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Big Wheels vs. Little Wheels- What's the Wheel Deal?

Back in the 1990's  the biggest wheel you’d come by was an 80mm wheel; that was considered a “racing” wheel. Now in 2014, you will find 80mm on most entry-level recreational skates, 90mm wheels on fitness skates, and racing wheels are now 110mm in diameter!

But is bigger really better?  The answer is, “it depends.”

What does it depend on?
-skating ability
-skating discipline

Bigger wheels allow skaters to go faster with more efficiency, while smaller wheels roll more slowly and offer more agility. Those skating on bigger wheels like the 110’s can glide much longer between pushes than someone on 76mm, which roll more slowly and are often found on slalom, street or hockey skates.

Less effort will be spent when skating on bigger wheels, which is great for conserving energy for long distance skating such as inline marathons. However, when it comes to tight turns, more agility and quicker stops, it is best to opt for something smaller.

To keep it simple: 

Smaller wheels (72mm, 76mm):
Pros: lighter, easy to maneuver; easy to fix the balance on one wheel; stops quicker
Cons: shorter rolling distance, slower

Bigger Wheels (80mm, 90mm, 110mm):
Pros: rolls longer; faster
Cons: heavier; more power needed for each push; less maneuverability; turning and stopping take more time

So what do the experts think?

Rollerblade Slalom Skater Vincent Vu Van Kha
“Since I skate on the Twister and it isn’t a rockered frame, I use a 76mm-80mm-80mm-76mm set up because a rockered set up is important when performing many tricks in slalom skating. For smaller size skates, it may be necessary to use 72-76-76-72 set up instead.”

Rollerblade Speed Athlete Jorge Botero
“When you are looking to specialize your skills on your skates you have to be smart about choosing the right size for your wheels. I love the power and the speed I can get out of the 110mm even though I had to compromise the balance and the control.”

So when it comes to inline skating wheels, bigger isn’t necessary better.  Keep in mind that the best wheels size for you depends on your skating ability and what you want to do on your skates.