You’ve decided to build your own inline skate, one customized to your preferences and riding style. But that means buying every part separately and then assembling them into a fully functional skate. That’s why you’re here, to learn how to assemble inline skates. And that is what this post is all about.
I bet you’ve been blading for years. And you know it’s difficult to get an inline skate that works per your expectations right out the box.
Sometimes the boot looks good and offers great comfort and support. But the wheels wear out too fast. Or the bearings don’t spin at all. Or whatever.
Upgrading an Existing Skate to a Better Quality One
Maybe you own a pair of skates with a superior boot but everything else needs to be replaced with better quality components. It happens, you know.
With some rollerblades, especially beginner inline skates, the frame and the outer shell come as one integrated system. This means you can’t replace the frame and in some cases even the wheels.
But if it’s rough-road rollerblades, the chances are that both the chassis and wheels are replaceable. If that’s where you’re at, I assume the boot you have fits your feet like a glove. And if you need to bake your boot in the oven perhaps because you have wide feet, do it now.
If you bought the boot separately, I want to believe you chose the right size for your feet. Usually, inline skates are sized the same way as regular street shoes.
That means your boot needs to be the same size as your sneaker shoe. The last thing you want is a boot that’s excessively roomy, one that’s too spacious to the extent that your feet are floating inside!
Gather All the Components You Need
- Frame/Chassis, preferably made of aluminum
- Good rollerblade wheels (rubber or polyurethane wheels)
- Inline skate bearings (Whether ABEC Rated or not, the bearings need to spin well)
- Axles for attaching the wheels
- Bearing spacers
- Allen tool (Any 4mm Allen tool should do); you can also buy an aftermarket skate tool
- Thread locker
Now that you have all the components you need, it’s time to organize them into a nice-looking, high-performance boot. A boot you’ll own 100%, one you’ll love to skate on and show off to your rollerblading gang.
Follow the inline skate assembling instructions below, and the task will stop feeling intimidating.
Step 1: Unite Your Frames and Boots with Bolts
Get your frames, boots, and bolts for mounting the frames. Then, line up one of the frames to either the left-foot or right-foot boot.
Make sure that all the mounting points between the boot and the frame coincide perfectly. Note that you should set your boot’s heel a little higher than the front of the boot.
But how do you know which side of the frame faces inward and which faces outward? If your frames have graphics on them, have the side that has the graphics facing outward.
Sometimes, though, the frames have no graphics at all, or the frames may have printing on both sides. But it’s rare for track frames to lack some kind of print, and it’s always on the right side/outer side of the frame.
Note: As you line up the frame with the boot, have the boot’s top part facing down and the frames facing up. The bottom part of the frame where the wheel mounting holes are located should point upward.
Step 2: Put the Bolts into the Mounting Holes
Now, grab a mounting bolt and apply some thread-locker. This viscous substance helps keep the wheels tightly attached after the assembly. We all have heard of skaters whose rollerblade wheels came off during an intense ride and things turned ugly pretty quickly.
Next, put the bolt through the first mounting point, and use your tool to tighten it. Don’t tighten the bolt all the way since you almost always need to tweak things a little before completing the job.
The right amount of boot-frame tightness holds the boot to the frame tightly enough while allowing side-to-side frame adjustments where necessary.
Repeat this step with the rest of the bolts and proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Adjust the Frame for Perfect Alignment
At this point, focus on tweaking the frame’s alignment, and don’t stop until you get it right. When you buy a pair of assembled inline skates, what you get is standard frame alignment.
The downside of this standard alignment is that it doesn’t care whether your feet pronate or supinate. If you have pronation or supination, adjust your frames to minimize the effect of these conditions on your ride quality.
Adjust Your Frames to Address Foot Pronation or Supination
One critical thing to consider as you tweak things around is how your feet strike the ground.
Supination is where your ankles roll outward as your foot comes into contact with the ground. Feet are said to supinate when they don’t roll inward enough.
As a result, the ankles experience a bit of strain and hurt. And supination-related injuries aren’t uncommon. If you’re a supinator, make sure to adjust the frame toward your pinky toe.
But you’re more likely to be a pronator than a supinator. That’s because supination or underpronation is more common than overpronation or excessive pronation according to Medicalnewstoday.
