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What makes inline skates turn?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
epic asked the question what makes an inline skate turn.

When I started researching skates one of the things I wanted to do was "have a crossover sport" for skiing. I kept hearing how you could "carve wicked turns" on a pair of rollerblades so I started reading all the info I could, checked out websites, How To sites, HH systems page on skating. etc..

HH Claims on his website that you just tip to turn. just like on skis. No steering required. Tried this, now I got big scratches on my knee and elbow pads.. Maybe a little steering and SWhooosh. Wheeee.

How the heck to I stop!!!!

They do not have steering or turning built in just like skis. You have to give them some input to change directions other than tipping. You can add steering by getting rockered skates or even changing the front and rear wheels to smaller ones to get the affect as well but why?

You don't really have to steer hard, it's almost unconcious but it's there.

This year I added some ski poles with tennis balls over the tips so I have balance poles.
post #2 of 12

My experience with inlines is that all you need to do is tip them on edge and they will turn. My skates are rockered opposite of skis, with what would be the wider part in the middle (as opposed to skis). This is accomplished by lowering the middle two (of 4) wheels. The rockered effect would be more similar to a water ski or surf board, but have the same results.

Maybe this is not true, and I do put in a turning effort subconciously. Or maybe I just repeated your post in diffent words. Either way, good luck with your research!
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Altaskier Lowering the 2 middle wheels would in effect mean if you just set your skates down, the end wheels would be off the ground. In order to get the front and back wheels to touch you would have to tip them over. Doing this has the same affect as a shaped ski. Think about where the wheels would be touching when they hit the ground(little arc) Where as if the skates were not rockered, and you tipped them over the points of contact would stay in a straight line. Or am I mis reading your rocker design. Just checking my understanding on what you did.

Also the trucks or rails of most skates have some give so a lot will depend on how flexable the rails are.

And for unconcious or concious steering, take an inline skate and set it on the ground. Then start rolling it forward and tip it over pushing it forward. It really doesn't turn until you start to steer it a little. It doesn't take much but it does need to be there. (in my experience anyway)

[ April 18, 2002, 04:07 PM: Message edited by: dchan ]
post #4 of 12
I think the rocker effect is no more than reducing the friction to more easily allow a subtle steering motion. The skate frame doesn't bend like a ski. I think it is more anlaogous to pivoting skia on top of a mogul when the resistance is less.
post #5 of 12
I think some of the hockey players and any figure skaters could shed some light on why the rocker is there.

It makes sense to me, if you take it to an extreme, flat wheels like a skateboard all on the same plane won't turn at all.

Round the edges of the wheel, and put all on the same plane and you still won't get much turning power. tipping just makes tham go straight at an angle? If that makes any sense. Very stable but hard to get to change direction.

However if you introduce a bit---or a lot of rock you get a compromise, less stability for and aft, but easier to make directional changes. Why? I have no idea!

I think back on my limited hockey skating and I don't think you changed direction by simply tipping the skate. Most turning was accomplished by a crossover manuver that made a left turn by consiously crossing your feet, left foot outside edge, fight foot, inside edge. That indicates to me that you are actively changing the skates position on the ice and steering it.

Just my thoughts

post #6 of 12
However if you introduce a bit---or a lot of rock you get a compromise, less stability for and aft, but easier to make directional changes. Why? I have no idea!

Because there is less friction along the length of the skate - as dchan correctly observed. Skate on a single wheel, if you can, and turning will be very easy (probably easier than going straight).

Speaking of turning: ever tried to turn a speed skate (the 5 wheel kind)? It is next to impossible without rotation. Even then, short turns are out of the question. It is even worse for the winter clap-skate kind. In fact, as you already have seen in the winter Olympics, the cross-over technique is the only way to turn even in relatively big turns! Figure skaters however have no problem making very short turns or even pirouettes, because the contact with ice is greatly reduced due to the curved blade.
post #7 of 12
What little I observed, and I´ve seen it even today, is that at lower speed (i.e. a skater normal speed), in order to initiate a turn,
many recreational inline skaters, do ease the pressure on the front wheel of the inside skate,
effectively putting themselves in the back seat,
then introduce a mild rotation. I do it as weel.
I don´t like this. Especially the backseat part.
Mind you, I´m not talking about professional skaters, I´m talking about recreational skaters
going down a very mild descent, at a very slow speed.
I personally use ski poles, and go throught all
the "traditional" skiing movement, or try to go as close as possible to those movements I´d do while skiing.
I figured out that if I were to cross train, I´d better get as close to the skiing model as possible.
I do it very rarely, because I need to find a road closed to the traffic, and there aren´t many, not too steep and with a flat or better
ascending section at the bottom, to help me slow down and stop...
I even saw somewhere in the ´net, a site with picture of people running an SL (with poles and full protection) on a piece of road...
post #8 of 12
I went quikly to search the site, but couldn´t find it.
I found this one, it´s in Italian but it´s a swiss site.
post #9 of 12
dchan, see the pic on the right:

