3-wheel skates - advantages and disadvantages

Many supporters of roller skating and all skaters met in 2015 with big novelty - wheels with diameter 125mm were placed on the market.

This of course didn't happen overnight. Development of 125mm wheels took several years.  Already in 2013 they were tested in one of the races German inline cup  (German cup in inline skating, having usually 4-5 races) by Sutton Atkins from Denmark. Already then this issue was discussed in the circles of World Federation rollerskating*.

About the three-wheels skates we also write in the article - Revolution in skating occurred! Three-wheel skates are here!

With regard to that all sport innovations are first going to top athlets of the sport sector and then to recreational sportsmen, it happend with 125mm wheels too, when we could see them in 2015 on the best representatives of roller skating in the world and in our country too. World roller skating Federation allowed wheels 125mm at the races for year 2015, however very much limited their use - could be used for road races at the marathon in senior a masters categories, and couldn't be used at world continenatal and national championships, which are governed by the rules of FIRS. But it turned out that experienced skaters have no problem with control of 125mm wheels and are reaching faster speed and track records.

For this year 2016, FIRS use of 125mm wheels doesn't limit so radically. On January 18, 2016 was pronounced following statement on FIRS website: „Considering the evolution and growth that our sport has attained in the last years, the FIRS and the Speed Technical Committee have decided to allow, starting from February 1 2016, the use of the wheels up to a maximum size of 125mm but only for the Marathons (JUNIOR and SENIOR) and the MASTER Category (MEN and LADIES).“ From this we understand that 125mm wheels can be used by racers of categories Junior (16 – 19 years) and Senior (20 – 29 years), but only at marathons, and category Masters (over 30 years, optionally over 35 years) at all races.


And how points the statement of FIRS, development of 125 mm wheels is further again and on market there are not only wheels MATTER, because even this firm has extended its offer. So the wheels are available for better price  than it was original (and for this year again improved) wheels MATTER ONE20FIVE. 125mm wheels were placed on market by company BONT (F.e. MPC Red Magic), other manufacturer of racing wheels, or company POWERSLIDE (F.e. Powerslide Rolle MegaCruiser). In Czech Republic are available 125mm wheels too from czech company (Wheels RUN 18s), which have better price than profesional racing wheels.

This means that manufacturers of wheels putting on market the wheels 125mm too, which are specified for recreatinal skaters.  Even company POWERSLIDE delivers complete skates for recreational skaters already with 125 wheels (this means that skate shoe is higher and not ankle and carbon as it is on speed skates, and frame on which are the wheels areoshort, 10.0”= 255mm, wheels are so very close to each other).

Here is the question, are 125mm wheels suitable for recreational skaters or for who in general are these wheels suitable? What are pros and cons for their use?

Lets summarize it first, what is tax and results from certain measurable properties at 125 mm wheels:

Why YES:

Larger wheels roll fewer times to ride the same distance than smaller wheels, they can have higher max speed

They have less rolling resistance than 4 smaller wheels, it again leads to higher speed

In sum three 125mm wheels are lighter than four 110mm wheels

Why NO:

The foot of skater is higher above ground, there is greater pressure at the ankle

Other aguments are from experiences of skaters who already ride on 125mm

To start 125mm wheels more strength is required, then when you ride already, hold speed longer (thanks to upper mentioned points, why yes)

To start 125mm wheels is required excellent technique of reflection of skater (because of more difficulty to hold foot in ankle in correct position)

Larger wheels better cross terrain roughness (again only in the moment when skater holds ankles in right position)

Larger wheels allow longer chute (because of this they hold better achieved speed), meaning less reflections, damage of wheels is smaller (but of course it depends on quality of used wheels)

Although the frame is the same lenght like 4x110mm, therefore  12,6” or 13,2”, thanks to higher position of foot above the ground, skates are more difficult to control when there are fast maneuvers, therefore not on all tracks 125mm are appropriate.

From the view of skater are fitness skates from Powerslide which have  10” frame manned 3x 125mm,  interesting mix.  If you have in these skates quality double-layered wheels, you get higher speed than on smaller wheels, f. e. on  4x100mm. However 10” frame doesn't have that front-to-back stability like frame 12,6” or 13,2”, but on the other side is good maneuverable. Higher shoe helps to skater hold ankle in correct position, however is still needed for skater to be experienced rider (center of gravity is lowered, knees over toes – meaning bend…)

In conclusion we can summarize that skates with wheels  3x125mm definitelly are not for beginners, not even for intermediate skaters, but only for very experienced skaters which can hold when they reflect ankle in one plane with shin, skate and wheels („don't shamble“) and in basic stand they have in one line ankle, hip, arm (means that hip is over ankle, arm over hip). Take into account that larger wheels even with gentle slope will easy start moving, it will be harder to brake with them.  If you skate on cyclo paths, which are narrow, you must often avoid dogs without a leash or unpredictable bikers, certainly more suitable are skates with smaller wheels and with shorter frame. Large wheels are good on straight tracks, where you can enjoy long chute and you don't have to ride by style brake-gas. On longer track in the beginning you can ride very well on 125mm wheels, but because of difficult position of foot, small muscles in ankle part faster fatigue, technique worsens, reflection will not be good and you will not reach the goal to go faster on average.  Still many skaters stay on 110mm wheels because of this fact.

However, everyone has a different opinion. If you know how to brake, turn, avoid sudden dangerous situations, which you'll meet on cyclo path, and when riding over 30km/h you feel safely, then you get 125mm wheels (or 110mm, if you use 100mm, or 100mm, if you use 90mm) and try them, yay for skates - season is just beginning.

Hana Duspivová

Inline Centrum

TEMPISH Inline team/RTS Praha

* (FIRS – Federation Internationale roller sport).

**explanation   5x84mm means that you have skates with five wheels, size of wheel 84mm, or f. e.  4x110mm means that you have four wheels on one skate, every wheel is size 110mm

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