Overpronation is where your roll your inner ankles inward too much. Shifting your body weight from the heel to your forefoot causes this situation.
Consequently, the outer area of your heels comes into contact with the ground, and your foot flattens excessively. People with wide feet experience this problem a lot.
When adjusting the frame of your rollerblade, you need to adjust your frame’s front part toward your big toe.
Step 4: Tighten the Mounting Bolts All the Way
Now, grab your tool and tighten the mounting bolts all the way. Some people prefer to use a power tool to tighten things instead of doing it by hand.
But that’s not a good idea when it comes to assembling rollerblades. So, make sure to manually tighten the bolts.
Step 5: Put the Bearings into the Wheels
Now is the time to use your aftermarket tool. It’s time to put the bearings where they should be — inside the wheels.
Each wheel contains two bearings. You now need to insert each of the bearings into the wheels. One bearing goes to the inner side of the wheel while the other one stays on the outer side.
If you bought good rollerblade bearings, chances are that they have a dirt shield on one side. Sometimes it’s two shields, one on each side of the wheel. These bearing shields serve a critical function.
If you’ve ever had bearings seize up on you while rolling fast, you’ll want to avoid shield-less bearings. Bearing shields prevent dirt and other foreign matter from getting inside the compartment where the ball bearings sit.
Now, if your bearings have one shield, the side with the seal should face outward.
At this point, place one of the wheels on a hard flat surface. Next, take one of the bearings and line it up with the wheel’s hub.
Then, use your skate tool to apply even, downward pressure to the bearing. Press the bearing until it sinks all the way and sits flush with the wheel hub.
Insert the Bearing Spacer
Once you’ve inserted the bearing into the wheel, flip the wheel over so that the side with the bearing faces up. Then, put the bearing spacer inside so that it lies over the edges of the first bearing. Make sure the spacer stays in the right position. The spacer shouldn’t turn sideways in the hub.
Now, line up the other bearing with the wheel hub as you did with the first bearing. Then, press it down until its outer edge is flush with the wheel hub.
If the spacer isn’t properly positioned (should stay perfectly centered), the second bearing likely won’t be flush with the hub. If the bearings aren’t flush with the wheel hub, the axle won’t slide smoothly through the wheel’s center.
So, use your skate tool to adjust the spacer until it gets into the correct position.
Repeat this process with the other bearings.
Step 6: Mount the Wheels onto the Frame
Install the wheels, one after the other. Take one wheel and put it in the frame. The bearing’s center needs to line up with the mount holes on either side of the frame.
Then, take one axle and put it through the mounting point. Next, put the axle’s nut onto the axle and tighten it using your skate tool.
Make sure not to tighten the axle too much. If you tighten the axle excessively, you’ll end up with wheels that can’t spin at all. The right amount of tightness eliminates sideways wiggling between the frame and wheels without sacrificing wheel spin.
Problems You Might Encounter at this Stage
When spinning the wheels, you might hear a sound coming from inside the frame. It might seem like the wheels scrape the inner sides of the frame as they spin. Don’t worry…as long as the bearings have a free, smooth spin, it’s all good.
Here’s another common challenge inline skaters encounter when assembling a custom build. The problem is that sometimes the axles just won’t slide smoothly through the wheel.
One reason this could happen is if the spacer sits off-center. When not perfectly centered, the spacer can and often does get in the way. As mentioned above, you should use your skate tool to move the spacer to the right position.
Another reason you could face problems when inserting the axle is when you’re doing it all wrong. If you slide the axle from the wrong side, you’ll have problems. If this is the issue, try to screw the axle in from the other side.
Properly attached rollerblade wheels spin smoothly. If that’s not the case, loosen the wheel attachment a little until the wheels start spinning effortlessly. Use your hand to test how well each wheel spins and make adjustments as needed.
Repeat step 5 until all the wheels are inside the frame and spinning like nothing you’ve ever seen.
How to Assemble Your Own Inline Skates: Final Word
Gather everything you need. Wheels, axles, bolts, bearing spacers, ball bearings, rollerblade wheels, frames, and tools. You may also need some thread lock.
Of course, you need to have obtained high-quality components from skate brands known for making quality parts.
Once you have everything you need, follow the rollerblade assemblage steps described in this post.
You’ll likely encounter challenges along the way. But it’s never problems you can’t solve using a little knowledge and simple tools.