falter in the shock absorption department.
The durometer you eventually choose is a matter of personal preference. A durometer of 85A to 90A should work well for most speed junkies. It’s best to test different hardness ratings to find your sweet durometer spot.
6. Wind Resistance Or Drag
Sailors long ago relied on winds for the forward propulsion of their vessels. Because the wind can be a super powerful force — especially when it’s blowing in the direction you’re skating.
But when the wind is blowing against you, you’ll experience drag or wind resistance. And wind resistance will certainly slow 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.
So, it’s crucial to listen to the weatherman before you hit the road, park, or trail. If it’s going to be super windy and chilly, dress appropriately for the weather. Also, accept that you’ll travel at a noticeably slower pace even when exerting the same amount of push power.
7. Gradient or Slope of the Road or Trail
Going downhill builds up speed faster than flatland skating. And the steeper the surface you’re skating, the faster you’ll go.
Keep in mind that downhill skating is when the majority of inline skating accidents happen. So, gear up and take care when riding downhill.
8. Boot Type
Two skaters of similar ability may get a different performance out of their boots due to boot design. Soft boots are generally optimized for comfort while hard boots do better at speed.
Hard boots offer more ankle support and cuff support and usually have aluminum frames. As a consequence, they offer greater power transfer and ultimately speed compared to soft boots.
But soft boots can be faster than hard boots if your skating ability is better and your wheel size bigger than someone who’s less ardent at skating and using smaller-sized hard boots.
How Fast Do Inline Skates Go? 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. Because crashes aren’t rare in rollerblading. And remember, speed skating isn’t for everyone. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to stay away from high-speed inline skating.