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Old September 5th, 2008, 01:59 AM   #1
sk8scott
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Default Wheels "dragging" again - WTF???

(WTF??? = "Why This Frustration???", of course )

So, I had issues with the brake housing on my new Rollerblade 4x100 skates, and I played on enough hills in the first 10 days that the brake pade was worn down to nothing. So, I tried going without a brake for a week, and after a couple of hilly bike path skates, frequent & hard t-stopping has worn down the wheels quite a bit. (Several of the downhill turns and intersections on my usual hill skate route simply can't be navigated at full speed - it's a matter of physics, and not technique.)

What I noticed yesterday is that once again I feel like I'm fighting against my wheels when I skate. This is especially noticeable when I'm climbing uphill or trying to sprint. I'm definitely slower, and they're rolling more noisily and much less smoothly. Rotating the wheels only makes things worse. Tried a different frame today, and had the same result. The frame and axles are fully tightened, and the wheels are definitely not rubbing against anything. I'd blame the bearings, but the wheels spin freely as ever when I'm not standing on them. My stride is unchanged, and I haven't been feeling weak or sick. Yet, I'm still a lot slower (probably at least 5mph off my usual pace).

Is it possible to mess things up so dramatically via heavy-duty t-stopping? Worse, could I have bent the frames via a combination of t-stops and hard parallel turns on steep hills??? The frames look straight, but I can see how a subtle curvature could have a not-so-subtle impact. FWIW, there's a lot of force involved: a 215 lb skater grinding to a halt from 30+ mph while still headed downhill, or t-dragging most of the way down, repeatedly.

If the new 87A Streetfight wheels + fresh Swiss bearings don't remedy the situation, I might have to find a new sport. Hopefully, the wheels will save the day, and I'll stick with the heelbrake even if the housing rattles like crazy!

----Scott
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Old September 5th, 2008, 03:26 PM   #2
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I had a boot once that whenever I got my weight forward the boot would sink down enough to rub the front wheel. It took me a while to figure it out because everything looked fine when the boot was off.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 04:42 PM   #3
Bill in Houston
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check for frame straightness by putting a ruler on the sides of the wheels.

take everything apart again, color it all with a waterbased marker or pencil, put it back together, and go skate. any place where the marker gets rubbed off is a spot that is rubbing while you skate.

it does sound frustrating... what did the problem turn out to be last time?
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Old September 5th, 2008, 06:58 PM   #4
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What wheels are you using and how small did they get?

When they wear down they do get slower. Especially RB wheels, even if they are rated at 83a or higher, RB wheels suck when they get small.

When I was 215 (most of the whole last year) I needed a harder wheel. The Bont G4 85a wheel will have you flying. If you want to go more economical (cheap) try their G3 wheel at $8 per wheel. You still will fly compared to a RB wheel.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 01:09 AM   #5
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Thanks all for the helpful hints. The wheels definitely aren't rubbing against anything. They've got plenty of clearance at all points from the 3 week-old hard-sole Rollerblade boots. The dragging is equal with both sets of frames (RB + K2), so it's not an issue with one frame vs. the other. My problem the first time around was indeed a sagging boot (K2 Rad 100 after 2 years, + modest mileage due to skate season being 6-7 months max).

Both sets of frames are straight, per the ruler method. The wheels are indeed stock RB wheels, 100mm / 84A. They're only worn down to 97mm at their "peaks", but the "peaks" vary laterally by 1-2mm from wheel to wheel, as my t-stopping wore the wheels unevenly. The uneven wear is most pronounced on my left skate, which I use for at least 2/3 of my t-stops.

The wheels I've ordered are Streetfight Gold 87A. Should arrive early next week. I wanted the hardest wheels I could find! Three big lessons from this mess:
- Heel braking is going to have to be my primary stopping method on the hills, even if I can handle them without a brake.
- I probably ought to always have a fresh set of wheels (and bearings) at hand, ready to swap in at the first sign of any problems.
- If I do a bunch of t-stopping on hills, I'll need to rotate my wheels every 10 miles or less.

----Scott
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Old September 8th, 2008, 04:53 PM   #6
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This isn't likely, but I've had it happen TWICE to me over 16 years of skating(mostly just easy going recreational skating) so you might want to check it.

I like doing doing this one turn trick alot to slowdown/stop/180 where you lead in with one foot and reverse your following foot so you do like a cresent moon curve type turn with your skates. As it turns out this puts a sideways deflection force on the bearings(depending how hard you perform it) and can ruin them if they aren't very good.

Well after 2 years on some Swiss Lite bearings, they were rolling so rough that my old ABEC3s were faster by a long shot and I couldn't figure out why. After taking them apart I realized that the bearings had deformed and had alot of slack on them only when they were under weight.

I could see this happening to any bearings that aren't well made. Turns, t-stops, slides all could damage poorly made bearings... Might wanna check yours.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 01:36 AM   #7
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Well after 2 years on some Swiss Lite bearings, they were rolling so rough that my old ABEC3s were faster by a long shot and I couldn't figure out why. After taking them apart I realized that the bearings had deformed and had alot of slack on them only when they were under weight.
Very interesting. Thanks for the tip! The "crescent moon" turn/stop you describe is something I do all the time to dislodge debris from between the brake housing and the rear wheel. The lateral forces from that maneuver are negligible compared to the ones I apply with downhill t-stops and hard snowplows (basically serial almost-powerslides on the outside edge of my leading skate).

