Good technique and posture are a chunky part of rollerblading faster. But being able to push harder and more efficiently isn’t enough. In some cases, upgrading to better inline skates, wheels, and rollerblade bearings can also help you roll around remarkably faster. In this post, you’ll learn how to make inline skates faster and how to ride them faster once you’re done with part upgrades.
Related Post: Best Inlines Skates for Rough Roads
But before we dive into how you can soup up your rollerblades and boost their overall performance, let’s talk safety. What’s the point of skating demon-fast only to crash and crack your cranium?
Helmet Up and Wear Good Protective Pads
Going really fast on rollerblades can be pretty exciting, and the adrenaline rush you experience is like no other. But speeding up on inline skates can also considerably increase the chances of crashing and breaking your bones. So, helmet up and pad up first before you start pushing like it’s the end of the world.
Related: How Fast Do Inline Skates Go?
It All Depends on Where or How You’re Skating
Skating faster means different things in different rollerblading scenarios. Fast when playing roller hockey won’t be the same kind of fast in a slalom contest or downhill. And fast in street skating definitely won’t be the same idea as fast when riding down a smooth, paved path.
For example, if you’re skating a clear straight path, you’ll want to double push to ride faster. But if you’re skating a packed pedestrian walkway, speed becomes less important than agility.
You can still roll fast in such a situation, but not without really strong inside and outside edges. I find that learning how to cut figure 8’s similar to ice skating helps a lot.
So, learn how to do forward and backward crossovers and master 180-degree transitions as well. Essentially, you should be able to move forward or backward fast while having the ability to change directions quickly.
In the end, the skills you need to go fast on your rollerblades depend on what kind of terrain you skate.
5 Ways to Inline Skate Faster
Here are five ideas that can help you rollerblade faster.
1. Sprint First Then Transition to Longer Strides
If you can do short quick pushes at the beginning of the ride, you can end up rolling really fast.
When you’re sprinting, you’re kind of running, at first. You’re not exactly in the natural skate position. You’re almost standing during those first quick pushes. But after the first 6 to 8 strides, you want to transition to longer, more powerful pushes.
If someone with similar muscle power and technique as you sprint initially, they’ll build you more momentum in the end and outrace you. Watch good how-to videos on how to sprint in rollerblading, and you’ll struggle less in the speed department.
Also Read: How Do You Carry Inline Skates?
2. Use Crossovers to Go Faster on Rollerblades
Crossovers are another way to build up initial speed and roll faster on inline skates. One inline skating situation where doing crossovers can really help is when blading a wide road with vehicles moving your way.
Being able to do crossovers right can translate into greater speed especially when you’re traveling along the diagonal to the other side.
But you need to have really good edges to do this safely and smoothly. I like crossing over at 45 degrees, but I’m always careful when tackling entry and exit transitions at speed.
3. Rollerblade Wheel Size and Wheel Profile
It’s a fact: wheels with a larger diameter roll faster than wheels with a smaller diameter. A 100mm wheel rolls faster than a 68mm wheel. Just like a 29er bike wheel rolls faster than a 26er.
So, if your inline skate frame allows you to swap out the wheels it came with for larger ones, do it. You’ll notice a significant difference speed-wise between 80mm wheels and 90mm wheels. You’ll roll faster, but do you really need to switch to larger wheels?
Also read: Buying Guide for Choosing Inline Skates
Maybe you don’t. You don’t if rolling too fast could freak you out.
Taller rollerblade wheels not only roll quicker but also raise your center of gravity. It’s like you’re blading on stilettos. And that means you’re going to have to grapple with worse balance. So, decide what you need more: speed or stability and safety.
Choose the Right Rollerblade Wheel Profile
Full profile or bullet profile inline skate wheels for speed? If you want to go fast, especially in a racing situation such as slalom or speed skating, definitely go with bullet profile wheels.
Why? Because bullet-profile inline skate wheels have more defined edges. And these edges are designed to enhance performance in speed skating, slalom, and indoor inline skating such as dancing.
But if your skating style has you rolling over obstacles and doing jumps, it’s best to go with full-profile rollerblade wheels.
4. Upgrade to Better Ball Bearings
I don’t know of any question that causes as many arguments and counterarguments within the rollerblading community as the question: does being ABEC-rated translate into better bearing performance?
Lots of skate brands out there are always looking for the next skater that’s infatuated with the ABEC rating. They’re looking for skaters that can fork over their hard-earned money just so they can have their newly released expensive set of ceramic bearings.
But if there’s one thing many inline skaters agree on, it’s that it doesn’t matter what bearings you’re using unless you race.
Unless you’re into slalom racing or speed inline skating, pretty much any bearing should work just fine. I love my cheap Bones steel bearings. Not because they’re ABEC 7 but because they’re cheap and perform as well as any.
Speed skaters and slalom racers may use the finest ABEC 7 ceramic bearings because at that level of performance, bearing precision matters a whole lot.
High ABEC Bearings Are Ideal for Competitive Rollerblading
As far as competitive rollerblading, a higher ABEC 7 rating means better performance. A higher rating at such performance levels often means less friction (faster speed) and less vibration.
But if you’re just a recreational rollerblader, swapping out your Bones Reds bearings for the priciest Ceramics isn’t exactly brilliant. Honestly, pretty much any bearings should be good enough on skates. I know at least 3 inline intermediate-level bladers who just buy industrial bearings and use that instead of super-expensive Ceramics or whatever.
Taking off the cheapest steel ball bearings for better-quality bearings with a high ABEC rating can make a huge difference in competitive inline skating.
But if you’re into freestyle inline skating, aggressive skating, or urban skating, you should probably buy any bearings with great customer reviews on Amazon and other platforms.
5. Build Strong Leg Muscles
Well, bigger, larger muscles pump out more power faster, right? So, build up some muscle.
There are tons of videos online that you can watch and learn how to grow some muscle so you can go faster on your blades. So, start spending some quality time cycling. Or doing pushups. And squats with weights. And lunges.
Of course, technique matters a lot. But if you don’t have enough muscle to power through the toughest rides, I doubt you’ll ever become that badass skater that bests everyone in their riding group.
How to Go Fast on Rollerblades: Final Word
Rolling faster on inline skates doesn’t happen accidentally. You need to have high-quality hardware that’s designed to boost speed. The next thing you want to do is to learn how to sprint before launching into the usual long, power-packed strides.
Crossovers and double pushes are other tricks to help you rollerblade faster. Also, stronger leg muscles can translate into more powerful, faster strides. Additionally, remember to take off your smaller, slower wheels in favor of larger, faster wheels if speed is super important to you.
One more thing: know what wheel profile works best with your skating style. If you speed skate, slalom, or dance, definitely bullet-proof wheels. For other styles, full-profile wheels are almost always the best choice.
As for the bearings, switch to better-quality bearings that foster smoother, faster skating especially if you participate in competitive rollerblading. In most skating situations, though, it really doesn’t matter what kind of bearings you have inside your wheels.
Last but not least, gear up before you hit the road or bike path or wherever it is you skate. Cover that precious head of yours with the best skate helmet you can afford. And don’t let those wrists, elbows, and knees stay exposed and vulnerable as you enjoy the thrill that you crave.