Pretty much like a "normal" slalom race, isn't it
Disclaimer : The person depicted into the image it's not me.
post #10 of 12
Skier_j , your wondering about the radius on skates? The simple truth is more radius means more versatilty but less speed. A figure skate done for free skate has one long radius from front to back with the high point being in the forward part of the middle , the main difference between dance and free skates is the "bite angle". A hockey skate however has 3 radius locations , the toe radius , the working radius and the heel radius. A longer toe radius will give less acceleration but faster speeds and a short heel radius will give better turning ability. The working radius is where the "lie" is set for the skater , this is the forward and back balance point. A "lie" set too far forward will result in a loss of power to the ice and muscle fatigue , to far back becomes unstable and creates a loss of edge when cornering.
The radius of skates as compared to skis is interesting :
1- full radius (full toe/full heel)
approx 2.13-2.74m
2-partial radius (part toe/part heel)
approx 3.35-3.96m
3-common radius (factory/referred to as straight)
approx 8.53m
4-speed skates (slight if any radius)
approx 31.68m
These numbers are an average but are what in most cases will happen when using modern equiptment.
Something interesting that most people don't know is speed skate blades are often bent on purpose to promote turning due to a radius of 31.68 m (compare that to a ski !), this practice is common in short track and is experimented with by some on long track.
Personally I like my in-line skates with the middle wheels all the way down, the heel all the way up and the toe somewhere in between. Setting up a skate properly for a person that knows what they want has to be as bad if not worse than fitting ski boots .

[ May 11, 2002, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: Leeroy ]
post #11 of 12
DChan--great question! We've brought this one up before. It is a great example of the importance of active steering. And I've used it as an example to show that active steering and clean carved turns are not mutually incompatible!

This is (perhaps) the root of my biggest disagreement with Harald Harb, technically. Tipping inline skates does not cause them to turn. They have no sidecut, and they have no steering wheels. It is the refined, subtle steering of the feet that causes the turn. It may well FEEL--to the skilled skater--that all you do is tip a little. But like a bicycle, if ALL you do is tip, you will tip over.

While the new skis do, indeed, turn simply by tipping and engaging their curved edges, steering remains a critical skill for skiing.

I think I've told this story before. Several years ago, before "skiboards" became common, there were two types of early skiboards. "Figls" (I'm not sure if that is spelled correctly) were probably the first. They were very short, skiboard-length, with zero sidecut. But they were amazing! They could carve the cleanest turns. Before today's super-sidecut skis came around, Figls were a great way to go out and rip around, leaving clean little ruts in the snow.

Then came the "Bigfoot" and a couple other competitors. They were similar to Figls, but had a LOT of sidecut. They looked like tiny little snowboards. And they were also fun. I took a pair out, and had the same kind of fun, with what I thought were the same sensations and movements as on the Figls. Then I switched back to a pair of Figls--and fell immediately to the side on my first turn. And second.

Why? The little skis with sidecut did indeed turn simply by tipping. While I wasn't aware of it, they made my own steering movements very passive. When I got back onto the Figls, the lack of active steering became apparent!

With a little practice, I could again make the exact same-feeling turns on the Figls, with the same clean tracks. The steering effort on skis that short is minimal, almost undetectable. I quickly decided that I preferred the Figl as a ski-training tool.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen a Figl in a long time. Today's skiboards--which I do love--have a lot of sidecut. They're a kick. And they make tight little turns with no active steering movements (or skills).

But inline skates do not! They're great skiing crossover exercise. And they turn because we steer them.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

[ May 18, 2002, 02:04 PM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #12 of 12
By-the-way--lest anyone thinks that the "rocker" built into hockey skate blades and many inline skates is what causes turns--think about the AMAZING carved turns of rockerless short-track speed skates. Remember Apolo Anton Ohno? Rocker makes skates easier to steer. Speed skates would have a hard time carving the very tight-radius turns that hockey players often have to cut.

No matter how much sidecut our skis have, the skill of steering (the "rotary" skill) remains alive and well--and essential. Without it, skiers can, indeed, make turns just by tipping. But as I've said so often, without the skill of steering, they have all the CONTROL of their line of a freight train locked into its curving track!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
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