So, what was the specific way that the bearings had deformed? What did you do to find out they had slack when under weight?

----Scott
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Old September 10th, 2008, 05:46 AM   #8
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Well they felt a little loose at first, but all my other bearings (mostly ABEC3s and a couple of ABEC1s) were very tight.

So I put every back together and while my feet were still, I tried twisting my ankles. Though I couldn't twist them too much, I did see my boot(s) move a few degrees(maybe) when the wheels were not moving(in between a crack in the pavement.

I also noticed that when pressured a lot the bearings flexed so much that the wheels were just starting to grind against the wheel frame. At least this is the only explanation I could come up with as to why the wheels normally didn't touch the frame, but after hard skating there would be shavings of the wheel in the frame as well as noticeable carving on my wheels
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Old September 10th, 2008, 09:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XaviarCraig View Post
At least this is the only explanation I could come up with as to why the wheels normally didn't touch the frame, but after hard skating there would be shavings of the wheel in the frame as well as noticeable carving on my wheels
Hence my "color everything with a marker" suggestion...
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Old September 12th, 2008, 04:52 AM   #10
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I also noticed that when pressured a lot the bearings flexed so much that the wheels were just starting to grind against the wheel frame. At least this is the only explanation I could come up with as to why the wheels normally didn't touch the frame, but after hard skating there would be shavings of the wheel in the frame as well as noticeable carving on my wheels
Interesting. Were they grinding at the hub? That's where my old wheels were shedding. No sign of carving whatsoever on the edges of the wheels.

----Scott
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Old September 12th, 2008, 03:36 PM   #11
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These are not the wheels I was using, but it should give you an idea of where it was carving away in the wheels:

Note, area within roughly 2-5mm around the red line
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Old September 13th, 2008, 12:03 AM   #12
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Interesting. Mine are only wearing (and bubbling) right at the hub. Still could be the same problem.

Either way, it's disconcerting that fairly routine skating can ruin a set of bearings so quickly. While the Rollerblade stock bearings are no great shakes, I did the same thing this summer to some quality Swiss bearings.

It's also interesting to note that I never noticed this problem with 80mm or 84mm wheels. I wonder if 100mm wheels apply more torque than most bearings can handle when t-stopping downhill, carving hard slalom-plow turns, etc.

----Scott
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Old September 13th, 2008, 03:49 AM   #13
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Yep, the bigger the radius the more torque you get when you go to try to turn anything around its mounting point.
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Old September 13th, 2008, 06:27 PM   #14
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Yep, the bigger the radius the more torque you get when you go to try to turn anything around its mounting point.
Exactly. I'd been thinking that adding a measly 10mm to the radius couldn't be such a big deal, but it's a 25% increase from 80mm, and just short of 20% up from 84mm. With that in mind, the forces add up (or, multiply up) in a hurry!

I really wonder whether this phenomenon is common among those who skate in hillier regions, e.g. Euro speedskaters who do the SIC races, or whether they have access to training routes which don't require speed reduction so frequently on the downhills. In other words, have they been wrecking bearings after moving to 100mm wheels?

----Scott
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Old September 13th, 2008, 06:54 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by sk8scott View Post
Exactly. I'd been thinking that adding a measly 10mm to the radius couldn't be such a big deal, but it's a 25% increase from 80mm, and just short of 20% up from 84mm. With that in mind, the forces add up (or, multiply up) in a hurry!

I really wonder whether this phenomenon is common among those who skate in hillier regions, e.g. Euro speedskaters who do the SIC races, or whether they have access to training routes which don't require speed reduction so frequently on the downhills. In other words, have they been wrecking bearings after moving to 100mm wheels?

----Scott
Actualy larger wheels the bearings spin less. The curcumference on larger wheels means that say for a distant 100m, the larger wheel needs to spin less for same distance. Less spin mean less friction resistance to overcome. Now download racers, I think the 82mm would be better simply because they can hug the ground on extremely sharp turns and do power braking whereas a larger wheel may loose it's structual integrity and fold over the rim.
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Old September 13th, 2008, 07:50 PM   #16
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Actualy larger wheels the bearings spin less. The curcumference on larger wheels means that say for a distant 100m, the larger wheel needs to spin less for same distance. Less spin mean less friction resistance to overcome. Now download racers, I think the 82mm would be better simply because they can hug the ground on extremely sharp turns and do power braking whereas a larger wheel may loose it's structual integrity and fold over the rim.
The lower profile of smaller wheels is an advantage for downhill control, no doubt. However, the overall speed gain with 100mm wheels is just too much fun!

While the larger wheels may spin less, it's not the frictional forces that are the problem. Rather, it's the lateral torque from hard stopping and turns that makes it "fold over the rim", as you nicely put it.

----Scott
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Old September 13th, 2008, 08:22 PM   #17
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The lower profile of smaller wheels is an advantage for downhill control, no doubt. However, the overall speed gain with 100mm wheels is just too much fun!

While the larger wheels may spin less, it's not the frictional forces that are the problem. Rather, it's the lateral torque from hard stopping and turns that makes it "fold over the rim", as you nicely put it.

----Scott
For sur Scott, I luv my 100mm's too. Maybe one day when I grow up, I can have 110mm wheels too.
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